Welcome to Our Blog

Hello, friends. This blog is where the El Camino Real Chapter of Texas Master Naturalists shares news, articles, and reflections. You’ll find our posts right under this introduction. We encourage your comments and likes, and of course, shares!

Texas Parks and Wildlife
AgriLife Extension

The Texas Master Naturalist program is sponsored by Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.

Our chapter meets monthly on the second Thursday of the month in Milano, Texas.

Our Mission: To develop a corps of well-informed volunteers to provide education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities for the State of Texas.

What Goes Yip-yip…Eww?

We thought you’d enjoy a story about a fox and a skunk.

The Hermits' Rest

I’ll tell you! It gave me a happy surprise yesterday, and who doesn’t love a happy surprise? I especially love one that leads to nature observations and stories.

I was leaving work around 5 pm, as workers tend to do, and turned left out of the parking garage. That road leads between two sets of offices, but is shady and has lots of trees. It once was a lovely park-like area, and some parts of it still are.

I looked ahead after making the turn and saw something in the road. Usually, you see deer, since the herd that’s always lived in the area is still here. But, no, this looked more canine.

As I got closer, I ruled out dogs. As I got even closer, I easily ruled out coyotes by looking at the tale. It was a native gray fox! You usually don’t see them when it’s light…

View original post 670 more words

Reclaiming Mined Land

by Sue Ann Kendall

Our June Chapter Meeting speaker was Marty Irwin, who had a long and successful career doing range conservation for Alcoa and other companies who performed strip mining for coal in this area. After Gary Johnson introduced him, Marty shared some pretty fascinating details with us, so I thought I’d summarize them for any who were unable to attend. (I was so busy writing that I didn’t get my usual zillions of blog photos. Oops.)

So, here’s his Facebook picture, appropriately enough, with a large buck.

If I get any facts wrong, I apologize in advance. Also, note that his presentation wasn’t compatible with our laptop, so we all imagined what he was talking about as he went along. Thank goodness he was good at describing.

Mike Conner got his 1,000 volunteer hour milestone pin, too. Congratulations!
Continue reading “Reclaiming Mined Land”

Girl Scout Nature Program

by Catherine Johnson

The Girl Scout Nature Program hosted by our Master Naturalist group in May was a great success, with 23 people attending.  The scouts kept Lisa Milewski and Donna Lewis busy with questions.

Donna Lewis watches as Lisa Milewski talks to the Girl Scouts.
Donna Lewis makes a point. Get it?

Master Naturalists Dorothy Mayer and Pamela Neeley also participated in the program. 

Everyone had refreshments and toured the Milam Wildscape and Bird and Bee Farm.  They got to see newly hatched Rio Grande Turkeys.  We were thrilled when the older scouts requested to create projects in the Wildscape. 

After this success, we plan to offer  all Milam County Girl Scout troops programs like this.

(Sorry we were a little late posting this update!)

a donkey and kids
Scruffy the donkey was quite a hit with the troop.

Wildscape Project Update

by Catherine Johnson

We hope you enjoy this gallery of photos showing progress that is being made by our team and other volunteers at the Wildscape being constructed at Bird and Bee Farm.

Baby milkweed
More milkweed
Recycled equipment planter with flowers
Another planter full of native plants
Larger planter with water for butterflies
Larger view with all the planters in progress.

Home Habitat Ideas

by Sue Ann Kendall and Catherine Johnson

Hi friends. Sorry about the lack of blog posts! I’ve been out of town a lot. But the next few days I’ll catch you up on what we’ve received. Remember, the blog can’t blog without YOUR input!

Here are some photos sent in by Catherine Johnson of her home’s habitat. You’ll find a lot of creative ideas that you might be able to re-create in your own yard, garden, or woodland.

For bathing in the moonlight
An old air conditioner tray being re-used as a bird bath. Note the places for birds to sit.
An old spreader being used as a mobile planter.
Cactus planter and old cast-iron sink.
Wildflowers left unmown to form a border.

Thanks so much for all the ideas for re-use in the garden, Cathy! Readers, do you have any creative ideas to share? Contact Sue Ann Kendall and send some words and pictures! (If you can’t find my email address, comment below and I’ll get it to you.)