Please join us Tuesday, November 21st for our next Chapter meeting.  Our speaker will be Ed Travis, who will talk about the Restoration of the MBS/CC HOA Common Area Forest – a low budget volunteer-led effort to restore a neglected private neighborhood common area. It is a 13 acre natural area set aside in the early 1980s, just as protection of wildlife habitat was just becoming a topic of discussion, but before the Balcones preserve system was created.

Ed first became significantly involved with native plants when he reached out to NPSOT at a very critical point in his neighborhood’s history. A small group of neighbors were promoting the idea of clearing “weeds” (animal habitat) and developing a common area, but others in the community inspired him to consider maintaining the property in a low cost way as wildlife habitat. This enabled them to be “for” habitat preservation instead of just a bunch of whiners “against” development. With invaluable help from many in the NPSOT community they discovered they have a very unique and well preserved piece of Hill Country property with many rare plants, as well as a serious problem with exotic invasives. Ed took the NWF Habitat Stewards training, the NLCP Level 1 class, a WFC class on identifying exotic invasives, and spent hundreds of hours mapping and removing invasives from the property, as well as working with Keep Austin Beautiful, Austin Parks Foundation, CoA Utility department Watershed Protection Wildlands Divisions, the Wildflower Center, and anyone who is interested in helping.

Ed generously donates plants to NPSOT for the Spring and Fall Native Plant Sales at the Wildflower Center, to various schools, parks, and preserves, occasionally leads hikes in his common area.  He also organizes restoration planting events on the Last Sunday of each month from 2-4pm, and every Wednesday from 9-11am where volunteers are always welcome to come and help and learn.

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.

Please join us Tuesday, September 19th for our next Chapter meeting.  Our speaker will be Nico Hauwert PhD, Professional Geoscientist, who will talk about “The influence of groundwater on the native landscape.”  Dr. Hauwert will discuss the historical widespread filling of caves and cave ecosystems in Central Texas (including historical Austin Caverns on nearby Meredith Drive), their restoration and influence on groundwater flow and recharge.

Nico’s career in unraveling the mysteries of the underground frontier began through cave exploreing since 1979. He previously served as both President and Vice President for the Austin Geological Society, completed his Ph.D. dissertation in May 2009 from the University of Texas, received an M.S. in Geology from Univ. of Toledo Dept of Geology in 1991, and obtained a B.S. in Geology from University of Texas in 1984. From 1993-2000 he started groundwater tracing studies as Assessment Program manager and senior hydrogeologist for the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District. During that time he managed and led tours in Whirlpool and Lost Oasis Caves as a volunteer for Texas Cave Management Association. From 2000 to October 2016 he served as environmental scientist senior for City of Austin Watershed Protection Department, managing various cave restoration projects. He currently manages the Balcones Canyonland Preserve Program for Austin Water and teaches classes on geology and caves at Concordia University.

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.

Please join us Tuesday, August 15th for our next Chapter meeting.  Our speaker will be Minnette Marr, who will talk about “Uses of the LBJ Wildflower Center’s seed bank.”  Minnette will touch on the past and current uses of the seed bank, as well as, describe and propose potential uses.  Minnette will invite us to collaborate with the seed bank program to better structure our seed collection efforts, and to germinate and grow out particular seeds as a group for the many varied restoration projects that at least several of us are engaged.  If there is a particular species or two that you are trying to find a seed source for, email Minnette [mmarr@wildflower.org]  by August 10, and if she has any that she can share, she will bring them with her to the meeting.

 Minnette is originally from Trinity River Watershed on the Texas Blackland Prairie (Dallas) and studied at Texas State University obtaining her M.S.  in Biology.  Minnette’s academic studies focused on floristic diversity of plant communities in Central Texas.  She has been with the LBJ Wildflower Center since October 2005 working on a variety of projects for the Millennium Seed Bank, U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Center for Plant Conservation and Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.  She currently collaborates with volunteers and landowners to inspire conservation of native plants on the Edwards Plateau and Texas Blackland Prairie.

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.

