20th Anniversary Webpage

The Chapter was really a groundbreaker from the beginning being the second chapter formed within the state. I have always, and continue, to be amazed at the dedication of its members. I truly believe the HCMN Chapter is the best one in the state and am honored to be associated with it.


Please join us in celebrating 20 years as the Hays County Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalist program and recognizing our contributions to Hays County.

We will kick off our celebration with a casual social on Friday evening, August 9 at the Shady Llama, http://theshadyllama.com/, 18325 Ranch Road 12, Wimberley, Texas from 5 – 9 PM. You will be able to pick up your Anniversary T-shirt if you have ordered one. The Shady Llama offers adult beverages and has two food trucks on site.

Our main event will be Saturday, August 10 at the Dripping Springs Ranch Park with recognition of many of our projects and recollections from the early years. Please bring your memories and share!

Saturday events will begin at 9:00 AM and will include two AT opportunities (for a total of 1.5 hours of AT): a tour of the Dripping Springs Ranch Park project including the trails, the bird observation station, and blue bird trail; and an opportunity for reviewing and practicing the use of the iNaturalist App. Each will last 45 minutes and will run concurrently at both 9:10 and 9:55.

There will then be time to socialize and review the pictures and other memorabilia from the chapter.

A picnic lunch (with vegetarian option) will be served at 11:30 at a cost of $10 per person (cash or check at the door.) A reservation for lunch is required. To make a reservation please send an email to Mary Dow Ross at marydowross@gmail.com no later than Monday, August 5 and include the name of any guest(s) you may be bringing. If you or your guest would like the vegetarian option, please indicate that in your email. You will receive a response to your email reservation. We want to be sure to have an accurate count for the caterer, so we appreciate being notified of any change in your plans as soon as possible once you have made a reservation. No-shows will be billed, if notification is not made by August 5.

After lunch, we will have a video highlighting some of the early days of the chapter and round table discussion to talk about the early years and the evolution of the chapter. This will include Billy Kniffen, the founder of the chapter, and Mary Pearl Meuth from Texas Parks and Wildlife, to discuss the history of the Texas Master Naturalist program.

We will have door prizes! If you would like to donate a door prize, please bring it to the Ranch Park on Saturday morning. We hope to see you (and your guests) at one or both events!

The Anniversary Website is updated frequently as new photos, videos, articles and Chapter history are added.


  • Added Copy of the first Newsletter.

  • Anniversary Class Member Names added to Class Photos.

  • HCMN Testimonials added.

  • Member Interviews increasing each week. View all Member Stories HERE.

  • Mary Pearl Meuth of the Agrilife Extension Service at A& M will attend and present the history of the TMN program. Also, she will display documents and provide information on the initiation of the HCMN Chapter.

  • Dr. Tania Homayoun of TPWD will attend and lead the iNaturalist workshops at the Celebration.

I was digging up some plants earlier this week along a roadside being ripped up to widen that road and a lady on a bicycle stopped and told me “I was adding a day to my life for every plant I rescued”
— Billy Kniffen - October 1998, 1st Newsletter Vol. 1, No. 1

Read the First Newsletter of what would become the Hays County Master Naturalist Chapter- Click Here

HCMN Llano Uplift Tour 2013 - Historian Documents

HCMN Llano Uplift Tour 2013 - Historian Documents


Travis Audubon Society - Click Image

Travis Audubon Society - Click Image



Click the button below and fill out 5 question form. We will post all stories to the website for the Chapter to read.

Member Stories listed in the order they are submitted with the most recent stories first.

