In Celebration of Bill Lindemann (1937-2021)
by Paula Stone
Bill Lindemann, of Fredericksburg, Texas, passed away on July 19, 2021, from complications after heart surgery. Bill was a dear friend and mentor to many and a long-time leader in the native plant community and natural history world across the state.
The breadth of his knowledge and expertise included the fields of native plants, birds, butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies, and geology as well as being the author of over 1,000 newspaper columns, a talented nature photographer, and sought-after speaker.
Bill graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1963 with an MA in Geology and embarked on a life-long career as an Exploration Geologist with Exxon/Mobil in which he travelled the world. Bill retired in 1994 and re-located to a 29 acre tract of land outside of Fredericksburg to pursue his passions in the natural world.
His initial leadership role with NPSOT was to become President of the local chapter in 1997, reviving it from near collapse, and steering it towards the successful condition that it enjoys today. In 2001, Bill ascended to the role of State President of NPSOT where he served for two years. He was asked to serve again in 2006 as State President to address issues at the state administrative office, making him the first ever repeat president. He successfully navigated our society through financial and legal troubles and migrated the location of the state office to Fredericksburg while returning it to a well-functioning operation. In 2006, for his leadership efforts within NPSOT, Bill was awarded the Benny J. Simpson Fellows Award for service by a member for the enrichment of the society.
In addition to all of his parallel NPSOT accomplishments, Bill germinated the idea to create the Fredericksburg Nature Center in 2001. He had recognized the need for a local birding and nature venue. The natural ecology of a 15 acre section of untouched land, located in an inaccessible corner of the Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park in Fredericksburg, had been saved from all development. With no access, the city government considered it as undevelopable. Bill saw the natural diversity of the site and its’ potential as a nature preserve.
He negotiated a service agreement with the Fredericksburg city government. The newly created Friends of the Fredericksburg Nature Center (FFNC) would provide the labor and funding to develop and maintain a nature center. Over the next twenty years, Bill recruited members, formalized the organization, raised money, and provided labor and leadership to build trails, butterfly and pollinator gardens, a bird blind, geology exhibit, created species checklists, and educational exhibits which continue to thrive and grow today. In 2003, he was awarded the Nancy Benedict Memorial Award by NPSOT for an act of Conservation/Public Service for establishing the Fredericksburg Nature Center and the FFNC organization.
One of his passions in creating the center was to provide nature education to children – our nature stewards of the future. In 2004, he initiated the “3rd Grade Day” whereby the Fredericksburg Elementary School buses the entire 3rd grade to the nature center for an array of nature presentations by local experts followed by a hike on the trails. This annual activity continues today and is remembered by local students for years to come.
Despite the city’s initial doubts as to whether the nature center would endure, it continues to be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike, a monument to Bill’s leadership. In recognition of his herculean efforts, Fredericksburg City Council proclaimed December 4, 2017, as “Bill Lindemann Day” for contributions in developing the nature center in Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park. In 2020, Bill finally retired as President of the FFNC after twenty years of leadership. Without his vision, labor, perseverance, and leadership, the Fredericksburg Nature Center would not exist and continue to be successful.
As if his accomplishments with the nature center were not enough, Bill also served as Chair of the Wings Over the Hills Nature Festival steering committee for eight years. Additionally, he was a member of the Board of Directors of the Hill Country Land Trust from 2003 to 2018 and served as president for four years (2009-2013).
Beyond all his accomplishments in the world of nature education and preservation, Bill was a kind and generous person who was a dear friend, willing mentor, and leader to many. He imparted his knowledge without reservation with an unwitting dose of wisdom. Our society, community, and the natural world is a better place for him having been here. For those of us who knew him, we are all better persons for having known him.
Bill Lindeman Short Memorial Video
An annual ‘Bill Lindemann Scholarship’ was established by the Fredericksburg Chapter in November, 2021.
The recipient will be chosen from the pool of qualified candidates researched by our state scholarship board members.