By Mary Alys Cherry
Emmeline Dodd, well known for her tireless dedication to nature as a naturalist, environmentalist, educator, advocate, and leader, has been recognized by Armand Bayou Nature Center with the 2016 Armand Yramategui Conservation Award.
The presentation came at a luncheon at Bay Oaks Country Club in Clear Lake, where Linda Retherford, president of the ABNC Board of Trustees welcomed the standing-room-only crowd, who came to honor the long-time community volunteer.
“The award memorializes the renowned Texas conservationist Armand Yramategui (for whom the nature center is named),” said emcee Dan Seal, Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership executive, explaining it is awarded to an area individual or organization “that best represents the community’s interests and efforts to conserve local natural resources for the benefit of native wildlife, ecosystem services, environmental education and public access to nature.”
Will Holder, president of Trendmaker Homes, presented the keynote address on how the Houston area currently is home to 6.6 million — a total that will rise to 7.4 million by 2020 – and how his company and other developers are working to accommodate this growth, “We take land that has no characteristics and turn it into an asset – an area people can be proud of,” showing film of how scrubby looking land can be turned into a beautiful community.
He knows the local area well, he said, having worked years ago for Friendswood Development Co. when it was developing some 6,000 lots into what today is Clear Lake City.
His new development, the Reserve at Clear Lake, is not far from the nature center. It has 770 lots and covers 372 acres. So far, he said, 161 lots have been sold and 75 have closed. Besides building the same elegant homes one sees around Clear Lake, Trendmaker plans an abundance of green space with multiple pocket parks, he told the luncheon crowd. In fact, 100+ acres is being set aside for green space.
“We try to offer affordable living choices and make the Reserve a place people can be proud of.”
Dodd, the Galveston Bay Chapter of Texas Master Naturalists said in nominating her, “exemplifies a model conservationist as a Certified Texas Master Naturalist and an exceptional environmental educator. Emmeline’s passion to reconnect people with nature exemplifies the mission of the Armand Bayou Nature Center and the vision of Armand Yramategui.
“Emmeline shares her knowledge of local natural resources and skills as an effective educator to teach Master Naturalists, teachers and children across the state about the uniqueness of our natural resources. She has educated hundreds of students through the Master Naturalist Program. Emmeline inspires others and cultivates a spirit of conservation. Her conservation accomplishments are evidence that one person can make a real difference in preserving nature for future generations.”
A retired College of the Mainland biology professor, she holds degrees from Stephen F. Austin State University and the University of Houston-Clear Lake. During her three decades at COM, she received the Excellence in Teaching Award three times, and in 1998 was named a Piper Professor as one of the Top Ten Professors in Texas colleges and universities and was elected state president of the Texas Community College Teachers Association.
Other honors include being chosen a UH-Clear Lake Distinguished Alumna, as one of the Clear Lake Area Chamber’s “50 Faces” that shaped the Bay Area and a Men and Women of Heart Gala honoree.
She also received the 2008 Chuck Buddenhagen Memorial Award from the Galveston Bay Area Master Naturalists and has devoted more than 2,500 volunteer hours to the Master Naturalists and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.