Category Archives: Class of 2016

A day of weather, climate and water birds at Hornsby Bend

The 2016 Trainees completed their second class recently. It was held at Hornsby Bend’s Center for Environmental Research, a department of Austin Water Utility. Dr. Kevin Anderson (director of the CER) lectured on the history of ecology in the U.S. and Texas. Jon W. Zeitler (Science and Operations Officer, National Weather Service, Austin-San Antonio) spoke on the complex topic of what defines weather and climate, while Dr. Ruth Buskirk (University of Texas at Austin) introduced the trainees to taxonomy.

After lunch, Dr. Anderson gave the group a tour of the biosolids composting facilities, and led a hike through a small part of the 1,200 acres of riparian forest habitat at Hornsby. The walk highlights the bird blind built to facilitate watching the spectacular diversity of migrating waterfowl. At another stop, he discusses the progression some of the land made from being accidentally-bulldozed for a parking lot to becoming the mid successional forest that is present today.

Class of 2016 Orientation



With yesterday’s orientation at Discovery Hill, the CAMN Class of 2016 is officially underway. Meeting the new folks is always amazing, and a source of great inspiration to more experienced CAMN members. Learning what drives them to seek more involvement in natural resource conservation and outreach, what experiences they’ve had, and learning about connections they have to each other – not to mention just experiencing their enthusiasm – is a highlight of the year. Already this group seems to be gelling quite well, and one could see the seeds of some longterm friendships taking root.

Discovery Hill seemed a fitting place to kick off the new class. It is a partnership between the Austin Independent School District and the National Wildlife Federation to create and maintain an outdoor education center and field trip destination for students and teachers alike. In just three years, volunteers (some of them CAMN members) created lush native plant gardens with bountiful habitat for birds, pollinators, and other wildlife. With help from the Native Plant Society of Texas and Westcave Preserve (as well as other funders), gardens were created to showcase native plant communities, with each area within the garden representing the different eco-regions of Texas. Bringing interest (as well as wildlife, and, doubtlessly fascinated children) to the center of the gardens, a stocktank pool features water plants and small fish.  The grounds of the gardens, adjacent to Pleasant Hill Elementary School, are open to the public for a casual stroll. Interpretive signs and an outdoor solar classroom complete the learning environment.



One of the presentations we subject new members to features different ways CAMN members have gotten involved in their community. You can watch a version of it here.

Can we borrow your old curriculum?

CAMN Members…

Email if you are willing to lend your old CAMN curriculum to a member of the 2016 CAMN class for a few months. We are awaiting arrival of updated Texas Master Naturalist™ curriculum, which will not be ready in time for the first few CAMN classes this year. As such, we are asking that 30 current CAMN members lend their old CAMN curriculum to the new class members for a few months. If you would like your curriculum returned to you, Virginia will keep track of the binders and will make sure that it gets back to you after the updated curriculum arrives.

We will need you to write your name and phone number on your binder if you would like it returned to you, and will need you to drop it off at the CAMN Orientation on Nov. 14 at the Discovery Hill Outdoor Learning Center between 12:30 pm and 4:30 pm. Please email Virginia, so that she knows how many binders to expect.

2016 Class Acceptance has been decided…

Emails have gone out to those who were accepted to the 2016 Training Class, as well as to those who were not accepted. Please check your inbox (or possibly spam folder) if you were anxiously awaiting an answer about your application.

Thank you to all who applied. For those who were accepted, we look forward to meeting you at the orientation! We hope you’ll find CAMN to be one of the richest learning experiences you’ve encountered, and that you make many new friends in the process.

For those who weren’t… please try again next year. Many veteran CAMN members had to apply more than a couple times before they were finally given one of the ~30 training slots. And with 70 applicants this year that meant a lot of denial emails went out. We’re sorry. We hope you’ll continue to follow us and check back Aug. 1, 2016 for the next application.