May 15, 2013

npsotwilco.wordpress.com moving under npsot.org

We are currently in the process of transferring  this site to be under the state NPSOT web site at http://npsot.org/wp/wilco/. When this is complete we hope to automatically redirect people from this site to the new site. We also hope to transfer subscribers automatically as well.

If you don’t trust computers either, please do the following:

1. Click on the above link.

2. When you arrive at the site, enter your email and click on the subscribe button in the sidebar to the right of the screen.

3. Follow the instructions to confirm your subscription.

We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this might cause.  If you put off following the above instructions, we might be able to complete the transfer with a minimum of glitches, and the change  will cause you little or no inconvenience.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

 

May 14, 2013

Seasonal Blooms – May 2013

These photographs were taken between May 8 – 13, 2013 in Round Rock. A bit of an echo of National Wildflower Week 2013. There is one non-native plant, and at least one which is not native to our locale. Notice the predator insect with its prey in its mouth on the Bluebonnet?

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May 13, 2013

May Field Trip: Berry Springs Park Plant Survey 3 of 12

Date and Time:  Saturday May 25, 2013.   2:30 PM – 4:30 PM.

PLANT SURVEY 3 of 12 at Berry Springs Park & Preserve – Georgetown

Join us for a full day of Native Plants!  Attend Taxonomy in the morning, 10am-12noon… Head to Dos Salsas Mexican Restaurant on Hwy 29 in Georgetown for lunch from 1:00pm to 2:00pm… then over to Berry Springs Park from 2:30pm-4:30pm for the 3rd Plant Survey of 2013.   NOTE: Remember the field of twistleaf yucca (Yucca rupicola) at the turn-around in the Nature Trail?  If anyone spots them blooming, please let us know!  Bloom time is April to June.

Plant List, to date: http://npsotwilco.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/berry-springs-plant-list-2013-03.pdf

Photo Gallery, to date: http://npsotwilco.wordpress.com/photo-gallery/berry-springs-park-plant-survey/

We will park on the gravel spur off of the northbound feeder road of IH 35, right after it crosses Berry Creek; look for the NPSOT bandit signs. If you would like to park in the parking lots by the park restrooms and walk (approx one mile) to meet us, we will begin our survey at UNDER the freeway overpasses at the beginning of the NATURE TRAIL.

Please take note of our May Weather!  Wear sunscreen and closed-toe shoes.  Bring water bottle, wear a hat.  You may also bring your field guides, camera, and a snack if desired. There are restroom facilities on the Berry Springs Park property, but they are located a good “one mile walk” down the concrete trail to the parking areas near the Tonkawa Pavilion. No reservation is required, but you can contact Vicky Husband (jvhusband@yahoo.com or cell 512/497-3126) if you have any questions.

Driving Directions from Georgetown to the Feeder Road Spur near the Nature Trail Kiosk:

From IH-35 in Georgetown: Take IH 35 North to Exit 265 towards Hwy 130 toll. Stay on frontage road and proceed STRAIGHT ahead for two stop signs. After the second stop sign, proceed straight 0.6 miles. Look for a short road just past the bridge as it passes over Berry Creek. (If you get to Market Street, you have gone too far.) Turn RIGHT onto the road, then RIGHT again onto the gravel road and proceed all the way down to the gate adjacent to the concrete trail: Park under the bridge.  We will meet under the bridge -or- Walk along the concrete trail to the west, under the bridge overpass, and you will see the KIOSK.

Driving Directions from Georgetown to the Park Entrance on CR 152:

From IH-35 in Georgetown: Take IH 35 North to Exit 265 towards Hwy 130 toll. Stay on frontage road for .8 mile as it turns to the right and dead ends. Turn left onto CR 152 for .9 mile. Park entrance is on the left.

From Georgetown Library: Turn left onto Austin Ave. Turn right onto FM 971. Turn left onto CR 152. Road bends to the right. Park entrance is on the left.

Park near the Restroom Building / Tonkawa Pavilion.  Walk west through the open meadows until you see a wide concrete trail.  Follow the concrete due west for a mile towards the freeway overpasses.  Meet us under the bridge!

May 13, 2013

More “National … Week” Observations Coming Soon

You might have noticed during National Wildflower Week that the USDA Forest Service’s Celebrating Wildflowers page had a news item about National Wildflowers Week May 19 – 25, 2013. The news item is still there, but the proclamation is no longer at the link. My guess is that USDA decided not to mess with the legacy of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. So we apparently won’t have a Wildflower Week and a Wildflowers Week in quick succession.

