Video: NPSOT Houston June Plant of the Month – Powdery Thalia

Video: NPSOT Houston June Plant of the Month – Powdery Thalia

What you don’t know about this local native plant? Bet you’ve seen it around our local swamps,
marshes, ditches, and water’s edge. Listen to NPSOT Houston Chapter member Katy Emde’s presentation from our June 15th meeting on Powdery Thalia (Thalia dealbata).

Listen to NPSOT Houston Chapter member Katy Emde’s presentation from our June 15th meeting on Powdery Thalia.

Video: “Water U” Doing Houston? – Water Conservation, Rain Harvesting, and Rain Gardens

Video: “Water U” Doing Houston? – Water Conservation, Rain Harvesting, and Rain Gardens

Didn’t get to the NPSOT Houston Chapter monthly meeting on June 15th or just want to hear/see it again? No problem.

Watch the above video of Daniel Cunningham, Horticulturist, Water University, Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Dallas, Texas give his June meeting presentation on this exciting, interesting and very timely topic.

Houston is one of the fastest growing cities in the country and has one of the most complex water systems. In order to meet the demands of a growing population, a quarter of Texas’ future water needs is planned to be met through conservation. This program addresses the critical need for conservation in the Houston area with a whole systems approach to water budgeting, incorporating practical solutions to manage water during flood or drought. The presentation will focus on Native Plant Selection, Indoor and Outdoor Water Conservation, Rainwater Harvesting, Rain Gardens, Drip Irrigation, and New Water Conserving Technologies adaptable to the gulf coast region.

About the speaker:

As a Horticulturalist with Water University, Daniel Cunningham addresses professionals and the public to provide the most sustainable information about landscape water use from design and plant selection to water conserving landscape management practices. Daniel specializes in Texas native plants, vegetable gardening, edible landscaping and rainwater harvesting. He also frequently forages for his own food and provides information for developing wildlife-friendly landscapes. Daniel received a B.S. in Environmental Horticulture with a minor in Natural Resource Management from Texas Tech University.

We Won Most # Species: City Nature Challenge

We Won!
Greater Houston WON Most Species Found
During City Nature Challenge, April 14-18

Thanks to all the 417 people in greater Houston who posted to iNaturalist during the City Nature Challenge 2017, the answer to the Challenge’s question “Which City Can Find the Most Nature?” is Greater Houston! We not only won in Texas, we won in the entire country with an offical tally of 2419 species posted – just 18 more than Austin, with which we were neck and neck on the last day! Dallas won the most observations posted and Los Angelos won most number of people posting. We won the MOST IMPORTANT CATEGORY and were in the top five in the other two categories.

The person in greater Houston who posted the most observations is NPSOT-H’s Kelly Walker. Second is Andy Newman of Harris County Flood Control. The two who posted the most number of species are first Andy Newman and second, Jed Aplaca of Natural Resources Manager of Houston Park and Recreation Department. Come to the meeting on Thursday and meet Andy Newman, who will be making a special request to us.

Also, Jed Aplaca will be teaching “a free plant identification training course this month. This three day training will focusing on characteristics of plant families and how to identify common native and non-native species found within the Houston area. Classroom sessions and field identification will be provided each day: Training Dates: May 24, 2017 9am to 12pm; May 31, 2017 9am to 12pm; June 7, 2017 9am to 12pm… Space is limited. Please register here to reserve your spot.”

Most of us already knew that greater Houston is incredibly diverse with our coastal prairie, seashore, coastal marches and wetlands, piney woods and forests, and riparian habitats. Now the entire nation knows, thanks to all those who participated in this year’s challenge. Please sharpen your skills for next year, when the City Nature Challenge goes international! Tip for next year: Jaime Gonzalez noted that no one took the Bolivar Ferry this year and posted dolphin as a species!

Missed the March Meeting? Check out Videos on Monarchs and Mexican Plum

Mexican Plum

Missed the March Meeting? Check out Videos on Monarchs and Mexican Plum

Thanks to the videographic skills of Houston Chapter member Nivien Saleh, we have videos of the two presentations from the March 2017 meeting that featured the following presentations:

Bring Back the Monarchs to Texas – Creating a Monarch Waystation by Cathy Downs

Texas provides critical habitat on the primary migration pathway of Monarchs to and from their wintering grounds in Mexico. The availability of spring native milkweed host plants, essential to assure successive generations continuing north, has declined in Texas along the migratory flyway. Abundant fall nectar plants, essential for increasing fat content for the long overwintering period of Monarchs heading south for the winter, have also declined. This has happened through development and agricultural practices as well as other issues. Learn how Texans can help in the effort to create and restore Monarch habitat.

