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Events Volunteer Opportunities Education & Training

Alamo Area Chapter Volume 15 No. 2


February, 2011

Class #28 starts February 24th at 5:00 p.m. at the Agrilife Extension classroom. Page 3 for details.

By Liz Robbins AAMN CLASS #28 - FEBRUARY 24: The 2011 AAMN spring class will begin at 5:00 PM, Thursday, February 24, 2011. As always, we welcome you to come and greet our newest Master Naturalists and share your favorite dish at break time, which will begin around 6:30 PM. The state TMN co-coordinator, Sonny Arnold, will be the opening speaker and as always, our own Anton Hajek will do the ice breaker with the students. Come early and listen to Sonny, then stay and help Nancy with the member-sponsored potluck.

Special Thanks!

The AAMN 2010 Annual Report is complete. Special thanks to Linda Gindler, our vice-president, for gathering the information. The chapter is doing well, but there is always room for improvement. Details at .

Board Meeting February 9th 5:15 p.m. Agrilife Extension General Meeting 7:008:00 p.m. Agrilife Extension Classroom #208 3355 Cherry Ridge San Antonio, TX 78232

COMMUNITY OUTREACH: Lissa Martinez, Class #25, has accepted the position of Community Outreach Chair. Lissa has been very active with Alamo Forest Partnership, has been one of the organizers of the yearly Basura Bash and is very involved with the maintenance of the Olmos Basin area. We welcome Lissa to the board and thank her for her service to the AAMN. WEBSITE ADDRESS CHANGES: The AAMN website has moved. The current URL is The old URL - - currently autoforwards to the new site, but this feature will be dropped in the near future. The new site is now hosted by Agrilife Extension at Texas A&M University and is free. The TMN state office maintains tight control of the site and uses the Word Press editing tools. AAMN ON FACEBOOK: Ernest Laurel, member of the Media and Tech Team and Class 27, is updating our Facebook page for us. If you have a Facebook page, search under "Alamo Area Texas Master Naturalists." There you will find photos of recent events and listings of events that are scheduled for the next few days. A more long term, detailed calendar can still be found on the website. RODEO 2011- February 3 - 20: For those AAMN members who enjoy volunteering at the Rodeo, there will be plenty of opportunities this year. See information below and on the AAMN website. Texas AgriLife Extension Service will be needing volunteers from February 3-20 with three shifts from 9-9 every day at the Texas Experience Pavilion. Contact, Susan Noonan at (210)286-8897 - Email: or Margie Noonan at (210)467-6575 or (210)394-6458 Email: Texas Parks & Wildlife will be needing volunteers with the "Life's Better Outside" TPWD Outdoor Expo event February 19 & 20. Contact Trey Hamlett (TPWD), phone 512-389-4361, email: IN MEMORY OF DR. BILL WARD: At the January meeting, "the hat was passed around" and those present gave generously so that our chapter could make a donation to the CNC Research Endowment Fund in the name of Bill Ward. Two hundred dollars was collected that night! Thank you all for your generosity and for helping to memorialize Dr. Ward in such a special way.

President Liz Robbins 830-336-2778 Vice-President Linda Gindler Treasurer Jamie Dailey Secretary Barbara Harder

Immediate Past President Anton Hajek

NEWS FROM THE BOARD COMMITTEES Projects to be reviewed for approval as a Master Naturalist activity must be submitted on the Submission for Activity Approval form. Forms can be obtained by contacting Pamela Ball,, or from the AAMN website at

PLEASE REPORT YOUR HOURS ! Reporting hours is easy with the new EXCEL spreadsheet that was developed for e-mail submission or for mailing in your hours. It is available online at:

Where to report your hours: Last names A-M: Wilt Shaw 104 Dove Meadow Boerne, TX 78006-4222

Last names N-Z Ling Yin Liu 4946 Dare Lane San Antonio, TX 78217

ACTIVATE YOUR 2011GOOGLE DOCS ACCOUNT TODAY John Wolcott & Roy Yarnold have not only volunteered to assist you with this effort but also serve as the clearing-house for information regarding reported hours, hours that have vanished and those that have gone unreported. ‗One of a kind‘ certification pins are awarded each year to those who achieve eight hours of advanced training and 40 hours of volunteer service. This year that pin is a Horned Lizard. Milestone dragonfly pins are also awarded for 250 hours, 500 hours and 1,000, 2,500, and 5,000 hours of volunteer service.



