Frates Seeligson- Philanthropist & Outdoorsman
Previously Chairman of the Board for the San Antonio River Foundation and now the Director of Confluence Park, Seeligson has devoted seven years to the San Antonio River Foundation.
Seeligson, a graduate of Duke University and the Texas Christian University Ranch Management Program, has spent decades working with the land in his native South Texas. A fourth generation rancher and avid outdoorsman, Seeligson owns and operates Pajarito Tree Farm and claims, “The only day I work is when I go to the office,” though he may be busy on the farm all day. As a landowner, he saw precious freshwater wasted in Eagleford Shale operations and in response started Aqueous, a company that provides recycled water for oil and gas businesses.
To Seeligson, the San Antonio Riverwalk links the city in a way that it never has before, “it ties the city more today than it ever has in its history.” He sees people have the opportunity to go outside and connect with nature, whether in solitude or with friends. “Nature is a gift that we do not get much in urban environments anymore,” says Seeligson when thinking back to the strikingly luminous full moon which took place in early December.
In the San Antonio River Foundation’s immediate future, he expects the continuation of projects along Mission Reach and the completion of Confluence Park, a future destination for environmental education and recreation. But in the years to come, Seeligson hopes to see the Foundation be able to take advantage of the multiple opportunities downstream for further educational, cultural, and ecological development. His face lights up in animation and excitement when he talks about the idea of having a regatta race down the 100+ miles of river from downtown to San Antonio Bay.
When asked to choose one, Seeligson’s favorite project is the Grotto by artist Carlos Cortes, located along the river by Camden and Newell Streets. “I don’t know how many beers I had to have with Carlos,” remarked Seeligson, when talking about the measures he went to in persuading a reluctant Cortez to endeavor in a project so large. The Grotto has since become an astonishing unique landmark that makes one want to explore.
Seeligson tells a story of a friend who commented on how great the Riverwalk along Mission Reach suddenly looked. The friend was surprised to find out that it had been well developed for over a year. “People just don’t know about it,” observed Seeligson regarding the Mission Reach. One of the San Antonio River Foundation’s and its Board of Directors’ goals is to promote the flourishing improvements that San Antonians and donors have helped create along the river. Seeligson believes this can happen by continuing to encourage stewardship through education and the Foundation’s events. In a way, he says, the development of Mission Reach is “kind of a selfish project,” because it is intended for friends, family, and the community to enjoy.