Steve Box, Board President and Executive Director
Mr. Box founded Environmental Stewardship in 2006 and developed it into a leading advocate for water conservation, preservation, and ecology. He holds a Master of Science in Environmental Science & Ecology and a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Fisheries Science from Oklahoma State University. His primary interests are ecology, water availability and quality, environmental outreach & education. He has over twenty-five years of aquatic toxicology, environmental advocacy and regulatory experience, and sixteen years of business management and marketing experience in the food ingredient industry. His other passion is sailing.
Mr. Box uses his environmental science education and global business experience to encourage the development of mutually acceptable solutions that balance human, socioeconomic, and environmental needs through the involvement of public, private, and governmental participation.
Over the past ten years he has focused on protecting the surface and ground waters of the Colorado River basin, Matagorda Bay, and the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer Group by encouraging a better scientific understanding of the interaction and relationship between groundwater and surface waters in order to inform public policy decisions. He has developed an understanding of water issues and management practices in Central Texas through participation in processes and debates related to:
- Lower Colorado River Water Management Plan (LCRA WMP);
- Colorado and Lavaca Basins, Matagorda and Lavaca Bays Area Stakeholder Committee and its Basin and Bay Expert Science Team that recommended the environmental flow standards;
- Groundwater Management Area 12 (GMA-12) development and adoption of desired future conditions;
- Local Groundwater Conservation District permitting (Lost Pines and Post Oak Savannah GCDs);
- Texas Legislature discussion and debate regarding water issues facing the state; and
- On-the-ground development of paddling trails; hike and bike trails; river access points; spring, creek, wetland and watershed protection and restoration projects; regional and community planning; and river festivals.
Mr. Box was a leader in developing the Lost Pines Nature Trails along the Colorado River in Bastrop. He supervised a water diversion and wetlands project there to improve water quality of storm runoff going into the river and provide habitat for waterfowl.
He is an avid sailor. His sailboat, Ariel, is a Nor’Sea 27 slipped in Rockport, Texas.
Michael Wunderlin, Director and Treasurer
Mr. Wunderlin has a master’s degree in Economics from the University Johann Wolfgang Von Göthe and a Bachelor’s Degree from the Handwerkskammer Frankfurt, in Automotive Bodymaking. Mr. Wunderlin is service administrator of real estate he owns in Bastrop and Hays Counties in Texas and Lincoln County, New Mexico. He was owner of Wunderlin Classic Body and Paint (closed after fire in 2011) and was CEO of MAB, an international company providing purification equipment for industrial and municipal wastewater treatment systems.
While with MAB he spearheaded an effort to provide water treatment systems to rural areas of Mexico. Having grown up in Europe with a passion for fishing and camping, he has seen firsthand the impact of population and industrial pressures on European rivers such as the Rhine, Mosel and Main. Having fished and camped on rivers in Germany, Austria, Italy, New Zealand, Nigeria, the Puerto Montt area of Chili and US rivers in Montana, Wyoming and Texas,
Mr. Wunderlin has an appreciation for the ecological, cultural, and health value of river systems. With more than 20 years in the US, Mr. Wunderlin brings his international corporate experience and global awareness of environmental issues to the banks of the Colorado River. He is a strong believer in education and outreach to the communities along the river as a means of protecting the resource for current and future generations.
Claire (Snider) Wunderlin, Director and Financial Steward
Mrs. Wunderlin has a bachelor’s degree in Geography with an emphasis in Cartographic Application from Texas State University in San Marcos; having graduated in 1983. She used those skills to map various hydro-geologic studies of the middle portion of the Edwards Aquifer in Central Texas, for the Edwards Aquifer Research and Data Center. She was instrumental in a private sector project by Graphics Information to map the Original Texas Land Survey records, as archived by the General Land Office of the State of Texas. Mrs. Wunderlin developed skills in title research and examination while working for Travis Title Company and property management during her 20-year tenure with James E. Garon & Associates.
Together with her husband, they own a Limited Liability Corporation with Real Estate holdings in Lincoln County, New Mexico where strict xeriscape practices are maintained to minimize local water consumption and a private rental property venture in Bastrop County, TX which is enrolled in the “Houston Toad Habitat” program, as a part of a wildlife agricultural incentive.
Mrs. Wunderlin is acting manager of Riverbend Ranch Section I, Property Owners’ Association in Hays County, Texas where she has worked with the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District, to establish a well monitoring project within the subdivision that borders the Blanco River. She is also involved with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Healthy Creeks Initiative and their program to eradicate the invasive Arundo plant along the river’s edge.
She and her husband Michael enjoy summertime hiking and fishing in the Southwest corner of Montana, where ghost towns, digging for crystals and hot spring soaking are also “must do” aspects of Rocky Mountain life.
Melanie Phillips, Former Director and Secretary (In Memory of her passing June 4, 2018)
Ms. Phillips had a bachelor’s degree in Architectural Engineering from the University of Colorado in Boulder in 1991. After 25 years in the commercial construction management industry, Ms. Phillips started her own private sector general contracting business, specializing in low maintenance/xeriscape landscape design/installation and small home renovation and repair projects.
Ms. Phillips’ love of the natural environment led her to advocate for the protection of some of the largest and oldest trees in Smithville, Texas where she lived. She spearheaded a movement to develop specific tree protection ordinances as rapid development endangered the historic trees in the neighborhood where she lived.
Ms. Phillips had a strong interest in the protection of our rivers and bays, for ecological as well as recreational purposes, with particular interest in the Colorado River and Lavaca and Matagorda Bays, where she spent most of her free time recreating and reflecting. She understood the symbiotic relationship we have with our natural environment and was an advocate of educating others to come to the same understanding – that when we harm our natural environment, we harm ourselves. She emphatically believed that there is a way to sustain all of life if we will work together toward that common goal.
Phillip Cook, Former Director
Philip Cook has been an environmental activist in the Lost Pines area of central Texas for over 30 years. He helped organize the Cedar Creek Landowners Association in 1985 and the Bastrop County Environmental Network in 1990. He stepped down as director of Environmental Stewardship in 2020 to join the Board of Directors of Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District representing environmental interests from Bastrop County. Phil was appointed to the position by Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape.
More recently, he has worked within the Lone Star Sierra Club as a regional activist focusing on protecting and preserving groundwater and surface water in the Lost Pines area, closely allied with Environmental Stewardship, Neighbors for Neighbors, and other conservation and environmental organizations.
He received a BA in Philosophy from the University of Texas-Austin in 1970. He is a retired teacher of English and Reading. He has lived in Bastrop County for over 40 years.
Andrew Sansom, Mentor/Advisor to Mr. Box
Mr. Sansom has served as a mentor and advisor to Mr. Box since 2006 as Environmental Stewardship was being conceived and formed. He helped guide initial relationships with important environmental and governmental organizations and taught Mr. Box much of the information found in his book Water in Texas. He has guided the vetting of major strategies by referrals to key professionals and political contacts in Texas. More than anything, he has served as an admirable role model for water and environmental advocacy. Mr. Sansom honored Mr. Box by selecting him to serve as his alternate on the Colorado and Lavaca Rivers and Matagorda and Lavaca Bays Area Stakeholder Committee and as his replacement in that committee in 2019.