Jan 2019 Newsletter

Editor’s Note: Betsy and I are taking a January holiday from publishing a full Newsletter. But we thought this article was too good to wait. Enjoy the short “extra” January edition and we’ll be back in February with our full 1 year anniversary Newsletter.


When John Moore started planning for the day that he would retire from a life-long career as a chemical engineer, he was advised that retirees need lots of hobbies to replace work. As a lover of both music and woodworking, and being a guitar player himself, he decided to try his hand at building guitars - and in 2000 he made his first one.

John moved to Wimberley ten years ago, but it was only recently that he discovered Texas Master Naturalist and it didn’t take him long to join the HCMN Class of 2018. When John decided to attend the 2018 Texas Master Naturalist Annual Meeting in Georgetown, he saw a notice on the website for auction items and knew what he wanted to do. After contacting Michelle Haggerty to get a few more details about the auction, he began designing a very special guitar with a Texas Master Naturalist theme. 

From Start to Finish

It takes about 40 hours to bring one of these concept works of art to life. John started with a slab of mesquite. It had yellow sapwood on both sides and a “Stratocaster shape” that looked just right for his vision of a naturalist’s guitar. When it was finished, he had transformed the mesquite into a beautiful, one of a kind instrument.

The payoff - $$$

John attended the state meeting, but he did not go to the Gala on the night of the live auction. It was only later that Michelle called him to let him know the donated guitar brought in a mere $3500 for the Texas Master Naturalist endowment fund!

In all, John has designed and made 19 guitars - many “cigar box” guitars for different charity fund raisers and several artistic guitars that have brought as much as $4500. John, along with his brother Gerry, is writing music and making a new CD.

John is a graduate of the 2018 Foxes Class. He volunteers often at Jacob’s Well Nature Center.

John created this video to “advertise” his donation in advance of the TMN State Meeting. Great video, check it out.

Editor’s note: Thank you, John, for sharing this story with me and for granting us permission to use your photos and video!

Betsy Cross


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When: Thursday Jan. 10 at 6:30p
Where: Agri-Life Extension office
200 Stillwater Drive Wimberley, TX 78676


When: Thursday Jan. 24 at 6:30p - 8:30p
Where: First Baptist Church - 203 W HWY 290
Dripping Springs, TX 78620

Please join us for a thrilling presentation on

The Swifts of Chaetura Canyon
by Paul and Georgean Kyle Project Directors/Sanctuary Stewards
Chimney Swift Conservation Association and Travis Audubon Society
Approved for 1 hour Advanced Training

6:30pm dinner & announcements
7:00pm presentation
Goodwill donations are greatly appreciated to cover our food costs.

Thanks in advance!