Good Water Ripples
Volume I Issue 1 January, 2011
This is the first issue of our newsletter. I invite all members to submit
items for upcoming issues. In this issue are two book reports, one species report
and one trip report. My hope is that the newsletter becomes both eduacatioal and
fun. Please let me know what other topics you would like to see. Our Good Water
chapter Master Naturalists are world travelers so I expect to see stories and
pictures of your travels. Many thanks to Sterlin Barton for his contributions
Diane Gooodwin, Editor
Species of the Month
Samuel H. Scudder, an American entomologist and paleontologist, first published the monarch butterfly’s common name in 1874 and went on to describe the insect as “one of the largest of our butterflies . . . [that] rules a vast domain.” Indeed, the wingspan of a fully-grown adult monarch butterfly can reach anywhere between three and a half to four inches, and it can be found as far north as Canada and as far South as Australia, along with parts of Europe, the Caribbean, the South Pacific, and amid islands dotting the Atlantic Ocean. Also known as milkweed butterflies due to their dependence on the milkweed plant, North American monarchs are the only butterflies known to fly south for the winter and north for the summer, after which they amass in only 10 to 12 large colonies. The lengthy process of migration generally spans four generations, yet each successive generation is endowed with apparent optimism, tenacity, and a determination to make its way back home.
The 2010 (Seventh Edition) Keep Texas Beautiful ornament from the Texas Department of Transportation
“Exploring the Edges of Texas” by Walt and Isabel Davis
When Walt Davis was a kid growing up in Oak Cliff Texas he was enthralled by the travel writing of Frank X. Tolbert in the Dallas Morning News. Tolbert drove around the edges of Texas and reported his sightings. Fifty years later the Davis’ made a similar journey with Walt writing and drawing as they went. This time the Davis’ researched before hand to find other documented journeys to the edges of Texas they would be visiting.
The book therefore finds niches in Texas documented 100-150 years ago and contrasts them to their recent journey. It is a fascinating blend of naturalist observation and Texas history.
Reading Suggestion: Limit yourself to one chapter a day; there are sixteen chapters, each describing one location. Pick a time to read just to relax, unwind and enjoy. Give yourself time to reflect.
“The Twelve Days of Christmas in Texas,” by Janie Bynum, born and raised in Dallas.
My grandchildren gave me a juvenile book for Christmas which would have been very handy for completing Valerie’s little test on the Texas State symbols.
The first day is not the partridge in a pear tree, but a mockingbird in a pecan tree. The second day is two monarch butterflies. Each day follows with a new topic of interest. This is very meaningful to all us Texans, as two children tour the state with their grandparents experiencing eco-regions, wildlife, and history.
Good Water Master Naturalist Wonderings
The West Coast and Points in Between.
by Diane Goodwin
In the summer of 2010 my husband and I made a 7500 plus mile road trip throughout our western states. While not a first road trip for us, we prefer car travel to planes; it was the first road trip for me with my new found Master Naturalist eyes.
While we had many interesting visits and wanderings during our trip to Santa Monica, up the Coast to Vancouver, our cruise to Alaska and finally our trip home thru the High Plains States and then south. I have selected a few to share. Our stop in Santa Monica, our former home, would not be complete without a much desired walk on the beach. Our home was six blocks from the beach at the pictured below. After I took that picture I turned around and took a picture of the rest of the beach behind me. The beach is so wide you can take a walk on the beach just going from the parking lot to the water’s edge!
We drove up Coast Highway and after leaving San Francisco stopped at Navarro winery near Philo. The owners have been friends of ours for 40 years or more, so we got a private tour of the vineyards. The owners have been “going green” for a long time now. Among many of the things they are doing: they are using sheep for weed control, using best practice water management techniques on their terraced vineyards, raise most of their own food with a little help from their daughter who has a nearby goat ranch and, of course make their own wine.
Once we reached Vancouver, we caught our cruise ship for a week long journey on the Inside Passage. On our way back we stopped at Ketchikan for an afternoon. Determined to get away from the tourist shops, we opted for a guided nature walk, not very adventurous, I know, but it was something. We got a pretty good feel for a temperate rainforest and an extremely rare sighting in Ketchikan, a cloudless, blue sky and 70 degree temperature.
For us this month long road trip gave us a much better prespective of this great country and the glories of nature within its boundries.