Archive for the 'Botany' Category

City Nature Challenge Seeks Experts

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018
Upload images to iNaturalist during the City nature Challenge.

Upload images to iNaturalist during the City nature Challenge.

This is Passport to Texas

In about a month, competitors from around the globe will head outside with their smart phones to photograph the flora and fauna of their regions, and then upload those images to iNaturalist as part of…

The City Nature Challenge.

Marsha May is a biologist and challenge coordinator for the Austin region—one of seven TX regions involved.

And there are over 60 cities worldwide that are involved in this challenge.

April 27th—30th, participants worldwide will try to “out-document” their competitors, for bragging rights.

All that data is collected in iNaturalist, and it will be evaluated a week after the challenge is over.

Regions can win for most observations, verified species or members. May said last year’s event drew nearly more competitors than they had experts to verify the data.

We really needed more people to help with verifying the observations. That’s the call [to action] I would like to make. So, if you’re a herpetologist, a birder, a botanist and such—please, help us verify. Go to iNaturalis[.org] and look for the projects. You can go to any one of the cities and help verify these observations. Because, the more we get verified—that’s research grade observations—so those count more toward this contest.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

That’s our show… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m
Cecilia Nasti.

Compete in the City Nature Challenge

Friday, February 23rd, 2018
Cities taking part in 2018 City Nature Challenge.

Cities taking part in 2018 City Nature Challenge.

This is Passport to Texas

Document local flora and fauna when you participant in the Worldwide 2018 City Nature Challenge, April 27-30.

Each city will have a leader; that leader will bring in partners [like the city, county or environmental organization]. And they will ask participants to do bioblitzes within that city. A bioblitz is where you collect data on all the plants and the animals throughout the area.

Marsha May is a biologist and Austin area challenge coordinator. Teams from six continents will upload their observations to iNaturalist.org in an attempt to document more species than their competitors.

Then all that data is collected in iNaturalist, and it will be evaluated a week after the challenge is over, and a winner will be announced.

Experts from various fields will verify the data. No prizes will be given to winners, but they will get bragging rights, and a chance to help researchers.

We have many species in Texas that are species of greatest conservation need. And when we do these biolblitzes, oftentimes those species are identified within that project. And those species are very important for us to know where they’re located, and how many there are out there. And this is just a way that citizens help quite a bit.

For more details on the 2018 City Nature Challenge, April 27—30th go to citynaturechallenge.org.

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

City Nature Challenge

Thursday, February 22nd, 2018
Photo: iNaturalist.org

Photo: iNaturalist.org

This is Passport to Texas

Game for some friendly competition? Then join teams from 60 cities, on six continents, to compete during the City Nature Challenge—April 27-30th. Teams will attempt to document more plant and animal species in their regions than competitors in other regions.

And we are using a format called iNaturalist, which is a real easy way of collecting data. All you have to do is take pictures of things. You don’t even have to know what it is.

Texas Parks and Wildlife biologist and Austin area challenge coordinator, Marsha May, says they need more experts to help verify data.

Professionals. People who know their plants. People who know their insects. Their invertebrates. Any of these organisms, to help us verify the data. You don’t have to live in any of the regions. Go to iNaturalist—especially those who use it regularly—because we need to get the data verified for it to count towards the contest.

Seven regions in Texas are hosting teams. Find them on the Nature Trackers page of the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

It would be a good idea in advance, if people would check out iNaturalist.org. And join iNaturalist and see what it’s all about—practice it. And then when the time comes, they would just join the project as they’re collecting their data.

How the City Nature Challenge works… tomorrow.

That’s our show for today… Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

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

Tree Planting Tips from Arborist Scott

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

 

How to Plant and Where to Play Your Trees.

How to Plant and Where to Play Your Trees.

This is Passport to Texas

Trees provide habitat for wildlife, as well as shade and beauty for us. If you’re adding new trees to your landscape this year: know the rules.

People frequently ask how close they can put a tree to the house, because shade on the house obviously is a huge energy savings. The general rule of thumb is you go no closer to the house than the eaves are high. So, if you measure up to the eaves of your house, and they’re ten feet high, then you need to get ten feet back from the house.

Scott Harris, a certified arborist in Austin, recommends planting native trees. For your tree to get the best start in life, he recommends the following:

You always want to plant your trees at the exact level they were in the pot. Don’t dig a big deep hole, dig a big wide hole. Always use the same soil you took out to backfill. But, you can put your compost underneath the mulch, and then all of that organic goodness will dribble down in the way that nature intended.

Water your new trees infrequently and deeply; this helps them to develop extensive root systems.

If you just have a little bit of water in one area, that’s where the roots are going to go. But if you water very deeply, it’ll spread into the surrounding soil, and the roots will follow that moisture out.

A robust root system helps trees remain vigorous and able to better withstand Texas droughts.

That’s our show…For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Still Time to Plant Trees Before Summer Heat

Tuesday, February 6th, 2018
by Tree planting photo by woodleywonderworks via Flickr, Creative Commons

by Tree planting photo by woodleywonderworks via Flickr, Creative Commons

This is Passport to Texas

Theoretically, you can plant trees all year long. However, for the best outcome, do so while temperatures are cool.

It’s just much easier on them.

Scott Harris is a certified arborist in Austin. Although fall the best time to plant trees, the best tree planting window in Texas runs from October through March.

Getting the trees in the ground in the fall [and winter], they have the entire cool season, dormant season, to spread roots out before the big demands on roots and water start in the spring.

There’s still time to get your trees in the ground to take advantage of cool winter temperatures and spring rains. On another note: just because a tree will grow in Texas, doesn’t mean it should grow here. Harris advises we stick with natives.

The biggest thing to avoid is non-natives. Our natives have all of the features you would want, but they’ve spent thousands and thousands of years getting used to being here, and with all of the wildlife used to having them, too. It’s all a web, and you can’t tell which string you can pull out without upsetting things.

Tomorrow tree planting tips to help your newly planted tree thrive.

That’s our show…For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.