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Allison Elder is the Director of Legal Services and Records Management Officer for the San Antonio River Authority. In this capacity she manages the legal needs of SARA and serves on the executive team. Her career has focused on natural resource stewardship, private land conservation, and historic preservation. Prior to joining SARA, Allison was the Vice-President and General Counsel of the Texas Agricultural Land Trust, a statewide private land conservation organization. She has also served as a Senior Attorney at the law firm of Braun & Gresham, and as Executive Director of Green Spaces Alliance. She currently serves as the Chair of the Texas Land Trust Council and the Immediate Post Chairman of Mission Heritage Partners, the friends group for the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.
Johnathan Walker (chairman), President of Southern Warehousing and Distribution, serves as Treasurer of Mission Heritage Partners. Johnathan has an abiding interest in the San Antonio Missions National Park, in hoping that we can raise the next generation of committed stewards for our special cultural treasurers located in the heart of the Southside of San Antonio.
Funding for this important 8-week apprenticeship program, administered in conjunction with the American Youthworks Environmental Corps, helps young adults learn a valuable skill, and assists the Park masons who are tasked with the preservation of the more than 250,000 square feet of masonry surfaces.
Since the program was initiated in 2008, it has grown to become an integral element in the workflow of the professional masons, allowing them time and resources to meet project goals and milestones. Some of the projects these interns have worked on are the repainting of flagstone floors, rebuilding 18th-century steps and stoops, and installing several porches and arbors.
The Volunteers-In-Parks (VIP) Program supplies the San Antonio Missions with professional docents who provide important visitor services at the four Spanish Missions. The goal is for VIPs to offer timely details and information about the Park’s resources upon the visitors’ arrival. The Mission Heritage Partners provides a variety of funds to support the VIP Program, underwriting background checks, purchasing uniforms and nametags, providing training, recognition events, and supplies the volunteers need during their activities. Volunteers at the Park contribute in excess of 10,600 hours annually, the equivalent of more than five permanent, full-time employees.
8 minutes to Mission San José (2.4 miles)
16 minutes to MIssion San José
Bus departs every 40 minutes
18 minutes to Mission San José (3.3 miles)
Use streets and trails
50 minutes to Mission San José (2.5 miles)
John Murphy is the UTSA Associate Vice Provost for Global Initiatives and Executive Director of the UTSA International Study Center in Urbino, Italy. He is former Dean of UTSA’s College of Architecture, Construction and Planning. He is an Associate Member AIA, LEED Accredited Professional, and a Certified Professional Constructor. John has a passion for historic structures and cultures, and a special dedication to protecting the historical significance of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.
8 minutes to Mission Espada (1.8 miles)
10 minutes to Mission San José (3.6 miles)
18 minutes Mission San José
Bus departs every 30 minutes (No service to Mission Espada)
15 minutes to Mission San José (3.0 miles)
9 minutes to Mission Espada (1.8 miles)
Use Acequia Trail or the San Antonio River Walk
57 minutes to Mission San José (2.8 miles)
31 minutes to Mission Espada (1.6 miles)
Use streets and trails
Working alongside members of the National Park Service Interpretation team, the Community Outreach Intern joins the mission of promoting the Park to San Antonio and the surrounding communities. In addition to assisting with conducting curriculum-based education programming and interpretation duties, the intern assists with appearances at special events, including Fiesta and community parades and Farm Day.
This significant and necessary upgrade replaced rotted wooden posts and rails around and throughout the grist mill at Mission San José. Using the faux bois technique (concrete fabricated to look like wood), San Antonio artist Carlos Cortés and his team of artists created posts and top-rails that provide more enduring strength, stability and sustainability. New faux bois security and safety rails now also allow safe access to the stairway that leads to the lower horizontal wheel. The beauty of the faux bois work is that it remains inconspicuous within the historic setting. A private donor provided partial funding for the project and the Mission Heritage Partners funded the final amount needed to complete the project.
6 minutes to Mission San Juan (1.8 miles)
9 minutes to Mission San Juan (1.6 miles)
Use Acequia Trail or the San Antonio River Walk
31 minutes to Mission San Juan (1.6 miles)
Use Acequia Trail or the San Antonio River Walk
8 minutes to Mission Concepción (2.4 miles)
9 minutes to Mission San Juan (3.0 miles)
16 minutes to Mission Concepción
30 minutes to Mission San Juan
Bus departs every 20 minutes
31 minutes to Mission Concepción (5.5 miles)
15 minutes to Mission San Juan (3 miles)
Use streets and trails
50 minutes to Mission Concepción (2.5 miles)
55 minutes to Mission San Juan (2.8 miles)
Use streets and trails
In an effort to retain the serenity of Mission Concepción’s site, the Mission Heritage Partners helped facilitate a plan to ensure that the land between the Mission and the San Antonio River would not be commercially developed. The area was already targeted by several developers, so an individual board member purchased the land and eventually transferred ownership to the nonprofit group and then to the National Park. The views between the river and the Mission can now remain as they were in the 1700s, without fear of future encroachment.
