November & December 2010

TMN News & Notes from the State Office
Michelle Haggerty mhaggerty@ag.tamu.edu and Sonny Arnold, sarnold@ag.tamu.edu

Some highlights of this issue:
-    Individual Member Service Reports due December 31st for Chapter Annual Reports Due January 16th
-    Spring Training News release going out.
-    Plan ahead for year-end events and spring trainings–order supplies early
-    11th Annual Meeting Recap
-    2011 (and other years’) Annual Conference Dates Announced
-    2011 Re-Certification Pin announced
-    Suggestions needed for Statewide and Regional AT topics
-    Newest member reaching the 5,000 Service Hours Milestone announced
-    Dates to remember
-    Note of Thanks and Holiday Message

It has been a busy fall season with a lot going on and we’re not done yet!  Read on for more highlights of what has been happening and what’s to come still this year.

Individual Member Service reports due to your Chapter by December 31st, 2010 for Chapter Annual Reports due by January 16th, 2010.
Your Texas Master Naturalist Chapter must submit their annual report to the state office no later than January 16th.  As a TMN Member you will need to submit your time sheets documenting your volunteer service on pre-approved chapter projects by December 31st to be included in this report and in order to obtain the appropriate pins and awards you may have coming to you.  Hours submitted after the deadline cannot be included in the report or go towards your re-certification and milestone awards. Nor can service hours and advanced training conducted in one year be carried over into the following year for re-certification.

Spring Training Announcement and News Release going out soon
The spring training news release will go out in the middle of December.  Look for it at www.tpwd.state.tx.us/news
This spring NINETEEN chapters (almost 1/2 of our Texas MN Chapters) will be holding a training class–with classes starting up as early as the second week in January and many are accepting applications as we speak.  Be ready to receive some phone calls and emails from interested applicants as a result of this news release!  A couple of chapters even have full training classes already.

Plan ahead for end of the year celebrations and certifications or January training classes
Many of our 42 Master Naturalist chapters from across the state will be holding their year-end certification and award ceremonies along with their holiday parties and annual meetings if they have not done so already.  Likewise, many chapters are planning for training classes to start in January.  During the next several weeks we wanted to remind you of agency, campus and U.S. Post Office closures, and/or reduced work and service schedules over the holidays.  Please plan ahead as much as possible in order to receive your chapter’s pins, certificates, curricula or shirt orders in a timely manner.  We cannot expedite shipment.  As a reminder, pins and certificates can be ordered through Sonny Arnold (sarnold(at)ag.tamu.edu) and curricula, TMN shirts, hats and other TMN items can be ordered through the Texas AgriLife Bookstore at:  http://agrilifebookstore.org  Make sure you allow for enough time for shipping.

11th Annual TMN Meeting and Advanced Training held in October
On October 22-24th, 2011 we had one of our best Statewide TMN Annual Meetings & Advanced Trainings to date!  A special thanks goes out to the Lindheimer Chapter who helped in planning and coordinating the TMN Annual Meeting for the past year!  This year’s meeting was our biggest to date with over 360 people in attendance representing 38 of our 42 recognized chapters from across the state.  That total surpassed our previous year’s attendance by more than 100 people.    Thanks to all of you who attended and participated so wholeheartedly!  You made the annual meeting one of the best ever!   If you missed this one, then mark your calendars now to attend next year’s meeting taking place October 21-23, 2011 Mo Ranch Hunt, Texas!!  There should be no reason that not all of our chapters are represented at the annual meeting in 2011!

We also have the next few years’ Annual Meetings set as well!  Mark your calendars for:
October 26-28, 2012 Camp Allen, Navasota, Texas (being hosted by the Cinco Tierra Chapter who will be celebrating their 5th Anniversary in that year)

October 25-27, 2013 at T bar M Ranch Resort and Conference Center in New Braunfels, Texas (date and location tentative until singed contract is completed).

Some highlights from this years meeting included:
-    Numerous Milestone Award Winners-See the entire list on our state website at: http://txmn.org

-    Dozens and Dozens of excellent Advanced Training Topics

-    A silent auction hosted by the Hays County Chapter which raised over $2,000.00 for next year’s conference, scholarships and awards.

-    Our Third TMN Chapter Advisor Award which was awarded to Bernice Blasingame, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Advisor to the Panhandle Chapter. (Congratulations Bernice!) (Chapters-Be thinking about which of your advisors you can nominate for this award in 2011.  Nominations are due by September 1st each year.  Find the updated nomination form and information at the state website soon.

