Free Event – Rainwater harvesting and turf management training set for February 23 in San Antonio

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Rainwater harvesting and turf management training set for Feb. 22-23 in Kyle and San Antonio

Contact: John W Smith, 979-845-2761,

Reagan Hejl, 979-845-5252,

Dr. Diane Boellstorff, 979-458-3562,

Ben Wherley, 979-845-1591,

Lee Marlowe, 210-302-3624,

Nick Dornak, 512-245-6697,


KYLE/SAN ANTONIO – Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s Healthy Lawns and Healthy Waters Program is hosting two residential rainwater harvesting and turf management training’s in Kyle and San Antonio on Feb. 22 and 23, respectively.

Both events are free and open to the public. Participants at either training can also have their soil tested free of charge. Both training’s will have a review of how to understand soil test results so residents and provide nutrient recommendations.

The Healthy Lawns and Healthy Waters Program aims to improve and protect surface water quality by enhancing awareness and knowledge of best management practices, coordinators said. Attendees will learn about the design and installation of residential rainwater harvesting systems and appropriate turf and landscape species based on local conditions.

The first training, in collaboration with the Plum Creek Watershed Partnership, will be from 1-5 p.m. Feb. 22 at the Kyle City Hall, 100 W. Center St. in Kyle.

The second training, in collaboration with the Upper San Antonio River Authority Watershed Partnership, will be from 1-5 p.m. Feb. 23 in the conference room at the  AgriLife Extension office in Bexar County, 3355 Cherry Ridge St. suite 208 in San Antonio.

Seating is limited, so attendees for either program are requested to register at the Healthy Lawns and Healthy Waters website. Those attending the program in Kyle should register at

Those planning to attend the San Antonio program should register at

Those interested in either program can also contact John Smith, AgriLife Extension program specialist, College Station, at 979-845-2761 or

Dr. Ben Wherley, Texas A&M AgriLife Research turfgrass ecology scientist, College Station, said management practices such as irrigation delivery equipment, interpreting soil tests and understanding nutrient applications can help reduce runoff and provide additional landscape irrigation water.

“These practices can improve understanding of rainwater harvesting and landscape management,” he said.

Dr. Diane Boellstorff, AgriLife Extension water resource specialist, College Station, said proper fertilizer application and efficient water irrigation can protect and improve water quality in area creeks and collecting rainwater for lawn and landscape needs reduces stormwater runoff.

Reagan Hejl, research associate in the soil and crop sciences department, said soil samples will be submitted to the AgriLife Extension Soil, Water and Forage Testing Lab for routine analysis, including pH, conductivity, nitrate-nitrogen and other parameters.

Residents in the Plum Creek Watershed area can pick up a soil sample bag with sampling instructions from the AgriLife Extension office in Hays County at 200 Stillwater Drive, Wimberley, or in Caldwell County at 1403 Blackjack St. suite B, Lockhart. For more information on that program or how to collect soil samples, contact the office in Hays County at 512-393-2120 or Caldwell County at 512-398-3122.

Residents in the Upper San Antonio River Watershed area can pick up a soil sample bag and instructions at the Agrilife Extension office in Bexar County For more information on that program or how to collect soil samples, contact the office at 210-631-0400.

At the Kyle program, Nick Dornak, Plum Creek Watershed Partnership coordinator, will discuss updates on watershed protection plan activities to improve and protect water quality in Plum Creek. For more information about the Plum Creek Watershed Protection Plan, go to

uiteAt the San Antonio program, Lee Marlowe, sustainable landscape ecologists at San Antonio River Authority, will discuss updates on watershed protection plan activities to improve and protect water quality in the San Antonio River.

For more information about the Upper San Antonio River Watershed Protection Plan, go to

Funding for the Healthy Lawns and Healthy Waters Program is provided in part through a Clean Water Act grant from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The project is managed by the Texas Water Resources Institute, part of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, AgriLife Extension and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University.

1-5 p.m. at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service –Bexar County Conference Room

3355 Cherry Ridge St. Suite 208

San Antonio, Texas 78230


Please Register at:


FREE Conservation Leadership Experience for Title 1 High Schoolers

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We are currently recruiting for our upcoming Spring Break trip to Inks Lake State Park. Attached is a “one-pager” with more info, but essentially it is an amazing opportunity for traditionally underserved teens to engage in conservation leadership experiences at State Parks in Texas through 5-day, Audubon staff-led excursions.

These are truly transformative experiences for all involved. We are finalizing our applications as I type this, but any teen from a Title 1 school in our area that is interested should feel free to contact me directly. Download application here: Audubon Conservation TREKS



Niki Lake

Education Manager

Mitchell Lake Audubon Center

P: 210-628-1639

C: 512-667-0786

Nikki Lake




2018 Picture Your World Youth Photography Competition

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Attached is information and the entry form for the 2018 Picture Your World Youth Photography Competition.

