The Wild Women of the Wild Basin

Join Jennifer Bristol for a presentation about the Wild Women of the Wild Basin and how they had a “Snowball’s Chance in Hell.” Jennifer and her mother, Valarie Bristol, feature these remarkable women in their upcoming book, The Wild Women of Texas: The Journey of Conservation in Texas. Participants will take a journey into the past to understand how the Wild Basin Preserve came to be and how it continues to be a cornerstone of the conservation movement in Travis County.

Jennifer L. Bristol is the former Director for Texas Children in Nature at Texas Parks and Wildlife where she raised awareness about the benefits nature provides for a child’s healthy development. For her efforts in connecting youth with nature and building a statewide grassroots network, she received the Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center, Enduring Dedication Award and the Phil Hardberger Park Conservancy, Nature Hero Award.

She is the author of Parking Lot Birding: A Fun Guide for Discovering Birds in Texas and has contributed multiple articles for Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine and guest blogs on the Children & Nature Network. An avid birder, she received the Greater Texas Birding Classic, Most Valuable Birder Award – 2019 & 2018.

She has been a park ranger, business owner, marketing executive, and scenic painter in the Texas film industry. Having a deep sense of service, she serves as vice chair of the Downtown Commission for the City of Austin and has served on advisory boards for Take Action for Healthy Kids, Texas Wildlife Association, Travis Audubon, and Friends of the Lost Pines State Parks. She resides in Austin with her husband and five dynamic dogs.

Valarie Bristol was County Commissioner in Travis County from 1991-1997 where she focused her passion for conservation on upgrading the Travis County Parks. She was the key advocate for the Balcones Canyon Lands Plan to protect two endangered species. As the State Director for the Trust for Public Lands, she worked with the City of San Antonio to secure the first 60-million-dollar bond package to set aside watershed protection lands and community parks. She collaborated to secure an additional 2,000 acres of critical habitat and to increase the size of Government Canyon State Natural Area. She joined The Nature Conservancy in 2004 as the Director of External Affairs. She holds a B.A. in History from UT Austin, a Master’s in International Affairs from George Washington University, and a law degree from the UT School of Law. Valarie is a consummate volunteer, mother of two, and grandmother to two amazing grandchildren.

On the second Monday of each month, join fellow history buffs in learning about, sharing, and celebrating the heritage of the Eanes area!

Would you like to know how a Mexican faith healer changed the land use in these rugged hills? Can you name the act of outrageous generosity that created a permanent home for the Eanes School? Do you live in the Westbank neighborhood that has materials recycled from the Texas Capitol fire of 1881?

Questions? Contact Colleen Cunningham at or Ellen Balthazar at