East Texas Naturalist Blog

Information and photographs mainly about nature in east Texas. Our authors have widely diverse backgrounds and write on a variety of topics.

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Fighting Giant Salvinia With Weevils

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Earlier this year, a group of volunteers from the Cypress Basin chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists helped distribute weevils in an effort to combat the invasive giant salvinia on Caddo Lake.

Under the direction of Lee Eisenberg, 45 large plastic totes were filled with weevil-infested salvinia from the Morley Hudson Greenhouse, loaded onto several boats then transported to Willowson's Woodyard where they were released.

The empty totes were then filled with fresh salvinia to replenish the greenhouse supply where weevils continue to reproduce.

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Making Progress on the New Website - Slowly But Surely and Other Cliches Explain Our Progress

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Even though we have not made the new website live yet, I am going to continue blogging about it and on it.  The blog is to explain our progress as well as point out what we would like to do in the future.  

Hopefully we will be live before long.  Even though this blog won't be seen until then, it will still be relevant for it discusses our vision for the website.  

From the beginning, the idea was to have a website to simply spread our love of nature and hope to show others its wonders.  Maybe in doing so we will be able to get others involved in enjoying and appreciating nature just as we do.

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They Went That a Way - Adventures in Tracking

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From the time I was around eight years old until I was twenty-nine, I was immersed in nature.  As a young boy, I spent almost all my time outside and was often in the woods exploring and catching everything I could get my hands on.  Somewhere around the 6th grade, it became a little more organized as my interest in snakes grew and I turned to books to learn more about them.  As I have said elsewhere, my interests grew to include all animals.  It was not a surprise that I became a biologist.  But at twenty-nine, I left my job as a biologist so I could provide better for my family.  (Being a biologist was great fun until payday).  Sadly, I immersed myself so deeply in my new occupation that I completely left all my interests in the outdoors behind.  I occasionally took a short venture in the woods or desert and I did do a little nature photography when the chance presented itself.  There are a lot of sad parts about this but the worst is that I quit adding to my nature education.  The years have shaved off some of the knowledge that I had and I find myself having to refresh myself with facts and information on broad areas of biology.  Luckily, I have retained a great deal as well. I still feel I have a good base.  I just think about how much more awareness and enjoyment I would have now if I had continued my education in the outdoors and kept adding to it through the years.  

Well, all I can do now is pick it back up and immerse myself in it once again.  The training with the Texas Master Naturalist (TMN) program has helped with that.  It has also been enlightening in many ways.  

This past weekend was the final weekend of the basic training for the new class of the Cypress Basin Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists.  Instead of our usual location at the Wildlife Management Area at Caddo Lake, we were on a private lake at the Wilkes Power Plant in Marion county.  It is a beautiful location and was such a great place for our excursions.

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Digging Into Fish Brains

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I spent another fascinating day yesterday, training as part of the Texas Master Naturalist program.  But first, here is how my day started.

This was the view from my front door when I got up Saturday morning to get ready to go for my training at Caddo Lake.  (I live at Lake O' the Pines).

Friday evening included a short course in Entomology.  The presenter was Allen Smith, an entomologist with the Texas Forestry Service. He brought along his traveling insect collection that was quite interesting.  Even more interesting were his personal anecdotes about being a life long insect collector.  These revelations produced smiles, some laughter and in more than one case, comments that included the phrase ". . . your poor wife".  Overall, it was an interesting and entertaining event. 

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A Little Excitement and New Direction

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Texas Master Naturalist Cypress Basin Chapter
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I have had to stay busy at that other pursuit, making money to eat now & then along with other such mundane activities, so I haven't been writing.  Unfortunately, I also haven't been taking many pictures either.  Some, but not many.  However there are good things happening on the nature lover front.

I signed up for the Texas Master Naturalist training.  It is a really interesting program.  Rather than try to explain, let me take a paragraph from their website at http://tmn.org.

"In Texas, this partnership among the Texas A&M AgriLIFE Extension,Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and some 370 local partners has resulted in a unique master volunteer organization. At the state level, the organization is directed by an advisory committee providing training guidelines, program marketing and promotion, curriculum resources, and advanced training opportunities; and a volunteer representatives committee responsible for representing the varied interests of the chapters and providing a communication link to state committees and program leaders."

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