Chapter Meeting Holiday Fun

by Sue Ann Kendall

Once a year we set aside the seriousness of being citizen scientists and just get together to appreciate each other. The December Chapter Meeting does include some business, such as voting on the slate of officers for the next year and discussing our upcoming class, but most of the night is for food and fun: the Christmas Party!

The beautiful tree at the Dworaczyk home.

As in past years, the Dworaczyk family hosted our party in their beautiful home. Sandra has so many beautiful decorations that it’s like a winter wonderland in there! She even has enough Christmas dishes for all attendees to eat off a beautiful plate with beautiful flatware, too.

The Master Naturalists outdid themselves with the food this year, and no one went away hungry. Anyone avoiding sweets was in big trouble, too! I hardly had any room after eating all the brisket and side dishes.

And the Fun!

After dinner and the chapter meeting, where the slate of officers was unanimously approved, the white elephant (or Yankee swap, or whatever) gift exchange began. As always, Don Travis made sure the rules were scrupulously followed to ensure maximum hilarity.

The red barn gets stolen…for the first time.

A lot of stealing went on, since there were a couple of very popular gifts (a barn bird feeder was very popular). Two poor participants had multiple gifts stolen from them. I hope they ended up with something they liked!

So many cute gifts!

I got a boot-shaped wine carrier/vase holder made by Cindy Travis, so I was okay with losing the bluebird house and mosaic church bird house. Some people got what they wanted by colluding with their spouses, though, which makes me want to bring a spouse next time!

The final gift was this fashionable turkey-leg hat, here modeled by Don Travis. As you can see, it went over well!

It’s amazing how hard the group works on coming up with wonderful gifts that their fellow Master Naturalists will treasure. We all are so thoughtful and really know what will appeal to our colleagues.

Sending warm holiday wishes to all of you reading this. I look forward to being part of the Board next year and to many interesting activities and learning experiences!

All Things Wild Holiday Festival

by Catherine Johnson

Last weekend, three members of our Texas Master Naturalist chapter traveled to Williamson County to attend the holiday fundraiser hosted by All Things Wild Rehabilitation organization.

Beautiful new facilities for rehabilitating animals.

We saw beautiful wildlife gifts and sampled baked goods. 

A great horned owl with a broken wing.

Since our last visit, many outdoor shelters have been built, including a huge raptor complex.  A zoologist provided owl programs and tours to view raptors. It was fascinating!

A shelter with one of its residents happily perched.

It’s easy to help out at this valuable organization, which helps so many injured and otherwise needy wild animals. From their website you can sign up for newsletters, get hours of operation, and see lists of needed supplies.  They also provide useful information about what to do if you find a wild animal that may be in need.

Watching a raptor demonstration.

Consider volunteering with All Things Wild. Master Naturalists can earn volunteer hours under the opportunity – Natural Resource Conservation.

Who’s looking at whom?