Here’s a list of famous people (and locally famous icons) I’ve met along my way in life. They are all some how related through either my eco-travels, my conservation career, or my general eco-interests. Most of these people I’ve met while in Texas, which goes to show there’s a growing interest in eco-thinking in Texas.
I’ve included a brief bio and how I’ve met each person. I also included a video of each person for better context. (You might not consider some of these people to be famous, but they are well-know in local movements.)
Famous Person: Marty Raney
Homestead Builder, Master Stone Mason, Hunter & Mountain Guide
“Marty Raney does the teaching and travels helping other homesteaders learn the ways. He is often joined by daughter Misty who is a good carpenter and a farmer and son Matt a proficient hunter. Their journey is chronicled on the Discovery show “Homestead Rescue.”
Marty was who I was most excited to see at the Mother Earth News Fair! I’ve watched nearly all of his Homestead Rescue episodes. He’s an inspiration for another way to live, while also making homesteading popular on TV.
Famous Person: Justin and Rebekah Rhodes
“Justin Rhodes is a permaculturalist homesteader who has inspired (and taught) thousands of people to grow their own food. After 10+ years of farming experience and countless hours of training, he creates daily “edutainment” on his wildly popular YouTube Channel, Justin Rhodes.”
I met Justin and Rebekah Rhodes at the Mother Earth News Fair during an “influencer meet-and-greet” session. I sat in on two of Justin’s lectures earlier in the day, where he talked about his travels and what he learned along the way.
Famous Person: Laura Bush
“Laura Lane Welch Bush is an American educator who was the first lady of the United States from 2001 to 2009. Bush previously served as First Lady of Texas from 1995 to 2000. She is married to George W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States.”
I snuck in a photo with my boss and Former First Lady Laura Bush during a Texan by Nature Summit conservation conference while working at the Texas Trees Foundation. She help found Texan by Nature, a nonprofit which recognizes and supports conservation organizations across the state.
Check out Texan by Nature online and the organizations they support every year!
Famous Person: Heather Rinaldi
“Heather Rinaldi, Texas Worm Ranch. Heather has over 12 years of professional worm composting experience and is a National Speaker on Vermicomposting, Composting, Regenerative Agriculture, Gardening, Soil Health, and Wellness.”
Heather was the one who introduced me to vermiculture after I found a worm bin making class in Dallas. She’s very knowledgeable and has a great vermicompost business model setup.
Go to the Texas Worm Ranch to learn more or signup for a class!
Famous Person: Andrew Millison
Andrew Millison is a permaculture designer and instructor based out of the Pacific Northwest. He has been studying, designing, building, and teaching permaculture since 1996.
I met Andrew as a guest educator while at Lost Valley, and also toured his urban homestead and local neighborhood projects!
Famous Person: Nicholas Burtner
“Nicholas Burtner is the Founder and Director for the School of Permaculture, where he leads the education programs and directs operations at both the farm and suburban demonstration sites for the school. Since 2012, Nicholas and his team have worked on a large and varied number of permaculture projects from farms and ranches, to suburban homesteads and public parks, to apartment complexes and college campuses.”
I’ve taken several classes under Nicholas’ guidance, and helped out where I could with his educational program.
Learn more about Nicholas Burner and the School of Permaculture here.
Famous Person: Daniel Cunningham
“Daniel Cunningham, Horticulturist and co- founder of Rooted In environmental consulting firm, interacts with both professionals and the public to convey the most current research-based information about landscape resource use efficiency: including sustainable design, plant selection, and water-conserving landscape management practices.” — Texas Plant Guy
I’ve been a fan and follower of Daniel while I was living in Dallas. I attended many of his lectures and followed his career progress.
Famous Person: Hunter and Lexi Pence
“Hunter Pence, former Texas Rangers right fielder, collaborated with Texas Trees Foundation and Arlington ISD to plant trees at J.B. Little Elementary as part of the Cool Schools initiative.
Through Texas Trees Foundation, Pence and his wife, Lexi Pence, raised $27,087 to sponsor project.”
I met Hunter and Lexi Pence at the Texas Trees Foundation’s Tree Farm as part of our Cool Schools project. They were very excited to help out with this project. Very down-to-earth people!
Famous Person: Edwin Marty
“Edwin Marty is the City of Austin’s first Food Policy Manager. He has consulted on numerous urban farm projects around the country, helped establish the Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network, and co-authored a book about urban farming in America called Breaking Through Concrete, published by University of California Press.” — City of Austin Website
I attended Edwin’s lecture at the Austin Central Library on the state of food security. Here is the Facebook Live lecture recording.
Famous Person: Pliny Fisk III
Pliny Fisk III is a co-founder and co-director of the “Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems” (CMPBS), a sustainable design and planning 501c3 non-profit established in 1975. Fisk also serves as Fellow in Sustainable Urbanism and Fellow in Health Systems Design at Texas A & M University.”
On my green tour of Austin, I scheduled a tour of the CMPBS which was given to me personally by Plinky. He’s a definite character if you meet him!
Famous Person: Jack Spirko
“Jack Spirko founded The Survival Podcast aka TSP in June of 2008. During the first 18 months of the show, Spirko did the show during his 55 mile commute from his car. The show quickly grew in popularity and Spirko made the decision to take the show to a full time endeavor.”
I’ve heard of The Survival Podcast before, and this was my first time meeting Jack. I attended his lecture earlier in the day which was on indoor hydroponics. He has his grow rig on wheels and brought it his exhibit booth. It was a very impressive, closed-loop system.
Famous Person: Pismo the Surfing Goat
“Goatee was a great surfer; tourists flocked to Pismo Beach to see her catch a wave. Then her son came along, who McGregor named after his hometown. Pismo got started surfing at an even younger age than his mother; McGregor got him used to the water when he was still a tiny nursing kid by occasionally bringing him in to a hot tub to let him swim around.” — Modern Farmer
I pulled over on my travels back to Texas at Pismo Beach. At that beachside pit stop, I ran into who I believe was Pismo the surfing goat – a local celebrity and party animal!
Famous Person: IZK Davies
“IZK Davies is a multidisciplinary artist born in Grand Rapids, Michigan and raised in Dallas, Texas. He comes from a family of artists and creatives that helped foster his talents as an illustrator, designer, painter, muralist, and performer.” — Aramauca
While I didn’t get to meet Davies personally because he was working, I felt like his work was worth mentioning. He was creating several animal murals across the fair grounds during EarthX.