Category Archives: Member News

The CAMN Chapter Apparel Shop is Open Again!

The CAMN Chapter Apparel shop is open again!

There are a variety of styles, sizes, and colors available for purchase, including embroidered shirts, vests, caps, hats, patches, and even a soft-side cooler with the CAMN logo! Orders may be placed until 11:59 pm on March 30th, and 15% of net sales are contributed to CAMN to support CAMN programs.

You can place your order here

The CAMN Chapter Apparel shop is open for orders!

The CAMN Chapter Apparel shop is open for orders!

There are a variety of styles, sizes, and colors available for purchase, including embroidered shirts, vests, caps, hats, patches, and even a soft-side cooler with the CAMN logo! Orders may be placed until 11:59 pm on November 30th, and a portion of the sales proceeds will be used to support CAMN programs.

You can place your order here

Texas Master Naturalist Annual Meeting Trip Report


(Trip report submitted by Mikael Behrens)

I was fortunate to be able to attend the Texas Master Naturalist 17th Annual Meeting (October 21-23, 2016), and boy did it give me a lot to think about! The meeting was held at a resort on Lake Conroe, just north of Houston. Ironically, I and so many other naturalist attendants spent most of the weekend indoors watching Powerpoint presentations, but it was very worthwhile. Here are highlights from some of the sessions I attended that left an impression on me.

The only field trip I attended was on Friday afternoon to the nearby WG Jones State Forest. This has become an island of pine forest habitat in a sea of suburban development, with people’s backyards coming right up to some of the fence lines! Challenges this State Forest face include increased flooding and increased use by entitled neighbors who don’t understand what’s best for the forest and its endangered Red-cockaded Woodpeckers.


Saturday morning I finally got to attend the Texas Stream Team’s Standard LaMotte Kit water quality training. This is something I’ve wanted to do since our 2016 CAMN class water training at The Meadows Center in San Marcos. I plan on monitoring creek on Lake Creek Trail in my northwest Austin neighborhood. During the training we assumed my monitoring partner association was going to be the LCRA, but it turns out Lake Creek ultimately feeds the the San Gabriel River. I discovered the Good-Water Master Naturalists are monitoring the same watershed, so I’ve contacted them to see where I go from here.

In the Texas Ecosystems and Virtual Mapping presentation, Laura Clark with TPWD demonstrated an amazing online app that maps Texas by 398 different plant types at a 10 meter spatial resolution. See their TEAM application here:

And Laura or someone on her team will train you in its use if you ask!

The Texas Nature Tracker presentation by Marsha May with TPWD interested me because I wanted to learn specifically what kinds of citizen science field research was most desired by them. It turns out, they are most interested in anything involving the Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) list for our state. Browse this list and get inspired here:

Also, Marsha specifically mentioned how successful Austin’s Amphibian Watch project has been. We need to publicize it more!

In a presentation called “A New Era for Wildlife Management,” Richard Heilbrun with TPWD gave a brief history of conservation legislation and information about a new bill which could ultimately provide Texas with $50-64 million annually to fund our state conservation plan, laser-focused on our SGCN list. It’s HR 5650 introduced by Alaskan congressman Don Young. Richard is spreading the word about this intriguing proposed legislation!

The last presentation I attended was truly inspiring. Long-time Texas birder and conservationist (and old friend) Stennie Meadours had been monitoring American Oystercatcher breeding success on the coast near Galveston, when one of the birds they had banded as a chick died from ingesting a wad of monofilament fishing line. She was inspired to start her master naturalist chapter’s Plastic Pollution Prevention project. It monitors sensitive sites for plastic litter, organizes cleanups, and spreads the word about how damaging plastic (and in particular monofilament line) is to wildlife. An idea she had at the meeting was that maybe something similar to hunting ethics could be taught about fishing. The Texas Stream Team is also starting efforts to clean up and collect data about monofilament litter.

In the evenings it was great to do a little socializing with fellow CAMN members who also attended this year’s meeting. I feel more connected with them and more willing to reach out when questions or new ideas come to mind!

Enhancing Rainwater for Native Plants on an Austin Preserve

Rainwater collection structure above Terry Town on BCP Vireo Preserve
Rainwater collection structure above Terry Town on BCP Vireo Preserve

Some people think I, as president, do nothing in CAMN but send emails and run some meetings. Today I offer a spot of proof to prove otherwise. I was photographed in the wild at a work session on Austin Water/Wildland Conservation Division’s Vireo Preserve at the completion of one of the last steps of finishing our rainwater collection system. This remote-canyon roof structure will help free volunteers from having to haul water a quarter-mile each week over narrow trails to a staging area known as “Terry Town” (after longtime Wildland volunteer, Terry Southwell—also from the CAMN class of 2013.) The water is used, mostly by Terry, to help get newly-planted native forbs, grasses and shrubs established. While the property does feature a spring that runs most of the year, volunteers take great pains to avoid disturbing its natural flow and the plants and wildlife that have become established around them.

img_6998Today we completed the pads for the pair of 150-gallon tanks, and attached gutters to the roof. The last remaining step in the all-volunteer construction project will involve running PVC pipes from the downspout to the first tank, adding overflows, and attaching spigots. Then, the process can be turned over to the whims of Central Texas weather. The roof, at 128 square feet, will collect enough water to fill the two tanks after 4 inches of rain.

