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Capital Area Master Naturalists

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Monthly Meetings

Chapter meetings are on the FOURTH Wednesday of each month and are open to all members and the general public. To further our mission, we are combining a completely virtual Chapter Meeting with a field trip the following weekend. (Details below.) The meeting begins online at 6:30 for chapter business updates, nature sightings, and announcements. An informative presentation begins at 7:00 followed by a Q&A with the speaker. CAMN members may log one hour of Advanced Training for each monthly meeting they attend.

Chapter Meeting and Field Experience

Chapter Meeting

Wednesday, October 26, from 6:30-8 p.m.
“Community Science & iNaturalist: Exploring Natural Connections”
Presentation by Craig Hensley, TPWD
Virtual ONLY, held on Zoom
VMS: Attending this virtual presentation and the following Q&A earns members 1 hour of Advanced Training (AT: Advanced Training CAMN Chapter Meeting)

Join other CAMN members to share fun nature moments, catch up on the latest Chapter news and events, and learn all using iNaturalist and how Community Science helps us explorenatural connections – Presented by Craig Hensley, who serves as a Texas Nature Trackers Biologist with the Texas Parks & Wildlife!

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 828 5539 4497

iNaturalist has become a go-to app for connecting people to the natural world.  From learning about the plants and animals around us, to contributing important data for conservation planning around Species of Greatest Conservation Need, iNaturalist is a tool everyone interested in the natural world should be using.  This presentation will provide an insightful overview of the iNaturalist website and app, and how you as community scientists can make a positive difference for conservation.  Craig will also share with you an exciting field research opportunity in the Round Rock area involving the Loggerhead Shrike!

Our presenter, Craig Hensley, is a Texas Nature Trackers Biologist with the Community Stewardship and Engagement Program in Wildlife Diversity with TPWD.  He has been an educator and naturalist for all of his adult life, sharing his passion for the natural world through engaging programs for more than 30 years from Minnesota and Nebraska to Texas, and stops in-between.  He is a federally-licensed bird bander and holds a Master’s of Science in Zoology from the University of Arkansas. 

Field Experience

Saturday, October 29th @ 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
  Bioblitz at Red Bluff Nature Preserve
Hosted by CAMN’s JMN Committee
at Red Bluff Nature Preserve
5607 Harold Ct., Austin, TX 78721

VMS: Members may log Volunteer Service only for time spent participating in the organized activity and must include logging items in the approved iNaturalist project (FR: Public Outreach, informal)

A BioBlitz is a “celebration of biodiversity – an event focusing on finding and identifying as many species as possible in a specific area over a short period of time.” 

The Red Bluff Nature Preserve is a 56.9 acre preserve in East Austin.  For years, members of the local community, neighborhood associations, and environmental groups fought tirelessly to preserve Red Bluff as a green space on the East side and to prevent future development.  Used as an illegal dump for years, the property was finally cleaned up in 2016 through the “yeoman’s work of community groups, notably led by Springdale-Airport Neighborhood Association President, Pete Rivera. (Austin Chronicle)”  

From the petition to Preserve Austin’s Red Bluff as Designated City Parkland – “For decades this great mound of multicolored clay, red sand, and heritage oaks has stood quiet watch over the city, providing a rich habitat for deer, owls, hawks, foxes, raccoons, rabbits, and the occasional coyote.  Social trails for hiking and mountain biking have materialized over the years as residents explored these beautiful, calming woods, as as young people sought foot access to their schools from surrounding neighborhoods.  The lookout from Red Bluff provides a stunning, 180 degree view of the Austin metropolis from the East…Heritage oaks loom in the shadows of the steep bluff, joined by massive cottonwoods and cedar elms in the lowlands.  The time has come to share this treasure with the rest of Austin and preserve it for future generations.”  

The years of dedication and tireless efforts from community advocates paid off when in April of 2019, the Austin City Council voted 10-1 to approve a resolution to establish Red Bluff as parkland!

CAMN welcomes everyone to meet us at Red Bluff for this event on Saturday, October 29th, at 8:30 AM to get set up (look for the CAMN signs and volunteers).   The BioBlitz will run from 9 AM to 12 PM.  Be sure to bring your phone (fully charged!) with iNaturalist downloaded and an account created (Craig will go over how to do this at his talk on Wednesday).  Other things to bring – water bottle, cameras and binoculars for far off birds and other critters, and bug protection.  As always, dress accordingly, come have FUN finding & logging as much as we can, and remember to be thankful to those who fought to protect this land so that we, and those who come after us, are able to enjoy it.

“The Protectors of the Red Bluff” – a 60×80 foot mural on Bolm Road, painted by Ruben Esquivel honoring his great uncles (Pete, Raymond, and Gilbert Rivera) who fought to protect this land in Austin.

Photo from “Bolm Road mural represents stories of Govalle neighborhood” by Meredith Aldis at Fox7 Austin,

Chapter Meeting Recordings/Presentations

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