Projects for TPWD and BBSP  — VSP Info for Members

For Texas Parks and Wildlife

White-winged Dove Banding  —–  Ranching & Wildlife Expo Booth  —–

For Brazos Bend State Park

BBSP Volunteering  —– Eco-Explorers  —–  Pond Life Presentation  —–  Fire Ant Treatment  —–  Tallow Whacking  (temporarily suspended–check with David Heinicke, Park Naturalist (979) 553-5124 )

White-winged Dove Banding Project (May – July)

Sponsor: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Sponsor Contact: David Lobpries,  832-595-8999
CPC Project Leader: Susie Doe, 281-342-2534
Time:  To be determined by TMNs working on the project
Location:  Various sites in Ft. Bend and Waller county
Description:  Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is conducting a White-Winged Doves Banding Project in an effort to track their territory expansion and movements.   In 2009 CPC Master Naturalists assisted TPWD.    In 2010 Coastal Prairie Master Naturalists, in effect, ran this project in Fort Bend county with continued training assistance from TPWD.   In 2011 we added sites in Waller County; over 150 doves were banded in the two counties.  This project will continue in 2012.  Application to be placed on the birding permit required by April 11, 2012.  Training Session to be schedule for late April/early May.

Banding will take place on master naturalists property or other properties used in past years and additional properties identified by CPC as part of the project.  Pre-baiting begins in mid-May;  banding (weekly or bi-weekly) begins in late May and runs through late July-early August.
# of Volunteers Needed: No limit.    To participate in the actual banding process (i.e. handling birds) you must be trained (either by TPWD staff or trained TMNs) and be included on the  bird banding permit issued for the project.  Permitting occurs in April.
Supplies Needed: Banding supplies (including seed feed, traps, bands, etc.) will be provided by TPWD.   Dress for the outdoors and weather, including wearing closed-toe shoes.   Remember sun-screen and water and insect repellent.
Difficulty Rating: 2
Maximum VSP hours: Time spent

Ranching & Wildlife Expo — Assist at TPWD Booth

Sponsor: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Sponsor Contact: Diana Foss, 281-456-7029 ext. 21
CPC Contact:  Jimmie Brannon

Status:  Annual,  Early March
Time: Variable
Location: Reliant Arena at One Reliant Park, Houston, TX 77054
Description: Assist Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Biologists staff the TPWD booth at the Ranching & Wildlife Expo.     Help distribute print material to booth visitors.    Answer questions about wildlife and habitats, if comfortable doing so.   It’s a great opportunity to lend a helping hand and receive on-the-job training from TPWD biologists from around the region.    Volunteers will not be on their own in the booth; they will always be accompanied by a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department representative.
Great opportunity to earn volunteer service hours and attend the associated Ranching & Wildlife Expo lectures approved for advanced training credit on certain event days (See Calendar).
Parking permit to be provided. No admission fee. Contact Diana Foss if you have questions or are interested in this opportunity, so that she can schedule volunteers and arrange for parking permit. (E-mail works best, as she is often in the field.)
# of Volunteers Needed: 1-3 per shift
Supplies Needed: Prepare to purchase or bring your own meals or snacks. Wear comfortable shoes.
Difficulty Rating: 2
Maximum VSP hours: Time spent


Brazos Bend State Park Outreach Volunteering

Sponsor: Texas Parks & Wildlife
Sponsor Contact: Sharon Hanzik, (979) 553-5123; or David Heinicke, (979) 553-5124
CPC Contact:
Status: active, daily
Time: Variable
Location: Brazos Bend State Park
Description: Brazos Bend State Park has 35 miles of trails and 5,000 acres of protected land, including fragments of intact coastal prairie, and is one of our chapter’s main partners.    It offers a wide array of volunteer opportunities, any of which can be applied to TMN service.    Most will require that you complete the Park’s own volunteer training program prior to participation, a 3-week course (Saturdays only), offered in September and February. (See Brazos Bend Volunteer Organization for details.)     Several CPC members are also active BBSP volunteers and earn TMN hours there.
Volunteer opportunities requiring BBSP training include:  leading formal (park scheduled) hikes, trail interpretation and patrol, and nature center staffing.
Master Naturalists can give interpretative talks, guide hikes, and interpret informally along trails provided you contact David Heinicke or Sharon Hanzik in advance.
Not all projects there require BBSP training, however.    You can help with trail maintenance, summer season water delivery to dry points in the park, and wood yard work.    For other projects that do not require BBSP training, see Eco-Explorers, Pond Life Presentation, Fire Ant Treatment, and Chinese Tallow Treatment on this page.
New Texas Master Naturalist projects are welcomed by Park management  — If you have an idea for a new project, please contact our VSP Chairman.
# of Volunteers Needed: The Park always needs enthusiastic volunteers.
Supplies Needed: Depends on the activity.
Maximum VSP hours: Time spent.

Eco-Explorers – Brazos Bend State Park

Sponsor: Brazos Bend State Park
Sponsor Contact: Carrie Sample , President BBSP Volunteer Organization, 281-937-7075
CPC Contact: Carrie Sample
Status: Active, annual event during the summer.
Time: 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Location: Brazos Bend State Park near the Nature Center.
Description: Summer program that teaches children about the wonders of nature in beautiful Brazos Bend State Park.    Attracts children from age 4 through 12.    Each week’s program revolves around a different theme and incorporates an indoor lesson (30 minutes), an outdoor activity (30 minutes), a related game (15 minutes), a craft (20-30 minutes) and refreshments! Help Needed: Do you have a particular interest or hobby that you could share? Do you have a collection you could share? Do you know of a game that has a nature theme? Do you know of a craft that we could do about nature? Do you have any ideas for activities? Program themes that would fit nicely include butterflies, insects, reptiles, native animals, flowers, plants, and trees, to name a few. Eco-Explorers would be greatly enriched if different Master Naturalists would be involved each week. If you can make a contribution to this summer’s Eco-Explorers program, please contact Carrie Sample.    Once she knows more about what you can contribute, she will work with you to schedule your involvement and round-out the day’s activities.
# of Volunteers Needed: 8-16
Supplies Needed: All will be provided
Difficulty Rating: 2
Maximum VSP hours: 2 hours per day’s event, plus time spent preparing a presentation or activity, set-up, and take-down time.

