NEWSLETTER


Right here at home - in the Hill Country!

April, 2005


HAYS COUNTY MASTER NATURALISTS

President Randy Moss

Vice President Tom Watson

Secretary Nancy Turner

Treasurer Winifred Simon

Training Committee

Joe Piazza

Records Committee

Judy Telford

State Advisory Board

Walt Krudop

Editor Richard Barnett Richb6986@aol.com

Webmaster Dave Schwarz

Extension Agent Bryan Davis

CALENDARR

April 22, Sixth Annual Ecological Integration Symposium at Rudder Tower, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas. Information & registration: http://symposium.tamu.edu

April 23, EARTH DAY

Water Hyacinth cleanup at Spring Lake, Aquarena Springs.

April 23, 9:45 am. Herb Hike with the San Marcos TOWN Chapter, led by Cheryl Engleman, owner of the Herb Shop in San Marcos. Cheryl owns 33 acres off Lime Kiln Road that is filled with all sorts of natural herbs. Cheryl will identify and discuss the uses of the herbs which are medicinal and/or edible. After the hike, we will enjoy a brown bag lunch on Cheryl's deck, then drive back toward town stopping and seeing other herbs along the way. 10 person limit, RSVP required. Meeting place: Home of Cheryl Engleman. Cost: $10.00 per person (this hike is normally $20 so take advantage of our group discount). Pay when you arrive. Bring water, hat, walking stick, notepad and pen for notes, and sack lunch. Sturdy shoes and long pants are suggested. Contact Judy Aswell 512 805 7848 day, 512 396-2374, evening, or judy@americruit.com

April 26 to May 1, Nature Quest at Concan, Uvalde & Real counties. Field Trips, workshops, afternoon seminars and evening lectures with outside activities. Information and registration: http://www.thcrr.com/activitiesdata/fieldtrips.html

April 30, 9:00 am - 12:00; 2005 Class Field Trip to Lady Bird Wildflower Center; Wildscaping, Kathy Johnson

May 7, Honey Creek SNA Field Trip. 10:00 am to noon. Details below.

May 10, 2005 Class Meeting: San Marcos River Ecology, Dr. Flo Oxley;

Chap 2.19-23, Water in Hays County, Dianne Wassenich

May 14, 2005 Class Meeting: Butterfly Boot Camp at Freeman Ranch, Dr Chris Nice

June 14, 2005 Class Meeting at Aquarena Center: Wetlands, Dr. Randy Moss;

Restoration Nursery, Minnette Marr; Glass Bottom Boat Ride; Hillside Nature Walk,Bryan Davis & Tom Watson (Aquarium - 5:30 optional)

Westcave Preserve Field Trip. Watch for more information about date and arrangements.

July 12, 2005 Class Meeting: Birds, Linda Keese; Bats, Meg Goodman (Chapter 4,1-17)

July or August: A day on the San Marcos River with Betty Watkins. Watch for more information about date and arrangements.

Aug. 9, 2005 Class Meeting: Trees, Robert Edmondson, Chapter 4,18-23;

Wildlife (mammals and herps) and Habitat, Dr. Randy Simpson

August ?, 2005 Class Field Trip to John Knox Ranch, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon: Fishes, Dr. Randy Moss; Amphibians & Reptiles, Lee Ann Linam; Water Quality & Invertebrates - Gordon Linam

September 13, 2005 Class Meeting: Prairies, Bob Lyons; Insects, Noel Troxclair (Chapter 3)

September 17, 2005 Class Field Trip to Bamberger Ranch, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon,

$10.00 per person

September 22: HCMN program at Hays County Extension Center.

Watch for more information about speaker and program.

October 2005 Class Meeting: Livestock on Small Acreage, Dr. Rick Machem,

Chapter 8; Agricultural and Wildlife Tax Valuation, KayBeth Williams

October 15, 2005 Class Field Trip to Eagle Rock Ranch; Wildlife Management Activities, KayBeth Williams

October: Annual picnic at Vetter Park. Watch for more information about date and arrangements.