Please join us Tuesday, June 20th for our next chapter meeting. Our speaker is Cliff Tyllick  who will talk about “Expelling Unwelcome Guests from Austin Forests.” Cliff will tell us about the progress made in these volunteer projects, the techniques he uses to control ligustrum, Chinese pistache, and other invasive plants along Walnut Creek. He would like to hear our thoughts, too, about getting more people involved in caring for our parks, greenbelts, and preserves. Maybe we can’t return our landscapes to exactly as they were hundreds of years ago, but we should be able to make them more nearly natural habitats for all to enjoy.

Photo by Linda Reams, Steck Valley restoration work 2016.

Photo by Linda Reams, Steck Valley restoration work 2016.

Cliff Tyllick dropped the only botany class he ever enrolled in, in part because he found learning about plants too fascinating to make it an academic exercise. Since 1983 he has made Austin and its alkaline clays his home, and in his spare time has read and roamed all he can to learn the plants and trees of Central Texas. Since 2013, he has led volunteers to girdle hundreds of invasive trees, uproot thousands of invasive saplings and shrubs, and replant native grasses, forbs, shrubs, and trees.

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.

Please join us Tuesday, May 16th for our next chapter meeting. Our speaker is Chris Caran, co-author of Discovering Westcave. S. CHRISTOPHER CARAN is a research and consulting geologist, currently working for the Texas Water Development Board.

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.

This month’s speaker is David Todd who will talk about the history of native grasslands in Texas, their loss and recovery, drawing on his books: The Texas Landscape Project: Nature and People (Texas A&M University Press 2016) and The Texas Legacy Project: Stories of Courage and Conservation (Texas A&M University Press 2010). Both books are the product of the Conservation History Association of Texas, a small, Austin-based non-profit dedicated to environmental education that Todd organized in 1997.

Mr. Todd has an A.B. in architecture and urban planning from Princeton University, an M.S. in environmental science from Rice University, and a J.D. from Emory University. He has worked as an attorney on environmental cases, a donor for conservation causes and a cattle rancher.

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.

This month’s speaker is Romey Swanson, who will discuss federal legislature that was submitted during last years session called H.R. 5650 or “Restoring America’s Wildlife Act”. The talk will review the history of the movement aimed at permanently funding management and restoration of non-game and imperiled species throughout America and how it got to the current point. We’ll discuss why now is an excellent opportunity to get this sort of funding approved. We’ll also review how Texas Parks and Wildlife Department would administer the funding and how we might expect it to benefit the conservation community as a whole.

Romey Swanson is the Conservation Project Manager at Hill Country Conservancy where he promotes land conservation with private landowners, public officials, and organizational leaders. Romey graduated from Texas State University – San Marcos with a B.S. in wildlife biology (2007) and an M.S. in wildlife ecology (2009). He is active with the Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society and currently serves as Co-Chair of the Conservation Affairs Committee. He also serves on the board of directors for Hill Country Land Trust where he Co-Chairs the Lands and Easements Committee. During his free time, Romey continues to travel and study the natural history of Texas’ plants and animals while contributing to popular and scientific publications including his blog, www.moderntexasnaturalist.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.

Don’t miss this next opportunity!

NLCP Level1

Start the year with right by de-cluttering those invasive plants from the yard and wild areas! This month’s speaker is Dr. Hans Landel, of the Wildflower Center who will discuss his latest work at the center, combating invasive plant species in our region.

Dr. Landel joined the Wildflower Center in 2015, and has over a decade of experience in field research, including studies of endangered wildlife species. Dr. Landel previously spent more than 20 years teaching college courses ranging from basic biology and wildlife management to natural history, marine biology and fieldwork. He received a bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of California – Davis and a doctorate in biology from Purdue University.

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.

Instead of a chapter meeting, we are having a holiday party at Phyllis’ house. Please join us for a fun evening with good food and great conversation:
Bring a dish and/or beverage to share.

When: Tuesday, Dec. 13 Arrive at 6:30 p.m. Dinner at 7 p.m.
Where: 2007 Elton Lane, 78703 (not far from the Tarrytown United Methodist Church)

Next Page »