About

Connecting People To Nature Through Education

WE HOPE YOU find our information on wildlife and wildlife habitat to be timely, useful and interesting.

If you are concerned for wildlife and the devastating impact commercial and residential development is having upon wildlife, we encourage you to support our environmental education programs and become a member of the Institute.

If you are mainly interested in just watching, feeding or photographing wildlife on your own property, we have a number of member benefits that will improve your success and provide you with useful and fun activities you can do as family projects.

WindStar Wildlife Institute was established in 1986 because of the need for good wildlife and wildlife habitat information for property owners. Between 1986 and 1995, the Institute focused its efforts and resources on developing a 29-acre demonstration area near Jefferson, Maryland. More than 8,000 trees and shrubs and 20 acres of wildflowers and native grasses were planted.

Then in 1995, the Institute decided to expand its role by addressing the needs of individuals and families that want to do their part to improve wildlife habitat, but don’t know where to go to obtain the information. This is especially true of property owners who purchase acreages for the first time and aren’t sure what to do with all the land they now own.

In late 1995, WindStar changed its corporate status from private corporation to a national, non-profit 501 (c)(3), wildlife conservation organization. The Institute’s mission is to assist individuals and families in establishing or enhancing the wildlife habitat on their properties.

In 1999 the Board of Directors decided to move the headquarters to an award-winning, passive solar and earth sheltered structure, Terra Vista, near Myersville, Maryland. And, a new, four-acre demonstration wildlife habitat, containing all the elements and key components, was created for members and others to visit and get ideas for their own properties. Each year new habitat components are added.

At the same time, the Board decided to focus programs and resources on using the Internet more to communicate to current members and to reach audiences not previously aware of WindStar Wildlife Institute or its programs. Two of the first, new services that resulted from this are WindStar Wildlife eNews, a free e-mail magazine, and the coming soon American Wildlife Blog.

The Wildlife Habitat Naturalist e-Learning certification program was launched in 2000. This course is a prerequisite to WindStar’s new National Master Naturalist e-learning program.

In early 2010 the WindStar offices were moved to Fort Worth, Texas and the demonstration habitat scaled down to a small, suburban yard containing food, water and shelter elements of a wildlife habitat. Most of the grass was removed and new native plants added.

Observing wildlife is a favorite pastime for many of us. Feeding, photographing and watching wildlife is the second most popular hobby today for Americans.

In fact, research shows that more than 66 million people of all ages participate and spend more than $40 billion annually on these activities. The only hobby that involves more people is gardening!

WindStar Wildlife Institute has actually been in the development process for many years. It reflects the values, philosophy, experience and environmental concerns of the founder–Thomas D. Patrick. He grew up on a farm in Iowa and received a Bachelor of Journalism degree from Drake University. He worked as a writer, photographer, and editor for the Des Moines Register and Fort Dodge Messenger ; photographer for the Carroll Daily Times Herald , Associated Press, and United Press International; and editor of Big Farmer , Farm Profit , Archery World , Farmer’s Digest and Woman Golfer magazines.

For nearly a decade, Mr. Patrick served as Director of Education and Communications for a large, basic industry, national trade association, the American Iron and Steel Institute. While there, his education programs were selected as the best among national associations and corporations by the National Association for Industry-Education Cooperation.

In 1979, he founded The Communicators, Inc. and built it into one of the premier national association research, marketing and communication consulting firms.

Mr. Patrick has either worked as an association executive or counseled more than 100 national association boards of directors and project teams since 1972. He is listed in Who’s Who in the East, Who’s Who in the Environmental Industry , and is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists, the Association of Nature Center Administrators, the Orion Society, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, North American Association for Environmental Education, Garden Writers Association of America, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the National Audubon Society, Pheasants Forever and Ruffed Grouse Society. He serves as editor and publisher of WindStar Wildlife Institute’s web site, WindStar Wildlife eNews and the WindStar’s American Wildlife Blog

The Institute’s vision is to have at least one WindStar National Master Naturalist or WindStar Wildlife Habitat Naturalist in every state of the U.S. The Institute’s mission and solution to the loss of native plants and wildlife habitat focuses on effectively teaching wildlife habitat improvement through proven methods such as “neighbor helping neighbor” and “education through demonstration .”

You can support WindStar’s environmental education programs by becoming a member, a corporate sponsor or by making tax deductible donations to WindStar Wildlife Institute, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. Please click on the Support Section at the top of the home page.