Donation from Dr. Earl Matthew, President of Aransas First

Preserving Aransas County's Natural Treasures for Our Future Generations

Donation from Dr. Earl Matthew, President of Aransas First

Dr. Earl Matthew, President of Aransas First, made a $5000 donation in honor of his dear friend Ray Little.

Statement from Dr. Earl:

I am pleased to make this donation to Aransas First’s fund-raising campaign to acquire additional valuable habitat in the Live Oak and Lamar peninsulas in honor of Ray Little.

Ray Little; was born on September 24, 1923. He started birding when he was four years old. He learned to read the Arm & Hammer Baking Powder bird cards which described colored pictures of many birds. During his childhood, Ray lived close to a biology teacher who took him on many nature trips to the nearby woods and creek to study birds and wildlife.

He went to Texas A&M-College Station in 1940; to major in Fish & Game, but World War II interrupted his studies. He became a Navy Medic while in the Marines. He was on the initial invasion of Okinawa. After serving his time in the Pacific; he returned to A&M and the name of his major had been changed to Wildlife Management. His working career was a salesperson for a hospital laboratory supply company. He strategically visited locations; esp. in South and Coastal Texas, during the best birding, fishing, or hunting seasons.

He married Margie in 1947 and has two sons; Terry and Dell, both avid birders from a very early age. He has led field trips for many groups and organizations. He served on the founding committee of the Frontera Audubon Society in the Lower Rio Grande Valley and the Coastal Bend Audubon Society in Corpus Christi. He has served all positions: including President, on many birding organizations’ Board of Directors. He has continued his studies in ornithology and lectured throughout his lifetime.

Ray is a member of Coastal Bend Audubon Society, Audubon Outdoor Club of Corpus Christi, Aransas Bird & Nature Club of Rockport, Texas Ornithological Society, American Birding Association, Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, Aransas First Land Trust, and many others. He helped develop Rockport Demonstration Bird & Butterfly Garden at Tule East, and Aransas Woods–Texas Coastal Birding Trail Sites #50 & #47. He was on the Founding Committee and Developer of Fred Jones Nature Sanctuary near Portland, Friends of Connie Hagar Cottage Sanctuary in Rockport, the Friends of Goose Island State Park, and Friends of Aransas and Matagorda Island NWR. He is very proud of the “Awareness Award” which was bestowed upon him by the Kingsville Bird & Wildlife Club in 2003.

His special interest was in Whooping Cranes. He visited Aransas National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in 1941 and helped begin the crusade to save Whooping Cranes. He worked closely as a volunteer with the ANWR biologists for over 30 years. He served as Wildlife and Whooping Crane Narrator on the Wharf Cat from Port Aransas and Rockport for 22 years and “retired” from a formal role at age 89.

He is a life-time member of Texas Master Naturalist and was in the first graduating class of the Mid-Coast Chapter in 2000. He encouraged the formation of Aransas First Land Trust finalized in 2002.

The above is the “short list” of activities for someone who has given tirelessly of himself for the benefit of the Texas Coastal Bend.

I met him in 2004; while he was doing most of the maintenance for Aransas Woods and Tule East Marsh and Demo Garden, a part of the Aransas First Land Trust properties. Ray also worked on the Connie Hagar Sanctuary in Rockport. He was my co-planner for the 2008 restoration of Tule East Marsh by Aransas First Land Trust. He was a great birder; but a true naturalist, knowing what habitat was needed for sustaining our unique place on the Texas Coastal Bend.

Aransas First Land Trust; as an organization, Ray Little (for lifetime achievement) and I were honored; in 2016, with the Stewards of Nature Award for conservation in Aransas County.

A great deal of my success came through him.

Yours Truly,

Earl Matthew M.D.

President-Aransas First Land Trust