October 21 to 23: Statewide Annual Meeting and Advanced Training at MO Ranch in Hunt, Texas.

November 1, 2005 Class Meeting: Land Fragmentation, Dr. Neal Wilkins, Chapter 7;

Land Stewardship & Sharing Your Knowledge Effectively, Sonny Arnold

November 8, 2005 Class Graduation: Bryan Davis

November. HCMN Annual Business Meeting and election of Officers.

Watch for more information about date, arrangements, and possible speaker.

December. Annual party and presentation of awards.

Watch for more information about date and arrangements.

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Honey Creek State Natural Area Field Trip

The Honey Creek State Natural Area trip is now scheduled for May 7. It will be a walking tour of about 2 miles that will begin at 10:00 am and end at 12:00 noon.

The excursion will feature the history, geology, flora and fauna of the SNA. Holly Camero of the Alamo Chapter of Master Naturalists will be our guide.

Attendees should bring drinking water and insect repellant. There are NO facilities in the SNA; however, we will enter the Guadalupe State Park where facilities are available before and after the tour.

The park entry fee is $5 per adult. Children under 12 admitted free. The fee is $3 for Texas residents aged 65 years or older.

Attendees will meet at the Rust House, where there should be adequate parking along the road to the house, to begin the tour. If you wish, you may bring a picnic meal and use the picnic facilities along the river for lunch after the tour.

The SNA website can be accessed by the following link: Honey Creek State Natural Area in Texas .

Directions:

Honey Creek SNA is located at the north end of Park Road 31, adjacent to Guadalupe River State Park. To get to Honey Creek SNA, you must first enter Guadalupe River State Park and proceed to the meeting place for the tour. The Park and Honey Creek SNA may be reached by traveling west on State Highway 46 for 8 miles from the intersection of State Highway 46 and US Highway 281 to Park Road 31. Turn right on Park Rd 31 and proceed for about 2 miles to the entrance to the Park. Ask for directions to the Rust House from the ranger at the entrance. This is about 45 miles from Dripping Springs and entails about 1½ hours of driving.

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Advanced Training

Statewide Annual Meeting & Advanced Training

This year's meeting will be held October 21 to 23 at MO Ranch in Hunt, Texas.

Please watch this space for more information about the Advanced Training schedule.

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Chapter News

Making Your Pictures Naturally Stunning

Tips to Improve Your Photography

  • Photography is photography.
  • Know what your camera can do and learn how to get the best out of it within its limits.
  • Digital cameras make nice pictures for email, but I still obtain better resolution with film.
  • Master the rules of lighting, resolution, and composition.
  • Be prepared for any opportunity to shoot a winning picture.

Linda Durfee of the Hill Country Photography Club and Austin Shutterbugs introduced her April 2 workshop with these maxims before getting down to the nuts and bolts of photography and nature photography. Twenty-eight Master Naturalists attended Linda's workshop at the San Marcos Nature Center. Following Linda's presentation, the group joined Linda outside in HCMN's Wildscape Garden and the adjoining park to apply her precepts to a variety of photogenic subjects. The spring weather could not have been more cooperative, and bluebonnets in the garden had just reached their peak.

Master Naturalist Herb Smith is the current president of the Hill Country Nature Photographers, who are building a web site.

First Annual Wildflower Fiesta

and Plant Sale

On a cold, windy, and sometimes rainy March 26, Master Naturalists volunteered
at the first annual Wildflower Fiesta and Plant Sale at the Nature Center in San Marcos. We should receive double credit for our time because the weather was not cooperating!

Master Naturalists demonstrated the rainfall simulator, helped children make pinecone bird feeders and plant seeds, sold plants, passed out literature for the San Marcos River Foundation, and generally helped out anywhere we were needed.

This event will be scheduled for 2006, so mark your calendars and hope that the weather is better next year.

