As a billion birds fly through Texas, they find a landscape quiet and still

As a billion birds fly through Texas, they find a landscape quiet and still

Once the stay-at-home orders were in place and the sounds of traffic and business dimmed, the birds seemed louder. There seemed to be more of them. It’s not clear if birds have really raised their volume (more on that in a bit), but there are more in Texas these days. The state is in the middle of peak bird migration, a two-week period when around a billion birds fly through. And, scientists say, this year will provide a unique natural experiment to…

Read More
Supporting local Hill Country producers

Supporting local Hill Country producers

During these unprecedented times, it’s especially important to support and invest in our local communities. One way to do this is with our food choices. You can help local businesses bounce back from economic downturns and invest in the overall resiliency of your community by buying from Hill Country farmers and producers.  Farmers’ Markets often meet weekly – typically outdoors – and are a great way to be exposed to your region’s local producers. Food cooperatives (often just called co-ops)…

Read More
Hill Country Alliance Board Member: A view from the Hill Country

Hill Country Alliance Board Member: A view from the Hill Country

The world has changed. In the span of 90 days, an unlikely viral emissary from Mother Nature has issued forth from a market in Wuhan, China and spread across the globe with dizzying speed and crushing effect. Who could have thought such a tiny, invisible strand of RNA with a flimsy protein coat arranged in a crown-like array, quite pretty on electron microscopy, could wreak so much havoc? We are now finding out. There is currently a concerted worldwide effort…

Read More
I went bird watching in Colombia from my couch and you should too

I went bird watching in Colombia from my couch and you should too

Of all the virtual experiences being offered to us these strange days, this was the one that caught my attention: virtual bird watching in Colombia. The creators of The Birders, a 2019 documentary about a birding road trip through northern Colombia have created a checklist of all 102 birds that appear in the hour-long film (free on YouTube) so that you can mark them off as you watch. The documentary, which stars Diego Calderón-Franco, an expert guide, and Keith Ladzinski, a wildlife…

Read More
Coronavirus hits already struggling Texas farmers and ranchers

Coronavirus hits already struggling Texas farmers and ranchers

Coronavirus has hit U.S. farmers and ranchers hard — to the point where they’ve stopped saying “it can’t get worse.” Burnet County ranchers are seeing those hard-hitting effects by the day. Auction sales are down significantly at the Lampasas Cattle Auction, according to auction owner Andy Baumeister. “It’s a tricky, tricky, crazy game,” said Baumeister. “Tuesday from 4 to 5 p.m. — the pins would be full.” Read more from Kaitlyn Karmount with KXAN here. 

Read More
Austin Parks adds new restrictions to hike-and-bike trail to combat COVID-19

Austin Parks adds new restrictions to hike-and-bike trail to combat COVID-19

The city has announced even mores changes for the Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail. In the weeks since Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt rolled out Stay Home/Work Safe measures to help combat the novel coronavirus, the 10-mile trail has become the subject of increased and ever-changing regulations. Beginning today, parking is being decreased around popular parks, and the trail will now be one-way in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. The newest rules were implemented on…

Read More
Director’s Notes – April 2020: Community resilience

Director’s Notes – April 2020: Community resilience

Dear Hill Country Neighbors,  If there is one thing that the past several weeks have taught us, it is the power and importance of resiliency. Whether we’re talking about our region’s ability to weather cycles of drought and intense rain, or our ability to adapt to an ever-changing economic and health situation, resiliency is the key to moving through adversity.   A great strength of our region exists in the ties that bind each of us and our communities together. While…

Read More
Supporting local Hill Country food banks

Supporting local Hill Country food banks

Across the state, food banks are seeing more faces than ever before. Whether you are in a place of need or a place of plenty, don’t forget your local food banks. A recent article from The Texas Standard stated that “the need for food bank services in [Central Texas] has increased by as much as 300%.” The need is there and if possible, now is an incredible time to give.  The Central Texas Food Bank works with partners across 21 counties…

Read More
Texas State Parks temporarily close to the public

Texas State Parks temporarily close to the public

Press Release: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department – For Immediate Release: April 7, 2020 At the direction of Gov. Greg Abbott, Texas State Parks will be closed to the public effective at the close of business Tuesday, April 7 in order to maintain the safest environment for visitors, volunteers and staff. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) will continue to stay current with the latest public health recommendations and will announce when a definite reopening date has been determined.…

Read More
Inside the story of how HEB planned for the pandemic

Inside the story of how HEB planned for the pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has transformed the country in just a handful of weeks. As Americans focus on the essentials—feeding our families and ensuring we have the necessary supplies to keep our households clean and safe—grocery stores and pharmacies have demonstrated just how crucial they are to a functioning society. We’ve seen chains struggle with the challenges the current crisis presents. Some stores are instituting policies limiting the numbers of shoppers allowed in at a time, creating long waits to enter.…

Read More