Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi

Gene Blacklock

An Outstanding Islander

Outline photo of Gene Blacklock

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As a young boy, noted birding author, guide and educator Gene Blacklock was far more fascinated by birds in their natural environments than anything on television. He was also interested in amphibians, mollusks and plants and had his own greenhouse. His outdoor experiences led him to the University of Corpus Christi, where he received his Bachelor of Science in 1968, followed by a 20-year career as curator, naturalist, and educator at the Welder Wildlife Foundation. While at the University, he often woke before dawn to study migrating birds on Ward Island and record information. Due to the near extinction of the brown pelicans in Louisiana and Texas in the 1960s, Blacklock founded the annual Texas Colonial Waterbird Survey and Census, the longest on-going survey of its type in the world. He also worked as a biologist with colonial waterbirds along the Texas Central Coast with Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, became senior partner of a private environmental consulting firm, and was Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program project manager from 2000-2010. Currently, Blacklock teaches an array of birding courses for beginner and advanced birdwatchers through the University’s Office of Community Outreach. He has also taught at Texas A&M-Kingsville, Welder Wildlife Foundation, South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History and the Aransas County Bird and Nature Club. Because of its geographic location to North America, Corpus Christi, which has been named America’s Birdiest City for seven consecutive years, is a hot spot for habitat diversity, receiving birds from the North, the West and Mexico. Blacklock is a member and past president of the Audubon Outdoor Club of Corpus Christi and the Coastal Bend Audubon Society. He has served as chairman of the Texas Colonial Waterbird Society, and has held honorary membership with the Rio Grande Valley Audubon Society. In addition, he has received the Padre Island National Seashore’s Bird Conservation Award, Goose Creek Independent School District’s Dedication Award and others. He is pictured with “Birds of Texas, A Field Guide,” a book he co-authored published by the Texas A&M Press. He also has co-authored other books and papers/checklists on plants and animals found in South Texas.

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