Ecologist challenges the myths about Cedar, Texas’ most hated tree

Ecologist challenges the myths about Cedar, Texas’ most hated tree

Every year, cedar fever descends on Central Texas, and with it comes a deep-seated, Texas-sized hate for the mountain cedar. “Cedar fever is not just any allergy,” wrote Patricia Sharpe in a 1986 issue of Texas Monthly. “It’s a scourge, a plague that smites the just and the unjust who have the misfortune to live anywhere in a broad strip of Central Texas that stretches from the Red River to the Rio Grande.” But red eyes and a scratchy throat…

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Humans at fault for many nuisance species spoiling state’s environment

We should have our hands slapped over some of the things we’ve done in this state by letting plants and animals run wild. Think about it: We now have tens of thousands, probably more, of exotics — axis deer, black bucks, fallows, oryx, etc. — throughout the Hill Country. And while they do offer some income potential for landowners, they also swiftly overwhelm native animals such as whitetails and the habitat on which they live. We have zebra mussels in…

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Reforestation Experts Help Restore a Wild Blanco River

Each week, Ina Alexatos drives throughout Wimberley in a Subaru Forester with the words Trees for the Blanco printed across the side. She visits riverside landowners one by one to consult them on letting their banks go wild. She then stakes orange flags to mark where a variety of trees — bald cypress, sycamore, pecan — will be planted by volunteers, private contractors or Texas Conservation Corps. Alexatos works as the reforestation coordinator on the Blanco River for Austin-based nonprofit…

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It’s Time for Texas’ Second Annual Pollinator BioBlitz

It’s Time for Texas’ Second Annual Pollinator BioBlitz

In support of Texas’ second statewide Pollinator BioBlitz, organizations and sites around the state will soon be hosting a variety of events to get people outdoors to observe pollinators of all types in yards, natural areas, gardens, parks and community centers. Of course, you don’t have to visit a particular site to participate, your very own yard or green space will do. Thanks to the success of last year’s BioBlitz, this very special event has been extended to two weeks, Sept.…

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Volunteers Work to Protect Native Trees Along South Llano River

Volunteers Work to Protect Native Trees Along South Llano River

On Sunday, July 9th, volunteers from the Texas Master Naturalist Program joined staff from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Llano River Watershed Alliance, Hill Country Alliance, and Texas Tech University Field Station at the South Llano River State Park in Junction. The team worked together to identify native tree saplings and install caging around them, to protect them from deer and other browsing animals. Native trees provide important values for humans, wildlife, and livestock. Scientists, land managers and river…

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Gregg Ranch First Corporate Supporter of Hill Country Beautification Project

Gregg Ranch First Corporate Supporter of Hill Country Beautification Project

The Gregg Ranch development leads the way as the first major corporate sponsor of the Gateway to the Hill Country Beautification Project. Located at US Highway 281 and Texas Highway 71, the Project will feature native Texas wildflowers on 56 acres of grassy median, easements and clover leaf sections of the highway right-of-way. The Hill Country beautification project is being spearheaded by Citizens of Scenic Texas Highways, Central Texas (CSTH), a non-profit organization of volunteers. “We are very excited to add Gregg Ranch to the…

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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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