Long before selfies were popular, visitors to the San Antonio Missions took plenty of pictures of themselves and their traveling companions at various sites throughout the Park. The Mission Heritage Partners solicited funds for prominent, permanent signs at each of the four Missions in the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. Since being installed, these stately stone and cement monuments, funded by AT&T, have served as a landmark entry point at each Mission, and have appeared in countless family photos.
Over the years, the 18th century grist mill at Mission San José had fallen into disrepair. Rusted, non-functioning mechanisms reduced the mainstay of the community to a useless structure. Because the mill provides an important look at the ingenuity and food production that took place at the mission, the Mission Heritage Partners raised funds to return it to full operation in 1995. Garnering a mix of grants and local donations, the group was able to have the grist mill mechanisms replaced, as well as to restore the mill race leading water to the underground wheel.
In the early 1990s, several members of the board of directors and the executive director of Mission Heritage Partners made an in-person plea to several United States Congressmen requesting funds for a Visitor Center at the Park. Their efforts were successful and the Visitor Center at Mission San José was built in in 1996. It now serves as a busy gathering spot, complete with a museum, gift shop, conference room and theater that airs a documentary about the men and women who built the Missions in San Antonio so strategically set along the San Antonio River.
Art has been part of the history of national parks since the 1870’s when Hudson River School painters captured majestic Western landscapes. Today, the sights and sounds in national parks continue to inspire artists who participate in the Artist-in-Residence programs, including the program at the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.
Thanks to you, Mission Heritage Partners has helped bring art to the Park since 2017, funding such projects as the Michael Nye’s Four Voices Exhibit at Mission Concepcion and the 2018 Artist-in-Residence project with James, Jenny and Emma Tarpley. In the 2019 exhibit, Portals of a People, Sabra Booth utilized printmaking skills to create light works in the Spanish Quarters exhibits area and granary in Mission San José. The prints celebrated plants that were essential to the indigenous people’s lives, in terms of diet, spirituality, and personal expression.
We look forward to announcing the 2020 Artist in Residence in January 2020.
Funding for this important 8-week apprenticeship program, administered in conjunction with the American Youthworks Environmental Corps, helps young adults learn a valuable skill, and assists the Park masons who are tasked with preservation of the more than 250,000 square feet of masonry surfaces.
Since the program was initiated in 2008, it has grown to become an integral element in the workflow of the professional masons, allowing them time and resources to meet project goals and milestones. Some of the projects these interns have worked on are the repointing flagstone floors, rebuilding 18th century steps and stoops, and installing several porches and arbors.
More than 90 percent of native prairie vegetation has been lost to development in the United States. The National Park Service Staff at the San Antonio Missions National Park has been working on an on-going prairie restoration project at Rancho de las Cabras near Floresville and southeast of the old San Juan Dam site in San Antonio. Mission Heritage Partners is proud to support their efforts to re-create a native mixed-grass prairie vegetation at these two sites.
By underwriting this contract, Mission Heritage Partners ensures National Park Service employees are available to take on other grounds-keeping duties and projects. The contracted professionals maintain 25 manicured landscape beds throughout the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, including those at the Visitor Center, Grist Mill and Discovery Center at Mission San José, the Visitor Contact Station at Mission Concepción, the parking lot at Mission Espada and the roadway portal to Mission San Juan. The group also provides funding for a contractor to maintain the fields at Rancho de las Cabras.
Each year the Mission Heritage Partners provides funds that offset the cost of transportation for Title One and equivalent schools to take field trips to the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. The targeted schools are located within 40 miles of San Antonio.
The Volunteers-In-Parks (VIP) Program supplies the San Antonio Missions with professional docents who provide important visitor services at the four Spanish Missions. The goal is for VIPs to offer timely details and information about the Park’s resources upon the visitors’ arrival. The Mission Heritage Partners provides a variety of funds to support the VIP Program, underwriting background checks, purchasing uniforms and nametags, providing training, recognition events and supplies the volunteers need during their activities. Volunteers at the Park contribute in excess of 10,600 hours annually, the equivalent of more than five permanent, full-time employees.
Mission Heritage Partners provided the lead writer, in-kind staff and volunteer hours and much more in support of the nomination of the San Antonio Missions as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The eight-year project also required funds for expert nomination process consultants, detailed research, writing and editing, and the development of the final publication printed for submission. The efforts were successful. The four San Antonio Missions, along with Mission Valero/The Alamo, were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on July 5, 2015.
