Please join us for the September meeting with Megan O’Connell, a Plant Biology student at UT Austin who will discuss plant phenology, how it is affected by climate, and how the timing of plant flowering/fruiting affects plants’ interactions with pollinators/dispersers and what this all means for plant reproduction.

meganoconnell_about
photo: http://moconnell-tropicalbio.tumblr.com/about

Many species of plants are dependent on their pollinators for successful reproduction. This delicate interaction depends on many factors that can be altered easily when ecosystems change due to human disturbances such as deforestation and urbanization. One impact that we don’t know much about is how these disturbances may affect plant and pollinator phenology, or the timing of when plants produce flowers and pollinators pollinate. Megan O’Connell will be discussing her research in this area and what it might mean for pollinator enthusiasts who would like to plant native species that provide resources for local pollinators.

Megan O’Connell is a PhD student in Dr. Shalene Jha’s lab in the UT Plant Biology Department. Her research focuses on the effects of deforestation on the genetic diversity of tropical trees in the Panama Canal Region. She is broadly interested in the impacts of human development and urbanization on plant-pollinator interactions and plant diversity. She is also very interested in science communication and media, and her some of her work can be viewed on her blog http://moconnell-tropicalbio.tumblr.com/.

The meeting is at 7:00 p.m.in the administration building of Tarrytown United Methodist Church, 2531 Exposition Blvd., Austin. Arrive at 6:30 for snacks and seed exchange.

The August meeting will showcase Cathy Downs from the Monarch Project. Cathy Downs was born and raised in New England. She retired to Comfort, TX
in 2004 from a 30 year career owning and operating her own retail
businesses from coast to coast.

She currently chairs the Bring Back the Monarchs to Texas (BBMT) program .
The BBMT is a monarch habitat project in cooperation with Native Plant
Society of Texas and Monarch Watch. Cathy is also a certified Monarch
Larval Monitoring Project educator and teaches Monarch biology, habitat and
migration throughout Texas.

Since certifying as a Master Naturalist in 2005, she has been teaching
children and adults about Texas butterflies and their native host plants
with an emphasis on Monarch biology and migration. Cathy raises Monarch
caterpillars for education as well as propagating native milkweeds. She
hosts live Butterfly Pavilions at Nature Centers and State Parks throughout
the Hill Country area.

Cathy has served as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Butterfly Theater at
Kerrville Schreiner Park since 2006. The 11,000 sq. ft. garden is a
certified Monarch Waystation and Monarch Larval Monitoring Project
site. Cathy also participates in the Tx. Wildlife Association Distance Learning Program. She presents her program, The Magic of Monarchs, twice a year. The program is simulcast to about 175 schools in over 25 states in both Canada and the US. As many as 6,500 children in 1st through 5th grades tune in at a time. Cathy has presented to over 70, 000 children and 7,000 adult Monarch
education clients since beginning her journey in outreach and education.

The meeting is at 7:00 p.m.in the administration building of Tarrytown United Methodist Church, 2531 Exposition Blvd., Austin. Arrive at 6:30 for snacks and seed exchange.

Don’t miss the next chapter meeting! Val Bugh will provide an amazing showcase of insects in her “Floral Fauna” presentation. There is more going on in your garden than you might ever imagine. While it is well known that flowers lure such showy visitors as hummingbirds and butterflies, there is a lot more that occurs within this unique habitat. This talk will cover the wide range of arthropods that utilize blossoms as a place to find food and mates, as well as the relationships and interactions that occur between species.

Valerie Bugh is a local naturalist specializing in the arthropods of the Austin area, with interests in taxonomy and photography. She runs the Fauna Project at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, leads insect discovery walks, teaches entomology courses, provides insect/spider identifications, gives talks to local organizations, and is the author of pocket guides to “Butterflies of Central Texas,” “Spiders of Texas” and “Spiders of Florida.” Website: http://www.austinbug.com/index.html

title-floralfauna

Image from http://www.austinbug.com/slideshows.html

The meeting is at 7:00 p.m.in the administration building of Tarrytown United Methodist Church, 2531 Exposition Blvd., Austin. Arrive at 6:30 for snacks and seed exchange.

