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Written by Jane Kellogg Murray

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The Nature Conservancy of Texas’ annual Austin luncheon, March 20 at the JW Marriott Austin Downtown, will feature speaker National Geographic photographer and avid conservationist Joel Sartore as he takes the audience into his ambitious National Geographic Photo Ark project that was started 11 years ago in his hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska. Since beginning this project, he’s visited more than 40 countries in his quest to create this photo archive of global biodiversity. To date, Sartore has captured more than 7,500 images of wildlife, putting him over half way to reaching his goal of documenting 12,000 unique species.

The event will also highlight the Conservancy’s most recent efforts to protect Texas’ iconic lands and waters. Since its founding in 1964, The Nature Conservancy in Texas has established 38 nature preserves and conservation properties, more than 130 easements and has helped expand more than a dozen state and federal parks. In total, The Nature Conservancy has protected more than 900,000 acres in Texas.

SXSW 2017 117 Cartoon Network screening photo by Danny Matson courtesy SXSW

Austin's biggest event of the year kicks off this weekend, and while thousands are filtering in to take advantage of all South by Southwest has to offer, you don't need a $1600 badge to enjoy some of the fun. The festival has more free programming than ever this year—from three days of concerts featuring the likes of Shakey Graves and Shinyribs, to panels, kid-friendly screenings, and poster shows. We curated a few big highlights below, but to take advantage of these free events, you’ll need to sign up for a Guest Pass, so ... get to it.

San Antonio River Walk St Patricks Parade

Spring Break and St. Patrick’s Day collide in grand fashion this weekend.

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Family-friendly events abound this weekend—from the Llano Earth Art Fest on the banks of the Llano River, to Rockport's 30th annual Whooping Crane Strut.

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Oyster festivals, Irish music, and Texas Independence Day celebrations—all of the above are happening across the Lone Star State this weekend.

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March 2 marks the 182nd anniversary of the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence, and opportunities abound across the Lone Star state to celebrate this historic moment. Take the weekend to show off your Texas pride.

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The last weekend of February brings battle re-enactments at the Alamo, Buffalo Soldier heritage at Fort Concho, and tours of Port Aransas in celebration of the migration of the endangered whooping cranes.

Travel is infectious on Instagram—just search for #travel and your feed will overflow with more than 250 million photos from photographers (both amateur and professional) around the world. But in the spectacular state of Texas, sometimes it pays to follow a pro—someone with that innate ability to capture your wanderlust with a single, breathtaking photo. With more than 500 million daily users on Instagram, these 25 Texans stand out above the rest with their masterful eye on the Lone Star State. Go ahead, click follow—then post your own #TrueTexas snapshots so we can follow along on your Texas travels.

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Presidents Day and the Chinese New Year combine this weekend to offer a wide array of festivals, historic tours, and more.

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Saddle up for a wild weekend—events include the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo (featuring the world's largest junior livestock show), Mardi Gras festivities, and early Valentine's concerts to celebrate with your sweetie.

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Texans will have their own slice of N’awlins at Mardi Gras festivities across the state.

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This weekend, South Padre soars into February with its annual kite festival, while Bandera and Galveston get a head start on Mardi Gras celebrations. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

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