-    Other nominees for the advisor award were:
Please help us in congratulating your other deserving nominees:
Bryan Davis, Texas AgiLife Extension Service, Alamo Area Chapter Advisor
Clark Hancock, City of Austin, Nature & Science Center, Capital Area Chapter Advisor
Brett Johnson, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, North Texas Chapter Advisor
Burr Williams, Sibley Nature Center, Llano Estacado Chapter Advisor
Each of the advisors nominated are all very deserving of praise and recognition from the TMN program-that is what makes the selection of just one winning advisor each year so hard. Thank you Advisors and keep up the great work!

-    A tribute to our newest inductees into the 5,000 hour service Award Club (and the Presidential Lifetime Service Award winners).  These TMN volunteers were: Angelo Falzarano and Priscilla Stanley of the Hill Country Chapter, Diane Humes of the Galveston Bay Area Chapter and Nada Wareham of the Heart of Texas Chapter ).

-    The results of the Annual Photo, Art and Scrapbook and a new Newsletter category popular vote contests winners and the winners of the TMN Exemplary Project Award sponsored by the Magnolia Charitable Trust can be found on the TMN website.  (Be thinking about what project your chapter can enter into the contest in 2011 you have lots of time to be developing and implementing that winning project now.

-    Presentations from volunteers covering 13 different projects, round table discussions or new ideas implemented within their local area/chapter as a volunteer service project or an innovation solutions to a common chapter ‘problem area’.  Be thinking of a project, roundtable discussion or chapter solution you can present for other master naturalists to learn about at next year’s meeting.

As with any of our events, it takes a lot of help from our Texas Master Naturalist Volunteers in carrying out the state meeting.  Thank you to everyone (over 75 of you) who assisted with the meeting this year.  And a special thanks goes out to the Lindheimer Chapter who really stepped up to the plate to help plan and execute the TMN annual meeting as local hosts this year!!  The list of members and meeting volunteers is extensive.  Thanks again everyone!

Advanced Training Suggestions needed for Regional and Statewide Trainings
We’re currently looking for suggestions on Advanced Training that you need to help you be more successful in your volunteer service efforts as a Texas Master Naturalist for this next statewide annual meeting. Please send us those suggestions By March 1st, 2011 to Michelle at:   mhaggerty@ag.tamu.edu

Welcome to the Club– Newest 5,000 Hour Service Award Winner Recognized– RAY KIRKWOOD!!
Ray Kirkwood of the Mid-Coast Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalist Program is the latest TMN volunteer to reach the highest Master Naturalist Program honor currently available!  Ray recently received his 5,000 service hour Milestone Pin from the Texas Master Naturalist Program during the chapter’s Award Ceremony, Holiday Celebration and 10th Anniversary Celebration on December 5th.  Congrats and Thank YOU Ray!   Ray joins 19 other Texas Master Naturalists from across the state who have reached this milestone. He is also the third person this calendar year to do so.  Along with the polished gold dragonfly pin including a diamond in the center recognizing the 5,000 service hours, Ray will also receive the Lifetime U.S. Presidential Volunteer Service Award for his service as a Texas Master Naturalist.  The TMN Program state office is the only certifying organization for Master Naturalists receiving this award.  With this award, Ray will receive a special Presidential Lifetime Volunteer Service Award Lapel Pin, a certificate from the White House and a personal letter from the President of the Unites States congratulating his service.

2010 Re-Certification Pin Announced!
The 2011 Re-certification pin is the Horned Lizard and was announced at the recent Annual Meeting.  The recertification pin will be available for order in the first quarter of the New Year.  The pin certifies that a Master Naturalist volunteer has reached their annually required 40 hours of chapter pre-approved volunteer service and 8 hours of advanced training in the 2011 calendar year.  All service and advanced training has to be completed IN the year the pin is available.  Once the calendar year is done the annual re-certification pin for that year retires and is no longer available.  The 2010 re-certification pin was the Wood Duck.   A complete listing of past years’ pins can be found on the TMN website http://txmn.org

Service Project and Partnership Opportunity for Chapters with the NRCS Plant Materials Centers across the state.
The following is being shared courtesy of the Big Country Chapter who had a guest speaker, Robert Ziehr, from the NRCS Plant Materials Center in Knox City at one of their recent meetings.  The chapter and Rob have pointed out that many opportunities exist for Master Naturalists and their Chapters to collaborate on projects in and around the areas of other NRCS Plant Materials Centers across the state.

