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.
It was hot and sweltering that summer of 1860 as the old steam train, packed with its human freight, chugged and bucked its way through the forested hills. Three hundred and sixty Yankee prisoners-of-war, many diseased or wounded, struggled to survive the squalid conditions, stuffed into cattle cars like sardines. Most had no idea where they were headed. Just outside Tyler, Texas, in Smith County, sprawled Camp Ford—the largest Confederate prisoner-of-war camp west of the Mississippi. With over six thousand Union prisoners, this was just one of the… Read More →
An article similar to the one below was published in the Luling Signal and Newsboy Newspaper on June 15, 2017 Imagine an early morning walk along the San Marcos as dawn paints the horizon, quiet and dew-heavy, watching the first rays reflect off the river. Can you hear the morning sounds: a symphony of birdsong, the ratchet-like chirping of scampering squirrels, the crunch of your footsteps on the trail? Soak in the beauty around you: towering old growth sycamore and cottonwood trees and new spring foliage, all… Read More →
The dawn is quiet with a low film of red on the horizon where the sun is new. A gentle breeze brings with it the smell of early morning. Melissa Cole sits on her deck observing the spring-fed lake which slowly filters into Big Sandy Creek on its way to the Colorado River. Two beavers work feverishly to improve their lodge, their slick fur shimmering like diamonds in the sun. She loves this land where she grew up. She appreciates it every day, rain or shine—it’s been in… Read More →
The Lost Pines region of Texas is where I live; it’s my home. The majesty of a towering pine forest is what attracted me to this place. I loved walking among them at dusk; looking up at the pumpkin sky as the sun streamed into the high branches, which held its unearthly light. There are times when life gives you things and times when it takes them away. Unfortunately, all of my personal pine trees were destroyed in the wildfires of 2011, as were millions of others. The… Read More →
The sun is only now beginning to rise. The moss-veiled cypress trees hold the gauzy mist—the fog lay rich and steamy over the flaccid lake. Avian shrieks and squawks echo deep into the swamp. The hem of the sky glows rooster red. Vision is limited in this early morning brume; it’s difficult to be sure of anything. Is that a brontosaurus wading in the distance? No, don’t be silly! But this is a freshwater swamp all right; alligators lurk, mosquitoes feed and birds on stilts fish the shallows… Read More →