AAMN meetings are held the second Tuesday of every month. The next meeting will be the:

o you sometimes wish you could contact another AAMN, or a staff member of SAPAR,, or SARA, TPWD, Texas AgriLife, MLAC, COSA, or CNC? Then CLICK HERE and become part of a growing AAMN membership directory. Thanks to Arless Lenz for coordinating and to Judith Shockley for developing the easy application format for you. Click now and sign up! Over 60 people have signed up and we will be making the data available to members that signed up in the near future— either as a Google Doc or on the web.

The meeting on February 8th will be presented by Judit Green and will describe the Urban Wildlife Management & Planning Conference to be held in Austin May 21-25. The AAMN is a Silver Sponsor and Judit will discuss how the chapter can be involved. This international conference will bring urban planners, architects, wildlife biologist, researchers, educations and municipalities together to help plan and design urban communities that provide natural open green space that mutually benefits people and wildlife. This is a unique opportunity to be part of a progressive movement to better design our urban environment. Come hear how we can be involved.




ancy Phillips is working on a project that will display all the wonderful things our members are doing out in the community. Send your photos, with captions when possible, to Photos are also needed for the web & facebook. 2

February AAMN Meeting

March AAMN Meeting For our March 8 meeting, Master Naturalist Jamie Daily will present a session on composting by layering and mixing green and brown materials. She will describe how to construct a container for composting and how to care for it. Jamie will talk about trouble-shooting problems that may arise and how to avoid those problems in the future. As our landfills become overloaded, come find out how we can reduce our share of trash and reuse it to the earth‘s benefit.

Activities Information Chair Pam Ball Community Outreach Lissa Martinez Historian Nancy Phillips Hospitality Chair Nancy Brown Hours Submission Wilt Shaw Ling Yin Liu Membership & Pin Awards Chair John Wolcott Media & Technology Chair David Reichert Calendar Frank Ballard Web Pages Evelyn Penrod Marketing Info & Materials Milly Alejos Programs Chair Jessica Leslie Education & Training Chair Pam Ball Alamo Forest Partnership Kathleen Blankenship & Lissa Martinez SARA Partnership Ron Tullius SEP-HCP Susan Oualline

Vol. 15, No. 2—February, 2011

Come Welcome the New Trainees!

3rd Annual Get Outdoors! Festival

The break time buffet will be at 6:30 PM. Please contribute to the snack session by bringing a side dish. Please let Nancy Brown know what you plan to bring,

The San Antonio River Authority (SARA) and National Park Service San Antonio Missions National Historical Park invite you to participate in the 3rd Annual Get Outdoors! Festival Saturday, March 5, 2011, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, Mission San Jose MN Volunteers needed for this Community Outreach event. Contact Liz Robbins - for more information. Get Outdoors! educates families about outdoor recreation opportunities in our area, and the importance of living a healthy, active and envi-

The AAMN Training Committee

ronmentally sustainable lifestyle.

The Training Committee encourages all members to come to the first training day for Class 28. Your presence and enthusiasm is greatly appreciated. The first class will be held on Thursday, February 24th , at the AgriLife Office, 3355 Cherry Ridge, Suite 208. The class is from 5 to 9 PM.

