Following the catastrophic wildfires of September 2011, Roxanne Hernandez emerged as a leader for natural resource restoration in Bastrop County.
The fire destroyed 96 percent of Bastrop State Park, including important habitat for the endangered Houston Toad.
Affectionately known as "the toad lady," Hernandez has been working on wildlife habitat conservation and the recovery of the toad.
“I feel a connection to the Lost Pines and it doesn’t matter who owns it," Hernandez explains. "The Habitat Conservation Plan is based on the premise that humans and toads can live together and humans are a part of the eco-system so whatever I can do to help the environment and the people living in it, then that’s great.”
Hernandez is the Lost Pines Habitat Conservation Plan Administrator and Coordinator of the Lost Pines Recovery Team. She was recently awarded Special Recognition recipient of the 2012 Lone Star Land Steward Award.
“Before the fire, I spent a lot of my time in the field, now, most of my time post-fire is spent in my office in meetings, doing a variety of things other than field work.”
“What most impressed me was Roxanne’s effort to lend a helping hand to the community," said Wade Harrell of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. "She takes so many calls from landowners wanting to know what to do and setting up the recovery team and providing those resources to landowners that they so desperately wanted after the fire.”
“She’s the right person for the job," said Meredith Longoria, a Texas Parks & Wildlife Biologist. "She’s very hardworking, ambitious and just great with people.”
For more on Roxanne Hernandez' work, watch the video above. While the fate of the toad is still in question, the park is recovering from the fire, and most trails, campsites and facilities have reopened to the public.
Editor's note: The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department produces these multi-media reports as an educational resource.