Ira was born August 25th 1951 on the Circle C Ranch on the outskirts of an earlier Austin, and raised on the ranch attending Austin schools except for a three year stint grades 7-9 at The Principia outside St. Louis. It was spelunking there (called caving today) with carbide lights where he witnessed the hidden part of the water cycle. Principia is also where he wrote his first term paper on pollution of the Great Lakes. Travels to the Middle East and Europe as a youngster in 1964 departing New York after visiting the World’s Fair and ending with several scholastic weeks in Switzerland helped shape his view of history, culture and economics. Graduating from Crockett High School in south Austin and then pursuing a Mechanical Engineering degree at the University of Texas Ira continued to work on the ranch and eventually took over the operation until 1985 when development pressures pushed the family to sell.
A brief interval in Vail Colorado during the proposed Olympic period of the early 70’s exposed Ira to international forums at the Vail Symposiums that dealt with issues related to accelerated population growth and limited resources. The same issues are facing much of Texas and the Southwest today.
As a lifelong rancher landowner in the Extra Territorial Jurisdiction of the City of Austin and situated on the recharge zone of the Barton Springs portion of the Edwards Aquifer, Ira has experienced much relating to endangered species , property rights, ranching , urban land development and the economic and environmental consequences of all these things. He was awarded the 1980 conservation rancher of the year award for Travis Hays and Caldwell Counties.
Ira has served on many local boards and commissions in the local Community: Austin Travis County Humane Society, Board 1978-1980 City of Austin Environmental Board 1979-8 Barton Springs Edwards Task Force 1980-81 Regional Water Quality Planning Task Force 2005-06 Founding Member of Texas Chapter of Republicans For Environmental Protection 2005 Barton Springs Salamander Recovery Advisory Committee , landowner representative Ira most recently completed two years of service on the Citizens of Austin Imagine 2035 Comprehensive Planning Task Force for the new City of Austin Master Plan
A childhood experience while visiting the Yates Pecos Ranch, where his mother Polly Brooks was initiating restoration work to repair damage along the Pecos riverbed leases, left this lasting impression on Ira. He witnessed Leo Richardson a respected rancher, stop the vehicle, get out and pull a Broom Weed, shake it’s roots and toss it aside to die while explaining how these invasive plants coming into the region on the wheels of vehicles were going to change the watershed.
Ira and his wife Roxanne, native of Paonia Colorado, together for 20 years, spend as much time as possible in the high mountains of Colorado and Desert Southwest Canyon Country. They have made their home in Austin but now have new intentions of ranging from Iraan on the Pecos River to Paonia on the North Fork of the Gunnison River and to the canyons west of Grand Junction . Their current goal is to have fun, be healthy, enjoy life with their friends, remain curious and give back to their community when appropriate.