Posts Tagged ‘Texas’

Jane’s Window

If you live in Austin, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Jane Sibley. She is a cultural icon known for her philanthropic and organizational work with the Austin Symphony, Laguna Gloria and farther afield, the Rock Art Foundation and Seminole Canyon State Park, to name only a few of her endeavors. She dresses with an artist’s flair for color and design and has the well-stocked mind of a storyteller and conversationalist. For most of us, this would be as close as we could come to “knowing” Jane Sibley. But now, with the publication of Jane’s Window: My Spirited Life in West Texas and Austin, we can learn much more about her long and varied life.

Jane Sibley’s Texas roots run deep. She begins her memoir with her great great grandmother Mahala Milligan who, in 1860, helped her children remain calm during a Comanche raid by reading aloud to them from Shakespeare. The raid claimed the life of Sibley’s great great grandfather, the first elected Sheriff of Mason County. The sharp flint spear point recovered from the Sheriff’s body and the book of Shakespeare, have remained in the family to this day.

Born and raised in Fort Stockton, she was the only child of a family that believed in education and the cultural graces. Sibley arrived in Austin in 1941 to attend the University of Texas where she earned a degree in studio art and later returned in 1962 as a wife and mother of three children, ready to begin a new chapter in her life. The rest, as they say, is history.

Reading Jane’s Window is a bit like sitting with down with Sibley and hearing her tell the story of her life, complete with sly asides and unsolicited, grandmotherly advice. She recounts her family’s triumphs and tragedies, her role in the creation and reformation of several cultural and historic Texas institutions, and introduces us to her lifelong friends, family and other individuals she’s been privileged to know and to meet. She also offers up a tasty serving of stories handed down through the generations about life in West Texas.

Jane Sibley is a strong Texas woman, unafraid to speak her mind and ready to take on life’s opportunities and challenges. How has she managed to do so much in one lifetime? This may be the answer:

“I have experienced my own share of bumps along the way. They have slowed me down temporarily, but I never let them stop me. I simply kept going, working toward worthwhile goals, doing what needed doing. I have never been a person who looked back with regret. I always keep my eyes and my will focused on tomorrow. I have been given some great opportunities and have always done my best to give some back. And may I add, I have had a lot of fun in the process.”

So here’s your chance to hear Jane Sibley tell the story of her life, one of great accomplishment, in her own witty and insightful voice in Jane’s Window.

Jane’s Window” is available at our N. Lamar, Westgate and San Antonio stores. *edited 5/24

Bastrop State Park update

Like many Texans, you may be wondering about conditions at Bastrop State Park after wildfires devastated the area.  Texas Parks and Wildlife released the following information late last week, which includes ways for us to help:


 Alan Fisher, © Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Alan Fisher, © Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Wildfire had significant impact on Bastrop State Park:

How the public can help

AUSTIN – Beyond the loss of lives and property, the still-smoldering Bastrop Complex Fire has had a significant impact not only on the iconic and highly-popular Bastrop State Park but much of the entire Lost Pines ecosystem.


The fire, which began north of the park on Sept. 4, claimed two lives, destroyed more than 1,500 homes, and changed the lives of thousands in Bastrop County.


“Texas Parks and Wildlife has been experiencing an outpouring of concern from citizens, conservationists and nature enthusiasts worried about the ecological impact on the park and the ecosystem it anchors,” said Todd McClanahan, park superintendent. “People have been offering money, trees, wildflowers – even wildlife. We’d like to ask the public to be patient while we assess the impact of this disaster and determine what TPWD needs to do, but we have set up a system for the public to offer assistance.”


While few areas within the park escaped the fire, most of the Civilian Conservation Corps-constructed buildings and other park infrastructure were saved. Even so, TPWD officials know that the fire has had a profound impact on the Lost Pines vegetation and wildlife habitats, though neither was totally lost.


“There will be remarkable changes in the landscape,” Greg Creacy, Natural Resources and Regional Wildland Fire Coordinator for State Parks said. “TPWD staff and cooperating scientists are focusing on assessing and documenting these effects.”


On the short term, however, TPWD personnel are still mopping up after the fire – dealing with smoldering stumps and yet-unburned fuel. Flare-ups are still a threat, especially with the continuing drought and red flag fire conditions.  Additionally, there are many hazardous trees to deal with—hundreds of which will continue to smolder and fall over the coming months.


The Lost Pines are among the more unique ecosystems in the nation and Bastrop and Buescher State Parks contain one of the best examples of the southwest-most extent of the loblolly pine.


“The genetics of these pines are unique,” said David Riskind, Director of Natural Resources for State Parks. “To provide for the long-term recovery and restoration of this plant community we need to use only the genetic stock from this area. Unfortunately no seedlings of this type are available at this moment so we do not want to introduce plants foreign to Bastrop.  The same goes for grasses and wild flowers.”


Creacy said TPWD will be assessing fire effects to determine the most seriously impacted sites and what the best strategies are to bring about maximum stabilization and recovery. This will involve mapping areas where erosion potential is greatest and working to install environmental fabrics.


“Another focus will be protecting especially sensitive habitats like the Houston Toad breeding ponds,” he said.  “All our study sites and transects will be monitored to determine effects on insects, wildlife, and vegetation.”


The Lost Pines are considered the last stronghold of the endangered amphibian, which once could be found in 14 Texas counties.


Here’s how the public can help:

  • If you are interested in the ecological restoration of Bastrop State Park and want to donate to habitat restoration or research please send your donations to:

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
Attn: Cashiers
4200 Smith School Rd.
Austin, TX 78744

On the memo line note: Bastrop Recover Project-Habitat Restoration

  • If you would like to donate your time or specialty items for both the short and long-term restoration and stewardship of the park, please provide your contact information and area of interest to:
  • If you have suggestions or want to comment on the restoration and stewardship effort, please e-mail your remarks to:
  • If you want to contribute to the TPWD employees who lost their homes and processions to the Bastrop Complex Fire:


  • Make the check payable to:  Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation
  • On the memo line please put:  TPW Employee Relief


Navigate to one of the following URL addresses:



Breaking News: Seminole Canyon Temporary Park Closure

If you are planning a visit to Seminole Canyon in the near future, you may have to change your plans. As of July 27th, the Park is temporarily closed due to problems with the public water supply system. The Park hopes to have the problem resolved soon.

For detailed information about Seminole Canyon visit the website of Texas Parks and Wildlife.

For the most up-to-date information please contact the Park at 432-292-4464

Advocate Weeks to Benefit Audubon Texas