By Bill Hopkins
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
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. Under Sam’s leadership our social media pages have increased their reach 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.
By Bill Hopkins
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 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.
By Julie Allen
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.
By Cindy Stone
It is time to make plans to promote Texas Native Plant Week in your community October 19-25.
Celebrating Native Plant Week makes a direct connection from our chapters and into our communities. Chapter assistance is vital to continued recognition of the importance of native plants in the landscape. We can work together as team members on this important legacy.
Texas Native Plant Week 2014 is led by the Native Plant Society of Texas, in collaboration with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center of The University of Texas at Austin, the National Wildlife Federation and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Our collective efforts continue to advocate and educate citizens on the importance and use of native plants in our landscapes.
You can find events celebrating Texas native plants and habitats throughout the month of October at the Regional Events map on the Texas Native Plant Week website.
Want to celebrate Native Plant Week with a new activity? Here are a few suggestions that your chapter might host:
- Donate adult and children’s books to a community library with native plant and wildlife habitats topics.
- Support a display at a community library promoting Texas Native Plant Week.
- Interview with a television station newscast, radio host or garden show promoting the use of native plants and wildlife habitats.
- Write an article for a newspaper or newsletter promoting the importance of native plants and wildlife habitats.
- Give a nature walk explaining the relationship between native plants and habitats.
- Give a demonstration on collecting native trees, shrubs, grasses and wildflower seeds.
- Sponsor a native plant sale with educational information to the public.
- Encourage a local nursery to promote native plants and have informational booths promoting native plants and wildlife habitats.
- Hold a native plants and habitats photography contest in your community and display the photography in a public place.
- Encourage children to draw native plants and habitats and display their work in public places.
- Promote activities such as making seed balls, native seed starters and wildflower bingo. Have fun and be creative!
- Encourage community members to certify their landscapes with Texas Parks and Wildlife Best of Texas Backyard Habitats program, your schools to certify as a National Wildlife Federation Schoolyard Habitat and community members to certify as a National Wildlife Federation Community Wildlife Habitat.
- Contact organizations such as Texas Master Naturalist and Texas Master Gardener associations to support the promotion of Texas Native Plant Week.
- Contact: county AgriLife Extension agents; Future Farmers of America; Boy Scouts and/or Girl Scouts; 4 H Youth Development Programs; local beekeepers; environmental education and conservation groups to engage their support and participation.
- Promote education programs such as Monarch Watch. This program encourages planting native milkweeds.
Do you have an activity promoting Native Plant Week that you would like to share? Submit your activities to Native Plant Week co-chair Cindy Stone by email. Cindy will be more than happy to post your idea on the program website.