Cathy Downs has worked with butterfly conservation and habitat since she became a Hill Country Chapter Master Naturalist in 2005. She partnered with Monarch Watch as a Monarch Conservation Specialist in 2012. Cathy currently chairs the Bring Back the Monarchs to Texas (BBMT) program for Native Plant Society of Texas (www.npsot.org) and is a certified Monarch Larval Monitoring Project educator (www.mlmp.org).

Plant of the Month – Mexican Plum (Prunus Mexicana) with presentation by James Holmes

This is the common wild plum of the forest-prairie border from Missouri and eastern Kansas
to Texas. The fruit can be eaten fresh and can be made into preserves. The fruit is also consumed by birds and mammals.This species has served as a stock for grafting cultivated varieties of plums.

Video – Texas Native Grapes: Characteristics, History and Their International Significance


Video – Texas Native Grapes: Characteristics, History and Their International Significance

Presentation by Dr. Russell D. Kane, VintageTexas at the NPSOT Houston Chapter February Meeting

It is said that Texas is home to more varieties of native grape vines than any other state. Dr. Kane’s presentation highlights the characteristics of Texas and its native grapes. It also addresses how, in the late 1800s, Texas native grape species were utilized by horticulturalist Thomas Volney Munson from Denison to offer a solution to one of the greatest agricultural devastations of all time caused by the infestation of Phylloxera vastatrix in European vineyards.

Dr. Russell Kane is an internationally recognized scientist and an award-winning Texas writer, author and wine aficionado. His bestselling book, The Wineslinger Chronicles: Texas on the Vine was released by Texas Tech Press in 2012, and Texas Hill Country Wineries – a pictorial history and wine trail guide of the Texas Hill Country Wineries was released in 2015 by Arcadia Publications.

 

 

#TXplants Twitter Event Features WATER & NATIVE PLANTS

Green roofs, Rainwater harvesting, Water smart gardening, rain gardens.

#TXplants Twitter Event Features WATER & NATIVE PLANTS 

Where: On Social Media Platform Twitter (click here) 

When: Monday, March 13, 2017, 7-8 pm CT on Twitter 

How: Search/Follow hashtag #TXplants (click here)

The third #TXplants Twitter event will be held Monday evening March 13th 7-8 pm CT and will focus on all things related to water & native plants:

  • Water smart gardens
  • Green roofs
  • Rain gardens
  • Swales
  • Rain water harvesting
  • Flood prevention
  • Native plants and prairies

Daniel Cunningham

Our featured Tweeter for this exciting, fast paced event will be Daniel Cunningham, a horticulturalist with Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center’s Water University in Dallas, Texas. Daniel will address sustainable landscape water use from design and plant selection to water conserving and landscape management practices. Daniel has a wealth of knowledge specializing in Texas native plants, vegetable gardening, edible landscaping and rainwater harvesting.

Sample discussions for this event include:

Active rainwater harvesting – Is it just a drop in the bucket or the “ultimate” water conservation tool? It’s not just the water it saves; it is a teaching tool. People just seem to have this “ah ha” moment after they hook up a barrel and start saving.

Passive rainwater harvesting using rain gardens, bioswales, aka green infrastructure – Daniel believes they are pretty important if not integral parts of the water management solution and promote Texas native plants, too.

Native plants and prairies – Do they offer a way to leverage natural environments for the benefit of flood control? How efficient are they really in terms of rain water holding capacity?

We welcome you to bring your questions for Professor Cunningham and you’re your experiences to share with others.

Access the #TXplants discussion from your Twitter page in your browser or Twitter app on your computer, pad or smartphone. Simply follow or search using this hashtag link #TXplants. Another way to monitor or join in the discussion using TweetChat at: http://tweetchat.com/room/txplants

You can experiment with it now and see who’s there and what they are sharing, and maybe launch off a few preliminary tweets to say hello. Or, for seasoned “twitterers” just show up January 13th 7-8 pm CT and join the Twitter discussion.

