Texas Lone Star Land Stewards Recipients Named, Hill Country Landowners Kim Bergman and Pam Mabry Bergman Honored

Texas Lone Star Land Stewards Recipients Named, Hill Country Landowners Kim Bergman and Pam Mabry Bergman Honored

AUSTIN – They restore vital woods and waters, help bring back diverse wildlife ranging from rare species to popular game animals, share their knowledge with neighbors, and open their gates to youth groups and researchers. They are recipients of the 2017 Lone Star Land Steward Awards, bestowed each year by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the nonprofit Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation. On May 18 at the Four Seasons hotel in Austin, award recipients representing six ecologically diverse…

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Can you water your landscape less and still have thriving plants?

Can you water your landscape less and still have thriving plants?

What if there was a way to irrigate less but still have good-looking landscapes? Thanks to research results recently published by the Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources (IRNR) and the Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI), homeowners and landscapers can now learn exactly how little water is needed by popular Central Texas ornamental plants to not only survive but thrive. The drought survivability study, conducted in San Antonio throughout 2015, found that many ornamental plants popular in Central Texas…

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What the Prairie Teaches Us

What the Prairie Teaches Us

Paul Gruchow | The prairie, although plain, inspires awe.  It teaches us that grandeur can be wide as well as tall. Young prairie plants put down deep roots first; only when these have been established do the plants invest much energy in growth above ground.  They teach us that the work that matters doesn’t always show. Diversity makes the prairie resilient.  One hundred acres of prairie may support three thousand species of insects alone, each of them poised to exploit…

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How to help monarch butterflies without accidentally luring them to their deaths

How to help monarch butterflies without accidentally luring them to their deaths

Dara Satterfield has a unique way of looking at Monarch butterflies. She thinks of them as “tiny camels.” “They store up energy to help them through these harsh conditions for a couple months.” says Satterfield, a James Smithson Fellow at the National Zoo in Washington DC. “Flowers in Texas, particularly, fuel monarchs through their winter.” As monarch populations have declined, it’s become popular for people to plant flowers like milkweed in their yards, which encourages them to reproduce. But, recent research shows that…

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The Hill Country Land Trust releases first video in Land Steward Video Series: Prickly Pear Management

The Hill Country Land Trust releases first video in Land Steward Video Series: Prickly Pear Management

Hill Country Land Trust is proud to share the first of a series of videos on land stewardship.  Each video will focus on one stewardship practice. The first video features Steve Nelle discussing Prickly Pear management techniques. Take a look, then download the companion guide “Managing Prickly Pear Cactus” with more information.  Please join the conversation by filling out the comment forms on the same page.

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Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board to Enhance and Restore Monarch Butterfly Habitat

Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board to Enhance and Restore Monarch Butterfly Habitat

The Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB) is working in cooperation with 143 soil and water conservation districts located in Texas to enhance and restore the Monarch Butterfly habitat. It is estimated that over the past 20 years the Monarch population has declined from 1 billion to less than 60 million due to a number of factors. One of the most prominent factors that has contributed to this steep population decline is the loss of habitat and food…

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New Native Pollinator Management Guidelines Available for Landowners Working to Achieve Wildlife Tax Valuation

New Native Pollinator Management Guidelines Available for Landowners Working to Achieve Wildlife Tax Valuation

Protecting native insect pollinators on private property now comes with new benefits for landowners. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Nongame and Rare Species Program developed new guidelines for landowners to develop wildlife management plans for their properties. If a landowner’s property is currently evaluated under an Agricultural Tax Valuation, they may qualify for an Agricultural Tax Appraisal based on Wildlife Management Use if they follow the new guidelines to protect and support native pollinators. Because more than 95 percent…

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San Antonio Plots Monarch Butterfly Conservation Plan

San Antonio Plots Monarch Butterfly Conservation Plan

When San Antonio became the first Monarch Butterfly Champion City in December, people in the conservation community outside the city limits took notice. Mayor Ivy Taylor was the first mayor in the country to commit to all 24 recommendations on the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayor’s Monarch Pledge action item list to increase Monarch butterfly and pollinator habitat in the country. Being first counts for something, even as mayors in at least 99 other cities have joined the Pledge. Since December, the mayor’s commitment…

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How much is the urban forest of Austin worth? More than you might think

How much is the urban forest of Austin worth? More than you might think

Trees within the city limits of Austin, Texas contribute nearly $34 million in ecosystem services to the community annually, according to a new report by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). From May to October 2014, researchers from the Texas A&M Forest Service collected data on characteristics like the size, species, and health of trees found on 206 one-sixth-acre plots scattered throughout Austin. They followed the protocols of the USFS Forest Inventory and Analysis program, which has collected information about the…

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Spring Break is here and it’s time to capture those bluebonnets! Be sure to submit your favorite shots to the HCA Photo Contest

Spring Break is here and it’s time to capture those bluebonnets! Be sure to submit your favorite shots to the HCA Photo Contest

Houston Chronicle – If you have driven down our state highways lately you have probably seen the state flower, the bluebonnet, dotting roadsides and grassy expanses. Yes, Lupinus texensis has returned, along with warmer temperatures. It was a warm winter that led to the little blue icons coming back a tad earlier than usual. The flowers should be around until early May, though some stragglers may remain longer. Consider your window to see them about six to eight weeks maximum.…

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