Haley Tacker Awarded Scholarship
Congratulations to Haley Tacker, a 2020-2021 SMGA Fellow. Haley was recently honored by the Meadows Center as the 2021 recipient of the Don & Reba Blaschke Scholarship for the Protection of the San Marcos River. Now a graduate student at Texas State, Haley has not only served as an environmental interpreter with the Meadows Center at Spring Lake, but she is also a trained citizen scientist with the Texas Stream Team.
Progress Made on Ripheus
After the 2015 flood poured through the spillway and deposited a huge gravel bar on top of Dante trail, the crew was faced with major challenges. How to re-route the trails? Thus was born Matilda bridge and now Ripheus Extension. Allowing hikers and MB to safely transit the gravel bar required moving many wheelbarrows of gravel and rock. A drain was installed in anticipation of future rains. New trail markers were installed in rock cages. Invasives like chinaberry and ligustrum were removed and used to close older trails. It’s open but not quite finished.
Professional Development in the Greenbelt
SMCISD Elementary PE teachers started the new year right with a professional development class in Spring Lake Natural Areas! Dylan Jones frequently takes his students and their families to our natural areas, and he shared the logistics and modeled what his outings looked like for his fellow educators. Sinkholes and aquifers, measuring heart rate, Native American gravesite, caterpillars to moths, and the discussion about the goldfish in the pond covered science, math, history and and geography in meaningful ways! Thank you SMCISD educators for taking the students outside. Have a great year!
(I tagged along and the biggest obstacle for the teachers was $ for bus and driver. Dylan shared how he even went through training to be a certified bus driver to cut on his trip’s cost. Our educators really put in the hard work and go above and beyond. Check in with your neighborhood school and ask how you can help.
Met on the Trails
Seen in the Greenbelt recently were U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services crew from the San Marcos Aquatic Resources Center. The researchers were accessing Primer’s Fissure in order to lower traps down into the fissure to capture salamanders. They used pistachios and potatoes for bait! A slime covers the bait, attracting organisms that the salamanders feed on. Our natural areas are always so interesting!
Also Met on the Trails . . .
SMGA board members Diane Phalen & Scott Henize enjoying an outing in Lower Purgatory
Team Flora worked in Prospect Park on our 50×50′ plots. Originally, one was solarized, one was mulched and one was cut bare. Only the solarization worked at keeping the dreaded johnson grass and KR bluestem at bay. Learning as we go (and with good advice from the experts) we solarized all three plots. The idea is to “bake out” the seed bank of invasives and re-seed with native grasses and wildflowers. But that will take time. We water under the plastic every couple of months and before the plastic sheeting degrades we continue the process until Spring.
Contributors: Lance Jones & Monique Tschurr