For the past 15 years, Terri and Ray Thomas have split their retirement years between Houston and Jackson Hole. Ray underwrote property and casualty insurance risks for many years. He started underwriting Terri's environmental projects by providing business, financial, and moral support as he saw her growing successes.
Terri's best friend in Jackson Hole was Deidre Bainbridge, wife of Tim Tennyson. Deidre was a well-known environmentalist and attorney who fought during her life to save the wildlife of the Tetons. She was a champion for the grizzlies, pushing for change in their protection and treatment. After Deidre's passing, Tim and Terri created the "Friends of 399" who are leading the Grizzly 399 Project and the Deidre Bainbridge Wildlife Fund.
Terri has lived in the environmental/conservation world since the 1980''s. She began practicing organic landscape gardening back then, banishing her husband Ray with his herbicides to the golf course. After healthy microbes re-established themselves in the soil, geckos reappeared to a healthy home landscape, which eliminated all the roaches. No more Orkin!
When West Nile virus hit Houston, she created a mosquito education program she named STOMP in partnership with Harris County Mosquito Control. Stopping Mosquito Proliferation recruited over 200 volunteers to teach residents how to mitigate the root causes of mosquitoes in an area without using potentially harmful repellent.
Terri's accomplishments include re-starting the annual Earth Day Houston celebration in the City of Houston in 2006, gathering 20,000 attendees each year. This effort included a new Earth Day Art Contest involving school age students in fourth through twelfth grades.
In 2021, Terri received the Terry Hershey Award, named after the famous Houston environmentalist who passed away in 2017 at age 94. Hershey, whom Terri came to know as a mentor, helped create the environmental movement in Houston by stopping the concrete pavement of Buffalo Bayou project by the Corps of Engineers in the 1960's. The Thomases privately funded a $150,000 project to mitigate erosion on a section of Buffalo Bayou in an environmentally safe way in 2009.
Terri has served on many local and national boards, including Buffalo Bayou Partnership, Air Alliance Houston, Bayou Preservation Association, Wind Sync, and Memorial Park Conservancy. She presently serves on the national board of the Student Conservation Association.
In Terri's words, "There are many ways people can work with nature if they will just stop to educate themselves about it."