We will be joined by fellow NPSOT members and friends of native plants and prairies from across America on Twitter for our upcoming March 13th Also, look for members Bill Hopkins and James Holmes who will be tweeting for the NPSOT state organization and Houston chapter Twitter accounts: @NPSOT@NPSOT_HOU.

We look forward to your participation…mark your calendars for this fun-filled educational event.

Texas Native Mushrooms

Texas Native Mushrooms – To Eat or Not to Eat?

NPSOT Houston Chapter meeting presentation (January, 2017) by David Lewis, Field Museum of Natural History and Tracy Herbarium at Texas A&M University. Video by NPSOT-Houston Chapter member Nivien Saleh

This presentation gives interesting examples, information and images of common mushrooms and fungi of the Texas Gulf coast. Mr. Lewis discusses three types of fungi. He goes into detail on the common mycorrhizal genera found here, such as Amanita, Russula, Lactarius, Boletus, Cortinarius, and several others. As the genus Amanita contains some of the most deadly mushrooms, particular attention will paid to them.

He discusses the saprophytic genera of the area and examples of common lawn-growing mushrooms are given. Edibility of the local Texas Mushrooms is also discussed.

Enjoy!

Native and Prairie Plants for the Post-Wild Gardener – Jan. 10th #TXplants Twitter Event

“Post-Wild” Plano Prairie Garden – credit: Michael McDowell http://planobluestem.blogspot.com

Native & Prairie Plants for the Post-Wild Gardener – Jan. 10th #TXplants Twitter Event

Where: On Social Media Platform Twitter (click here)

When: January 10th 7-8 pm CT on Twitter

How: Search/Follow hashtag #TXplants (click here)

The next #TXplants Twitter Tuesday event will be held January 10th 7-8 pm and will focus on “Native and Prairie Plants for the Home (Post-Wild) Gardener” where fully native landscapes can be created or where natives and non-natives may coexist. This one hour long online discussion and Q&A session will have two featured guests to lead the one hour discussion. They are:

  • Thomas Rainer @ThomasRainerDC – Horticultural futurist. Land architect. Urbanist. Gardener. He writes, speaks and tweets about the role of plants in urban situations. Mr. Rainer is author of the book, Planting in a Post-Wild World (click here).
  • Jaime González @Habitat_Jaime – Houston-based Wildlife Conservationist and Educator. Serves as the Community Conservation Director for Katy Prairie Conservancy.

We are extremely happy to welcome these highly regarded naturalists to our #TXplants Twitter Tuesday forum. We welcome their tweets and your interactions with them on the following topics:

  • Planting your own backyard prairie – How do I get started?
  • Native plant resources for the homeowner – Where to go? Who can help?
  • Can native and nonnative plants successfully coexist in the “post-wild” home landscape?

Access the #TXplants Twitter discussion using your browser or Twitter app on your computer, pad or phone. Simply follow or search using the hashtag #TXplants. You are experiment with it now and see who’s there and what they are saying. Or, for seasoned “twitterers” login Tuesday January 10th 7-8 pm CT and join the discussion.

Author Thomas Rainer @ThomasRainerDC

The Chicago Tribune says that Thomas Rainer’s book is: “as practical as it is poetic.”, and it is “an optimistic call to action. “Over time…we have driven nature out of our neighborhoods and cities. But, we can invite it back by designing landscapes that look and function more like they do in the wild: robust, diverse, and visually harmonious. Mr. Rainer’s book is “dedicated to the idea of a new nature—a hybrid of both the wild and the cultivated—that can flourish. It is both a post-wild manifesto and practical guide that describes how to incorporate and layer plants into plant communities to create an environment that is reflective of natural systems and thrives within our built world.”

This is the second TXplants Twitter event; the first held in early November on Monarchs and Milkweed. For more information on the format and success of that Tweeter event, please click here for the recent Native Plant Society of Texas Newsletter – See page 12 for the “Monarchs and Milkweed: Stop, Tweet & Listen” by #TXplants Twitter Tuesday by NPSOT Houston Chapter Member and moderator, Dr. Russell Kane @VintageTexas.

