Coastal Prairie Chapter Events, a Brief History
First and Smallest: Prairie Heritage Festival (2008-2017)
“The Grand Poobah,” Jim Butcher, has fond memories of our chapter’s first major public outreach event in 2008, held at the 40-acre Lake parking lot in Brazos Bend State Park. Only three years in from the birth of the Coastal Prairie Chapter, it also coincided with Jim’s initial training to become a certified Texas Master Naturalist™ himself.
“Only a few tables and some brochures (if you want to call them that),” Jim told Shannon, “to better help people connect to the coastal prairie ecosystem there at the park. We were just learning about all this stuff ourselves, and the best way to learn is to get peppered with all sorts of questions asked by the general public.”
Cheryl Sedivec was chapter president at that time, spear-heading a valiant effort for the small group. What the event may have lacked in size was made up for with a can-do spirit, creating a template for future outreach events. The inaugural Prairie Heritage Festival had made its way into the chapter annals.
“Only a few tables and some brochures (if you want to call them that).”Jim Butcher, on the first Prairie Heritage Festival
Big and Short-lived: Seabourne Nature Fest (SNF) Comes and Goes (2018-2019)
The year following that first event, a partnership began to develop between the TMN Coastal Prairie Chapter and the City of Rosenberg. Seabourne Creek Nature Park would be the place where all things education, outreach, and service for fresh and veteran naturalists would happen, and the Prairie Heritage Festival moved to the park in 2012, just a stone’s throw from the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds and chapter headquarters off Band Road.
For six years, PHF was held annually there, always FREE and open to the public. In order to highlight the park as our signature project, Prairie Heritage Festival was rebranded in 2018 to Seabourne Nature Festival, or Seabourne Nature Fest (SNF) for short. That was our largest outreach event held to-date with a couple thousand people attending. The second (and last) one was held the following year in 2019, COVID-19 shutdowns forcing cancelation of several events in a row. Determined to get it down, a smaller more habitat focused and seasonal Seabourne Nature Days (SND) went into the planning phase. Four dates were chosen in April 2023:
September 23, 2023 in the Butterfly Garden
December 2, 2023 in the Bird Sanctuary
March 2, 2024 in the Arboretum
May 11, 2024 in the Prairie Demo Garden
Just Right! Seabourne Nature Day Begins 2023
September 23, 2023 — a very warm first day of autumn — kicked off the chapter’s first large outreach event since 2019. Several well-informed volunteers and a variety of scheduled activities and programs helped connect many park visitors to nature. Just under 200 people arrived to enjoy fun crafts and activities that focused on the park’s Butterfly Garden and the wonders of pollination. With a roughly 1:6 volunteer to visitor ratio, it was more engaging than the small Prairie Heritage Festival and more intimate than the much bigger Seabourne Nature Fest. The size and scope of Nature Day had hit the Goldilocks Zone.
It took a team of people to ensure all the moving parts worked in concert, but event coordinator, Jan Poscovsky (TMNCPC Class of Fall 2022) was instrumental in coordinating the event from start to finish. No matter where she was roaming that day, she was chatting with the public and having fun with volunteers! This was much more than a few tables and some brochures, Jan. A heartfelt thank you from all your fellow members and the public.
Seabourne Creek (SCNP) Nature Day event was a great success! Project stations included: butterfly origami and butterfly feeder creation; scavenger and word puzzle hunts; native wildflower seed distribution; free raffles; face painting and stencil tattoos. Experienced Master Naturalists gave regularly scheduled informative talks on creating inviting habitats, attracting pollinators, migration, and more. Even though it was still summer hot, autumn nature fun was had by all, adults and kids alike.
Like many other outreach events in the past, Coastal Prairie Chapter events are FREE and open to the public.
Save the Date: December 2, 2023
Our next FREE Nature Day event will be held on Saturday, December 2, 2023 from 10 AM – 2 PM and will highlight the Bird Sanctuary habitat at Seabourne Creek. We look forward to helping connect you to a different habitat section of Seabourne Creek Nature Park with each event.
Come join us!
About the Header Image, Gallery
Header Image: Hoiman Low captures the event crowd on a beautiful cloudy day for our first large public event in four years. They are enjoying the Butterfly Garden, one of the seven habitats created and stewarded by Master Naturalists at Seabourne Creek Nature Park in Rosenberg.
Master Naturalists are also talented photographers! Photos in the gallery are by Hoiman Low, Joyce Tipton, and Susan Walther, all of TMNCPC; Chuck Snyder of TMN Galveston Bay Area Chapter attended the event and captured our president, Terri Hurley … greeting a visitor with her ever-present smile.