My Getaway: A Conversation with Jo Korthals
Jo Korthals is a Texan, born and raised. Jo moved to San Marcos shortly after she married Mark in 1989, and their son, Ben, was born the next year. Jo completed her MBA at Southwest Texas State (Texas State) and uses that knowledge in her volunteer work. She considers herself fortunate to have been a founding member, working alongside Inga Van Nynatten, when the San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance was created in 1998. In 2012 Jo and Ben earned their Hays County Master Naturalist certification. Jo worked for ten years at Texas State University but is now retired and enjoying every day!
Why do you value the natural areas?
I have always been a nature nut, so I see value in all of the flora and fauna; the more I learn, the more I seek.
Who or what most influenced your view of the natural world?
My son, Ben. As soon as he could walk, he was checking out plants and bugs and asking questions. We learned together as he grew, and we still do.
What is your favorite trail? What do you like about it?
I enjoy all of the natural areas in San Marcos. My favorite trail is Warbler Way in the Schulle Canyon Natural Area. The trail starts near the Bird Viewing Station and then follows the Schulle shelf.
What do you most enjoy doing when you visit the Greenbelt?
I enjoy looking for ways I can help improve our natural areas, even if it means picking up other people’s trash. I greatly enjoy working with Team Flora, planting seeds and plants and trees, knowing we’ll all enjoy them as time goes by. I need nature for my soul; nature needs me to protect and appreciate it.
What recommendations would you give new users of the trail?
View a map of the area before setting out. Turn off your music. Tune in to nature. Pause every once in a while on the trail, take a deep breath and look around. Take a photo of something close up, a leaf or plant, an insect if it will hold still. Use iNaturalist to learn about what you see. When you get home, start a sketchbook and draw from your photo and label it with the date and identity. Next time you take a trail, do it again!