Headwaters at the Comal

Where it Begins

aka Headwaters at the Comal   |   New Braunfels, TX   |  www.headwatersatthecomal.com

Mission

Strengthen the relationship between the community and nature by showcasing the significance of the Comal Springs. A premier environmental education center inspiring hearts and minds on the importance of conservation to community.

Ruling year info

2017

Managing Director

Nancy Pappas

Main address

333 E.Klingemann

New Braunfels, TX 78130 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

82-2200071

NTEE code info

Water Resource, Wetlands Conservation and Management (C32)

Natural History, Natural Science Museums (A56)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The mission of the Headwaters at the Comal (the Headwaters) is to strengthen the relationship between the community and nature by showcasing the significance of the Comal Springs. In partnership with New Braunfels Utilities, who owns the site, and with strong support from the community, the Headwaters is leading a grand metamorphosis; the complete transformation of a 16-acre site from an old utility facilities property that sits at the headwaters of the Comal River into the Hill Country’s premier education and community center. The Headwaters engages the hearts and minds of thousands of central Texas youth, business leaders, and community members in the conservation and stewardship of our beloved springs and rivers through programs that stretch across our four organizational pillars: education and demonstration, research, conservation, and community place-making.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Great Backyard Bird Count

Bringing together novice and expert birders to gain knowledge and understanding of local and migratory birds.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Introducing Children to Science, Engineering, Art and Math through a connection to their natural world.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Convening of top experts in the area interested in the protection of the Edwards Aquifer through education and outreach of science based solutions and information.

Population(s) Served
Adults

This program is designed for 4th-6th grade students to participate in hands-on, interactive, and investigative activities focused on topics including Groundwater, Watersheds, Succession, Geography, the Water Cycle, and Weathering, Erosion, and Deposition. These programs are offered through a mix of avenues including formal field trips at Headwaters at the Comal, in classroom presentations at local schools and libraries, and informal programs including a summer camp.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

Texan By Nature 2018

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Nestled at the bottom of the Balcones Escarpment and edge of the Coastal Plains, just outside of downtown New Braunfels, and in the heart of a growing urban center, this newly established community site is quickly establishing itself as a priceless Hill Country asset. Since the completion of Phase I build out in November of 2017, and despite only one-third of the site being developed, the Headwaters has engaged over 1,500 Central Texas youth and 3,550 business leaders and community members in programs that stretch across our four organizational pillars: education and demonstration, research, conservation, and community place-making.

Education and Demonstration: We offer extensive programs that educate students and adults on the importance of protection and conservation of land and water resources and demonstrates best practices in cultural and environmental resource use and management.

Conservation & Protection: We protect and conserve the headwaters of the Comal, the river and aquifer systems it sustains, and precious Hill Country land resources.

Research: We conduct and facilitate research that deepens our understanding of the impacts of human activity on our resources and human benefits from experiences in nature and informs decision making on best practices.

Community Place-making: We provide a unique space for the community to gather, learn and explore immersed in the natural environment.

We have a focus on fundraising right now to match funds in order to re-purpose the old warehouse buildings on site to community space, education classrooms and an interpretive, unique, engaging Environmental Education Center representing the Edwards Aquifer Ecosystem. The remaining concrete and asphalt impervious pavement will be removed and replaced with green infrastructure, demonstration gardens and innovative water saving technologies.

We are leading an Education Taskforce to develop TEKS based curriculum to implement during field trips and in classroom discussions and projects.

The Technical Advisory Committee, made up of leading local and regional scientists and other non--profit leaders are providing input and direction on using the site for regional science and guiding our understanding and exploration of how the restoration of the site.

We continue to maintain and improve the changes that were made to the property in 2016 -2017 including monitoring water quality and prairie restoration.

Our capabilities are stretched right now, like most non-profits, however having the support of the municipal utility provider as our sponsor we are able to leverage a number of different partner organizations and businesses to add capacity. We also have a number of organizations and businesses who have donated in-king services and have a growing volunteer database who provide invaluable services to our organization.

We will need to continue to expand and grow our revenue streams to support our organization's vision moving forward. The response from the community has been overwhelmingly supportive with the understanding that the work we are doing to protect our Comal Springs and improve and restore habitat that is being lost at a tremendous rate due to development is vital to the well-being of our community and our region.

We raised approximately $1,750,000 from the community
Restored an important riparian habitat (host to 4 endangered and numerous threatened species endemic to the area)
Installed 4 acres of savanna prairie habitat
Hosted over 5,000 visitors
55 active volunteers
2 Earth Day Celebrations, with over 400 visitors at each event
Active Archaeological excavation which reached over 1,000 people
Hosted Boy Scout archaeology badge event, 2 Eagle Scout projects
Partnered with high school Ag Science department for native grass identification learning
Participated in great backyard bird count
Hosted numerous community non-profit tours, picnics, presentations

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.),

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time,

Financials

Headwaters at the Comal
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Headwaters at the Comal

Board of directors
as of 09/13/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Dr. Judith Hoffmann

Retired Professor, Texas Lutheran University

Term: 2017 - 2023

Ian Taylor

New Braunfels Utilities

Dawn Schriewer

New Braunfels Utilities

Wayne Peters

New Braunfels Utilities Board member

Leonard Dougal

Jackson Walker LLP

Jordan Matney

City of New Braunfels

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Not applicable
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 9/13/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

No data

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.