JACKIE MATTICE – 2008 Class – Roadrunners
What was your 1st. Project and what did you do
? As a retired science teacher I knew I wanted to join or start a program for school children. Jane Little and Cara Wernli had started the 3rd grade birding program at the Patsy Glenn Refuge which I joined. Eventually we added other grades to visit other local natural sites with the goal of exposing Wimberley students to the natural areas in our community. We take high school students on the Cypress Creek Nature Trail, work with 2nd graders at their outdoor education facility to promote plant education, hold a water fair for the 5th graders at Jacob's Well Elementary, take middle school students on a field trip to Blue Hole and 3rd graders to Patsy Glenn Refuge for a birding program.
What is your favorite Volunteer Activity & why? Wimberley Outdoor Educators continues to be my favorite HCMN activity.  I also enjoy my outreach writing for the Wimberley View in conjunction with Keep Wimberley Beautiful. The weekly column (I write every other week) forces me to learn more about the local environment, which is why I became a Master Naturalist and continue to value the program. 
Can you share a story or funny memory from your early days with HCMN? One endearing story took place at Blue Hole as the students were returning to the bus.  One middle school young man said to his friend, " I had no idea there was so much nature at Blue Hole." Mission accomplished!

JANE DUNHAM -   2010 CLASS Prickly Pears
What was your 1st. Project and what did you do? I assisted the Education Director for Jacob’s Well with many activities and student group visits at the well.
What is your favorite Volunteer Activity & why? I am passionate about water conservation and am always happy to find a way to educate people about the need for it.
What does the HCMN 20th Anniversary mean to You? It means we have established a strong chapter with lots of enthusiastic volunteers who sustain it.

CONSTANCE QUIGLEY – 2019 Class – Class Name TBD
What was your 1st. Project and what did you do?
 My first project was acting as docent/nature center guide at Jacobs Well Natural Area. It's a lot of fun and there is some interaction with the public, so it's an opportunity to educate and contribute to visitors' awareness of the importance of our aquifer and the restoration of our wild areas in Texas.
What is your favorite Volunteer Activity & why? I really love the vegetation surveys at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. It's so much fun to get out in the field and observe tiny plants emerging in the spring and fall. It's a fabulous long-term project (over 20 years now) studying the effects of fire on prairie recovery and species diversity. I enjoy spending the time with other plant aficionados and learning how to identify the enormous quantity of native (and invasive) plants that grow in Central Texas.
Can you share a story or funny memory from your early days with HCMN? Well, I'm not even an "official" master naturalist yet. This is my training year. I think most of the entertainment so far involves getting lost trying to find projects using GPS and discovering how very large Hays County really is when you have to drive to various parts of it for projects or training. Oh, and the mosquitoes! And the joys of finding your way around low-water crossings that are closed due to flooding. Yes - all of that and more - but it's so worth it! I love HCMN - it's like finding long-lost family who don't think I'm crazy for having a jungle around my house!
What does the HCMN 20th Anniversary mean to You? The 20th anniversary is a special milestone for any organization. I'm so impressed that HCMN has grown so much and contributed so much to Hays County. I'm excited to be a part of this great organization and hope to spend many years participating, sharing, educating, and most importantly learning about animals, plants, water, land use, geology, etc. Twenty years is just a drop in the bucket when it comes to all the subjects we need to study!

What was your 1st. Project and what did you do? 
Chaetura Canyon Sanctuary, Travis Co. The work involved tail maintenance.
What is your favorite Volunteer Activity & why? Being a Guide at Westcave Preserve.The biggest joy is just being outdoors. It is a new experience every time even though I give tours on the same trail many times. Guiding is an interactive experience with individuals and groups that came to see and learn about a new place.
Can you share a story or funny memory from your early days with the Chapter? I am a relative newbie with the Chapter, so no early days. Working with the Newsletter, I have had the opportunity to discover what a unique and wonderful Chapter we have in Hays County.  So many talented people willing to work hard to educate and improve the natural resources.
What does the HCMN 20th Anniversary mean to You? For 20 years HCMN have invested thousands of hours making a difference to the communities and the Hill Country. I cannot imagine what it would look like if this organization was never formed.

WINIFRED SIMON - 2000 Class - I would love to help out here but my memory of our training is very sketchy.  We graduated in 2000 but I don’t even remember our class name or too many other details.  Thank goodness I do remember some of what we learned.  

HCMN Anniversary T-Shirt Design