The Hill Country Chapter includes Bandera, Edwards, Gillespie, Kendall, Kerr, Kimble, Mason, Menard, Real, and San Saba counties. Our ten-county region covers 10,651.08 square miles with a population of more than 170,000 residents.
The Texas Hill Country is located on the eastern portion of the Edwards Plateau, and is bound by the Balcones Escarpment on the east and the Llano Uplift to the west and north. The “Texas Hill Country” is not a precise geographic area but a vernacular term that describes an area of central Texas, characterized by karst topography with clear rivers, dense vegetation, and pure air.
2002 Texas Master Naturalist, Hill Country Chapter consisting of Bandera, Gillespie, Kendall, and Kerr Counties founded, joining 17 existing chapters.
The first chapter officers were Sandy Peña, president; Myrna Langford, secretary and vice president of membership; Michael Johnson, treasurer; Jane Crone, vice president of training; John Rogers, Jr., vice president of communications; George Tinsley, vice president of programs and projects.
Other roles included Barbara Lowenthal and Jane Crone, new class organizers; Betty Thomas, database manager; Kim Whitaker, webmaster; John Quinby, volunteer projects chair; Priscilla Stanley, internal communications chair and newsletter editor; Jim Stanley, advanced training chair.
30 trainees attended the first training course. First to certify were Alice Bulechek, Julia Campbell, and Sandy Pena. Second to certify were Myrna Langford, Maggie Tatum, Priscilla Stanley, and Jim Stanley.
Monthly chapter meetings and board meetings begin at Riverside Nature Center.
The first annual report to the state office showed 296 volunteer hours and 325.75 advanced training hours recorded from October to December 2002.
2003 Members volunteered 2181 hours and attended 398 advanced training hours.
2004 Members volunteered 4411 hours and attended 1030.5 advanced training hours.
2004 Our chapter began co-hosting Riverside Nature Center’s “Down by the Riverside” October nature festival and native plant sale.
2005 Jim Stanley created the Land Management Assistance Program (LMAP). Our LMAP trained volunteer teams have visited more than 450 properties totaling more than 40,000 acres across the beautiful Hill Country. The successful LMAP program has been adopted by other chapters.
2005 Texas Lions Camp in Kerrville became the location for New Class Training classes.
2006 Sand County Foundation donated copies of A Sand County Almanac for the Classes of 2006-2010.
2006 Members volunteered 10,021 hours and attended 1541 advanced training hours.
2007 Members volunteered 12,448 hours and attended 2027 advanced training hours.
2008 Members volunteered 13,286 hours and attended 1384 advanced training hours.
2009 Chapter gate signs introduced.
2009 Members volunteered 17,829 hours and attended 1440 advanced training hours.
2010 The chapter began the year meeting at the Upper Guadalupe River Authority Lecture Hall in Kerrville.
2010 Chapter applied for 501(c)(3) status.
2010 Members volunteered 20,628 hours and attended 2390 advanced training hours.
2011 Lowe’s of Kerrville donated materials to construct a water distribution system for the Kerrville-Schreiner Park Pollinator Garden.
2011 The Native Plant Society of Texas awarded the chapter a grant to purchase nature study supplies for after school learning programs at the Kerrville Kroc Center.
2011 Myrna and David K. Langford donated copies of A Sand County Almanac for the Classes of 2011 and 2012.
2011 Members volunteered 21,225 hours and attended 2319 advanced training hours.
2012 We celebrated our 10th anniversary. Susan Longacre won the chapter tagline contest by submitting “Keeping the Hill Country Native!”. We printed a commemorative t-shirt featuring the 10th anniversary logo designed by Kristie Denbow.
2012 Kip Kiphart reached the 10,000-hour milestone in October.
2012 Members volunteered 27,806 hours and attended 2686 advanced training hours.
2013 The six counties of the inactive Western Edwards Plateau Chapter: Kimble, Mason, San Saba, Menard, Edwards, and Real, were incorporated into the Hill Country Chapter on 24 June 2013.
2013 Members volunteered 31,740 hours and attended 2911 advanced training hours.
2014 Ronald Hood reached the 10,000-hour milestone in November.
2014 Members volunteered 35,126 hours and attended 3026 advanced training hours.
2015 Our chapter began using TPWD’s online Volunteer Management System to record and track volunteer and advanced training hours and member data.
2015 Members volunteered 37,117 hours and attended 3469 advanced training hours.
2016 Cathy Downs taught a record-breaking live TV long-distance learning class by teaching 6246 students and 190 educators in 174 schools about “The Magic of Monarchs” for the TWA Distance Learning Program. Cathy repeated the program four-times in succession to reach all students and educators.
2016 Members volunteered 33,466 hours and attended 5838 advanced training hours.
2017 We celebrated our 15th anniversary. Chris Anderson won our haiku contest with his entry: “Water meets stone and life wriggles, runs, ﬂowers, soars. Explore, learn, teach, give.” Chris’ winning haiku was featured on the back of our 15th anniversary t-shirt with the 15th anniversary logo designed by Kristie Denbow on the front. Elsa Roberts designed the 15th Anniversary Class of 2017 notebook cover.
2017 The New Class began meeting at the UGRA lecture hall for training course classes.
2017 Apache Tree Grant Program donated 80 trees for new class trainees to plant and maintain. We receive additional tree grants: 2018, 2019
2017 Members volunteered 32,926 hours and attended 3359 advanced training hours.
2018 Upper Guadalupe River Authority waived Lecture Hall rental for chapter meetings in exchange for chapter expertise maintaining the EduScape.
2018 Ridlon “Kip” Kiphart was recognized for volunteering more than 20,000 hours since becoming a Texas Master Naturalist in 2004.
2018 Richard Coleman and other members along with local NPSOT chapters created the Pollinator Assistance and Recognition Program (PGARP). Other chapters and the Native Plant Society of Texas have taken our successful example and now organize their own PGARP.
2018 Members volunteered 34,186 hours and attended 3234 advanced training hours.
2019 Members 33,697 volunteered hours and attended 3115 advanced training hours.
Our newsletter, The Texas Star, and our brochures, rack cards, and scrapbook have won multiple awards in the Judges Choice and Peoples Choice categories in the state meeting media contests. Our members have placed in the photography, art, and projects categories.
Our chapter has twelve diamond dragonflies who have volunteered more than 5000 hours.
Kip Kiphart 2007
Angelo Falzarano 2009
Priscilla Stanley 2009
Tom Collins 2009
Ron Hood 2010
Jim Stanley 2011
Kristie Denbow 2012
Cathy Downs 2013
Gracie Waggener 2015
Glenn Randow 2015
Stephen Bishop 2017
Kathy Ward 2018
You can become a Texas Master Naturalist! Texas Master Naturalist, Hill Country Chapter offers a training course beginning in August and concluding in November. Classes are held on Wednesdays in Kerrville plus four field trips usually occurring on Saturdays. Applications open on 1 April.