Do you get the Texas Co-op Power magazine? It’s actually one of my favorites. The writing is great, and I’m always learning something about rural Texas on its pages.
This month, I was excited to see “citizen scientists” right on the cover. Who could they be talking about? Sure enough, when I turned to page 8, there was a lovely article all about opportunities to contribute to science around the state.
Though the article talks about many opportunities, we’re in there, too. Some of our favorite projects, like CoCoRaHS, are mentioned, along with Nature Trackers and iNaturalist. There are photos of Tania Homayoun and Craig Hensley doing their stuff for Texas Parks and Wildlife and using iNaturalist.
Of course, there has to be a tie-in to electric co-ops. Who could be better than our own Linda Jo Conn! Yep, she gets quoted! We can charitably ignore the lack of capitalization when they mention Texas Master Naturalists.
So, if you get your electricity from one of the amazing Texas rural electric co-ops, don’t throw away your monthly magazine this month! If you don’t get the magazine, never fear. It’s online right here.
It makes you proud to be a citizen scientist, even though that’s not the preferred term for many people, who now say “community scientist” instead. Well, we know who we are.
We had a large turnout for this month’s meeting, where Linda Friedrickson and Aloma Clayton spoke on keyhole gardening (modified raised bed). They are members of the Little River Basin Master Gardeners, so many of our members who are in both organizations already knew them. Both of these women have lots of knowledge about keyhole gardens, and Linda even built one this year at her new property.
The book to read if you want to learn more is Soiled Rotten, by Deb Tolman, who is a fascinating person currently living in Texas and basing her life on creative recycling and reuse. Linda pointed out that keyhole gardens are a perfect example of Tolman’s philosophy, because you can build then from discarded material. Tolman makes gardens out of all sorts of things, including an abandoned speedboat.
Aloma started the presentation all off by giving us the history of keyhole gardens.
They started in southern and eastern Africa, because trees were all gone and the soil depleted from years of mismanagement. It was a mess. Africans starved while we wasted our food.
Mahaha Mafou (not sure of spelling) in Lesotho (luh-soo-too) invented keyhole gardens to feed her family. She made hers from rocks with characteristic shape. They were popularized by CARE (an NGO) and USAID (US government), who helped spread it. They did this throughout the 1980s and on. It spread throughout eastern and southern Africa.
I just finished a book I really loved, and I think my fellow Master Naturalists will, too. The author talks about us in the book, even! Here’s what I wrote in my other blog about it, with a little more in it for our audience:
I think I just spotted Darwin Comes to Town: How the Urban Jungle Drives Evolution, by Menno Schilthuizen in the new nature books section on Amazon. I loved the cover and was really intrigued by the subject matter: how life evolves in the world’s urban enclaves.
Schilthuizen, a naturalist in the Netherlands and author of many articles in popular science publications, writes really clearly without “dumbing down” the science behind what he talks about. I think his reminder that evolution is not just something that goes on in the forests, oceans, and hidden jungles; it’s going on right under our noses.