Field trips are coming up soon – see the field trips page for more details and sign up:

  • Nature Hike to Green Dragon Springs (in a private West Austin natural area near Bright Leaf Natural Area), Sat, April 30, 2016, 9am-noon. Leaders: Paul Montgomery, Ed Travis
  •  Spicewood Ranch Field Trip: May 14, 2016,  9am-noon. Leader: David Mahler,   Sign Up:  Jackie Davis

The May chapter meeting is Tuesday, May 17th:“Drought and Climate Change in Texas–What we can and can’t do to change our future” presented by co-founder of the Texas Drought Project, explains what the current forecasts for drought and climate change are for the state of Texas, and elucidates why it’s important to distinguish among drought types and take the necessary steps which can change our future for the better.

The meeting is at 7:00 p.m.in the administration building of Tarrytown United Methodist Church, 2531 Exposition Blvd., Austin. Arrive at 6:30 for snacks and seed exchange.

There is no monthly chapter meeting in April, but there are so many things to do! Get involved with one of the many options:

 

  • April 2-3:  Zilker Garden Festival – we will have an outreach booth.
  • April 8-10:  Spring Plant Sale at the Wildflower Center; come and purchase plants from our booth! Also, please sign up to volunteer at the booth: contact Jan Hanz (jan_hanz@yahoo.com).
  • April 16:  Bioblitz at Commons Ford
  • April 19:  Planning meeting at our usual meeting location at Tarrytown United Methodist Church at 7pm
  • April 30: Field trip to Green Dragon Springs (in a private West Austin natural area near Bright Leaf Natural Area) with Ed Travis – see field trips information.

 

A panel of gardening experts discuss fall blooming plants for the central Texas region. Plant now for a beautiful fall show!

The meeting is at 7:00 p.m.in the administration building of Tarrytown United Methodist Church, 2531 Exposition Blvd., Austin. Arrive at 6:30 for snacks and seed exchange.

Andrea DeLong-Amaya,Director of Horticulture at the Wildflower Center, will speak at the February 16 meeting of the Austin Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas on Native Plants for Home Gardens.
The meeting is at 7:00 p.m.in the administration building of Tarrytown United Methodist Church, 2531 Exposition Blvd., Austin. Arrive at 6:30 for snacks and seed exchange.

Marya Fowler, Senior Education Manager for the National Wildlife Federation’s South Central Region, will speak at the January 19 meeting of the Austin Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas on landscape design. Ms. Fowler has 16 years experience with the National Wildlife Federation and holds a master’s degree in Environmental Planning/Landscape Design.
The meeting is at 7:00 p.m.in the administration building of Tarrytown United Methodist Church, 2531 Exposition Blvd., Austin. Arrive at 6:30 for snacks and seed exchange.

We hold a pot luck dinner in December instead of a normal chapter meeting. Please bring a side dish, drink, or dessert to share. This year we will meet at Phyllis Schunck’s house for a more festive location (thanks Phyllis!): 2007 Elton Lane. It’s about half a mile from our normal location at Tarrytown United Methodist Church, just south of Windsor Road, east of the fire station.  Get in touch if you need help with directions!

Time: Arrive 6:30pm, eat at 7:00pm

Location: 2007 Elton Lane, Austin TX 78703

Happy Holidays!

 

Biodiversity in Texas: Connecting the Past, Present and Future.

As naturalists, we only see a snap shot in ecological time. However, naturalists from the past give us a valuable perspective on how our local biodiversity has changed over time. In this presentation, we will profile different species of birds, plants, and reptiles, exploring perspectives from the past, and what we know about them in the present. In the process, we will highlight some of the resources from the past that are available to naturalists in Texas. We will also demonstrate the value of current tools for documenting your observations. By understanding our past and our present, we will be better prepared to detect patterns of change, and to advocate for biodiversity in the future.

Cullen Hanks is a Texas Nature Tracker Biologist in the Wildlife Diversity Program at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. He grew up in Texas with an interest in natural history, especially birds. Cullen earned a BA in biology from Cornell University, and a MA in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. In his masters, he focused on issues relating to biodiversity conservation and conducted research on the economics of the wildlife trade. Cullen has extensive experience with the collection and management of data on rare and threatened species. He is very passionate about being a naturalist and the contribution of the naturalist community to conservation. Cullen lives in Austin Texas with his wife Wilson.

The meeting will take place from 7:00 to 9:00 in the administration building of the Tarrytown United Methodist Church, 2601 Exposition Blvd., Austin, TX 78703. The administration building is on the southeast corner of Greenlee and Exposition. There is parking in the garage, which also has an elevator. You can enter the garage from Greenlee; look for the signs leading you to the second-floor meeting room. Arrive at 6:30 PM for snacks and seed exchange.

Next Page »