Author Archives: Laura Clark

Trail Between the Lakes Hike

Longleaf Ridge began exploring the Trail Between the Lakes on a hike Sunday afternoon, February 23, 2020, led by Lisa Wise. We headed west off FM 2426, walking about an hour into the serene Sabine National Forest, following a small stream. The most noticeable flora was Red Buckeye, Aesculus pavia,¬†which dotted the trail with buds ready to burst open. Some of the other flora observed is pictured and identified below. We scared a few Bobwhite quail that flew up in front of us, and passed several pines marked… Read More →

Adopt a Highway Cleanup!

Volunteers from Longleaf Ridge Master Naturalists joined the Jasper Master Gardeners on Saturday morning, February 8, cleaning up for the Adopt a Highway program on 2799. Big kudos to these folks who are helping us Keep Jasper Beautiful! They collected an awesome 35 bags of trash and debris in two hours! Watch for more cleanup events in the future and join them. This is a great way to earn service hours and make our community more beautiful at the same time.

First Sunday Big Thicket Hike

The Kirby Nature Trail’s outer loop in Hardin County was the site of the National Park Service’s Big Thicket First Sunday Hike for February 2020, and Longleaf Ridge members enjoyed the interpretive hike led by Ranger Alex Halbrook. The loop treks through three different ecosystems starting with gentle slopes graced by American Beech and Southern Magnolia, descending into a Baygall thicket populated with Swamp Titi, Water Tupelo and Bald Cypress, and finally emerging on the banks of Village Creek. Ranger Alex kept the hike interesting and entertaining, having… Read More →

10,000 New Longleaf Pines in the Big Thicket

On January 20, 2020, we helped the National Park Service celebrate a decade of restoring the Big Thicket by replanting native longleaf pine seedlings in the Big Sandy Unit. Longleaf Ridge assisted with eight out of about one hundred volunteers. We were also joined by our friend Adrian Van Dellen. The goal was to plant 10,000 seedlings by 3:30 and we were finished by about 12:30 pm! Then there was nothing left to do but eat the pizza they provided, pick up our celebratory T-shirts, and visit a… Read More →

Field Trip to Canyon Rim

Longleaf Ridge Master Naturalists enjoyed the brisk weather on Sunday afternoon exploring the Canyon Rim Woodlands Trail in Newton County, so named because in places the trail is constructed around a canyon with up to 40 foot embankments graced by beech, southern magnolia and loblolly pines. We had a very good turnout. Vehicles crowded the small parking area, and the narrow path made for a long string of hikers. The winter date was chosen so we could see the rare Bigleaf Witch-Hazel, Hamamelis ovalis, which was soon spotted… Read More →

Eagle Count 2020

Three teams of 17 volunteers met at 7 am at the Sabine County Courthouse in Hemphill on January 11, 2020 to conduct the Annual Mid-Winter Bald Eagle Count at Toledo Bend. The temperature was a balmy 69 degrees Fahrenheit as we set out, but the line of thunderstorms that passed quickly through the area several hours earlier brought a front that dropped the temperatures to 49 before we concluded about mid-day. In all, the teams counted a total of 53 Bald Eagles and four nests.¬† After the Bald… Read More →

Footbridge Removal at MDJSP

A group of volunteers had an easier than expected time removing worn out footbridges at Martin Dies, Jr. State Park on January 8. Park staff brought in a tractor and Garry Lamoreaux brought his, too! The hardest work was attaching the large pieces to the tractors and the drivers backing them out of the winding trails. There was a little bit of hand work that could be done, though. We managed to dig out some posts, rake where the tractors left little trenches from hauling, cut some shrubs… Read More →

Green End Up!

While lots of folks were putting Christmas trees up in their living room, volunteers from Longleaf Ridge were putting Longleaf pine seedlings in the ground at the Roy E. Larsen Sandyland Sanctuary between Kountze and Silsbee. This beautiful 5,654-acre habitat filled with native plants and wildlife, with Village Creek coursing along one side of it, is part of a comprehensive effort to protect and restore the longleaf pine ecosystem on the West Gulf Coastal Plain. Longleaf pine forests are among the most rapidly disappearing habitats in the southeastern… Read More →

Longleaf Tree Planting

Historically, longleaf pine communities dominated the southern and central areas of Angelina National Forest on the hilly and droughty sandy soils. In the 1900s, excessive harvest of the overstory led to a decline in the longleaf pine present and increasing the loblolly pine representatives across the forestland. The goal of the Angelina and Sabine National Forests is to restore the longleaf pine ecosystem through loblolly pine plantation conversion to longleaf pine. When they asked for volunteers to help, Longleaf Ridge Texas Master Naturalists answered the call in force…. Read More →

Dam to Dam Pedal & Paddle

Seven volunteers helped launch and welcome at the finish line kayakers participating in the Dam to Dam Pedal & Paddle event sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. Three entrants paddled from the Highway 63 bridge to Bevilport, and 23 paddled from Bevilport to the boat launch behind the Dining Hall at Martin Dies, Jr. State Park. One of those kayakers who made the 8 plus mile trip from Bevilport to Martin Dies, and who came in third place by the way — was our very own Brenda Marshall!… Read More →