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.
Out here, the north Texas shortgrass prairie seems infinite under a relentless sun and perpetual withering wind. The land spreads flat to the horizon, making it hard to believe the earth really is round. Like a great blonde ocean there is nothing but monotonous repetition in all directions, without end. This is the southern high plains, named El Llano Estacado by the Spanish. Then, suddenly, the earth falls away before you, plunging 800 feet, presenting a gash stretching 120 miles long and 20 miles wide, gaping like some… Read More →
We have added a page for educational materials that our chapter members have developed. They are all available as free downloads in our Resources section (click this link to go directly to the page). We are hard at work making more materials and we can’t wait to share them with you!
I could subsist on morning mist—Jarod Kintz We have all been enchanted, at one time or another, by some awesome display of nature. A field of wildflowers, a pastel rainbow, big mountains in mantles of snow, sunlight reflected on the water, the rich white inner light of a full moon. Why do we notice? By what force is our attention stolen, seemingly beyond our power to resist? Could it be the rarity—the fear that we may never again witness a sight so grand? Is it because we don’t… Read More →
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 →