For more than three decades, Jack and Jan Cato have tirelessly pursued revitalization efforts on two ranches in two different ecological regions of Texas. Their Buckhollow Ranch is located in Uvalde and Real counties on the Edwards Plateau and the Stockard-Sirianni Ranch is in Frio County in the South Texas Plains eco region.
Given their investment of time and personal sacrifice to reach wildlife and habitat management goals, the Catos have been honored twice with regional Lone Star Land Steward awards, and now with the Leopold Conservation Award, Texas’s highest honor for private land conservation. This accomplishment, rarely if ever achieved in Texas, is a testament to their dedication to land stewardship.
The Cato Family
On Buckhollow Ranch, due to wildlife and habitat management plan goals and the fragile condition of the habitat (thin escarpment soils), livestock are no longer a part of the management scheme on this ranch. Income is derived from leasing of hunting rights and exotic sales. The emphasis is on improving native habitat through proper range and wildlife management, and to maintain healthy, native wildlife populations – with a focus on non-game, threatened, and endangered species.
Jack and Jan Cato are generous in sharing their properties with others—including local individuals, neighbors, conservation groups, universities, and state and federal agencies. They are both open-minded and innovative regarding land management tools that would benefit the natural resources in their care for generations to come.
“Perhaps the most dramatic demonstration of the Catos’s long-term commitment to conservation is the recent placing of the Buckhollow Ranch under a perpetual conservation easement with The Nature Conservancy,” said retired Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologist Richard B. Taylor in his nomination of the Catos. “The sole purpose of this is to preserve the natural beauty and habitat of the ranch for future generations.”