Who is Steward of Nature?
By Pam Stranahan
Friends of the History Center for Aransas County
Most people in Aransas County agree Connie Hagar was an early proponent of taking care of nature - especially birds and their habitat. She was recognized by Life Magazine as a “citizen scientist” for the work she did in recording the migration of many different species of birds. Her daily rounds were recorded in notes which are today housed at Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi. She provided the proof for the sightings she related to the birders around the country.
When we asked, “Who is a steward of nature” in 2016, Friends of the History Center received a number of nominations. The person who received the most acclaim was Ray Little, 93 years young this year. He was born in Dallas and began to study birds as a young student. At age six he was guiding businessmen to sites where they could find specific birds. He earned a degree from TAMU in wildlife management after serving in the Pacific in World War II.
Fortunately for nature lovers, Little moved to Rockport and in 1987 began to narrate tours on the Wharf Cat tour boat moored at Rockport harbor in the winter. He also devoted many hours as a volunteer to preserve and promote areas of the county as wildlife habitat. Some of those projects include the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, Friends of Goose Island State Park, the Coastal Bend Audubon Society, the Aransas Woods Nature Sanctuary, the Aransas Bird and Nature Club, and Friends of Connie Hagar Cottage Sanctuary.
Other people nominated for their contributions as Stewards of Nature include Betty Baker, James Richard Fox, Kris Kirkwood, Earl Matthew, Tommy Moore and Jay Tarkington.