Aransas First Announces New Fundraising Initiative

Preserving Aransas County's Natural Treasures for Our Future Generations

Aransas First Announces New Fundraising Initiative

Aransas First Fundraising Committee Preservation First

The Rockport Fulton Chamber of Commerce (RFCC) Bay Blazers and staff were joined by guests for a ribbon cutting celebrating the Aransas First fundraising and marketing initiative, Preservation Makes Cents.  This new fundraising campaign has a goal of raising $1,000,000 to acquire land in Aransas County for preservation.  Since its founding Aransas First has acquired and protected hundreds of acres of Coastal Bend habitat.

If you’d like to donate to this new initiative please visit our donation page by clicking here.

If you’re not familiar with Aransas First they are a 501(c)(3) organization, that was founded in 2002.  A Land Trust was recognized as a need primarily by people in the Aransas Bird and Nature Club. The mission of Aransas First is to identify, acquire, and protect sensitive Coastal Bend habitat essential to birds, wildlife, and people; to increase public awareness of ecosystems unique to the area through education, access, and participation. 

Throughout the years Aransas First has worked diligently with the city, county, non-profits, school systems, universities, TXDOT, and Aransas County Navigation District to gain grants, lease access, acquire properties and conservation easements, and plan for the enhancement of the environment and quality of life.  

 Aransas First has been at the forefront of conservation, preservation, and acquisition efforts in Aransas County since its founding in 2002; by visionaries who recognized the unique ecosystem that our Coastal Bend environment offers. 

After Hurricane Harvey in 2017 Aransas County has experienced much growth and development. We think it’s imperative now more than ever to preserve, maintain, and protect the natural habitat before it’s all gone for future generations to enjoy. We launched the Aransas First fundraising campaign, Preservation Makes Cents, starting in November 2022 to raise $1,000,000 in 2023 to go towards the acquisition of new land, maintaining our current properties and education about the importance of this precious ecosystem. 

For more information and to donate, please visit or contact our Executive Director, Dr. Earl Matthew at 361-790-3074.

Here is a list of 10 properties & projects that Aransas First has already acquired or been involved with in our community:

Leased Tule Marsh East

Leased this property in 2004 from the City of Rockport, this became Texas Birding Trail #50 in early

2000’s.  Cleared invasive vegetation, build covered pavilion and trails. Transferred to Aransas

Pathways in 2014.

Aransas Woods

Aransas First manages this 120-acre property for TxDOT which is Texas

Coastal Birding Trail #47. Replaced Harvey destroyed windmill with solar pump, build pier, and has

over 3 miles of trails in the woodlands and along the wetlands

Live Oak Education Center

Obtained CMP and CBBEP grants for this ACISD property donated by C. Frost for the Live Oak Education Center, trails, and outdoor classrooms. 

Cove Harbor Boardwalk and Wetland

Built the Cove Harbor Boardwalk with a grant on wetlands leased from the Aransas County Navigation District.  Damaged during Hurricane Harvey, was enlarged and rebuilt in 2020.  Repairs covered by FEMA Grants and Aransas First. 

Connie Hagar Sanctuary

Aransas First holds the conservation easement for the bird sanctuary now managed by Aransas Pathways. Prior to this the property was not full protected from sale or development. 

Green Corridor Committee

 The Green Corridor Committee of Aransas First, founded in 2004; transitioned into the Aransas Pathways as a county venue project to promote birding, history, kayaking, and overall tourism in 2014.  The group surveyed available lands for acquisition, trails and drainage areas with green space throughout the county that future developments and the identified sites could connect to.

Wood’s Beachfront

8-acre property in Port Aransas donated by Ted and Mary Woods to protect the barrier dunes in front of their property in Port Aransas along the Gulf of Mexico. 

Myrtle Street Tract

4.8 acres donated by Mary Spencer to preserve freshwater wetlands and

upland on Myrtle St in Rockport. 

Lamar Burton Wetlands Sanctuary

Our latest acquisition is 105 Acres with 58 acres of wetland habitat in Lamar off of Seaside Loop which will have public access and is an important whooping crane winter feeding area. 

Holly St Wetland 

2 acre upland freshwater pothole with upland surrounding, donated to Aransas First by Lawrence Zarowny for his late brother, an enthusiastic birder from Canada.