[Better late than never, we’re catching up with contributions!]
Earth Day at the Birds and Bees Wildscape proved to be a banner attendance day for both members and visitors. There were 15 members of the El Camino Real Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalist present to visit with the 80+ visitors that came to the site Saturday, April 24.
Members visited with visitors and handed out bags full of goodies. There were pamphlets, booklets, posters, wildflower seeds, vegetable seeds, bird feeders, painted rocks, and snacks to be had. They also got to stroll through the wildscape and the bird farm.
The wildscape has quite a few blooming plants. I found Zizotes Milkweed and Butterfly Milkweed that are just starting to bud out. Verbena and Blue Sage were big draws for butterflies and bumblebees. The rose bush was in bloom, and the Malabar Spinach is making a strong comeback.
Alan Rudd and Scott Berger hung Mason Bee nests, and Alan gave several to members. He’s tracking where the most of them get nested in the area to decide the best places to put them. Alan, I, and a cute little blonde-headed girl also discovered a stinging plant hanging out around the flowers. It really stings (see our recent stinging nettle post!). Ask the little blond-headed girl. Painted rocks and chocolate chip cookies couldn’t even stop her fussing.
Members got Guinea eggs that had been laid in the wildscape under a plant, and some new native flowers to plant at home. Alan Rudd took many of the eggs to hatch. I hope we’ll get to see pictures here.
And a word of caution, wear gloves when cleaning out around the flowers, and don’t leave your phone in your back pocket when you go to the outhouse (that happens to be plumbed).
The 2019 Earth Day Celebration is in the books! It was a great success, too! Over 70 people and two dogs visited the Community Room on Main Street in Rockdale to see the El Camino Real Master Naturalists and their exhibits. We were joined by local Girl Scouts of Central Texas troops and the Little River Basin Master Gardeners, too. (It helps that many of our members are also Master Gardeners.)
Many thanks go out to Donna Lewis and the rest of the Earth Day Committee, who put in a lot of effort and planning to make this event successful. There were so many details, but they were all handled very well!
And of course, we truly appreciated all the chapter members who took time out of their holiday weekend to join us and talk to the guests about the importance of taking care of our planet.
Yesterday, the Environment and Recycling Ad-hoc Committee’s Earth Day subcommittee met to continue to work out plans. I was glad I could finally attend a meeting, because it was fun to see the team at work. I was joined by Ann Collins, Linda Jo Conn, Joyce Conner, Catherine Johnson, Rosie Johnson (guest and helper), Larry Kocian, Kathy Lester, and Donna Lewis (the leader of the bunch).
What’s going on with Earth Day?
The El Camino Real Master Naturalist Chapter’s biggest outreach project each year is to host an Earth Day event, to share ways to protect the planet with the community. This year it will be at:
Rockdale Community Center, 109 N. Main, on Saturday, April 20, 10 am – 2 pm.
We were excited to learn about all the planned activities and tables. Our team leader, Donna Lewis, went over all the topics and who was planned to staff them, and we settled on where a lot of the tables would be. For example, the recycled tote bag giveaway will be at the entrance, so attendees can use the totes to gather information they want to take home. And the seedling giveaway will be at the exit, to keep those baby plants happy.
It’s great news that the local Girl Scouts plan to join us, as well as our friends at the USDA, who had a great display last year.
We have lots to share already, andwere thrilled to see some beautiful models of the lifecycles of insects and other organisms that had been donated by our Master Naturalist friends in Temple. We will get so much use out of them, including at Earth Day.
Whenever there’s an event like this, there are a lot of little details to attend to, such as advertising and signage. We’re grateful to have Larry Kocian to get us on the radio, and Cathy Johnson to contact all the newspapers and other media outlets. Donna is goining to check signage regulations and see if the city will make us a banner!
By meeting’s end the team was feeling pretty confident that we will have a great deal of interesting information at our event.
All the lovely supplies we have for our outreach projects are scattered at members’ homes, and we realized it’s a bit risky to do that, because the items might end up being irretrievable. I offered to store things in my company’s soon-to-be renovated church building, and suggested that the facility would be a nice, central location for future trainings and meetings.
We shared a wonderful meal, and are very grateful to Cathy Johnson for doing most of the cooking, as well as to everyone who brought additional food. That kept us going!
How can you help?
Fellow Milam County Master Naturalists, please let Donna Lewis know if you’ll be helping out, because we still need folks to staff the tables and generally be friendly. And if you have made tote bags, make sure to get them to someone on the committee. We can use more.
Also, the entire report of the meeting will be available in the members’ area of our website. There’s not enough blog space to include all the details from the meeting!
Everybody else, mark your calendars for April 20, and be sure to join us in downtown Rockdale for the event. There are new restaurants, fun shops and lots more that you may not even realize are in the area, so make a day of it!