Thanks to all who braved the weather. You are champs!

-- Judy Telford

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Volunteer Opportunities

Spring Vegetation Surveys

HCMN Project #406

Volunteers Wanted for Spring Vegetation Surveys

at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Learn the Native Grasses and Wildflowers While Conducting Scientific Research

Hone your plant identification skills while contributing to research on Central Texas ecosystems. Every spring and fall we train volunteers to help in studies on our on-site research area, where plots are burned or mowed at different times of the year to examine the effects on plant communities. All experience levels are welcome: the plant surveys will be conducted in small teams, with staff members nearby at all times. New participants in the surveys will attend one four-hour training class, and commit to at least two four-hour field sessions. Training is optional for those of you who have volunteered in the past.

Surveys begin on Wednesday, April 13 and will continue on Wednesdays thru Sundays until we finish, usually about three weeks. On those days you can choose between a morning shift, 9am to 1pm; an afternoon shift, 2pm to 6pm; or both if you are feeling frisky. Tell the admissions person that you are coming to work on the survey: they will wave you in for free. You may park in the employee parking lot-go to the back of the visitor lot, and enter past the signs that say "No Parking" and "Authorized Parking Only", or you may use the visitor lot. We will usually be meeting in the volunteer room of the Administration Building, behind the Receptionist's desk. If we are not there, ask the receptionist. If you are late, it may be difficult to locate us in the field.

Training: You may take the training on any one of four dates, and takes about four hours. In the training we will present a brief overview of the research, and you will learn how to collect the data and receive a crash course on plant identification. Training dates are: Thursday, March 31 at 2pm; or Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, April 1-3 at 9am. Please e-mail or call to let us know which training session you would like to attend. On three of these days, we will meet in the library, which is across the breezeway from the receptionist in the Administration Building. On Sunday we will meet in the volunteer room of the Administration Building. Dress for light hiking. We will provide water, but you may want to bring a hat, sunscreen, and something to take notes with. You may sign up to work specific survey periods at this time, so you might also want to bring your calendar or appointment book.

The plant i.d. portion will focus on field identification of plants frequently encountered in the survey, and will largely take the form of a nature walk. Former volunteers who remember the data collection techniques but would like a refresher course on plant identification may attend only that part of the orientation. The plant i.d. portion will be in the last 2 hours of the training session. If you show up only for the i.d. portion, you may need to find us on the grounds. We will leave a map with the receptionist or in the volunteer break room, but the best method may be to have a staff member call us on the walkie-talkie.

For more information or to sign up for one of the training sessions, contact Dick Davis at ddavis@wildflower.org or 292-4100 x 251.

Trail Building and Maintenance

HCMN Project # 424

DATE: On-going projects

ACTIVITY: Volunteers will selectively remove brush, trees, and rocks in new trail corridors, create new trails, and maintain existing trails They will be instructed on site by a crew manager.

SPONSORS: Corps of Engineers Canyon Lake Park; Camino Real Cycling Club (CRCC); Austin Ridge Riders Mountain Bike Club; San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance (SMGA); Hays County Parks Depts .

SPONSOR CONTACTS: James Buratti (CRCC), 512-245-3641, jb63@txstate.edu ; Todd Derkacz (SMGA), 512-754-9321, tobe@austin.rr.com ; Jerry Pinnix (Hays Co), 512-393-2212, jlp2002@earthlink.net

HCMN CONTACT: Judy Telford, 512-353-8143, 2303 E McCarty Lane, San Marcos, TX 78666, jt01@txstate.edu.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION:

Volunteers can expect to cut and remove trees, brush and rocks in new trail corridors, create new trails, and groom existing trails. They are welcome to work as much or as little as they feel up to. We just want everyone to enjoy the process of creating new hiking and biking trails. Some are narrow, natural surface trails that are built by hand without motorized equipment.