This is a city-wide juried nature photography competition and cash prizes will be awarded in two age groups:  8-12 and 13-18.   Information is also available on our website at

Please feel free to download this PDF and share with any and all interested parties: 2018 PYW Competition Registration and Entry Form


2018 Picture Your World Youth Photography Competition



Government Canyon SNA tops Texas Aquatic Science State Park Analysis

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From my colleague AmeriCorps VISTA Colin Findley: Here is some school analysis for the Texas State Parks with a Texas Aquatic Science (TAS) trunk and the top 30 Texas State Parks with water access that do not have a TAS trunk. The spreadsheet and chart include the number of schools in a 5 mile radius, 15 mile radius, 25 mile radius, and 30 minute drive time for each of the state parks. Current Texas State Parks with TAS trunks are marked in blue. Both the spreadsheet and chart are listed in terms of descending order for schools within a 30 minute drive time.

I have also included a map showing the number of schools for the 30 state parks with water access in terms of 30 minute drive time.

Texas Aquatic Science State Park Analysis

San Antonio Zoo School

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Yesterday was the ribbon cutting and grand opening of the Will Smith Zoo School at the San Antonio Zoo. This project started in 2015 and has come together quickly to transform the building and grounds into an Outdoor Learning Environment. It is a shining example of what a little innovation can do to create a space that facilitates active and unstructured play, while also providing a place for young children to have a daily connection with nature.

It has been an honor to work on this project from inception to completion. The Dallas Zoo is now on track to do the same and I have met with them twice now to explore ideas and help them make connections. Outdoor Learning Environments (OLE) are quickly becoming popular for childcare centers and preschools. Through our partnership with Department of State Health Services (DSHS), we are on the front lines defining this “rethinking” around how children should spend their time while at a childcare centers. I’m excited that once again, Texas is leading the way. This is all part of the long term system change that can seem nebulous for so long as the ground work gets laid, then quickly transform into a positive, tangible trend.

There are 3 more childcare center OLE! demonstration sites in process at – Texas Tech University, Austin Community College and Pasadena Headstart School. Additionally a “school yard park” is being installed at Barrington Elementary School in Austin that is part of the Cities Connecting Children to Nature project and uses the OLE! design principles.

Thank you all for your continued support of TCiN. It was an honor to represent TPWD at the ribbon cutting yesterday. Please find a few links to some of the media from yesterday’s event.

More here: Kens5, San Antonio Express News and My San

Texas Children in Nature Summit and Champion Awards Luncheon – November 7th and 8th

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Save the Date! November 7 & 8 at the El Tropicano Riverwalk Hotel in San Antonio.

Join the Texas Children in Nature network to explore the latest research and share ideas to strengthen the connection between children, communities and nature. During this two-day Summit, TCiN will bring together over 250 leaders from the health, education, built environment, faith, and conservation community to shape an even brighter future for the children of Texas.

Find the full schedule of events listed or to register go here

To connect on Facebook go here

Friends of Government Canyon | Halloween Fair at Government Canyon, Saturday, October 28, 2017 6:00pm 8:30pm

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Join the Friends of Government Canyon for a child oriented evening of fun to celebrate Halloween!



Who Is Invited

Open to ages 12 and under. Minors must be accompanied by a legal guardian for the duration of the event; no drop-offs please. Note that all areas for this event are handicap/stroller accessible. Each child will receive a carnival style map to guide them toHalloween themed stations which include games, crafts, and of course, treats!

Registration & Fees

Registration is required for EACH participant. Adults accompanying their children need NOT register. All Natural Area entry fees apply; please stop at the self-pay area to the right of the Fee Booth to self-pay. Correct change is required: $6 per person ages 13 and over; 12 and under are free. If you have a Texas State Park Pass, please enter the number on the appropriate line of the self-pay envelope. Credit cards are NOT accepted when self-paying.

When & Where to Meet

Meet and sign in next to the Visitor’s Center. The event begins at 6:00 PM, but you may come whenever you like and stay as little or as long as you wish. The fair will close at 8:30 PM. Plan ahead, as the Natural Area often experiences heavy visitation and wait time at the fee booth.

What to Wear & Bring

Dress appropriately for the weather; costumes are encouraged but not required.


No pets please. Minors must be accompanied by a legal guardian for the duration of the event. To reduce human impact on the Natural Area, please follow the Leave No Trace principles of outdoor ethics.


This program is subject to cancellation. Should there be inclement weather, please check Natural Area conditions by calling GCSNA’s main office at 210-688-9055 after 7:30 am, or by going to the GCSNA twitter feed or the Friends of Government Canyon Facebook page.

For more information about this program, email or go here