Our meetings are free and open to the public. We always welcome guests! Our chapter hosts monthly meetings featuring speakers from nature-related professions who present science-based programs on topics important to the Texas Hill Country. Our meeting are always interesting and informative – bring a pen, there’s always something to learn.
Monthly Meeting >> Monday, 25 September
Mo-Ranch. A Natural Resource for All.
Mo-Ranch President and CEO Dick Powell will lead a discussion of the ranch’s history, natural resources, environmental initiatives, outdoor education and programming, and volunteer opportunities.
Presbyterian Mo-Ranch Assembly is a conference and retreat center related by covenant to the Synod of the Sun of the Presbyterian Church (USA).
The name, Mo-Ranch, honors Daniel L. Moran who owned the 6800-acre ranch for thirteen years prior to his death in 1948. The Presbyterians bought the ranch from his family in 1949 for $512,000, selling 6500 acres to the State of Texas for creation of Kerr Wildlife Management Area. Through later purchases of adjacent land Mo-Ranch now encompasses approximately 500 acres.
Toda, Presbyterian Mo-Ranch Assembly continues to evolve as it serves more than 40,000 men, women, and children each year who seek spiritual nourishment, fellowship, and renewal in this special place located along the headwaters of a crystal-clear river.
Richard H. (Dick) Powell, Jr. lives in Boerne. He is married to Lynne and they have two children, Richard and Elizabeth. Dick received a BA degree from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington in philosophy and religion, and the Master of Divinity degree from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in 2007. His other graduate and post graduate work includes the University of North Carolina “Management Development Institute”; The Center for Creative Leadership; and masters work in Contemporary Political Theory at North Carolina State University. Before entering the ministry, Dick worked as a corporate officer in several international corporations specializing in strategic planning and turnaround situations. He served as pastor of Forest Hills Presbyterian Church in Helotes and presently serves as president and chief executive officer of Presbyterian Mo-Ranch Assembly.
The monthly meeting of the Hill Country Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalist program is free and open to the public. Meetings are held in the Upper Guadalupe River Authority Lecture Hall, 125 North Lehmann Drive in Kerrville. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; program begins at 7:00.
View UGRA Lecture Hall, Kerrville Tx in a larger map
Monthly Meeting >> Monday, 23 October
Freshwater mussels are Mother Nature’s barometers of environmental quality. When ecological conditions change or degrade, they are the first organisms to decline and then vanish. As a result, nearly 80 percent of freshwater mussels are extinct, threatened, endangered, at risk, or will be very soon.
Howells began work with Texas Freshwater Mussels in 1992 and it quickly became apparent that many issues were directly or indirectly linked to declines in their abundance and distribution. Obvious factors like dewatering, water pollution, reservoir construction, and habitat alteration contributed to reduced numbers of freshwater mussels. However, less-obvious considerations like long-term environmental shifts, introductions of exotic species, public release of sensitive information, and poorly-understood harvest regulations have contributed as well.
In this presentation listeners are challenged to consider impacts from similar sources on the status of other fauna and flora in Texas.
Robert G. Howells is a fisheries research biologist with major interests in freshwater mussels and exotic fishes, shellfishes, and aquatic plants, as well as general fisheries research. Professional work history has included the staff of a natural history museum; ten years with an environmental consulting firm working in fresh, brackish, and marine waters; and twenty-two years conducting fisheries research with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s (TPWD) Heart of the Hills Fisheries Science Center. This work ultimately produced several books, a series of scientific journal articles and symposia proceedings, an extensive list of technical reports, numerous informational and educational materials, and frequent presentations at scientific meetings and classroom instruction.
Howells retired from TPWD in June 2006, but has remained active in fields related to freshwater mussels, as well as legally prohibited and invasive exotic animals and plants. Post-retirement work has also included environmental and archaeological studies and reports for ecological and engineering firms as a consultant (BioStudies), as well as continuing input to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society, and the American Fisheries Society on freshwater mussel and exotic species issues. Additionally, he has continued to lecture and hold classes on both these topics as well as workshops on aquatic and wetland plant identification.
- November – Rufus Stephens and Jan Wrede, “Attracting Birds in the Texas Hill Country” with book signing
- December – Annual Party