There are opportunities for volunteers of all ages and experience. A crew manager will instruct volunteers in methods and safety on site. Safety is the first priority. Careful attention is paid to erosion prevention, proper pruning techniques, natural aesthetics and preservation of valuable natural elements.

Every SMGA session begins with a safety briefing. People who volunteer and who have zero experience with natural surface trails may be required to read a short text or receive a briefing on some basic trail techniques before they touch a tool.

Tools will be provided. Volunteers should bring work gloves, sturdy shoes, eye protection, and water.

All trail building is on public land such as Canyon Lake Park, Lake Georgetown Park, Hughson Park, Schulle Canyon, and other city and county parks as they are identified. Volunteers are usually required to sign a volunteer release from liability.

Volunteers who really enjoy the experience can attend a trail building school, usually held once a year.

AQUARENA SPRINGS

HCMN Project # 408

Take the plunge into Spring Lake and help us celebrate Earth Day, April 23, by removing water hyacinths.

-- Randy Moss

Extension Needs Volunteers for Wildlife Camps

The Texas Cooperative Extension Service is looking for adult volunteers for Texas Brigades, educational programs that focus on game animals to teach young people about wildlife conservation.

The Brigades feature four different programs: Bobwhite Brigades (quail), Buckskin Brigades (deer), Feathered Forces Brigade (quail and turkey) and the Bass Brigade (largemouth bass).

Volunteers are "not expected to be experts in wildlife management, though some are," said Dale Rollins, Cooperative Extension wildlife specialist and originator of the camps. "They just have to like kids and
appreciate the value of hard work."

Each camp consists of 4 1/2 days of intense, interactive learning. The camps, now in their 13th year, limit enrollment to 30 youth each.

This year's camps are:
-- Bass Brigade, 2nd Battalion, McKinney Roughs, Bastrop, June 4-8;

-- South Texas Buckskin Brigade, 6th Battalion, La Bandera Ranch, Carrizo Springs, June 12-16;

-- Rolling Plains Bobwhite Brigade, 13th Battalion, Krooked River Lodge, Lueders, June 18-22;

--South Texas Bobwhite Brigade, 8th Battalion, 74 Ranch, Pleasanton, June 26-30;

-- North Texas Buckskin Brigade, 4th Battalion, Stasney's Cook Ranch, Albany, July 17-21; and

-- Feathered Forces, 8th Battalion, Pineywoods Conservation Center, Lufkin, July 24-28.

The Extension Service sponsors the wildlife camps in cooperation with Texas A&M. Application forms and information for both youths and adult leaders are available at www.texasbrigades.org.
For more information contact Dale Rollins at 325-653-4576.



Time to get ready for TPWD EXPO!
-- an easy way to get in those service hours!

Several Master Naturalist volunteers are needed to man the Master Naturalist display and Wildscapes tent at Wildlife EXPO this year. Expo will be held October 1st and 2nd on the grounds of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department's Headquarters in Austin. Volunteers are needed to help man the Master Naturalist display and surround the Wildscape and Wildlife Diversity tents.

The actual event occurs Saturday and Sunday from 8 AM to 5 PM each day. Volunteers would answer questions about the Master Naturalist program and assist with other activities being conducted at the display. The questions most often received are easy and range from: What would I do as a Master Naturalist? What does the training involve? Where do I obtain Training? How do I find a chapter near me? You already know the answers to all the questions. What you don't know (the phone number or email to a particular chapter, for example) will be provided for you in hard copy format on-site along with Texas Master Naturalist Brochures. You will also have time to walk around and see the event for yourself.

Available Shifts are as follows:
Saturday: Morning Shift: 7:30 AM to 12:30 Noon
Afternoon Shift: 12:30 noon to 5:30 PM
Sunday: Morning Shift: 7:30 AM to 12:30 Noon:
Afternoon Shift: 12:30 noon to 5:30 PM

If you are able to volunteer, please contact Michelle Haggerty. Working 8 hours at Expo gets you a free T-shirt

Volunteers Needed for TMN Annual Meeting
Several volunteers are still needed to assist with the Statewide Annual Meeting and Advanced Training. This year's meeting will be held October 21 to 23 at MO Ranch in Hunt, Texas.

