The short supply of dedicated and well-informed volunteers is often cited as a limiting factor for community-based conservation efforts. According to the National Park Service, last year there were 240,000 VIPs, or Volunteers-In-Parks, greeting visitors, building trails, leading programs, performing research, or doing just about any task imaginable. That number of volunteers is equivalent to “more than 3,200 additional employees,” the agency noted in a transition document to the Trump administration. Their goal is to have 1 million volunteers by the end of 2020.
The certified Texas Master Gardeners of Piney Woods Lake Chapter provide these services and more as they learn AND educate. After nearly 3 years of procedural adherence, recruiting, and commitment, Piney Woods Lakes became the 42nd Chapter of Texas Master Naturalist in 2012. We were supported in the effort by Livingston-Polk County Chamber of Commerce Eco-Tourism committee, the AgriLife Extension Agents of Polk, Trinity and Tyler Counties and TPWD Lake Livingston State Park.
In 2019 we are a growing chapter with a continuing mission:
To develop a corps of well-informed volunteers to provide education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within the Piney Wood Lakes area.
Many of our rural communities and organizations rely especially heavily on citizen volunteers to implement youth education programs; operating park programs, nature centers, and natural areas; and to offer leadership and guidance to local natural resource conservation efforts.
Our current projects include
- Friends of Lake Livingston – supervise student volunteers, planting
- Watson Preserve – invasive removal, controlled burns
- Lake Livingston State Park – invasive removal, event assistance, kids camp