Best Role Model Houston 2003 - Terry Hershey
Readers' Choice: Sherron Watkins
An admirer calls her the Mother Teresa of the Houston environmental movement, and her credentials make that an understatement. Born Terese Tarlton in Fort Worth 80 years ago, the former model and art dealer eventually met and married barge company millionaire Jake Hershey and settled into their four-acre Longbow Lane estate on Buffalo Bayou. Terry fell in love with the waterway's undeveloped beauty and turned the property into a private nature preserve. When the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced a project to channelize and concrete the bayou banks in 1967, Hershey marshaled the opposition, won the support of then-congressman George H.W. Bush, and testified alongside him before a U.S. House appropriations committee. They succeeded in sparing Buffalo Bayou the fate that has turned so many of Houston's other urban waterways into lifeless eyesores. Hershey applied the same love of nature to other areas of the city, helping launch organizations including the Park People, the Bayou Preservation Association, the Citizens' Environmental Coalition and the Armand Bayou Nature Center. The octogenarian may not last forever, but future generations of Houstonians will be enriched by the things she saved.