Plant Trees Alamo Tree Buds Feb 16th, 6-9 pm and Feb 19th, 8-11 am The Alamo Tree Bud training is a new San Antonio Parks & Recreation Department volunteer tree training program by the the Alamo Forestry Partnership (AFP). The program is designed to provide six hours of advanced tree training and will train leaders for the Plant Tress San Antonio initiative which is designed to improve the city‘s tree canopy. The City of San Antonio has embarked on a $1.4 million tree planting initiative that will result in 9,000 trees being planted in ity parks. $25 for Six Hours of Advanced Tree Training. Make checks out to: City of San Antonio. Mail application and check to: Attn: Alamo Tree Bud Municipal Plaza Building Volunteer Services 114 W. commerce St, 11th Floor San Antonio TX, 78205 For more information, call volunteer services at 207-8603. For a copy of the application , please go to . Vol. 15, No. 2—February, 2011

AAMN Documents Online At: AAMN Documents Access important chapter documents including bylaws and minutes online.

Class 17 Julie Class 18 Prem Nored Class 19 Cal Eichler 210-828-0833 Class 20 Suzanne Benavides & Palani Whiting Class 21 Nancy Brown & Wendy Thornton Class 22 Linda Painter Darst & Jamie Daily

Committee Meeting The Media & Technology Committee will have a meeting February 10th from 1-3 p.m. at the Agrilife Extension classroom.

Hummer House RESCHEDULED for May 14, 2011!


articipation is limited so get your reservation in now. This trip will be open to all AAMN members, their friends and families and to other members of the environmental community. E-mail Arless at for more information. Three hours of advanced training for those attending.

W ANT E D A Master Naturalist that lives in Elm Creek. Contact - Melissa Mooney Master Gardener 210-787-6878

Class 23 Steve Guerrant & Gary Trede Class 24 John Wolcott & Susan Hunnicutt Class 25 & State Representative Ron Tullius 210-739-2566 Class 26 Dwight Henderson 210-496-5934 Class 27 David Reichert & Evelyn Penrod


SARA REWIND Project is Underway! In mid-January, AAMNs, in partnership with the San Antonio River Authority, led SAISD students from Burbank High School on guided walks of the newly-opened section of the Mission Reach of the San Antonio River. The project began for MN volunteers in December, 2010 with a day of training which included a power point presentation, a fact booklet, and a guided tour of the river. Under a grant from TP&W, SARA is conducting five student field days this spring, to which AAMNs have pledged to commit 125 volunteer hours. Under a warm, sunny sky, volunteers explored with the students the concept of Restoring Ecosystems WIth Natural Designs (REWIND) by discussing weirs, riffles, embayments, pioneer species, and erosion controls. Students learned past efforts to control flooding of the San Antonio River, as well as structure, recreation, and art plans for the final seven miles of the Mission Reach.

Government Canyon State Natural Area Sunday, February 27, 2011 – Hike to the Protected Habitat Area Join members of the Government Canyon Trail Patrol and other volunteers who will lead this hike into the Protected Habitat Area. Participants must be at least 14 years of age and physically able to hike 12 to 13 miles over broken, rocky terrain with a good portion of elevation gain and loss. 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM; please arrive no later than 7:45am. Meet at the Visitors Center next to the rain harvesting tower. Dress in layers appropriate to the weather. Carry at least three liters of water per person, snacks, lunch, sunscreen, hat and raingear. Wear sturdy, well-broken-in hiking shoes or boots. Group size limited; no pets please. Reservations required and will be accepted beginning at noon on January 27, 2011 and ending at noon on February 26, 2011. To make your reservation, or to get more information, e-mail Include names of each participant, age if under 18, and e-mail address and telephone number. Natural Area entrance fees apply. (210) 688-9055; ext. 291 Just for fun.

