J. David Bamberger
Founder and Chairman Emeritus
J. David Bamberger was born into poverty in rural Massillon, Ohio in 1928. The circumstances of growing up in poverty partly shaped Mr. Bamberger’s outlook on life and introduced him to relying on nature and the world around him.
Though the larger part in shaping Mr. Bamberger’s love for the natural world comes from his mother, Hester. She introduced him to a love for nature and for reading at an early age. Hester gifted Mr. Bamberger with the book that would influence his life so heavily, Louis Bromfield’s Pleasant Valley.
Bromfield narrates his tale of restoring his degraded family farm to its once natural splendor. This story of habitat restoration always stuck with Mr. Bamberger and was the inspiration behind his seeking the worst piece of land in Blanco County.
In 1969, Mr. Bamberger found this piece of land we now know as the Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve.
It took Mr. Bamberger over 25 years of toil and trial to achieve his vision of what the BRP could be. He struggled with invasive plants, an abused and neglected landscape and mistaken conventional wisdom. He persisted.
Today he generously shares the lessons he learned along the way to all who visit the BRP. The reality is that it takes resources, commitment, and patience to restore a natural space to its closest-possible original health and abundance. In the words of Mr. Bamberger: “Do not initiate an action you are not willing, or capable of sustaining.”
Mr. Bamberger’s vision of restoring and protecting the land evolved into a vision which guaranteed to protect these restored lands in perpetuity, which has become increasingly important given the current reality of fragmentation and development of the landscape in central Texas.
His desire to protect the BRP in perpetuity inspired him and his late wife, Margaret in 2002 to create the nonprofit organization that runs the reserve and its programs. This vision is an expansion of his life-long work to restore and protect the BRP.
The detailed story of Mr. Bamberger’s path to the BRP can be found in the book Water from Stone, which details Mr. Bamberger’s journey from poverty to entrepreneurial success to conservation hero.
Mr. Bamberger recently celebrated his 92nd birthday and has, of course, been with the BRP since its founding for 51 years.