An easy way to get involved is to write a Letter to the Editor (LTE) or an Op Ed. This is an excellent way to inform people about the importance of preserving land, water, and wildlife habitats in Comal County.
When enough voices speak energy can be produced that ultimately turns to action. But if we don't share our opinions with our public officials and the citizens of our community, issues may not take on the importance that they deserve.
LTE + OP ED Guidelines
Writing an Op Ed isn't much different than writing a Letter to the Editor, only it's longer. It's usually written by an expert on a particular subject, but can also be about a newsworthy topic written by anyone.
(Shared from https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/how-write-effective-letter-editor/)
The letter below was written by Eva Silverfine Ott and is an example of how to write a LTE.
The Herald-Zeitung Guidelines
If you have questions, call the Herald-Zeitung, at 830-358-7931.
Don't give up! Newspapers and magazines receive a huge number of letters — far more than they have room for, so don't be disheartened if you don't see yours published straight away. Keep writing, because dedication and persistence pay off.
Example of a Letter to the Editor (LTE)
In 1846 when Comal County was founded with an area of 575 square miles, it had a population of 1,700. The U.S. Census Bureau has estimated the 2018 population to be 148,373, a 37% increase over the last 8 years. Or, as the Herald-Zeitung's April 20 editorial (Growth Requires Looking Forward Not Backward) points out, by over 7,000 people in the last year.
The paper's editorial states, "There are people in the community who must climb past the notion that it can somehow turn back the clock and instead turn their eyes forward to the future." I will posit that it is those who are now advocating protecting open spaces who have their eyes turned toward the future. They understand that protecting lands means protecting our water resources—the aquifers, springs, creeks, and rivers; the scenic beauty and cultural heritage of our farming and ranching county; and the diverse and precious wildlife and vegetation.
These are resources that not only make the county enchanting but provide us substantive benefits—essential to our well-being, local economy, and recreational opportunities; once lost or degraded, they are not readily reclaimed. The best way to protect these resources is to preserve and protect land.
Comparison of Hill Country counties along the Edwards Aquifer shows Travis has 17% of its acreage in protected lands of various designations; Hays has 9%, Bexar 10%, and Uvalde at 9%. Matching Medina County,
Comal County comes in with only 5% of its total acreage in some sort of protected land designation (source: Protected Area Database of the United States).
We are late in this effort. Just a few weeks ago, despite the efforts of a dedicated group of former Scouts and other individuals, the 2,400-acre Boy Scout ranch, El Rancho Cima, along the picturesque Devil's Backbone, was sold to a private developer.
This undeveloped land bridges two watersheds, the Blanco and the Guadalupe, and is home to diverse Hill Country species of plants and animals.
There are different ways to protect land, including vehicles by which the land remains with the private landowner and is preserved for generations to come. Letting our county and state officials know that there are citizens they represent who hold land protection as a priority is also necessary. If you are one of those citizens whose eyes are turned toward the future, visit www.comalconservation.org and learn about the Comal County Conservation Alliance.
City, State Zip
Phone Number or Email Address
Example of an OP ED
Comal County Conservation Alliance Observes Earth Day
(Include a picture)
Earth Day is the day we set aside to consider what we can do to protect, preserve, and enhance the only home any of us will ever have. In New Braunfels, the day was observed on Saturday April 20th. Volunteers from the Comal County Conservation Alliance (CCCA) joined with volunteers from many other organizations to share information with people who came out to enjoy a beautiful day—and perhaps, to learn a bit.
Fittingly, the event was held at NBU's Headwaters of the Comal River site. This is the point at which water comes to the surface from the Edwards Aquifer at Comal Springs to start the Comal River on its short journey to the Guadalupe River.
The site is appropriate for an Earth Day observance for at least two reasons. The first is the importance of the springs and the aquifer to the life of the area. The aquifer supplies the water that we all use. The springs brought the first settlers to the area, just as they brought Native Americans here. The other major reason it is appropriate is that the site illustrates what can be done to help restore and preserve nature. Not long ago, the site was used by NBU to store trucks and other heavy equipment. Repair shops kept those machines working and fuel pumps kept them going. It could have remained an industrial site, but the city and NBU found another—higher—use for it. Now, it is well on the way to becoming a park and learning center. Walking paths weave through smaller pools and beds of wildflowers.
Visitors learned about the importance of the aquifer and a bit of how it works by looking at maps showing the areas that contribute water, the areas in which the water enters the aquifer and the transition area. They also viewed the karst limestone that makes up the structure of the aquifer. Young people poured water over the porous stone to see how it moves through all of the openings to emerge at another point. They also learned a bit about leaves and fossils by making rubbings.
Several things have underscored the importance of CCCA's mission to preserve the land, water, and wildlife of Comal County. The first was a headline and story in the Phoenix newspaper, The Arizona Republic. It listed the fastest growing counties in the nation. Maricopa County, the greater Phoenix area, was number one in absolute growth and Comal County Texas was number two in percentage growth.
The growth of our county was not a surprise to one of the visitors at Earth Day. A woman in her senior years said that she was a lifelong resident of New Braunfels. She remembered the open fields that were the whole area beyond where Seguin Road meets what is now I-35.
Finally, words from one of CCCA's Master Naturalists: "When the first settlers came to the area, Comal springs actually bubbled up like a fountain. Now we've pumped so much water out of the aquifer that the pressure is gone. A lot of the other springs have actually dried up."
To become a Friend and/or learn more about the Comal County Conservation Alliance, visit our website, www.comalconservation.org.