Frank Smith, Conservationist

A Lifetime of Achievement and Service, Flying, Sailing, Driving with the Top Down

October 16, 2016

The year was 1933. Frank Smith was twelve years old and he had just climbed to the 14,255-foot summit of Long’s Peak while at Camp Audubon in Colorado.

It’s an achievement that still makes him proud. But more importantly, being in the snow-capped Colorado mountains changed the perspective of a young boy born and raised in a flat, humid city, albeit in one of the leafiest, most privileged neighborhoods in Houston.

“They made us pay attention to the flowers and the trees, and study and identify the mammals,” he recalls of his summers at Camp Audubon. “It was the first time my attention was directed toward natural things.” He had learned “a lot of other things,” he says. “But I had never been taught anything about the natural world.”

Those fortunate summers in the Rocky Mountain high forest wilderness during the Great Depression set Smith on a remarkable path of conservation and environmentalism. He read the books of John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club in 1892, including The Mountains of California. That path would lead Smith to found and lead numerous organizations, most recently Save Buffalo Bayou, that have helped protect and preserve bayous and streams, including Buffalo and Armand bayous, Galveston Bay and its estuaries, and create public park lands around the state of Texas. He would work with virtually all of the region’s prominent conservationists, all of them becoming close personal friends. Some of them had been friends since childhood.

But first he would have to grow up, join the Navy, establish several engineering businesses, invent some things, and meet Terry Hershey.

Read the rest of this post.

Frank C. Smith Jr., founding president of the board, Save Buffalo Bayou, in Memorial Park on a high bank above Buffalo Bayou. Photo taken May 5, 2016, by Jim Olive.

Frank C. Smith Jr., founding president of the board, Save Buffalo Bayou, in Memorial Park on a high bank above Buffalo Bayou. Photo taken May 5, 2016, by Jim Olive.

In Memory of Frank Salzhandler, Longtime Defender of Buffalo Bayou

March 9, 2015

Longtime environmentalist and defender of Buffalo Bayou Frank Salzhandler died unexpectedly last month at his home in Houston’s Cherryhurst neighborhood. He was much too young.

Frank was a respected activist and the founder in 1989 of the Endangered Species Media Project, a nonprofit organization that graciously sponsored Save Buffalo Bayou before it became an independent nonprofit last fall.

Among its many important projects, in 2010 the Endangered Species Media Project commissioned Houston composer Brad Sayles and the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra to create a symphony for Buffalo Bayou.

We offer this opportunity to listen to the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra playing the lovely Buffalo Bayou Suite in honor of Frank Salzhandler.

Listen to the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra playing Brad Sayles’ Buffalo Bayou Suite.

Frank Salzhandler, 1951-2015.

Frank Salzhandler, 1951-2015.