Blackland Prairie Chapter

  “Education, Restoration, Preservation”

Congratulations Class of 2019!

Summer Edition of Newsletter!


KERA’s Miguel Perez report on the BPTMN class of 2019.
“North Texas Ecology Course Creates
A Team Of Master Naturalists”


The mission of the Texas Master Naturalist program is:

To develop a corps of well-informed volunteers to provide education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities for the State of Texas.

The Texas Master Naturalist program is a partnership between the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas Parks & Wildlife, and other local partners.


Become a Texas Master Naturalist


The Blackland Prairie Chapter appreciates your interest in the Texas Master Naturalist Program. We are primarily focused on Collin and Hunt Counties.


Join our Chapter


Completion of our training program is required to become a Texas Master Naturalist.  Applications for the 2020 training class will be accepted later this Fall. Please check back on November 1st.


Please consider attending Chapter meetings as a guest. It’s a wonderful way to meet our members, learn about the projects they’re involved in, and to enjoy interesting presentations from knowledgeable speakers. We look forward to your continued interest.


Chapter Meetings

2nd Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m.
Heard Museum Science Center in McKinney
(Links to Directions & Map for the Heard Museum below)


The Heard Natural Science Museum
Science Resource Center Building (SRC)
1 Nature Place
McKinney, TX 75069
Directions to Museum

Directions from the Heard Entrance to the Science Resource Center (SRC):
Stay on the drive, go past the main parking area, the museum building and maintenance area, continue to follow the curve, once on top of the hill, there are multiple areas to park in the circle drive or to the right. The SRC Bldg is on the North Side of these parking areas.
Click to view the Heard Museum Guide Map to locate the  “SRC Bldg”
(The SRC Bldg is in the middle of pg 1 and top of pg 2 of the Heard Museum Guide)


2019 Monthly Meeting Topics


September 10: “The Importance of Fungi in Ecosystems and Some Common Mushrooms in North Central Texas” – Denis Benjamin
Denis Benjamin grew up in South Africa and trained as a physician in Johannesburg. He emigrated to the United States in 1970 to complete his residency in pathology at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. He practiced pediatric pathology at Children’s Hospital in Seattle and Fort Worth. Denis was a Professor in both the Departments of Anatomic Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Washington. He is currently a Research Associate at the Botanic Research Institute of Texas in Fort Worth. In addition to nearly 100 professional publications, Denis has contributed to the lay literature and mushroom magazines and is a community Op/Ed writer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Denis authored the landmark book on the health effects of mushrooms (Mushrooms: Poisons and Panaceas) and has published a collection of mushroom foraging essays (Musings of a Mushroom Hunter: A Natural History of Foraging). He is also a watercolorist focusing on fungi and botanical art.

October 8: Deep Dive Class “Skills for Learning to ID Birds by Ear.”  –  Jean Suplick
Prior to the regularly scheduled October 8 meeting, from 6:30pm-7pm, Jean Suplick (BPTMN member and Chapter Education Director) will teach how to identify birds based on their vocalizations. Learning how to ID birds based on their songs and calls may seem daunting at first, but with a methodical approach and a set of skills for focusing your listening, you can start building your repertoire one bird species at a time. This class will be in the SRC building, and attendees will earn an additional 30 min AT (If you attend the Deep Dive session, be sure to enter the AT separately under “Other Approved Training”).

October 8: “How to Discover a New Planet” – Dr. David Baker
Dr. David Baker explores extreme stuff on Earth and other planets. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin, and his Master’s and Ph.D. from UCLA in Geophysics and Space Physics. Dr. Baker later worked as a research scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center investigating extreme precipitation events on Earth. He currently serves as Chair and Professor of Physics at Austin College in Sherman, Texas and is the Director of the Adams Observatory, which houses the largest research telescope in north Texas.
Dr. Baker has been honored as Texas Professor of the Year by the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation, named a “Global Hero in Education” by Microsoft’s Partners in Learning, listed as one of the Best 300 Professors by Princeton Review, and awarded “Most Creative Teachers in the South” by Oxford American magazine.
His award-winning book The 50 Most Extreme Places in Our Solar System has been published in English, German, Korean, and Japanese.


Past Topics

2019 –
August 13: Dr. Tania Homayoun
“Texas Nature Trackers: Discovering Populations & Documenting Change for Conservation”
July 9: Matt White
“Prairies and Milkweeds”
June 11: Jacob Eickstead
“Management of Roadside Vegetation and Wildflowers”
May 14: Sam Kieschnick
“How iNaturalist Influences Land Management and Guides Public Policy”
 April 9: Sally Evans
“Making an Impression: Tales and Tips from 50 Years Teaching about Nature”
 March 12: Carl Franklin
“Researching the Alligator Snapping Turtles in the Trinity River”
 February 12: Bob Mione
“Habitat Restoration of Large & Small Plots and Unintended Consequences”
 January 8:
Blackland Prairie Chapter Open House and 2019 Kickoff for Members