San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance •  107 E. Hopkins St. Suite 121A; San Marcos, Texas 78666

The Loop


SGMA News: November 2021


Students in Dr. Jason Julian’s “Parks and Protected Places” class recently presented brochures they designed, including six focusing on the natural areas that constitute the Greenbelt.

One is featured below:


Long-time friend of SMGA Rebekah Rylander is receiving her PhD in biology from Texas State University this fall. Her research focuses on the family flocking dynamics of the black-crested titmouse, a project that grew out of her Master’s thesis, also completed at Texas State.
In addition to being one of the first two recipients of the SMGA Fellowship, Rebekah has won numerous awards, including the Freeman Fellowship Research Grant, the WiSE Graduate Scholarship, and the Texas Ornithological Scholarship.
Since receiving her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas, Rebekah has done ornithological research around the world, in places such as Australia, Ecuador, and Hawaii. In San Marcos, she has run a banding station and monitored populations of golden-cheeked warblers. She has also helped lead the annual Christmas Bird Count for the Audubon Society.

SMGA is fortunate to have such a talented and hard-working member. Well done, Rebekah!


Texas State students in Dr. Karen Smith’s Marketing class are once again collaborating with SMGA to create and run a campaign that promotes positive trail culture in our Natural Areas. Students Alyssa and Jace joined SMGA members on a hike through Spring Lake to better appreciate all the benefits our Natural Areas provide and the importance of Leave No Trace. The students will share their work so stay tuned! SMGA members Monique Tschurr and Diane Phalen are assisting the students in their project.

Students in geography professor Dr. Colleen Myles’ Environmental Interpretation class are currently working on a project to identify and create signage for a number of plant species in Ringtail Ridge. Recently they toured Ringtail with City Forester Kelly Eby to learn more about the flora growing along the trails there. SMGA members Susan Hanson and Lance Jones are also helping the students with this effort.


On Oct. 21, The regular trail crew tackled the flood damage from the week previous when we got 5-8″ of rain in the natural areas. Purgatory Creek Natural Area excelled in flood mitigation but the trails were left a mess. Ovid and Beatrice were especially hard hit with duff (leaves, branches, and dirt) carried over the trails. A lot of wheelbarrow and shovel work was required.

Team Flora worked in Prospect Park on the solarization project. The floods there tore open the 6 mil plastic liners, which had to be replaced. We got permission from the City to seed P3 (50×50′ sq.) with grasses and wildflowers. Now for some gentle rain and sunshine.

Dr. Greg Moore wheeling debris past a lovely stand of sunflower goldeneye in Purgatory Creek NA
Replacing the tarp in the solarization project

On Oct 29, we were back doing what we love most— constructing new trail. The route was laid out to avoid erosion, twist and turn, and provide good viewing while out in nature.

It’s a re-route of Grey Fox in the Spring Lake Natural Area. We completed Phases 1 and 3 of the trail over the last two years, and now we’re working on the difficult center section that is rocky and steep. Once we complete the re-route, Team Flora and the crew will seed and cover the old trail, slowing down the erosion.

Our Saturday crew is working on this same area and advancing the trail further toward Blue Stem.


Compiled from reports by Lance Jones, Monique Tschurr, and Susan Hanson.

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