Rob Ziehr gave a very interesting presentation about the Natural Resources Conservation Service Plant Materials Center in general and Knox City in particular.  Rob identified the following ways that Master Naturalists can work together with the Plant Material Centers (PMC’s) across the state:

a.  Education by NRCS PMC staff (e.g., seed propagation, seed harvesting, pollinator training)
b.  Opportunities exist for Master Naturalists to assist with PMC field days for area ranchers and farmers
c.  NRCS PMC staff may assist TMN’s with any projects where plants or seeds are needed (e.g. restoration projects and native plant beds/wildscapes, schoolyard habitats, etc.)
d.  Master Naturalists may assist in collecting seeds.  Many of the PMC’s have lists of plants that are needed.  There is a form that can be filled in with information about where the seeds were collected, etc.
e.  TMN Chapter Training and Advanced Training field trips to PMC’s.

Rob is willing to meet with and talk with other chapters or, in the very least, put other chapters in touch with Plant Material Center staff nearest them.  Chapters may get in touch with Rob at the following contact:

Robert Ziehr
Plant Materials Specialist
USDA-NRCS
101 South Main
Temple, TX 76501
Office: 254-742-9888
Mobile: 254-223-3681
Fax: 254-742-9889

Podcasts coming for the TMN Program as an informational and recruitment tool!!!
In January we will be making a debut of a new feature for the Texas Master Naturalist Program with the TMN Podcast!  Texas Master Naturalist volunteer, Lester Harlow of the new Piney Wood Lakes Chapter is graciously producing these podcasts as one of his TMN volunteer Service Projects.  The planned podcasts will feature chapter news and events from around the state, features of Master Naturalists and Master Naturalist Chapter service projects among other things.  We’re hoping that this will be a monthly feature for the program on the website. Be looking for an announcement in January!

New Chapter Coordinators Training being planned:
A New Chapter Coordinators Training is being planned for serious individuals working to start new Texas Master Naturalist Chapters in 2011 or those new chapters that have not yet attended the New Chapter Coordinator training in the past couple of years due to cancellations. The Training is being planned for March.  It is a requirement that every chapter have at least TWO individuals attend this training within the first two years of their chapter’s development.  The training is only held once a year, so if you know of someone who is wanting to start a new Master Naturalist chapter or you are a chapter needing to complete your two trainee requirement, please contact the state office for more information.  This training will be held in the Central Texas area in March.  A definite date and facility is still being negotiated, but we will add you to the contact list for more information when it becomes available.

10th Anniversary T-shirts on Sale  (TMN Items make Great Gift Items too!!) :
The Texas Master Naturalist program is now offering the 10th anniversary t-shirt at the reduced price of ONLY $5.00.  Only a few smalls and several extra large sizes remain available.  This t-shirt features a design created by Texas Master Naturalist volunteer, Jerrel Geisler and it celebrates the 10th anniversary with an explorer theme.  See an image of it at the TMN website.

These are available from the AgriLife Bookstore.  Order on-line at http://agrilifebookstore.org or call 979-845-6573.  In addition to the t-shirts there are many other shirts, caps, patches and Texas Master Naturalist Merchandise available at the Texas AgriLife Bookstore under the “Master Naturalist” link.  Two new shirts were added to our line this fall and debuting at the Annual Meeting–One is a ‘Dry Weave’ women’s polo that is very comfortable and the other is a Columbia vented field shirt (fishing style shirt).  Check them out and order today.

Dates to Remember:
October 21-23, 2011 Mo Ranch, Hunt, Texas
October 26-28, 2012 Camp Allen, Navasota, Texas (being hosted by the Cinco Tierra Chapter who will be celebrating their 5th Anniversary this year)
October 25-27, 2013 T bar M Resort and Conference Center, New Braunfels, Texas (date and facility tentative until contract is finalized)

Thanks for a great year!
We can never say it enough–but, THANK YOU for all that you are and all that you do for the Texas Master Naturalist Program each and every day!  Our Texas Master Naturalists are truly some of the most passionate people out there taking care of our natural resources (and natural resource future!)   Thank you for that and your dedication.  We hope that each of you take a much needed break over the Holiday Season to spend time with your family; to reflect on your accomplishments through the past year;  and to become re-charged and set new goals for 2011!  If you are an exiting chapter officer or committee chair, we would like to congratulate you on a job well-done and thank you for your commitment to the program.  If you are an incoming officer or committee chair, Welcome Aboard!  And we’re looking forward to another great 2011 program year!

Happy Holidays and Safe Travels!
Michelle & Sonny

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