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Shield Ranch

16037 Hamilton Pool Rd
Austin, TX 78738
Google Map to Shield Ranch Entrance

Date: 04/13/2019

Start Time: 8:30 AM
End Time: 3:45 PM

Driving directions from Austin: Drive to the city of Bee Cave via Bee Cave Road (RR 2244) or Southwest Parkway and Highway 71. From Bee Cave, take Highway 71 west. Turn left at the traffic light at Hamilton Pool Road (RR 3238). Take Hamilton Pool Road approximately three miles to the entrance to Shield Ranch on the left, across from Verde’s Restaurant. Look for the Shield Ranch sign.

Note that the directions on Google Maps are to the caretaker’s house. We will be meeting in the ranch house about 2.5 miles into the property.

From the entrance gate, follow the paved road and it will end at the ranch house.

Budget extra time to reach the ranch house once you are on the property. Parking space will be limited so please carpool.

The ranch house is a private residence of members of the Shield-Ayres family and contains their furnishings and personal effects. Please respect their privacy by remaining in the meeting areas and do not handle or move books or other personal effects.

Meet at the ranch house at the end of the road once you turn onto the property! You’ll see this small sign at the entrance:
shield ranch
Sign at the entrance!


  • Your own lunch!
  • Water, travel mug, notebook, pen/pencil, the usual
  • Loupe or magnifying glass to see those grass details if you have one
Wear field appropriate clothes!

We’ll be outside for about 3 hours in this class doing various activities. Wear long pants, closed toed shoes, sun protection and a light long-sleeve layer.

I like to bring a cotton long-sleeve button-up in my bag with me. It helps beat the sun and elements.

Speaker Information

Anna Strong

Botanist, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Anna W. Strong will be speaking to us about plant basic biology and anatomy and surveying the features of a handful of locally abundant plant families.

Anna has worked in the field of rare plant conservation for over fifteen years, starting with her master’s degree in biology from Texas State University where she studied the reproductive biology of the endangered Astrophytum asterias (star cactus). Afterward, she worked for five years in St. Louis, MO as Conservation Projects Coordinator for the Center for Plant Conservation, a national organization that works to protect and conserve the rare flora of the United States.

Since 2015, she has been a botanist in the Nongame and Rare Species Program at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, overseeing the 400+ rare plants in the state of Texas.

Angela England

Aquatic Invasive Species Biologist, Texas Parks and Wildlife DepartmentAngela

England (CAMN Class of 2014!) will be speaking to us about non-native and invasive plants.

She received her undergraduate degree in Zoology from the University of Texas, and her Ph.D. in Biology at the University of New Mexico.

Angela previously worked for Bat Conservation International for eight years, Hamilton Pool Preserve for one year and the City of Austin’s Watershed Protection Department for four years.

She is currently an aquatic invasive species biologist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Tom Watson

Retired Botanist

Tom received his B.S. in Biology at Sul Ross State University and went on to study Botany, with a specialty in Plant Taxonomy, at UT Austin, where he received his Ph.D.

Tom has taught botany classes at the University of Texas and the University of Montana.

He has been a dedicated member of the Hays Co. Master Naturalists for 15 years and volunteers regularly with the Wildlands Conservation Division of the City of Austin Water Utility for land management over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone.

Reading Material:

  • Unit 11: Plants from the Curriculum

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