Natives in the News

Next Meeting

Saturday, January 27, 2018  Watch this space as program and location details are developed.

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2017 South Texas Chapter Activity

Note: this report aligns with the fiscal year beginning October 1


On October 22, 2016, Kris Kirkwood presented “Tamaulipan Thornscrub” about the prickly shrubs and trees of our South Texas landscape and their value to wildlife and the people who live here. Ray Kirkwood led a tour of the South Texas Botanical Garden and  Nature Center nature trail to see many of the plants in the presentation.

On January 28, 2017, Dr. Leslie Bush, a paleoethnobotanist (an archaeologist who specializes in identifying bits of plants preserved on archaeological sites), spoke on “Uses of Plants by Ancient Texans.”

On April 22, 2017, Lillian Bass, a Biology professor at Del Mar College, spoke on the difficulties of getting a native plant garden started on campus.

On July 22, 2017, Carol Goolsby, Education Director at Quinta Mazatlan in McAllen, presented: Wildflower Design – a presentation that takes a different approach to traditional wildflower presentations by showing 13 botanical strategies that different flowers use to give them their advantages. She also presented “Not Pretty Enough” – a 15-minute musical PowerPoint showing plants of the LRGV, many of which overlap into the Corpus Christi area.

Field Trip

On Saturday, March 18, 2017, members of the South Texas Chapter journeyed to Rancho Lomitas, near Rio Grande City, TX. There ranch owners Benito & Toni Trevino demonstrated cooking with south Texas native plants. Benito then gave us a tour of his facility to show us the great array of native plants on his property and lecture on how the plants were used historically for food and medicine.

Native Landscape Certification Program Class

The South Texas Chapter held their second NLCP Level I class on Saturday April 15, 2017 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Corpus Christi with 27 attendees. Twenty-four participants completed the test and 23 earned certification.

Demonstration Gardens

South Texas Chapter does not maintain any gardens as an organization. However, individual members help with maintenance of several gardens within our area, including the Water Wise Native Garden in Port Aransas and three Aransas Pathways gardens in Rockport: the Linda S. Castro Nature Sanctuary, Tule East Demonstration Garden, and Connie Hagar Cottage Sanctuary.

Educational Events and Projects

October 15, 2016—Members staffed a booth at Refuge Day in conjunction with the grand opening of the new Pollinator Garden at the Refuge. The garden was designed by STX member Ellen Reisinger and Linda Frank and is maintained by volunteers from Friends of Aransas and Matagorda Island (FAMI), Mid-Coast Texas Master Naturalists, and South Texas Chapter NPSOT members. The garden was alive with butterflies and other pollinators, and our outreach booth staffers answered questions and handed out literature about native plants, pollinators, and NPSOT.

Rhoda Poenisch staffed a booth and gave a short 15-minute talk about native plants at the Winter Expo in Aransas Pass Saturday, January 21, 2017 at the Aransas Pass Civic Center

The Rockport HummerBird Celebration was cancelled September 15-17 due to Hurricane Harvey, and therefore the South Texas Chapter was unable to sponsor the Butterfly Tent at that event.

The chapter provided a support letter for the proposed project “Using Green Infrastructure to Address Stormwater Management Needs in Port Aransas.”


No fundraisers were conducted.

Collaborations, Partnerships, and Associations

  • Corpus Christi Garden Council
  • South Texas Chapter, Texas Master Naturalist
  • Mid-Coast Chapter, Texas Master Naturalist
  • South Texas Botanical Gardens

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2016 South Texas Chapter Activity

Each year, the State NPSOT office requests that each chapter report activities during the fiscal year ending September 1. Here’s our South Texas Chapter report for August 31, 2015 to September 1, 2016.

Educational Programs, Workshops, Seminars

October 10, 2015—Monarch Workshop: Cathy Downs gave a 3-hour presentation on Monarch butterflies and waystations at the AgriLife Extension Office, 892 Airport Road, Rockport, TX 78382. About 65 people attended. A $5 registration fee was charged, and donated to the Monarch Watch program in honor of speaker Cathy Downs.

January 23, 2016—Shelly Maher of the Kika de la Garza Plant Materials Center gave a presentation on the purpose of the PMC (research and development that leads to native seeds becoming commercially available). She followed that with a workshop on propagating native plants from seed, division, and cuttings. Twenty-one people attended and participated in the workshop.

March 12, 2016—Native Landscape Certification Program Level 1 Workshop—presented by the South Texas Chapter at Oso Bay Wetlands Preserve, Corpus Christi. Twenty-nine individuals attended, 7 of whom work in a professional landscaping capacity. Kay Jenkins of TPWD and Meg Inglis, NLCP Coordinator, facilitated the workshop.

April 23, 2016—Forrest Smith, director of the South Texas Natives Project at the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, spoke on “The South Texas Natives Project – Taking native seeds from a handful to a landscape impact.” Twelve people attended.

July 23, 2016—Ernie Schertz presented “Native Beauty in Your Backyard” about landscaping with natives plants. Twenty-two people attended.

February 10 & August 20—At the request of the South Texas Botanical Gardens, Kris Kirkwood presented “Plants That Run Amok” about replacing invasive exotic plant species with native alternatives.

Field Trips

No field trips were conducted.

Community Outreach

March 10, 2016—Ana Abarca and Rhoda Poenisch gave 30-minute native-plant presentations to several classes at the Mireles Elementary Science Spectacular and recommend continuing to support such educational events.

April 9, 2016—Ana Abarca, Marthanne Mitchell, and Rhoda Poenisch staffed a NPSOT outreach booth at Corpus Christi’s Earth Day/Bay.

September 16-18, 2016—South Texas NPSOT Outreach sponsored the Butterfly Tent at Hummer/Bird Celebration in Rockport. Members answered questions about plants and Monarchs and enjoyed their volunteer time. Rhoda Poenisch reported that visitors were very engaged, asking intelligent questions and learning about natives and butterflies. Volunteers were impressed with how quickly the butterflies found the Texas Kidneywood lent to us by the Mid-Coast Master Naturalist plant sale volunteers, how much they used it, and how reluctant they were to leave it after the butterfly release. Our South Texas Chapter is taking on the HBC Butterfly Tent as an official outreach project each year, beginning now. It’s the perfect opportunity to tell people about native plants and their partnership with butterflies.


No fundraisers were conducted.

Other Activities

April 6—Three members assisted USFWS personnel in conducting a Black lace Cactus (Echinocereus reichenbachii) Rare Plant Survey on private property.

Ellen Reisinger, South Texas NPSOT member, designed a Pollinator Garden for the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge has installed her design.

Future Plans

The South Texas Chapter has volunteered to staff a Monarch Butterfly Exhibit at the Hummer/Bird Celebration in Rockport this September. We plan on making this an annual outreach event.

The chapter is committed to conduct another NLCP 1 as well as an NLCP 2 this coming year.

Ray Kirkwood,
President, South Texas Chapter

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Native Plant Society of Texas—State News

Need to Contact the South Texas Chapter?
President Ray Kirkwood