Thank you to the dozens of you who have already responded. However, more volunteers are still needed. Volunteer help needed includes:

Prior to and during the meeting:
- Project Fair Coordinator(s)
- Coordinator(s) of vendors for the Naturalists Store
- Photo and Art Contest Coordinator(s)
- Soliciting Door Prizes
- Door Prize Coordinator(s)
- Collecting Pictures/slides for the slide show
- Slide Show Coordinator(s)
- Welcome Packet/Goody Bag Coordinator

During the meeting:
- Check-in and Registration Table
- AV check in/out table
- Room Hosts/Field Trip Hosts (If you want to absolutely guarantee your attendance at a particular Annual Meeting training/session then sign up to be a room host or field trip host!)
- Social and Project Fair set-up

All Annual Meeting volunteers will receive a special gift and recognition at the Annual Meeting. Call/Email Michelle Haggerty to sign up or to obtain more details as they become available.

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State News

Texas Monarch Watch

The leading edge of the spring 2005 Monarch migration has crossed the Red River!

On March 21, 2005, David and Jan Dauphin of Mission, TX reported on some of the first Monarchs to cross the Rio Grande: We have had 1-6 Monarchs visiting the yard any day, since 3/16. One ovipositing 3/20 on Mexican Milkweed.

On March 27, 2005, Petra Hockey of Port O'Connor, reported a big movement along the coast north of Corpus Christi: Yesterday there was a big Monarch movement through Port O'Connor (Calhoun Co.). Had about 5 in my yard (2 sitting on the milkweed) but a walk through town turned up monarchs consistently. The biggest concentration, ca. 25, was over an overgrown block with lots of blooming lantana and catalpa trees. Overall I estimate I saw easily over 50 but likely somewhat less than 100 Monarchs.

On March 30, 2005, Dale Clark, of the Dallas County Lepidopterists' Society, reported, Finally got a chance to get out in the field today. I went to Lake Benbrook, Benbrook (Tarrant County), Texas, just west a few miles from Fort Worth, and saw over a dozen Monarchs, all males except for one female.

March 31, 2005, Jim Edson, University of Arkansas, ...Monarchs in the southwest and the southeast corners of Arkansas. Here in the southeast, Monticello, several of my students have reported them to day as they come to class.

Overall, the number of Monarchs reported has been lower than usual. Perhaps in part as I am only now soliciting your sightings! It's not too late. Please let me know when you saw your first Monarch of the season.

Pease report the date, county, and nearest town to Mike.Quinn@tpwd.state.tx.us

Did Biotech Crops Affect the 2004 Monarch Population?

While the ultimate effect of biotech crops are not yet known, I put together a webpage discussing some of the issues and speculate about what happened in the summer of 2004.
http://www.TexasEnto.net/biotech2005.htm

New Web Address for Monarch Watch

I am now hosting much Monarch and milkweed information germane to Mexico, Texas and beyond at my new Texas Monarch Watch website: www.TexasEnto.net/dplex.htm

Please email your 2005 sightings to me at mike.quinn@tpwd.state.tx.us

Other Texas Butterfly News

On March 22, 2005, the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) kicked off their capital campaign for the butterfly park they are building in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Here's what the newspaper said the next day:

"Mission park lures hundreds of butterfly species"

March 23, 2005
Jennifer C. Smith
The Monitor

"All the parks have a small area for butterflies," said the executive director of the North American Butterfly Association International Butterfly Park in Mission. "We will have 100 acres for butterflies, classrooms and educational programs about butterflies."

Park directors kicked off their capital campaign to raise an additional $2 million for the park's second phase. A visitor's center, the formal gardens surrounding the visitor's center, and parking and intensive landscaping should be complete by September 2007.

full text: http://tinyurl.com/6v2q6
More park info: http://www.naba.org/chapters/nabast/index.html#Park

Thanks!

