Community members, landowners, energy industry and service providers, conservation organizations and regulators come together during a series of seminars to learn more about potential energy development in the Trans-Pecos and to engage in dialogue with other stakeholders.

Respect Big Bend Energy Development Seminar Series

Borderlands Research Institute (BRI) is one of the Respect Big Bend (RBB) Coalition partners and is the primary lead responsible for local stakeholder engagement. Additionally, BRI has a significant role in providing the science-based data necessary for contributing to The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) Development by Design database.

Stakeholders can learn more about potential energy development by attending Respect Big Bend seminars.

Stakeholder engagement efforts are extremely varied and significant in scope. Identified groups for this project include landowners, mineral owners, energy industry and service providers, community members, conservation organizations, and regulators. To engage the differing stakeholders, BRI hosts community seminar series, an elected officials’ luncheon, and several conservation partner brown bag lunches. BRI also co-hosts (with the Texas Agricultural Land Trust or TALT) a landowner workshop and delivers Respect Big Bend presentations to varied civic groups and organizations.

In 2019, BRI established the Tri-County Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) consisting of a select assemblage of 17 stakeholder representatives from the Greater Big Bend Region Primary goals of stakeholder engagement were to elicit values the groups place on the landscape, communities, and services of the region, identifying deficiencies in knowledge by landowners and communities with regard to energy development, natural resource conservation, and economics of the region, and develop outreach and education programs and tools to address the deficiencies.

Free and open to the public, the seminar series are held at the Espino Conference Center at Sul Ross State University in Alpine. These series are designed to engage a broad constituency of Big Bend community members to better inform them on recent energy projections, potential impacts on communities and conservation values, and to develop creative strategies to conserve the unique resources and communities of the region.

The Respect Big Bend Coalition was launched by the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, and is sponsored in part by the Permian Basin Area Foundation, The Meadows Foundation, and the Still Water Foundation. The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation is a Texas foundation that seeks innovative, sustainable solutions for human and environmental problems. The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation works as an engine of change in Texas, supporting high-impact projects at the nexus of environmental protection, social equity and economic vibrancy. Find out more about the project at

Learn more about the upcoming seminars below.

Fall 2020 Seminar Series

*Please note that seminar dates are subject to change due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Wednesday, Sept. 16
Topic: Development by Design: Where Development and Conservation Meet
Keynote speakers:
Joe Kiesecker – The Nature Conservancy of Texas
Melinda Taylor-University of Texas

Thursday, Oct. 8
Topic: Landowners, Energy Development, and Conflict: Finding Common Ground
Keynote speakers:
David Yeates -Texas Wildlife Association
Chris West- National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Chase Curry- San Pedro Ranch

Thursday, Oct. 22
Topic: Conservation Values and Strategies for the Last Frontier
Keynote speakers:
Louis Harveson- Borderlands Research Institute
Billy Tarrant- Borderlands Research Institute

Spring 2020 Seminar Series

Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Topic: Is Energy Development Coming to the Big Bend? Understanding the Latest Energy Projections and a Novel Approach to Reducing the Impacts of Energy Sprawl
Keynote Speakers:
Marilu Hastings – Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation
Dr. Michael Young – Bureau of Economic Geology, University of Texas

Wednesday, February 5, 2020 – POSPONED
Topic: Potential Community Impacts from Energy Development: What to Expect and How to Prepare
Keynote Speakers:
David Innelli – Hudson Pacific
Mike Teague – Adamantine Energy

Wednesday, March 18, 2020 – POSTPONED
Topic: Development by Design: Where Energy and Conservation Meet
Keynote Speakers:
Dr. Joe Kiesecker – The Nature Conservancy
Melinda Taylor – Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Energy, Law, and Business, University of Texas

Wednesday, April 22, 2020 – POSTPONED
Topic: The Case for the Trans-Pecos: Texas’ Last Frontier
Keynote Speakers:
Dr. Roel Lopez – Natural Resources Institute, Texas A&M University
Dr. Louis A. Harveson – Borderlands Research Institute, Sul Ross State University