Thomas Guido, President of Guido Construction Company, leads the Preconstruction Management and Estimating functions for Guido and is also responsible for overseeing project teams. Tom has over 45 years of construction experience in South Texas and has established himself as an influential leader in the industry. He is committed to supporting the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park because he recognizes its importance to the history, culture, and legacy of our vibrant city.
Diane Hays, FAIA, is a practitioner and Professor of Architecture and Interior Design in the College of Architecture Construction and Planning at UTSA. Professor Hays was part of a 2-person team that shepherded both the architecture and interior design programs through their inaugural national accreditation in the late 1990’s and more recently, pioneered the College’s Design / Build program, now a part of the Center for Community Engagement. For almost 30 years, Diane has used the San Antonio Missions National Historic Park’s unique settings as project sites for generations of students, providing them with the opportunity to learn about their history, architecture, design and building crafts.
Wendy McClelland owns The McClellan Law Firm, PLLC and practices in many areas of law. She retired from the Bexar County Criminal District Attorney’s Office after serving as an Assistant District Attorney for over 20 years. She enjoys the mission trail and loves to visit the San Antonio Missions National Park regularly. Wendy feels blessed to live in a city with a majestic UNESCO World Heritage site.
Keith Mirrer has over 40 years of general management, marketing, communications, and public affairs experience in both nonprofit and healthcare. Keith’s passion for preserving and protecting the San Antonio National Historical Park is what drew him to Mission Heritage Partners.
Steven Mitchell is a manager of refinery models at Valero. He holds a PhD in Theoretical Physics from Florida State University. Steven has a strong cultural bond with the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, as his wife, Nuria, is an immigrant from Spain. He enjoys spending time and educating people about the significance of the Missions and the Park to friends and family.
Gregg Muenster retired from U.S. Trust, Bank of America in 2017 after 35 years in financial services, primarily as a private banker for high net worth individuals, nonprofit organizations and private foundations. He has been on the boards of many organizations serving a wide variety of focus areas, including the American Red Cross, the Southwest School of Art, the YMCA, San Antonio Museum of Art, The First Tee of Greater San Antonio, and the World Affairs Council. Gregg committed to supporting the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park to enhance its impact on the growth of San Antonio.
Sharon Smith is the executive director of the National Trauma Institute, an organization whose mission is to reduce death and disability from trauma by coordinating translational trauma research on a national level, translating research findings into improved outcomes and generating funding for trauma research through federal advocacy. Having lived in San Antonio for 35 years, she loves the history and folklore of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park and is passionate about preserving and protecting the park she loves.
Kristi Villanueva is the President of the West San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. Kristi brings with her over seventeen years of experience in public relations, government affairs, and Small Business Advocacy. She is known for her community engagement and love of the outdoors. Expanding access and experience to the San Antonio Mission National Historical Park for youth and people from diverse backgrounds is a priority for Kristi.
Johnathan Walker, President of Southern Warehousing and Distribution, serves as Treasurer of Mission Heritage Partners. Johnathan has an abiding interest in the San Antonio Missions National Park, in hoping that we can raise the next generation of committed stewards for our special cultural treasurers located in the heart of the Southside of San Antonio.
Adam Wetherell, with SWBC Ad Valorem Tax Advisors, helps commercial real estate owners reduce their property tax values. As a lifelong San Antonio resident, and graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio, Adam loves this city, its culture, and its people. He is committed to preserving and protecting the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, because he believes the Missions connect the city to its culture and its people, and he wants to make sure that generations to come get to enjoy one of this city’s greatest historic treasures.
Trevor Wood is the president of The Wood Agency. “Born and raised” in the advertising and marketing industry, Trevor graduated from the University of Texas with a B.S. Degree in Advertising, and has held various positions, including copywriter/producer, account executive, account supervisor and vice president – account service, at The Wood Agency. Trevor heard a calling to serve Mission Heritage Partners while at its renowned Gala and he was moved by the idea that the literal bedrock of our community remains today a truly unique and precious cultural symbol and an anchor attraction in one of the city’s most important industries; tourism.
Freddie Cervera is the Director of Sales and Marketing for Blue Skies of Texas at Air Force Village. A University of Texas at San Antonio graduate, he brings marketing and business development strategy experience to Mission Heritage Partners. Freddie is passionate about bringing awareness and shining a spotlight on the heritage, cultural influence, and legacy of these historic gems. He is proud to serve on the Mission Heritage Partners Board of Directors, as it supports the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park – the only UNESCO World Heritage site in Texas