Chapter Meetings

NEXT CHAPTER MEETING:  Monday, February 2, 2015 starting at 6:30 pm

PROGRAM:  The Strangeness of the Sunflower Family by Jim Varnum

Most people think of the sunflower family as a bunch of sunflowers, daisies and asters and maybe dandelions and chrysanthemums, pretty with lots of petals.  But they may not believe that artemesia, ragweeds, gayfeathers, goldenrods and even cockleburs are also members of the sunflower family.  Then top it off by saying that the yellow and brown thing that looks like a sunflower is really a bunch of flowers, perhaps into the hundreds.  Master Naturalist Jim Varnum, sorts out all this and explains the real meaning to “darn yellow composites.”

Jim Varnum is a self-taught student of nature where his interests range from birds to plants to prairies to land preservation.  He spends much time searching for native plants out-and-about in the DFW Metroplex and beyond.  Jim has been a Texas Master Naturalist since 1999 and has completed over 10,000 hours of volunteering.  He also teaches, gives programs and leads trail walks on birds, trees, wildflowers, prairies and land preservation.  His current interests include chalk prairies, Hexalectris and Spiranthes orchids and Trout lilies.  His repertoire is chock full of interesting nature trivia and a few bad nature jokes.  When Jim is asked about his philosophy and interest on the natural world, he quotes author Ellen Parr: “The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.”


The chapter meets at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Nature Center at 11942 FM 848 (Bascom Hwy) in Tyler, Texas on the first Monday of the month, Sept-May; second Monday if the first Monday is a holiday. Meetings begin at 6:30 pm with a program followed by refreshments and a short business meeting. Meetings are open to the public. Several field trips are offered throughout the year.

5:00 Dinner at Posados, 6:30 Meeting at Nature Center

Directions: In Tyler take Loop 323 to SH 248 (southeast of Tyler). Go east on SH 248 past the UT Tyler Campus to FM 848 (about 3 miles). Turn right on FM 848 and travel 0.7 mile. The Nature Center is on the right.