Don Henley highlights Caddo Lake Institute work in lecture

Don Henley
UNT alum
Wednesday, August 24, 2005

DENTON (UNT), Texas -- Rock musician Don Henley, who has made headlines for his work in preserving the environment as well for his fame as drummer and vocalist with the Eagles, will discuss his work with the Caddo Lake Institute during a lecture at the University of North Texas Sept. 29 (Thursday).

The lecture, the second in UNT's new Distinguished Lecture Series, begins at 8 p.m. in the ballroom of UNT's Gateway Center, located on North Texas Boulevard between Eagle Drive and Highland Street.

Tickets go on sale Sept. 1 (Thursday) and are $20 for the general public, $10 for UNT faculty and staff members and $5 for students from other universities with student identification. UNT students presenting valid student identification cards will receive free tickets. To purchase tickets, call the UNT Union Information Center at (940) 565-3805, or visit the center on the third floor of the University Union, which is located one block west of Welch and West Prairie Streets.

Henley, who attended UNT in 1967 and 1968 when it was North Texas State University, founded the Caddo Lake Institute in 1992 to study, protect and improve the East Texas lake -- the state's only natural lake -- that he loved from childhood. Consisting of almost 30,000 acres, Caddo Lake's wetland includes more than 400 species of plants and animals.

Born and raised less than 30 miles north of Caddo Lake in Linden, Henley grew up listening to bluegrass music of the Ozarks, Western swing and, on radio stations in New Orleans and Oklahoma City, rock and roll. He formed his first band in high school.

After he left North Texas in the spring of 1969, Henley reconnected with this band, called Shiloh. The group went to Los Angeles a year later to record an album for independent Amos Records.

Henley met guitarist and songwriter Glenn Frey at Amos Records. The two formed the Eagles in the fall of 1971. The group became one of the most creatively and commercially successful bands of all time, selling more than 100 million albums worldwide and winning four Grammy awards during 10 years. In 1982, Henley recorded the first of four solo albums.

Maintaining his love for nature, Henley started his first nonprofit organization devoted to the environment, Mulholland Tomorrow, as he was launching his solo career. The now-disbanded organization focused on protecting the open space and wildlife habitat in the Santa Monica Mountains and foothills in California's Mulholland Scenic Corridor.

In 1989, Henley founded the Walden Woods Project to raise funds to preserve the 2,680-acre ecosystem around Walden Pond near Concord, Mass. Today, nearly 90 percent of the ecosystem made famous in philosopher Henry David Thoreau's book is protected from development. Henley also founded the Thoreau Institute as a center for research and education about Thoreau. 

His work on the Walden Woods Project led to his preserving his own Walden Pond -- Caddo Lake. A year after Henley founded the Caddo Lake Institute, the lake was recognized as a wetland of international importance by the Ramser Convention on Wetlands, an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. Caddo Lake is one of 19 wetland sites in the United States to receive this designation.

During the past 13 years, the Caddo Lake Institute has fought off developers who want to pump and sell the lake's water to industry and build condominiums and other projects around the lake. Henley has bought more than 170 acres surrounding the lake and spent nearly $2 million and raised additional funds to protect the lake.

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108