Hill Country Chapter NPSOT Chapter Meeting
George Cates was born and raised in North Texas (Sherman). As a kid he enjoyed competitive sports, especially soccer, and spending the summers on his grandparent’s small ranch in Manchaca, TX. There, he developed his love of and respect for nature, through fishing, hunting, camping, and exploring with his cousins. When back in the city, he would dig holes in the yard and build dams in the street gutters to try and make a creek to play in like “the one at the ranch”. He’d catch crawdads in the bar ditches by the railroad tracks and beg his dad to take him fishing at the lake. After his grandparents passed, the family sold the land, and he was devastated. To cope, he committed himself to understanding the intricacies of land ownership and stewardship and to finding a career path that would ensure fewer children would have to experience that feeling of loss.
He began interning for Native American Seed in 2002 and was hired full time at the end of 2007 after graduating from Austin College in 2006 with a B.A. in Environmental Studies. He has led many NAS prairie restorations, managed seed production on the farm in Junction, TX and managed harvest operations across the many ecoregions of Texas. He has been instrumental in the R&D of many new species to NAS offerings, as well seed mixtures to meet challenges landowners face. George also enjoys public outreach, giving dozens of speaking engagements a year.
George currently manages NAS consulting, land management, and native landscaping services. He still chips in as needed with farming and production, harvesting, and seed processing operations. His latest endeavors include greenhouse production of rare hand collections and hard to propagate native species to add more diversity to NAS offerings. He has a remarkable capacity for looking at problems as “challenges” to be met, and the kind of willingness to learn that is a priceless asset. He loves to teach and share what he has learned through his journey, especially to his son Fisher and the next generation of land stewards.
Design for Success with Native Seed: Learn how to approach a native planting project from initial planning, to implementation, to maintenance and management. Work with the cycles of nature to ensure beautiful diversity and an ecological legacy with every project. Plant native, life depends on it.