For those interested in less-remote rainwater use systems, a good resource for Central Texas is at

And, if you’re interested in some of the fun projects Wildland Conservation and Austin Water dream up to help protect critical habitat for endangered species, and the water quality of our local segment of the Edwards Aquifer, please see Members of the public can sign up for guided hikes on protected preserves, or volunteer to help in a wide array of conservation efforts, from public outreach to land stewardship.

On finding our volunteer motivations…

(Adapted from our internal newsletter for members.)

herbertia lahue... included apropos to nothing.
herbertia lahue… included apropos of nothing.

CAMN is an incredibly diverse group, with not only a lot of moving organizational parts, but dedicated people who take on many tasks to help run our business. Some of them serve on the board. But many without recognized titles quietly help with organizational tasks like reviewing applications, coordinating classes, and setting up or taking down our meetings and events. While much of this is not the field work or natural interpretation work we love – because who loves a good meeting more than a hike in the woods?? – the work should nonetheless fulfill a personal sense of mission and pride at whatever level we choose to engage. And because no one—not me, not the board, not another member—commands anyone else to do anything, we each serve doing what we can as best we can. When we have exquisite successes, we sometimes may only get modest outside recognition. When we don’t always follow through with certain tasks, we should never beat ourselves up too much. This is first-and-foremost a labor of love and not something we’re chained to.

Continue reading On finding our volunteer motivations…

April 2016 CAMN Opportunity Listing in VMS

Trying to locate the correct opportunity from the 98 items in VMS’s dropdown list can be very challenging. Download the 2016-04-12-CAMN_OpportunityListings to help you locate the opportunity you are looking to use  in VMS. The document is ordered by partner organization. You can also use “My Placements” on the VMS dashboard to see the full list.

Categories have changed slightly for experienced CAMN members. View the State program’s category definitions to understand the two letter categories found on CAMN opportunities.

As CAMN evolves as an organization so will our opportunities list. We will be evaluating how often our opportunities are used and where new opportunities could ease logging for the members.  If you know of a missing opportunity that several members would use provide the details by using “New Opportunity-Capital Area Master Naturalist” from the dropdown menu where you log your hours.

Any suggestions, questions or concerns should be directed to 


Congratulations to all 2015 award winners!

We had a banner year for CAMN service awards and recertification!  There are 82 members receiving the 2015 Bluebonnet Recertification pin!

But most importantly, are the service level award winners who should be congratulated for their continued contribution to CAMN! Please give all a hearty thank you for their hard work!

1000 hour gold dragonfly pin awarded to:  Jim Weber and Lynne Weber

500 hour sliver dragonfly pin awarded to: Jacque Austin, Elaine Davenport, Jeff Genung, Elizabeth Hinson, Marc Opperman, Shelly Palmer-Fettig, Terry Southwell

250 hour bronze dragonfly pin awarded to: Jane Adams, Stephaine Boyd, Ranleigh Hirsh, Joesph Hunt, Betty McCreary, Charles (Skip) Mencio, Jr., Harry Miller III, Marcia Sims, Randy Thompson

2015 Recertification Bluebonnet pin awarded to:

Jane Adams
Sue Anderson
Jacque Austin
Stuart Bailey
John Barr
Rosann Batteiger
Vernon Berger
Stephanie Boyd
Stacey Bucklin
Cynthia Cannon
Gus Cannon
Paul Clements
Ann Clift
Elaine Davenport
Bill Dodd
Carolyn Doolittle
David Dunlap
Sheila Ellwood
Angela England
Carl Fabre
Carol Fegan
Janet Fitzsimon-Barr
Peg Gavin
Jeff Genung
Jan Hanz
Elizabeth Hinson
Ranleigh Hirsh
Marianna Hobbs
Sara Holloway
Joesph Hunt
Dale Jaroszewski
Barbara Keir
Bill Kemp
Lois Koho
Linda Lacy
David Lyon
Melissa MacDougall
Thom Marshall
Jerry Mayfield
Kathy McCormack
Betty McCreary
Patricia McGee
Charles (Skip) Mencio, Jr
Harry Miller III
Peggy Murphy
Alicia Nelson
Meredith O’Reilly
Marc Opperman
Virginia Palacios
Shelley Palmer-Fettig
Becky Patterson
Nancy Podio
Jeri Porter
MaryHelen Quinn
Dawn Reed
Robert Reeves
Stephanie Rivaux
Mike Rogan
Janet (Jan) Roset
Jenny Samford
Deborah Sharp
Marcia Sims
Monte Smith
John “Terry” Southwell
Andy Swain
Charlotte Taylor
Randy Thompson
Kirstine Thorne
Jane Tillman
Miriam Vaughn
Myra Weaver
Jim Weber
Lynne Weber
Andrea Wilhite
Mark Wilson
Gloria Wilson
Sue Wiseman
Chris Wolfe
Max Woodfin
Nancy Woolley
Dorothy Young
Kenneth Zaslow