SMGA News: December 2021
TRAIL CREW ROUND-UP
The first week of December saw the crew tackle projects in four different natural areas. The Thursday crew split to tackle issues with seeps (water coming up from the ground) on Grey Fox in Spring Lake and Beatrice in Purgatory Creek. Other crew members worked in Schulle Canyon re-purposing concrete curbing to slow erosion in the pocket natural area. Saturday’s crew tackled the eroded Tex’s Trail in Ringtail Ridge.
They wheelbarrowed numerous loads of a dirt/rock mix to the far side of the loop trail. Flat rocks were laid and covered with the mix which was then tamped down. A trench that was dug about ten years ago during a Bobcat Build project was cleared of vegetation to direct the water during heavy rains. The natural areas exist for many reasons, but the two primary ones are flood mitigation and water quality.
MOUNTAIN BIKE TIME AT CROCKETT!
P.E. teacher Dylan Jones purchased mountain bikes with some of the Texas Parks and Wildlife grant money awarded last year. SMGA was one of his sponsors, and we’ve enjoyed joining him and the students in their outdoor activities and hikes in our Natural Areas. Two weeks ago, some 4th and 5th grade students learned basic bike safety and skills through fun games and obstacle courses. Fun for all!
BLANCO SHOALS BIRDING WALK
December’s bird walk was held at the edge of town on the Blanco River. The 15 birders were rewarded with sighting 26 different species of birds. Stephen described each and often their uniqueness. Although it was a grey day and the birds appeared black and white against the cloudy sky we were treated to some interesting sightings.
Next month’s bird walk will be on January 8, location to be determined.
The Christmas Bird Count is December 19. For more information and to be included in this annual event read our newsletter post https://smgreenbelt.org/christmas-bird-count-2021-coming/.
MET ON THE TRAILS
Texas State University Assistant Professor Holly Veselka and her Studio Art 1 students were recently seen in Spring Lake Natural Area. What a great way to research and look for inspiration to create an informative drawing about systems! SMGA trail crew were on site to share how we work to maintain balance in the Spring Lake ecosystem with the removal of invasive species and reseeding of native plants.
OUTREACH AT WORK
Three of our Outreach Committee members—Texas State students Rachel Seets, Journey Moreno, and May Green—represented SMGA at the recent Market Day on campus.
SESSOM CREEK NATURAL AREA
We’ve joined with the Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) folks at the city to begin seeding the small natural area between Chestnut, Sessom and Canyon. We’ve worked both Thursday and Saturday mornings to spread grass seed and some forbs and wildflower. The hillsides were cut of invasive trees (chinaberry, ligustrum and tree of heaven) and are now open to sunlight.
Several more workdays are planned for December before the rains begin.
TRAVIS ELEMENTARY HITS THE TRAILS!
PE Coach Marcos Cardoso and SMGA Outreach led a group of students on a hike in Spring Lake Natural Area last week. The students enjoyed learning about tree trail location markers, the Golden Cheek Warbler, and trail safety and culture (Leave No Trace). They told time with the sun dial at top of Tonkawa and took time to absorb the view at the top of Wickiups. My favorite was their discussion and methods on tackling the up and down crawling over a large rock outcrop on Blind Salamander. Mr. Cardoso plans on taking more students and grade levels out to the trails!
- Dec. 11: Guided hike (10:30 AM – 12:00 PM) Meet at the Meadows Center – Registration & info
- Dec. 19: Christmas Bird Count – More information
- Jan. 3: SMGA Board Meeting
- Jan. 8: Monthly Bird walk, location TBD
- Feb. 7: SMGA Board Meeting
- March 6: SMGA Annual Meeting
- March 7: SMGA Board Meeting