Announcements from the February 2022 Chapter Meeting

The Announcements
View the full set of February announcements by clicking here. As more activities open up, more volunteer opportunities are coming into the chapter calendar. Opportunities and contacts, websites, and other details are available in the announcements.

COVID-19 update: Chapter meetings are now provided in hybrid format. Masks indoors and social distancing are required at the in-person meeting at Dallas College – Brookhaven. We’re tracking with CDC guidance and continue to encourage wearing masks indoors as well as social distancing. If you opt to participate online, please know your extra caution is appreciated. Details here.

Highlights of the Meeting
Recognition –
It’s good to take time to celebrate our members and appreciate the fine work North Texas Master Naturalist does. Our meeting began with recognizing member accomplishments for 2021. Each of the 28 members of the 2021 New Class who certified (including 6 double certifiers) were presented by New Class Director Nancy Wilson. Laura Kimberly, Membership Director, then recognized all the 131 members who recertified in 2021 and the 28 who attained service milestones during the year. Congratulations to each of you for your accomplishments!

Continuing recognizing members’ achievements, I provided the annual chapter update. This highlighted for 2021 you’ve logged 3,126 hours of advanced training, expanding the conservation knowledge base, and an amazing 21,320 hours of volunteer service, advancing the NTMN mission. Our goals for improving our chapter engagement, outreach, finances, and diversity and inclusion were also discussed.

Insights into the Texas Master Naturalist Program

Thanks to Sam Kieschnick, Urban Wildlife Biologist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and one of our chapter advisors, for a fascinating look at the Texas Master Naturalist Program. Sam covered initiatives at the state level and opportunities for the coming year. (Fort Worth Stock Show duties called our other advisor, AgriLife advisor Liz Rudd, away for the evening. We’ll look forward to hearing from her another time.)

Sam led with a review of how essential time outside, especially in parks, is to our mental and physical health. He offered further tools in the pro-nature argument in the Trust for Public Lands Parks and Pandemic report.

It wouldn’t be a Sam talk without time spent on iNaturalist. From our spring City Nature Challenge and Fall Socially-Distanced Bioblitz, he shared how our area had over 38k and 28k observations respectively. More important, there were 1,182 then 1,346 local observers in the two events – large enough groups to be considered a constituency.

Sam also challenged us to go online and review the fall’s top 500 observed species to see how many we can name. That we share the urban ecosystem with so many species is worthy of celebration.

Turning to good news for our state parks system, he discussed how increased funding from Prop 5 (sporting goods sales tax) was being used to make much needed improvements. Among those are the preparations for opening our newest, Palo Pinto Mountains State Park. No date yet, but ecological assessments and infrastructure work are underway.

“Did you know there are a lot of crazy-talented people here in your chapter?” was Sam’s lead into Affinity Groups. One of the tools to build connections in NTMN, Affinity Groups will be a special focus in March, including one on Bugs with Sam.

He also discussed upcoming training opportunities, including TMN Tuesdays, the Be the Change workshop this spring and the Annual Meeting in Houston October 20-23, 2022.

Sam closed with a challenge for us to reach out to each other, especially to our newest members. Congratulating those who have certified or reached milestones might provide the excuse you need. You can find the whole list of these folks in the announcements. Class of 2022 members’ profiles are now online, photos coming soon – your chance to make a new connection.

Going deeper: Trust for the Public Land report on parks and people’s needs
Fall Socially Distanced BioBlitz – DFW Urban Ecosystem
Current Texas State Park Capital Improvement Projects
Palo Pinto Mountains State Park
Backstory on PPMSP
Chat suggestion on assisting with chapter funding: Ways to donate to NTMN and
Amazon Smile – NTMN can receive cash back from your purchases.

The recording for the meeting can be viewed here. The password is program.

Thanks to our guests and members for participating in this month’s meeting. I hope all feel welcome at NTMN.

Take care,
Scott Hudson
President
North Texas Master Naturalist

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