On their walk, students encountered a variety of wildlife: turtles, a diamond-backed water snake, and waterfowl aplenty, including mallards, cormorants, great egrets, a sandpiper, a snowy egret, a little blue heron, a great blue heron, a lesser scaup, and a pair of red -shouldered hawks. We had an unexpected surprise when we happened upon Mark Schlesinger, the San Antonio artist who won the commission to design the first of six footbridges over the river, working on his project entitled ‗Up on the On.‘ Mark, by painting individual rocks with a palette of colors to reflect the colors in nature, as well as the colorful history and culture of San Antonio, clearly sets this bridge apart from the others. Some of the rocks even phosphoresce after sunset! After dark you can use a flashlight to write a message on the rocks, and the message will be visible for a period of time in the darkness before it fades away. Self-vanishing graffiti! Remember, only some of the rocks phosphoresce. You have to find the right ones! Four more REWIND events with SAISD students are scheduled this spring. For more information write Matthew Driffill, Education Specialist at SARA, ( or AAMN member Ron Tullius, Liaison to SARA, ( SARA will provide the required training. Submitted by Barbara, David, Lissa, Liz, Lynn, Nancy and Ron. Approved for Advanced Training.

Training hours and volunteer service hours are approved for credit.


Vol. 15, No. 2—February, 2011

A special acknowledgement and thanks to Wilt Shaw and Ling Liu for their efforts in tracking our chapter hours. This is an especially busy period with the state report due mid January and getting our new Google accounts up and running for 2011. Most accounts have been loaded and you should have access to begin logging your 2011 hours. If you have an issue, let one of us know.


The following AAMN members have reached milestones this month. If you need any assistance with data entry or have questions, don‘t hesitate to email or call me. If I have failed to recognize an award, let me know.

Maureen Ballard

Frank Ballard Maureen Ballard Kim Carrell

Class 20 20 24

___Awards Wood Duck Wood Duck Wood Duck

The following AAMN members earned longevity awards: 20

250 hours

Let me know if I have missed seeing your entry. jwolcott@satx, or (210) 497-4365.

Friedrich Wilderness Park

Medina River Natural Area

21395 Milsa Call Peggy Spring @ (210) 564-6402 for information or to volunteer or e-mail

Spring Bloomer Classes

Feb 1 or 3, 12:30-2:30 : Explore! The Life of Birds 1st-4th Grade Are a bird‘s lungs like yours? How do feathers help a bird fly? Explore these and other ―birdy‖ questions; learn to use binoculars; take a hike and watch some birds. Approved for volunteer service hours if assisting Feb 1 or 3, 9:30-11:30 : Explore! Fish, 5th-8th Grade Investigate the world of fish. How do they swim and keep their balance? Is their heart like ours? The class includes our popular fish dissection and hopefully a short hike. Approved for volunteer service hours if assisting

Feb. 15th or 17th, Bare Branches, Ages 7-11 Explore deciduous trees while they are without leaves. Identify the bark, new buds and other distinguishing features of branches. Identify trees that grow in the South Texas Brushland Area near the Medina River. Make oak gall ink and write on parchment paper. Call Susan Campbell @ (210) 207-3106 or e-mail for information or to register. Classes limited to 15 participants @ $3.00 each. Approved for volunteer service hours if assisting Star Party February 12, 2011 6pm-8pm The San Antonio Astronomical Association will bring in the high tech telescopes for us to view the stars and planets in the South Texas sky. Kid-friendly activity included with refreshments.

Eisenhower Park 1939 NW Military Hwy.


Leaders Needed to share knowledge of the outdoors with 2nd graders in 2010-2011. For training and to help, call Peggy Spring, Education Director Northe r n N at u r a l Ar e a s C O S A 2 1 0 -5 6 4 - 6 4 0 2 Feb 1 or 3, 9:30-11:30 : Explore! The Life of Birds Are a bird‘s lungs like yours? How do feathers help a bird fly? Explore bird eggs, nests, feathers, anatomy & digestion; learn to use binoculars; watch some birds. Approved for volunteer service hours if assisting

Vol. 15, No. 2—February, 2011

For more information or to RSVP for any event call (210) 207-3111. Suggested donation for each program is $3.00 per person or $5.00 per family. Just for fun.

COSA Volunteer Tree Planting February 5th , Garcia, 1200 N. Frio, 9-Noon February 12th, Villa Cornado, 11031 Ruidosa, 9-Noon February 19th, Copernicus, 5003 Lord Rd, 9-Noon Call Michael Nentwich at (210) 207-8603 or e-mail to sign-up. Approved for volunteer service hours .