But never fear, Celebrating Wildflowers  has June 17 – 23 set aside for National Pollinators Week and right on the heels of that comes National Grasslands Week June 23 – 29.  So mark your calendars and hold on to your hats

May 12, 2013

On the 9th Day of National Wildflower Week – Are You Ready for Your Closeup?

It’s Mother’s Day and what better way to celebrate Mother Earth than by looking at some Portraits of Wildflowers by Steven Schwartzman? You can search for your favorite wildflower, or you can take a look at a bouquet specially handpicked for you by the photographer himself. We encourage you to sign up to his blog if you enjoy getting an interesting artistic nature photograph in your email almost every morning.

A member of the Austin chapter of NPSOT, Steven is an accomplished professional photographer and writer, and has contributed over 200 photos to the NPIN plant database  at the Wildflower Center, of which the following is just one:

Clematis drummondii

Clematis drummondii

May 11, 2013

National Wildflower Week – Day 8 – be NICE!™

Glandularia bipinnatifida - Prairie Verbena

Glandularia bipinnatifida – Prairie Verbena

Glandularia bipinnatifida - Prairie Verbena

Glandularia bipinnatifida – Prairie Verbena

Celebrate the first extra day of NWW (the only nine day week we’ve ever heard of) by celebrating the accomplishments of our fellow chapters, among them the Boerne Chapter.

Back in 2002, the folks in the Boerne Chapter of NPSOT had a brilliant idea.  Why not expand their Plant of the Month concept into a program that would reach the entire community to promote the use of native plants ?

The purpose of the Operation NICE!™ (Natives Instead of Common Exotics) program was to increase both the supply and the demand for native plants in the retail nursery environment. The mission was to save water, money, nurture wildlife, and preserve the local habitat and plant heritage.

Since Boerne is located in the Hill Country northwest of San Antonio, many of the plants native to the locale are also native to parts of Williamson County. For instance, this month’s plant of the month as selected by the Boerne chapter is Glandularia bipinnatifida – Prairie Verbena.  Other plants selected for 2013 can be found on the 2013 NICE! Poster.

May 10, 2013

NWW day 7 – Bamberger Ranch Family Day

Bamberger Ranch Family Day,  5 May 2013

by Kathy Henderson

Having heard about the amazing Bamberger Ranch for years,  four of our members were thrilled to have the opportunity to attend Family Day on this 5500 acre range.  Winnie Bowen, Vicky Husband , and Walt and Kathy Henderson  were thrilled to be going, yes.  But they were beyond thrilled at the end of the day.  They were exhilarated.  Imagine such an area almost devoid of cedar trees! (A few have been retained because the golden cheeked warbler uses the bark in its nest building). Gradually, water returned to the creek beds after J. David Bamberger rid “the worst land he could find” of the overabundant cedars. You can read this story in the book Water From Stone by Jeffrey Greene.

He named his ranch Selah which means,” pause, and think of that” or “stop and listen.” And that is just what you do there.  You pause and watch the bees flit among the Gaillardia pulchella Indian Blankets.  You take a hike to the lake and observe the diversity of well-labeled trees and plants, many of which are uncommon.  You pause and breathe deeply.   Truly a Texas hill country marvel.

Our free ticket to this celebration was as NPSOT representatives as we guided children in making seed starters with wildflower seeds, a typical NPSOT activity at public events.   Usually two of us could be on duty and two could participate in the many interesting activities of the day such as perusing the plant sale, observing the herpetologist’s snake collection, bidding at the extensive silent auction, taking a trailer ride to see genuine dinosaur tracks, or visiting with Ed Sones and his Eastern Screech Owl.  And what a picnic!  There were 20-25 volunteers slicing and dicing all morning and then cooking and serving fajitas, taco salad, fruit, cookies.  Oh my!  After lunch David Bamberger spoke briefly and explained why his staff is trying to build up an endowment for continuing to maintain this precious restoration project. Only with an adequate endowment will an existing agency accept the ranch as a gift.   So, contributions to the endowment can be made as a birthday present to this extraordinary man who turns 85 in a few weeks.  He has received many well-deserved honors since he began his environmental odyssey which extends to saving the scimitar horned oryx from extinction as part of the Species Survival Program.   There are still 60 of these majestic animals on the ranch and the process continues.

