Second annual membership contest announced


New Year’s Day will mark the beginning of a three-month chapter membership contest.

The chapter with the highest percentage increase and the chapter with the highest numerical increase will each be awarded a certificate. Every chapter with a membership increase will receive a recognition.

This is the second year for the contest. Last year the South Plains Chapter in Lubbock had a 29% increase in membership and the Austin Chapter added 19 members, while the Guadalupe County Chapter was runner-up in both categories.

Membership in the Native Plant Society of Texas is a great value, considering the benefits provided and the work the Society does to promote its mission. The contest is an incentive for members to spread the word and encourage others to get involved.


Planning starts for 2015 fall symposium


The Society will hold its next fall symposium in Austin on October 15-18, 2015.

We have already signed a contract with the Airport Hilton. This convenient location is out of the I35 and downtown traffic mess. It will be easy to get to and from field trips and events. We will also be having one of our evening events at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

The Austin Chapter is inviting everyone to become involved with organizing the symposium. The first planning meeting will be Tuesday, November 11, at 6:30 pm at the Tarrytown United Methodist Church, which is at 2601 Exposition Blvd. in Austin. We will be in room 226 or 228 in the Educational Building, on the north end of the campus at McCullough and Spring Lane. Enter on McCullough. McCullough is one block north of Greenlee off of Exposition. The Educational Building is also called the Children’s Wing on the church campus map.

Our agenda for this meeting will be to identify who wants to do what; collect ideas for the theme of the symposium; and establish a schedule for planning.

It is never too early to get started.

Presidents Awards recognize achievement and service


Although there are hundreds of members of the Society who deserve recognition, three were singled out for the President’s Award this year at our annual Awards Banquet on October 18, held this year at the Texarkana Convention Center

Carol Feldman

Carol Feldman

The Native Landscape Certification Program (NLCP) was created six years ago in San Antonio and almost immediately other chapters began saying they wanted the program too. Carol Feldman set out to bring the NLC Program to North Texas. She had a lot to do. First of all the classes had to be adapted to refer to the plants and the ecoregions of North Texas. In addition she had to sell the program to the chapters in North Texas. She built a coalition of seven chapters who jointly sponsored the classes and created a small committee to work on the adaptation. Those seven chapters represent almost a fourth of our chapters and more than a fourth of our total membership.

This year the NLC Program evolved into a state-wide program and is now offering classes in two more areas – Tyler and Georgetown. We usually talk about the program in terms of ecoregions, but if we think instead in terms of members served, it becomes apparent the classes are now available to over half of all our members, counting those who live within an easy commute.

This is a remarkable achievement in so short a time and a huge amount of the credit goes to Carol for her dedication to the Society and her hard work in seeing the project through.

Of course the program is bigger than just one person. Last year we recognized Melissa Miller for her vision in starting the program and her hard work in the early years in San Antonio. Carol had help also in North Texas. Most especially she had help in the form of Malinda Slagle. Malinda was the hugely efficient and organized coordinator of the North Texas program. Malinda has now left the program to follow her husband to a new job in St Louis.

Our third President’s Award this year goes to Sam Kieschnick of the Cross Timbers Chapter for his work in spear-heading our social media campaign for the last three years.

Social media are huge generators of publicity that we frequently dismiss or overlook. As our director of social media, Sam has increased the reach of our social media pages to almost 10,000 subscribers or fans. In fact a university seminar last year cited our use of Facebook as an example for other non-profits.

Our social media pages have become an educational tool for the general public, in addition to their role as publicity and outreach.

Guadalupe is the “chapter of the year”


Guadalupe was named Chapter of the Year during the 2014 Awards Banquet in Texarkana.

Nancy Masterson and Minette Marr accept the Chapter of the Year Award. (photo by Bob Kamper)

Nancy Masterson and Minette Marr accept the
Chapter of the Year Award on behalf of Guadalupe Chapter. (photo by Bob Kamper)

Membership growth, public outreach and publicity were the keys to the success of the Guadalupe Chapter.

Led by President Kathryn Berck the group placed among the top three in both number of new members and in the percentage of growth in the membership contest held in the first quarter of the year.

The chapter gave 13 Powerpoint-based presentations to outside organizations during the year, as well as organizing a plant sale in conjunction with Earth Day and a public seminar. They also participate in other community projects, maintain a butterfly garden and help operate a NICE! Program in partnership with the nearby Lindheimer Chapter.

Guadalupe Chapter also generated publicity for their efforts. When they donated books to three local libraries it was reported in their local press. They got publicity for their NICE! Program and produced numerous other articles in local media, newsletters and web sites. The chapter also makes good use of their own website which they set up using the tools available in our statewide Webmaster Helpdesk program.

The award for the Chapter of the Year is a quilted wall-hanging made by the late Kate Hillhouse. The chapter is entitled to display the award for one year.

Two elected to State Board


Theresa Thomas of the North Central Chapter has been elected Vice President Administration and Deedy Wright of the Lindheimer Chapter has been elected Vice President Education.

Both were elected at the 2014 Annual Meeting and will serve a two year term.

In other business the State Board approved changes to its process for nominating candidates to the State Board to permit online elections, and changes to the Kate Hillhouse Scholarship Fund in order to accelerate the date when the first scholarship is awarded. President-elect Linda Knowles will chair the Awards Committee for 2015 and Past President Lonnie Childs will chair the Nominating Committee.

A hotel contract has been signed to host the 2015 Fall Symposium at the Hilton – Austin Airport on October 15-18.  Although our schedule calls for the 2016 Fall Symposium to be held in El Paso, this is subject to change. Lonnie Childs was authorized to represent the board in seeking other possible venues and hosts in the Trans-Pecos area.