Welcome to the Lost Pines Chapter, Texas Master Naturalist Program! You can learn more about our chapter and the Master Naturalist volunteer program here. Master Naturalist volunteers help manage our local natural resources. If you are interested in joining us, or have questions about our activities, please contact us.
The Lost Pines chapter serves primarily Bastrop and Caldwell counties of Central Texas (click here to find a statewide list of chapters). These counties are predominantly in the Post Oak Savannah and Blackland Prairie Ecoregions. In addition, our area includes the unique “island forest” of the Lost Pines, the westernmost extent of the loblolly pine (Pinus taeda), separated by about 100 miles from the pine forests of East Texas. Species in the Lost Pines are particularly adapted to the drier conditions here, and provide unique habitat for varied flora and fauna that can be seen in Bastrop and Buescher state parks and other nearby natural areas. You can learn more about what makes these parks so special and see pictures of them by visiting our “State Parks & Natural Areas” page; you can also find many links to information about the native plants, animals and ecology of the Lost Pines region on our resources page.
At its most basic level, all experiences can be described as “good,” provided you survive them. While crossing West Texas in pursuit of a cooler June climate in the mountains of New Mexico, we parked our RV for four days at Monahans Sandhills State Park, outside Monahans, Texas. Arriving in the mid-afternoon, the ambient temperature was a withering 103 degrees. As we navigated our way around the narrow, winding asphalt road to our campsite, I remember an eerie sense that this would be—for reasons I could not… Read More →
The scene is a fruit stand in Paris, a wet sidewalk reflects the hard mineral blue of the morning sky. Streets are all but deserted. As the camera pans in closer, Penelope the cat comes into view; around the corner scampers a shiny black skunk. The proprietor is clearly agitated: Cat/Penelope: Le mew? Le purrrrrrr. Proprietor: A-a-ahhh. Le pussy ferocious! Remove zot skunk! Zot cat-pole from ze premises!! Avec !! Cat/Penelope: (Smells skunk) Sniff, sniff, sniff-sniff, sniff-sniff. Pepé: Quel est ? *notices cat* Ahh… le belle femme skunk fatale… *clicks… Read More →
The mountainside is set ablaze by the first reach of the morning sun. I slip and stumble up Montezuma Quail trail, the pale heat of the sun warms my cheek. Footing is treacherous and balance is critical (I should’ve brought my walking stick). Not only is the mountainside gravelly and steep, it’s peppered with sotol, cholla cactus and other nasties—fantasies of being cut to pieces as I roll helplessly down the mountain! From this vantage point, I peer at the surrounding volcanic cradle of cliffs and valleys, all… Read More →
This little epistle is about the Luling Foundation Farm and the role it plays in helping educate area farmers and ranchers. So why should farming matter to Texas Master Naturalists? It’s no accident that Texas AgriLife Extension is a co-sponsor of our organization. Do you think it possible for a farmer/rancher to be successful today without practicing conservation and sensibly using our natural resources? Most of our state’s celebrated land stewards are farmers or ranchers. Who better to understand the local weather patterns, the morphology of animals and… Read More →
Our Junior Naturalists ended 2017 with a field trip to Fisherman’s Park in Bastrop to learn about Fish and Aquatic Invertebrates. The activities were led by Master Naturalists Bill Brooks (fish) and Alysa Joaquin (aquatic invertebrates), with Master Naturalists Kim Iberg, Kelly Alecci, and Nancy Rabensburg helping out. The Junior Naturalists practiced casting a fishing line, learned about habitats, and searched for invertebrates in the river to look at in the microscope. A big THANK YOU to Master Naturalists Cat and Frank May for cooking lunch for everybody!… Read More →