The Texas Lyceum
Prev MonthPrev Month Next MonthNext Month
Exploring Texas' Last Frontier
Thursday, November 07, 2019 to Sunday, November 10, 2019
Category: Events

Big Bend logo

Exploring Texas' Last Frontier
Nov. 7–10 • Lajitas Resort, Big Bend, TX

The Texas Lyceum's meeting, Exploring Texas' Last Frontier, will be hosted at Lajitas Resort and the surrounding Big Bend region to discuss the natural, cultural, economic and historical significance of the Chihuahuan Desert Borderlands. We will venture to the far corner of the state to remind us of the ruggedness, the wide-open spaces, and the diverse landscapes that define us as Texans. We live at a time when the vast majority of Texans—88%—live in cities, and our connection to the natural world and an outdoor way of life has become more distant. The Big Bend region, with its looming mountains, vast open spaces, and meandering river, reminds us of our rugged, wild and independent selves. As business, political and community leaders, we seek to connect our group with leaders, regional experts, and policymakers to facilitate a robust conversation about our natural heritage and the forces of conservation and progress on Texas’ last frontier.

The attendee list for the November meeting is now accessible on the Texas Lyceum Mobile App. To download the Lyceum Mobile App in the App Store or Google Play, search for The Texas Lyceum. In the app, click Conference Picker and select Exploring Texas' Last Frontier. 


Registration Information: 
Director- $0
Prepaid Alumni- $0
Alumni Full Conference- $275
Guest Full Conference- $275
Alumni/Guest Evenings Only (Includes dinner Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights)- $200
Child Evening Only (Includes dinner Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights)- $125

Registration deadlineMonday, November 4
Cancellation and Refunds: Cancellation requests must be submitted by email to [email protected]. A $75 cancellation fee will apply for each cancellation received after October 20. Excursions are non-refundable from the time of registration. No refunds will be given after November 4.

Hotel Information 

Lajitas Golf Resort -- SOLD OUT
HC 70, Lajitas, TX 79852
Room Rate: $199-$599 (vary depending on room/house type - Click here for detailed information room/house types.)

Alternative Accommodations:

Traveling to Big Bend

Schedule & Content

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Lajitas Amphitheater

6:00 - 9:00 pm: Picnic dinner and movie under the stars

Join us for cocktails and dinner on the hillside of the Lajitas Pavilion. Enjoy a brief history of the Big Bend region from a local storyteller and then settle in for The River and the Wall, a SXSW award-winning documentary following five friends on an immersive adventure through the unknown wilds of the Texas borderlands. Immediately following this special outdoor screening, Bill Wren of the McDonald Observatory will take us on a journey through the night sky. Big Bend’s state park and national park form one of the largest contiguous areas under dark-skies protection in the United States.
Laura Jennings, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department; Bill Wren, McDonald Observatory

9:00 pm: S’mores by the fire and Hospitality Suite opens

Friday, November 8, 2019

Lajitas Pavilion Ballroom

7:00 - 8:30 am: Breakfast in Restaurant; sponsored by Visit Big Bend 

8:30 - 8:45 am: Welcome and Introduction by Sanjay Ramabhadran, 2019 President of Texas Lyceum

8:45 - 9:15 am: Welcome to the Big Bend by Congressman Will Hurd

U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes, Hurd has represented Texas’ 23rd Congressional District, which has 820 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border and eight national parks and historic sites, since 2015. Prior to serving in Congress, Hurd spent nine years working for the CIA and served as a senior adviser with a cybersecurity firm. Hurd has been a leading congressional voice on the deployment of border security technologies, federal funding to repair and improve aging infrastructure in our national parks and supporting increased investment in federal cybersecurity defense.

9:15 - 10:00 am: Preserving and Conserving the Cultural and Natural Resources of Big Bend

Humans have inhabited the Big Bend region for more than 10,000 years, surviving on native plants and animals. While considered “El Despoblado,” the uninhabited land, by the Spanish and Mexicans, it supports extraordinary biological diversity. This session will cover efforts to preserve and interpret signs left from ancient hunter-gatherers and the work of scientists and landowners to conserve and restore native flora and fauna of the Chihuahuan Desert.  
Dr. Louis Harveson, Borderlands Research Institute, Tim Roberts, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Bonnie McKinnie, El Carmen Land and Conservation Company; Moderated by Zach Brady, Texas Lyceum Class of 2015 

10:00 - 10:15 am: Break 

10:15 - 11:00 am: Exploring the Modern Economy of the Big Bend Region
Mescalero Apache and Comanche once roamed the area we now know as the Big Bend, comprised of Brewster, Jeff Davis and Presidio County. Military forts sprung up after the Civil War and soon after, settlers established large-scale cattle, sheep and goat ranches and miners searched the mountains and foothills for silver and cinnabar. During this panel discussion, we will discuss the state of the modern economy in the region, from multi-generational ranching to tourism and music festivals. 
Bobby McKnight, McKnight Ranches Co., Greg Henington, Far Flung Outdoor Center, Stewart Ramser, Viva Big Bend; Moderated by Natalie Koehler, Texas Lyceum Class of 2014

11:00 - 11:45 am: Border Discussions
The Big Bend region is one of the most remote and least populated segments of Texas’ border with Mexico. For centuries, the region’s inhabitants have viewed the river as both a common resource and a ribbon of bi-national cultural and commercial exchange. Since the 1990s, the U.S. has focused more federal customs and border protection resources in the area and in 2019 the region has seen a rise in the numbers of families crossing the U.S. – Mexico border. In this session, we will discuss border security and migration patterns in the Big Bend.
Captain Orlando Alanis, Regional Director, El Paso, Ronny Dodson, Brewster County Sheriff, Associate Chief Matthew Roggow, US Customs and Border Protection; Moderated by Kevin Robnett, Texas Lyceum Class of 2018

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm: Lunch and Panel Discussion on Conservation Partnerships
Cary Dupuy, Regional Director for National Parks Conservation Association, Blair Fitzsimons, Texas Agricultural Land Trust, Marilu Hastings, Mitchell Foundation/Respect Big Bend; Moderated by Castlen Kennedy, Texas Lyceum Class of 2015

2:00 - 6:00 pm: Free Time and Outdoor Activities - Click here for more information; pre-registration required

6:00 - 9:00 pm: Cocktails, Dinner and Fireside Chat with Carter Smith, Executive Director of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Lajitas Resort
A conversation to discuss the role of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the state’s diverse ecoregions and its innovative approach to partnerships benefiting land, water and wildlife conservation.
Laird Doran, The Friedkin Group, Carter Smith, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Lajitas Resort; Moderated by Jenifer Sarver, Texas Lyceum Class of 2014

9:00 pm: S’mores by the fire and Hospitality Suite opens

Saturday, November 9th 

Lajitas Pavilion Ballroom

8:00 am: Breakfast Available 

8:30 - 10:30 am: Board Meeting -- Directors & Alumni Only

11:00 am- 6:00 pm: Free Time and Outdoor Activities; pre-registration required 

6:30 pm: Bus departs Lajitas for Starlight

7:00 - 11:00 pm: Dinner at the Starlight Theater Restaurant and Saloon with special musical guest