April Sansom Selected to Lead Selah Bamberger Ranch

Johnson City, Texas – Selah Bamberger Ranch Preserve is pleased to announce the selection of a new executive director to lead the nonprofit into the future. Selah’s board of directors has unanimously selected April Sansom for the position. Sansom will assume her new duties on June 11.

Selah Bamberger Ranch Preserve is an internationally recognized 5,500-acre ranch in Blanco County that has been restored to its original habitat. Selah’s mission is to teach ethical land stewardship by example and outreach. Ranch owner J. David Bamberger has placed the majority of the property under a conservation easement that will protect the property in perpetuity.


“My vision for Selah has always been that it will be around for generations to come, teaching the lesson that given the chance, nature can heal itself,” said Bamberger, who will turn 92 on June 11. “We’ve been working toward the future since we got started here more than 50 years ago. This leadership transition is critical, and I wanted to get everything in order to witness it while I am still alive. April Sansom is the perfect choice and is prepared to step in and carry the reputation and mission of Bamberger Ranch Preserve to a whole new dimension.”

April Sansom most recently served as executive director of Community Conservation, a nonprofit based in Wisconsin that promotes global biodiversity and sustainable land use. She holds a PhD in Environment and Resources from the Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She earned a Master’s Degree in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development, also from the Nelson Institute. Before graduate school, Sansom lived in the Philippines for over three years, first as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer and then as a Community Organizer for the Philippines program of Conservation International. She has a BS degree in Wildlife Ecology from the Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences Department of Texas A&M University. Sansom’s family hails from Texas and has deep roots in the conservation community here.

Sansom succeeds Colleen Gardner, who left Selah on April 7, 2020, after more than 20 years of service on the ranch. Along with Bamberger’s late wife, Margaret Bamberger, Gardner developed the educational and nature camp programs at Selah that have benefitted tens of thousands of children and adults over the last two decades. Gardner also led the effort for the development and construction of the Margaret Bamberger Research and Education Center, a unique facility that is now serving university researchers and school children alike.

“Colleen Gardner will always be part of the Selah family, and I know she is thrilled to be passing the baton to April,” said Rusty Yates, who is Chairman of Selah’s Board of Directors. “This transition is not only about respecting the past, it’s about leading boldly into the future. April understands the culture, she has a deep appreciation for J. David Bamberger’s vision, and we all feel that she is the perfect fit for our organization.”

April Sansom has been visiting Selah Bamberger Ranch with her family since she was a young girl. In recent years she has participated in summer natural science programs, sharing her own conservation career journey with young people. She’s thrilled to be coming home to Central Texas.

“I am so proud and honored to protect J. David’s vision,” said Sansom. “I am passionate about the power of grassroots conservation, and am looking forward to joining the incredibly talented team at the ranch. Together, we will write the next chapter of Selah’s story.”

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