Jaime González, educator & naturalist @

Our other featured guest, Jaime González, promoter of the “Nine Natives” Plan created by Coastal Prairie Partnership, Katy Prairie Conservancy and HNPAT for home gardeners, works to engage the Greater Houston community in the protection of the Katy Prairie (and other local prairies) through educational initiatives and collaborative conservation action and planning. He is also a point person for grassland restoration efforts both on the Katy Prairie Preserve and at over twenty Prairie Builder Schools and Parks locations throughout the Greater Houston area. Jaime earned a Master of Education in Curriculum & Instruction – Science Education (2007) and a B.S. in Biology (1996) both from the University of Houston.

We will be joined by fellow NPSOT members and friends of native plants and prairies from across America on Twitter for our upcoming January 10th event or anytime using the hashtag #TXplants. Also, look for members Bill Hopkins and James Holmeswho will be tweeting for the NPSOT state organization and Houston chapter Twitter accounts: @NPSOT, @NPSOT_HOU.

We look forward to your participation…mark your calendars for this fun-filled educational event.

At Houston Monarch Waystation, Butterflies Provide Care for the Elderly

At Houston Monarch Waystation, Butterflies Provide Care for the Elderly

NPSOT Houston Chapter Member and videographer Nivien Saleh Ph.D. has posted a new video on our YouTube Channel. It’s title is “At Houston Monarch Waystation, Butterflies Provide Care for the Elderly“. Her video describes a butterfly garden and monarch waystation that was started at Tuscany Village, a skill nursing and rehabilitation center, located just south of Houston in Pearland.

The garden was started as a collaboration between Tuscany Village Geropsychiatrist Dr. Amy Harkins and Delia Cuellar whose 95-year old mother is a resident at Tuscany Village. NPSOT Houston Chapter members Margaret Gnewuch and Russ Kane provided assistance in garden landscape design, native plant selection and planting.

Tuscany Village Resident Releasing a Monarch Butterfly

Nivien’s video tells the story of how and why the garden was first conceived and the impact it has had on Tuscany Village residents. Tuscany Village residents have taken a deep personal interest in raising monarch caterpillars, hatching chrysalises and releasing healthy monarch butterflies.

Please watch this video because it is very touching and shows the incredible benefits native plants and wildlife can have for the elderly.

Also, please share the link to this video with those you know with family members involved in eldercare. It could make an important contribution to improving the welfare of their most loved and often hardness to comfort family members.

2017 NPSOT Houston Chapter Board Members and Committee Chairs

Monarch Butterfly on Blue Mistflower. (credit: Russ Kane).

2017 NPSOT Houston Chapter Board Members and Committee Chairs

Please welcome the incoming NPSOT Houston Chapter leadership for 2017. A list is provide below along with their position and contact information.

If you are interested in a particular topic of NPSOT Houston Chapter business, logistics or native plant activity, or wish to volunteer your services in particular areas, please feel free to contact the appropriate person/people indicated below.

For future reference, this list can also be found on our “Contact Us” page.

Position Name Email
President Wally Ward wtw3arb@aol.com
Vice President Suzy Shapiro

hssh@pdq.net

Treasurer Sheryl Marquez Trisheratops@aol.com
Secretary Judy Thomas judy.thomas@txgcmn.org
Newsletter Editor Tricia Bradbury Triciabrad@aol.com
Publicity/Community Coordinator Russ Kane  russ@rdkane.com
Plant Conservation Coordinator Katy Emde Ktart2001@yahoo.com
Environmental Organization Liaison Lan Shen Shen.gcmn@gmail.com
Past President Bruce Evans bruceevanstx@gmail.com
Display Booth Coordinator Linda Knowles dknowlespe@aol.com
Education Coordinator Cassidy Johnson

cassidybjohnson@gmail.com

Field Trips Paul Roling proling@att.net
Hospitality Coordinator Suzy Shapiro Hssh@ pdq.net
Houston Zoo Garden Coordinator Sally Hilliard sallyhilliard2@gmail.com
Membership Officer Janis Terry Terryjanis8@gmail.com
Facebook Administrator Olga Beishir olga.beishir@gmail.com
Native Landscape Certification Program Committee Margaret    Gwenuch,
Nancy Hannan,
Russ Kane
marg_g@hughes.net

russ@rdkane.com

Website Committee Linda   Knowles

Lan Shen

DKnowlespe@aol.com

Shen.gcmn@gmail.com