Pond Life Presentation

Sponsor: Brazos Bend State Park
Sponsor Contact: Glen Kilgore (schedules dates at BBSP and notifies CPC well in advance)
CPC Contact: Don & Penny Johnson
Status: active, periodic (3-4/year)
Time: generally 9:30am – 3:30pm
Location: Brazos Bend State Park Nature Center
Description:   Designed for all visitors to the park, especially kids, this popular program periodically at the Brazos Bend State Park Nature Center and can draw more than 100 participants.   Volunteers may assist park staff and/or BBSP volunteers with specimen collection and ID, room or booth set-up (if the event is held outside), explanation of the specimens to the visitors, and clean-up afterward.   This project offers volunteers an excellent opportunity to learn about aquatic life.
# of Volunteers Needed: 2-3
Supplies Needed: None – everything will be supplied by the Park;  knowledge base -moderate
Difficulty Rating: 2 (some standing) unless you collect from the pond, then 3
Maximum VSP hours: 6-7 hours

Fire Ant Control Treatments

Sponsor: Brazos Bend State Park
Sponsor Contact: David Heinecke, Park Naturalist,  979 553-5124
CPC Contact: 
Status: Active, twice a year, around April 1 and September 1, depending on weather, over a several day period (See CPC Calendar)
Time: To be determined (See CPC Calendar)
Location: Meet at Brazos Bend State Park, Nature Center.
Description: The goal of this project is to control fire ants at Brazos Bend Park in the areas that are most frequented by visitors so that those visitors will continue to come to the park, learn about natural history, and support our state parks.    Fire ants are easily the most notorious invasive insect in the United States.    Wildlife biologists in Texas believe them to be widely destructive of our natives, including rodents, reptiles, ground-dwelling birds such as the Attwater’s Prairie Chicken and the Northern Bobwhite. There’s even evidence that they are deadly to fish when ingested.    (For a good survey of fire ant research on the web, see http://www.myakkariver.org/fireants.html.)  In addition, fire ants can make life miserable for people, too.   They are well known for their painful stings and aggressive behavior.   The primary treatment method is to broadcast a bait.    The worker ants take the bait back to the colony and feed it to the larvae workers and the queen.    Broadcast baits are easy to apply.    They require no mixing, little measuring or weighing, and one rapid pass over the area to be treated.    Application is made with a spreader mounted on a four wheeled all terrain vehicle (ATV).    Two volunteers staff the vehicle, one as a driver, the other as navigator/operator of the bait spreader.    The bait material is non-toxic and is not harmful to plants or animals, affecting only the fire ants.    For immediate treatment, mounds are treated by hand with an insecticide that kills the affected ants but does not kill the queen.    This project offers an excellent opportunity to learn about the park and its wildlife.
# of Volunteers Needed: Two per area of the Park. There are 19 distinct Park areas to be surveyed and treated. Volunteers should contact Ron Morrison in advance so that he can effectively allocate resources to the task.
Supplies Needed: Lunch, clothes and gear appropriate for all kinds of weather (long pants, long shirt, hiking boots/sturdy shoes, hat, sunscreen, insect repellant, water)
Difficulty Rating: 2 (navigator/mound treatment) & 3 (Setup/Driver)
Maximum VSP hours: Time spent in accordance with Ron Morrison’s schedule

Chinese Tallow Treatments — Invasive Species Mediation  (temporarily suspended)

This project has been temporarily suspended at the request of Steve Killian, Park Manager.  He is concerned about the number of dead trees visible to the public.  Jim Calvert, Cradle of Texas Master Naturalist, will be working to get this project reinstated.
Sponsor: Brazos Bend State Park
Sponsor Contact: David Heinicke, Park Naturalist (979) 553-5124
Project Leader:  Jim Calvert, Cradle of Texas TMN
CPC Contact:  Ron Morrison
Status:  Temporarily Suspended
Time: Friday 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: Brazos Bend State Park, Woodyard
Description: Chinese Tallow, a furiously fast-growing invasive, is so firmly entrenched throughout the Southeast that there is no hope of eradicating it.    This project seeks to control its growth effectively in certain, well-used areas of Brazos Bend State Park, a reachable goal that will allow Texas natives to thrive.    The work group uses a tree-by-tree method so that herbicides are not broadcast generally.    The method: The bark of the tree is slashed in several places and sprayed with herbicide.    In as little as two weeks’ time, the treated tree begins to die.
Teamwork is necessary on this project: a couple of people to slash and treat the trees, and a spotter to find and identify the next targets.   The group currently needs a spotter in particular.
Ron Morrison, work group leader, notes that this is an easy job physically, and learning how to identify tallow trees is not difficult.   A utility vehicle is used to transport the workers and equipment; long hikes aren’t necessary.   This is an excellent way to get to know the park and its wild residents.
# of Volunteers Needed: As many as want to participate
Supplies Needed: Lunch, clothes and gear appropriate for hiking in all kinds of weather (long pants, long shirt, hiking boots/sturdy shoes, possibly rubber boots, hat, sunscreen, insect repellant, water)
Difficulty Rating: 2 (spotter) & 3 (Application)
Maximum VSP hours: 4 per session

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