October always feels like a month of renewal in the Hill Country. August rains replenished our aquifers, rivers and rain tanks, and the signs of abundance are reflected in the tall grasses, brilliant fall wildflowers and flowing rivers.
Fall is also a great time to reconnect with neighbors. With summer’s heat behind us, it seems that wildlife co-op gatherings, watershed potlucks, and star parties are planned for almost every weekend. The land, water, sky and community issues we focus on at HCA have impacts that cross fence lines, so it is rejuvenating to see neighbors coming together to talk about wildlife management, water resources, light pollution and river health.
Just a few weeks ago the Hill Country Alliance hosted our largest Leadership Summit ever. The day was filled with more than 160 natural resource managers, public officials and staff, land conservationists, and groundwater professionals sharing in a dialogue about the future we hope to see in our region. A copy of the presentations and a recap of the day are on our website.
We are also proud to have added Emily Warren, Associate Director of the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University, to our board of directors! You can read much more about Emily’s diverse background and passion for the Hill Country in our news release.
Now, it’s time to look ahead. Over the next four weeks HCA has a number of fun events and activities planned—and you’re invited!
- We’re hosting our first-ever Wild and Scenic Film Festival series in Mason (Oct 19), San Marcos (Oct 27), and Fredericksburg (Nov 1). The seven short films will inspire and excite and are filled with stunning imagery of wild places from around the world. Check out previews of each movie on our website. Space is limited, so get your tickets now!
- Have you ever wanted to spend the night in a treehouse? Or take 20 of your closest friends on a Hill Country wine tour? We are currently holding our first ever Rainwater Revival Raffle to support the HCA School Grant Program that funds rainwater collection projects on school campuses around the region. Go to the raffle website and enter to win incredible Hill Country experiences and prizes.
- The annual Rainwater Revival is the largest gathering of rainwater harvesting businesses and contractors in the state. If you’re considering rainwater harvesting for home or garden, this free event is for you. The Saturday agenda is filled with speakers and demonstrations, 50 vendors, food trucks, live music, the Raindrop Stop for kids, and the Rainwater Revival Raffle drawing on November 5 at the Dripping Springs Ranch Park.
- We are celebrating huge successes each week with the advance of our night skies work—a resolution for the City of Bandera, the formation of a committee to draft an ordinance for consideration by city council in Johnson City, and a business recognition program in Leakey. In addition, the Texas IDA recently launched their own “Be a Star” recognition program. If you’re interested in getting involved within your own night sky community, contact Cliff Kaplan. firstname.lastname@example.org.
- And of course, we’re looking ahead to the 2017 Texas Legislative Session—which could bring changes in the management of groundwater resources, opportunities for funding for open spaces, and much more. We’ll be convening a Texas Water Symposium on November 10 at the University of Texas in Austin for a preview of the legislative session and groundwater issues. Please join us, and feel free to email Charlie Flatten for more information at email@example.com.
As always, we couldn’t do this work without you. Please consider giving—at whatever level is right for you—to keep these important conversations going. And don’t hesitate to reach out to HCA staff—we’re always happy to hear from you.