February 2021 Chapter Meeting Announcements

Highlights from the February Chapter Meeting


The Announcements

View the full set of February announcements by clicking here. Please note the new Affinity Group opportunities and changes to volunteer service. With so much going on, only announcement highlights were presented at the chapter meeting. More opportunities and contacts, websites, and other details are available in the announcements.

A COVID-19 reminder: Except for limited individual and household volunteer service, NTMN face to face activities are suspended until further notice.  Advanced training continues in virtual formats only. Details here.

Highlights from the February 2021 Chapter Meeting

Celebrating your achievements – a Valentine to NTMN – Many Congratulations! We celebrated the 34 members of the 2020 New Class who certified, including 9 double certifiers and 4 triple certifiers. Every chapter member who recertified in 2020 was recognized at this month’s meeting. You all persevered in a tough year. Please click this link to see everyone who certified and those who achieved milestones in 2020. 2020 Milestones

Major Service Milestones – Well Done! Michael Wilson, Ann Willis-Brown, and Chris Wordlaw reached their 1,000-hour milestones. Passing the 2,500-hour milestone were Marcie Haley, Charlie Tobin, and Tom Willard.

Annemarie Bristow and Jim Shouse surpassed the 4,000-hour milestone, earning their President’s Volunteer Service Lifetime Achievement Awards. Both are apt leaders and have served in many NTMN projects over the years. They know how to teach and draw others into the work. Annemarie has played a pivotal role in establishing the prairie at the Twelve Hills Nature Center. Jim has been especially instrumental at the Trinity River Audubon Center and the Spring Creek Forest Preserve. Congratulations, Annemarie and Jim!

We’re proud of you all! Please be sure to pick up your certification and milestone pins at one of the events below.

Highlights of the meeting

Survivor Plants in Urban Areas: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

It’s our good fortune that Ricky Linex shared information with us about Survivor Plants this month. Recently retired, Ricky served as a range conservationist and wildlife biologist with the Natural Resource Conservation Service, and its predecessor, the Soil Conservation Service, for over 38 years.

His talk began with a review of how Texas plant communities have changed over the last 160 years. Severe overgrazing caused carrying capacity to drop. That, along with cultivation and development, have worked to reduce habitat for native species, especially in upland areas. Land stewardship matters.

He explained the critical role riparian areas play in preserving species. Using the examples of very long-term survivors in our area – scouring rush (going back 400 million years), southern maidenhair fern, hairy water clover, and Canada and Virginia wildrye – he showed how undeveloped bottomland has provided refuge to native plants. His discussion was sprinkled with field biology. One of the effective adaptations demonstrated was how the Texas wintergrass seed shaft twists as it dries, allowing it to drill in to help ensure germination.

An 1858 bulletin by Julien Reverchon provided baseline observations for many of the species reviewed. This described numerous plants we put in the Good column, from grapevines and redbuds to “tall, beautiful willows.” Ricky compared those notes to conditions today, showing Reverchon astute in identifying the value of the juniper and the commercial prospects of the pecan. At the same time, he had written admiringly about the chinaberry, unaware of how this invasive’s impact would put it decidedly in the Ugly category.

The Bad and the Ugly comprise significant threats to ecosystem health. Among several non-native grasses in this category – Johnson grass, King Ranch bluestem, tall fescue, Japanese brome, and rescue grass – the one topping Ricky’s pet peeve list is annual ryegrass. This aggressive grower can spread quickly and it crowds out desirable cool weather species, including bluebonnets.

Our much-disliked ligustrums, especially Chinese privet, got special recognition for the displacing problems they pose. Riverbank images of giant reeds and chinaberry brought the discussion full circle, stressing again the role of riparian areas in spreading species. Closing comments about Ned Fritz leading hikes down a narrow dirt trail to see the lovely Texas buckeyes reminded us how bottomlands have protected some of our most valued plants.

Further information – Ricky encouraged reviewing several resources, including:
George Diggs, Jr. and Barney Lipscomb, The Ferns and Lycophytes of Texas
Natural Resource Conservation Service newsletter, Reverchon Naturalist
Nueces River Authority, Your Remarkable Riparian 3rd Edition
or read the 2nd Edition online
Dallas Observer, 18 January 2018 article on Texas Buckeye Trail
Del Winegar, The Explorer’s Texas: The Lands and Waters (sorry, no link)
Richard Francaviglia, The Cast Iron Forest
And, although he didn’t mention it:
Ricky Linex, Range Plants of North Central Texas

Recording: As soon as it is available, video of this presentation will be posted here

Thank you for all you do for our communities.

Take care,
Scott Hudson
North Texas Master Naturalist

Directions for the Bird Fort Trail Pavilion Event on 2/20:
From 635:
Take the Riverside Drive exit from 635 and go south approximately 3 mi. You will see the Pavilion on the left. There are 3 flagpoles on the right side.

Heading West on 114:
Take the O’Conner exit and go right (north).  At Riverside Dr., take a left and the Pavilion will be on your right in a mile or less.

From south I-35:
Take the Northwest Highway exit and go right (west).  Turn right on Riverside Dr. and the Pavilion will be on your right side in less than 1/2 mile.

If you have any problems on the 20th finding the Pavilion please call Sue Matkin on 214-564-4623.


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