Hot Tub Naturalist February 2011 January brings cold winds and rain making the hut tub unuseable some nights. Maybe it feels colder since the Christmas decorations and spirits are down. But after a cold front the remaining high pressure yields clear skies for star viewing. I am luck to be east enough of San Antonio to have some dark skies. This is the hard time of year for wildlife. At Sunday lunch a buzzard came to roost. And I threw out some chicken bones. That buzzard had a meal while the others were expending energy looking. . Usually I am cleaning game and putting the carcasses out for coyotes buzzards, and others. Not so much this year. But when I did, the coyotes came by. Last night could hear them far off in different places howling as they search for food.. My wife thinks they are dirty, I think they are the call of the wild. —Anton Hajek

Service to the organization is always approved for volunteer service hours.

Approved for advanced training/volunteer service hours. .We will be doing invasive removal, tagging, and herbicide application depending on the weather. Tuesday, Feb. 1 7:30-9:30 am - Madla Natural Area Tuesday, Febr. 8 7:30-9:30 am - Rancho Diana Thursday, Febr. 10 12:30-2:30 pm - Madla Natural Area Tuesday, Feb. 15 7:30-9:30 am - Madla Natural Area Tuesday, Feb. 22 7:30-9:30 am - Rancho Diana Thursday, Feb. 24 12:30-2:30 pm - Madla Natural Area If you plan to join any of these scheduled activities at Madla Natural Area or Rancho Diana contact Lonnie Shockley at by 6 pm the day before the scheduled date and time. We meet at the gates to Rancho Diana on Menchaca Road at 7:30 am for the morning activities and 12:30 pm for the afternoon activities. Let me know if you have any questions or need additional directions. Headwaters eradication schedule: Friday, February 4 2:00 – 5:00 p.m (Volunteer Work Day) If you are interested in joining the Headwaters area activities contact Helen Ballew at


The San Antonio Botanical Garden showcases Texas Native Trails with an abundance of plant species. The San Antonio Botanical Garden Society is currently sponsoring a promotional activity to increase interest in and knowledge about the Texas Native Trails. All master naturalists are invited to participate. Each month (February, March, April) five questions about one of the Texas Native Trails will be found in the AAMN newsletter. The answers to the questions can be found by walking the appropriate Native Trail at the SABG. The deadline for submission of answers is the 18th of each month. Send your answers (just the answers--in numerical sequence) to Sasha Kodet, SABG Education Director, Or drop off your answers in the red box behind the front desk at the Carriage House entrance. Be sure to include your name and contact information with your answers. You may also pick up answer sheets (with questions) at the front desk of the Carriage House. From all entries with all correct answers, one name will be drawn to receive one of the following: a gift certificate for the SABG Gift Shop (February), free passes to the SABG (March), an annual membership to the San Antonio Botanical Garden (April). [SABG staff members and current MN guides for the Native Trails are NOT eligible to participate.] Sample question: What birch tree, the only birch species native to Texas, is growing in the East Texas Piney Woods area? Answer: River Birch (Betula nigra) The February contest questions for the East Texas Pineywoods trail:

East Texas Pineywoods Contest Questions 1. Which tree is sometimes called the ―Sequoia of the East?‖ 2. Name the bird that uses the Long-leaf Pine for nesting. 3. The state capital of Louisiana takes its name from this tree. 4. Which oak tree is named for its unique fruit characteristic? 5. Which tree, Vogelbeerenbaum in German (Bird-berry Tree), produces tasty, pumpkin-colored fruit? SABG Texas Native Trails Contest Entry Simply e-mail your answers to or drop off the answer sheet at the front desk of the Carriage House. Include your name, phone number and e-mail address. If you send your answers by e-mail, please number your answers to match the question numbers.