Thanks all for your continued support, data collection and reporting!

Mike Quinn

Invertebrate Biologist, Rare & Nongame Species
Texas Parks & Wildlife
3000 I-35 South, Suite 100, Austin, Texas 78704; tel 512-912-7059; fax 512-912-7058
Email: mike.quinn@tpwd.state.tx.us, www.TexasEnto.net

Chimney Swift Sightings

The first Chimney Swift of 2005 was spotted in Houston on February 21. Paul and Georgean Kyle are again tracking the northward movement of Chimney Swifts with spring. Please let them know when you see your first Chimney Swifts this year.

Paul D. & Georgean Z. Kyle, Driftwood wildlife Association, 1206 West 38th #1105, Austin, TX 78705; 512-266-3861; http://www.chimneyswifts.org.

New Estimate for Value of Volunteer Time

(Washington, D.C., March 24, 2005)

*INDEPENDENT SECTOR announces that the 2004 estimate for the value of a volunteer hour has reached $17.55 per hour. This is a tool that can be used to help organizations quantify the enormous value volunteers provide. This year's estimate increased from $17.19 per hour in 2003.

Nationally INDEPENDENT SECTOR estimates in 2004 the total value of hours volunteered was equivalent to approximately $272 billion of contributed service, assuming the total number of volunteer hours held constant from previous years.

"No number can adequately capture the true value volunteers bring to so many causes and communities across this country," said Diana Aviv, president and CEO of INDEPENDENT SECTOR. "Nevertheless, this yearly estimate helps us all focus on the enormous contribution of our nation's volunteer corps."

The hourly value of volunteer time is based on the average hourly wage for all non-management, nonagriculture workers as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with a 12 percent increase to estimate for fringe benefits.


More information: Elizabeth Jenkins 202-467-6134 or Patricia Nash Christel, 202-467-6132.
http://www.independentsector.org/programs/research/volunteer_time.html

In 2004 Texas Master Naturalist volunteers:
* Gave 100,393 hours of volunteer service valued at 1.73 Million (at $17.19 per hour which is the 2004 dollar value of volunteer service). This is also up by 15,400 hours from 2003 reports.
* 487 New Texas Master Naturalists were trained in 2004
* Completed more than 18,718 hours of advanced training hours.
* Reached over 101,115 youth, adults and private landowners were reached through Master Naturalist outreach, education and technical guidance projects.
* Received grants and/or donations amounting to $4,490.00 in support of local chapter projects and efforts.
* Made an impact on more than 30,000 acres of habitat through their service projects.
* Developed or maintained some 315 miles of interpretive trails.
* Enlisted 22 new partners to achieve their chapter efforts and 23 new chapter sponsors.
* 131 volunteers received the 250 hours milestone award.
- 59 volunteers received the 500 hours milestone award.
- 18 volunteers received the 1,000 hours milestone award.
- 5 volunteers receive the 2,500 hours milestone award.
- 1 volunteer received the 5,000 hours milestone award -- the first for the Master Naturalist Program!

-- from the Master Naturalists State Office

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Links to Chapter Sponsors and Partners

Sponsors

Texas Master Naturalist - State Website - masternaturalist.tamu.edu
Texas Cooperative Extension - agextension.tamu.edu/
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - www.tpwd.state.tx.us/

Partners

Bamberger Ranch -- http://www.bambergerranch.org/workshops.htm LBJ Wildflower Center -- www.wildflower.org Native Plant Society of Texas - www.npsot.org/
Texas Cooperative Extension - Sea Grant Program - texas-sea-grant.tamu.edu/
Texas Forest Service - txforestservice.tamu.edu/
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - www.usace.army.mil/
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - www.fws.gov/
U.S.D.A. Natural Resource Conservation Service - .nrcs.usda.gov/

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© 2005 Hays County Master Naturalists