The ranch is open only for special occasions and workshops.  Be sure to go when the opportunity arises.  It will be the highlight of your native year!

Photos by Kathy Henderson:

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May 9, 2013

NWW Day 6 – Wildscaping Wildflowers

The Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine January/February issue includes a Skill Builder article Growing Native by Kelly Conrad Bender on the topic of wildscaping. She provides a six step approach that you can follow, so that “you can turn a water-hungry lawn into a verdant habitat teeming with butterflies, hummingbirds and happy people.”

The online version of the article includes links to YouTube videos by Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and a related article by Governor Rick Perry encouraging the use of wildscaping.

Here’s the first step of Ms. Bender’s process:

Step 1: Take stock. Sketch out your area. Include the hardscape (sidewalks, buildings, etc.) and plants you currently have. Make notes about the conditions as well as the land uses within your area. For example, make note of areas that currently serve as walkways, even if there’s no sidewalk. Indicate north and south, and areas that stay more wet or dry. Note drainage patterns, problem areas and places with a view or plant grouping you especially like.

Okay.  Get started!

May 8, 2013

Call For Papers – 2013 Symposium

From Bill Hopkins, VP of Communications, NPSOT:

The Native Plant Society of Texas is now accepting research papers, general papers on topics of interest, and “how to” articles related to themes of the 2013 Texas Native Plants Symposium. You are invited to participate. 

 Our annual fall symposium will be held in Corpus Christi on October 17-20. The theme will be South Texas – Beach to Brush Country” and participants will explore the diverse ecoregions of South Texas which geographically serves as the intersection point for the Brush Country, Coastal Plains and Marshes, and Gulf Beaches, and includes unique habitats such as the Texas Sand Sheet.

Symposium attendees will get an overview of the ecoregions and their evolution during historical times while also gaining an understanding of the effects of current stresses such as climate change, urban sprawl, invasive plants and general habitat destruction. Ongoing efforts at habitat preservation and restoration will be examined along with some encouraging success stories. Because South Texas habitats continue to suffer under exceptional drought conditions, the symposium will feature a review of water issues in the region. Additional presentations will feature popular topics such as sustainability, native plant gardening, habitat conservation, restoration projects, education and other native plant-related topics.

Papers should be accessible to a diverse audience including academics, professionals, conservationists, educators and gardeners who are interested in the “research, conservation and utilization of native plants and plant habitats of Texas.”

Notification of your intent to submit a paper should be emailed to symposium@npsot.org no later than June 24. Please include the following information: paper’s title, a brief description (150 words or less); author’s name, brief biography and contact information.

The Symposium Education Committee will review all proposals and notify authors by July 15 of their status along with instructions for submission of the completed paper. Papers accepted for inclusion in the symposium proceedings will be due no later than August 15. Selected papers may also be chosen for oral presentation at the Saturday afternoon break-out sessions on October 19.

For questions about papers please contact John Nikolatos, Education Committee Chair, at jnik@earthlink.net or Lonnie Childs, Symposium Co-Chair, at symposium@npsot.org.

You may also contact our State Office at state@npsot.org or by calling 830.997.9272.

May 8, 2013

NWW Day 5 – Why Garden With Native Plants?

Because, according to the USDA Forest Service

Native plants are adapted to the local climate and soil conditions where they naturally occur. These important plant species provide nectar, pollen, and seeds that serve as food for native butterflies, insects, birds and other animals. Unlike natives, common horticultural plants do not provide energetic rewards for their visitors and often require insect pest control to survive. source: http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/nativegardening/index.shtml

The United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service has a webpage devoted  to Celebrating Wildflowers  that is worth a look-see. Reasons to celebrate wildflowers include aesthetic value, recreational value, biological value, medicinal value, economic value, and conservation value of native plants.

Items on their navigational menu include links to the ethics of wildflowers (similar to Leave No Trace but specifically targeting wildflowers), reasons for gardening with native plants and wildflowers as well as information on how to do it, activities for kids, resources for teachers, books their botanists use, and a page with links to in-depth discussions of “The Beauty Of It All,” to name a few.

Throw in a bunch of interpretive panels and posters and you have a very deep and broad website that you’ll want to bookmark and return to throughout the year, and not just during NWW,

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