Vol. 15, No. 2—February, 2011

River Walk Garden Workday City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department Natural Areas February Stewardship Activities By Jayne Neal It is that time of year when some bare-branched trees show their true colors, a mass of green twigged parasites known as mistletoe (Phoradendron serotinum). This plant, once seen as sacred by many generations before, is ubiquitous and can be problematic in Oklahoma and Texas (E. Silverthorne, 1996, Legends and Lore of Texas Wildflowers, Texas A&M University Press). The scientific name Phoradendron means ―thief of a tree‖. But this thief is not by any means a new phenomenon. Surveys of packrat middens have shown that mistletoe has been around for 20,000 years (USGS: ―Not Just for Kissing: Mistletoe and Birds, Bees and other Beasts‖; mistletoe/). Once the seed of mistletoe is deposited on the branch of a tree, usually by a bird, it sends roots into the host tree and starts pulling nutrients and minerals from the tree (USGS). But scientists do not refer to these crafty little plants as parasites; rather they have labeled them as ―hemi-parasites‖ because they are able to photosynthesize (USGS). Arborists and other professionals recommend removing infected branches once the plant is spotted in a tree. This will keep the mistletoe from spreading and the infection at bay. This month, we will be out at Rancho Diana removing exotic invasive plants and restoring savannas by removing juniper. We will also be completing a vegetation survey on the last Thursday of the month. Note that we will not be meeting on the 10th. If you have any questions, please contact Jayne Neal (210-372-9124, or Wendy Leonard (210-372-9124, Thurs, Feb. 3

8:30am-12:30pm Invasive species removal. Meet at Rancho Diana white house, 9680 Menchaca Rd. We provide tools but please bring your own gloves if you have them.

Thurs, Feb. 10 We will not meet! Thurs, Feb. 17 8:30 am -12:30 pm Savanna Restoration. Meet at Rancho Diana white house, 9680 Menchaca Rd. We provide tools but please bring your own gloves if you have them. Thurs, Feb. 24 8:30 am -12:30 pm Vegetation Survey. Meet at Rancho Diana white house, 9680 Menchaca Rd. We provide tools but please bring your own gloves if you have them. Approved for volunteer service hours.

Vol. 15, No. 2—February, 2011

Second Friday of every month: 9 a.m.—1 p.m. Volunteers are needed to cut, trim, and plant at the San Antonio Riverwalk Garden. Bring cutting tools such as shears, rakes, and clippers and also gloves and water for this workday. This is an AAMN project at the corner of Aubrey and Old Guilbeau on the Riverwalk. Lan Eng (830) 980-2300 or Approved for volunteer service hours

New on the AAMN Website Need Help with Content There are a lot of new pages on the AAMN website, including a page of links to class photos at FlickR, an Activities tab, and an Alamo Area Natural History tab. The Natural History site has second level pages for ecoregions, birds, mammals, native plants, invasives, reptiles and more. The individual pages have a brief introduction about the topic, then annotated photos of local flora and fauna. We need people to send in suggestions for more topics and to send in detail items for all the pages. Send your picture and a paragraph describing it written in your word processor or editor. Please include information sources and links to more complete data about your item.. Please e-mail your content to or

Picture Your World at Mission San Juan

Master Naturalist Lynn Richards from class 27 discusses the flora and fauna around Mission San Juan (map) on Sunday, January 23. This event gave students a nature walk narrated by a MN and by a photographer who helped them compose and take nature pictures. These workshops are sponsored by Green Spaces Alliance for kids 8 to 18.

Become a Mitchell Lake Audubon Center Docent If you enjoy being outdoors, bird-watching, gardening, working with children, or sharing your love of nature with others, then you will feel right at home at Mitchell Lake. Whatever your talents and interests, we have an opportunity for you! Docent Training: Docent training is a 5-week course that will be held every Saturday morning from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. starting February 5. Training includes the history of Mitchell Lake, bird and plant identification, wildlife management, nature center procedures, and educational nature interpretation. The cost to participate is $35.00. Lunch is provided For more information, please contact Michelle Eckman, Education Manager at 210-628-1639 or email at Approved for Advanced Training. 7

Just for Fun.

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