Archive for January, 2019

Becoming a Texas Master Naturalist

Thursday, January 17th, 2019
Photo from the Texas Master Naturalist Facebook Page

Photo from the Texas Master Naturalist Facebook Page

This is Passport to Texas

There’s a training program for people with a passion for nature. It’s called the Texas Master Naturalist Program.

The Texas Master Naturalist Program is a volunteer based training program; we develop a corps of well-informed volunteers that provide education, outreach and service around the state in the beneficial management of natural resources and the natural areas within Texas.

Mary Pearl Meuth (MOYT) is the program’s coordinator. They train roughly 700 volunteers annually, and have training sessions annually.

Our curriculum that is used for the training, has 26 chapters in it. So, they march through those 26 chapters all with a large context of the state of Texas, but then developed even more within their local ecosystem.

Once trained, volunteers provide 40 hours of community outreach, and take 8 hours of advanced training annually. The program’s not just about taking or facilitating classes. It’s also about discovery.

Quite a few of our Master Naturalists have identified new species of plants or new species of animals located within the state of Texas.

Are you ready to help Mother Nature, and to make a name for yourself – or a new species? The Texas Master Naturalist program can help. Find a training session at txmn.org.

That’s our show…brought to you in part by RAM Trucks. Built to Serve.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

Master Naturalists Share a Passion for Nature

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

Master Naturalists in their element. Photo courtesy Texas Master Naturalists’ Facebook Page

This is Passport to Texas

When you’re passionate about something, it’s hard to keep it to yourself. And when that passion leads you to become a Texas Master Naturalist, you don’t have to.

We develop a corps of well-informed volunteers that provide education, outreach and service around the state in the beneficial management of natural resources and the natural areas within Texas.

Mary Pearl Meuth (MOYT) is Texas master Naturalist program coordinator. People of all ages and from all walks of life may train to become Master Naturalists, although retirees are strong within their ranks.

We do ask that each Master Naturalist provides 40 hours of volunteer service yearly along with their continuing education of 8 hours of advanced training every year to maintain that certification. That is difficult to do on a full-time employee based status – if you’re a full-time worker. But, we do have many master naturalists who are able to juggle the load. So, we do have young and old.

Since the program’s inception in 1997, Master Naturalists have given back to Texas in millions of meaningful ways. Find out how you can train to become a Master Naturalist at txmn.org.

We record our series in Austin at the Block House and Joel Block engineers our show.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

Texas Master Naturalist Program

Tuesday, January 15th, 2019

Become a Texas Master Naturalist. Image from: www.txmn.org

This is Passport to Texas

The Texas Master Naturalist program trains volunteers in all aspects of the Texas environment where they live.

All the way from the plants and why they’re named what they’re named in their local ecosystem, to the birds and the mammals and the fish and the invertebrates and everything.

Mary Pearl Meuth (MOYT) works for Texas AgriLife extension and is program coordinator for Texas Master Naturalists.

They [volunteers] are encouraged to share their knowledge, either through events with other local classrooms and youth education programs, working and volunteering at state parks or nature centers and natural areas.

Texas’ Master Naturalist Chapters train volunteers in the specifics of their local ecosystems once they’ve learned the universal basics.

Master Naturalists join the program because they’re excited about the environmental world in which we live and the diversity of Texas, which is just incredible. And, once they join, then they can give back to their community that needs that resource.

To remain in the program, volunteers agree to 40 hours of community outreach and eight hours of advanced training annually. Learn more at txmn.org.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

Corralling Catfish

Thursday, January 10th, 2019

Catfish waiting his turn to head to a neighborhood fishin’ pond.

This is Passport to Texas

I visited the A.E. Wood Fish Hatchery in San Marcos on a misty morning in early October; that’s where I met hatchery manager Mike Matthews.

We’re standing on the banks of pond 23. And we’re harvesting our 12-inch catfish for our neighborhood fishing program.

The one-acre pond had been drained; nearly 5,000 channel catfish flopped around in a Kansas kettle.

It’s basically a raceway in the bottom of our pond. We’ve brought the whole pond down into that kettle, and that just catches all the fish for us very efficiently.

A technician counted and weighed the fish as he placed them into a wire basket. Using a crane, technicians moved the basket to a waiting transport truck, and deposited the fish into tanks.

Which has got probably three to five parts per thousand saltwater in it. It’s beneficial for the fish. It causes them to promote slime growth, which in case they do get a little rough handled, and nicks their skin a little bit, that slime will cover that before it can really become a problem. It’s natural. That’s what they do anyway.

I followed a truck to East Metro Park in Austin, where Ryan, a fisheries technician, released them as anglers waited on the banks.

Texas Parks and Wildlife stocks catfish in neighborhood fishin’ ponds during warmer months. In winter, it’s rainbow trout. Find the stocking schedule on the TPW website.

The Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Sam Bass’ Treasure

Wednesday, January 9th, 2019

Longhorn Cavern

This is Passport to Texas

At Longhorn Cavern State Park in Burnet County, folks are still searching for Sam Bass’ gold.

Sam Bass was a Texas outlaw who died in 1877 in Round Rock, Texas at a fairly young age. He was shot trying to rob a Round Rock bank.

Legend has it that that Sam Bass used Longhorn Cavern as a hideout and that he left stolen money there. Some of the rumors circulating at the time had his ill-gotten gain totaling upwards of two million dollars’ worth of gold.
No one knows for certain if Sam Bass hid that much gold in Longhorn Caverns, or hid any gold—or even visited the cavern, for that matter.

The real treasure is its geology and history. Geologically, it has formations known as calcite channels, crystals, columns and draperies.

Historically: Confederates used the cavern during the Civil War to make gun powder from bat guano. In the 1920s, during prohibition, Burnet County residents used the cave as a speakeasy; they installed a wooden dance floor where residents danced to live bands.

In addition to cavern tours, check out the calendar section of the TPW website for events planned inside the cavern.

That’s our show for today…Brought to you in part by RAM Trucks. Built to Serve.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.