All posts by Jeri Porter

Officers of CAMN

After completing my training in 2002 I joined the volunteer hour approval committee to learn more about the process. During 2004 I assisted with the curriculum committee, the committee chair person relocated to another city and I was asked to fill those shoes. Having no clue about how to handle this responsibility I blindly took charge, selected chairs for unfilled spots and marched forward.

We had a great year of training, then in 2005 I was asked to do a repeat performance. With that experience I was able to guide an enhanced group of training leaders and we had a wonderful year of training. This lead to filling the President’s position in 2006.

Baptism by fire sometimes works wonders. I had no experience for these positions but had some wonderful mentors and great trainers from which to choose. All of those people gave me the inspiration to become totally immersed in the natural world and have never looked back.

I have been inspired by great teachers, by people who give willingly of their time and talents, by opening a new world to those who just need a little nudging to seek out the wonders of the natural world. My life has been greatly enriched through my association with the Master Naturalist program and I cannot imagine my life without those contacts I have made and nurtured.

Only through volunteering and offering what knowledge I have has it been possible for me to grow into the person I am today. I would not trade those experiences for anything and I would like to encourage any of you who can consider taking a position on the board to do so. I can tell you from experience that you will gain three fold over what you will give!

Jacob’s Well Natural Area

Following my retirement I have been spending most of my time at our family ranch in Fischer, which is ten miles west of Wimberley. While trying to work out how to continue with CAMN volunteer hours I became involved with Jacobs Well Natural Area. Since the property is located in Hays County, and our ranch is located in Comal, that resolved the eligibility status since Hays is contiguous to Travis. In the process I have become intimately involved in a beautiful natural area and have met some dedicated, wonderful people who are passionate about protecting this well, located on Cypress Creek, and the surrounding land.

If you think of a well as a hole in the ground out of which we pump water, we should rightfully call this Jacobs Spring. As a result of geological events during the cretaceous period, land along the creek bed shifted, causing a blockage in the bedrock and forcing water upward, creating an artesian spring. It is sacred to the American Indian; one tribe believes the well is the womb of their birth.

Through a series of economic maneuvers, the property surrounding the well is now owned by Hays County and is their premier natural area. Over-visitation during 2014 created the need for controlled access by the county and there is now a reservation system in place which limits the numbers of swimmers at one time. Fees are charged for swimming during summer months, and reservations are not required October through winter.

Human history at Wimberley has been based on this water source, which is now in danger of being over-pumped. Our mission is to educate visitors in the importance of having the water remain healthy, clean, clear and flowing as it meanders southward into the Gulf of Mexico.

I would like to invite any of you who want to spend a little time in Wimberley, doing something with a purpose, to come join us on the volunteer guide corps. Tours are offered mid morning each Saturday and last about an hour. Training is offered, you will receive volunteers hours for TMN via CAMN, you will work with a very friendly and helpful group of volunteers and your knowledge of the hill country will deepen.. If you want to learn more, go to visitwimberley. org then click on “jacobs well” shown in the menu, or come join us on a Saturday morning to experience the tour first hand. You may also contact me personally and I will be happy to answer any questions.

Oh–did I mention the divers? Described by some as “the most dangerous place in the world” (we assume for diving only!), some divers have lost their lives here in the past. Jacobs Well is the second longest water cave in Texas with over a mile having been explored. Today only teams of certified divers are allowed into the cave thus we we do not encourage that activity but the area is a great place to spend a morning or afternoon in our beautiful fall weather!