Texas Master Naturalist Monthly Meeting

Kathy Pittman, left, Kyle Purvis, John Boettiger, Paula Hanson and Bill Ahlstrom recently were recertified during the Texas Master Naturalist meeting in Angleton.

ANGLETON — The Brazoria chapter of Texas Master Naturalist had its January meeting at the AgriLife building in Angleton.

Kyle Purvis, Paula Hanson and Kathy Pittman recertified for 2019 and received the Warbler pin. To recertify members need a minimum of 40 service hours and eight advance training hours for the calendar year.

Chapter members honored past president Kristine Rivers and Neal McLain, who is retiring as webmaster after 10 years of service.

Oron Atkins gave an update on the Bobcat Trail Boardwalk project at San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge. More than 900 feet of the 1,260 foot boardwalk is complete.

Nature Notes was presented by Mickey Dufilho, whose topic was Ophryocystis elektroscirrha, or OE, a parasite found only on monarch and queen butterflies. Butterflies infected with OE do not recover.

One way to reduce chance of a monarch or queen butterfly picking up the OE parasite is to cut back our milkweed plants, particularly topical milkweed sold by garden centers in the fall and winter, Dufilho said. Native milkweed dies back in the fall, whereas Topical milkweed grows year-round.

Susan Conaty presented a history of the Nash Prairie on CR 25. The story of how a hay meadow of the Kittie Nash Groce Ranch became the Nash Prairie Preserve owned by The Nature Conservancy could be interpreted as a story of divine intervention full of serendipitous events or just plain dumb luck, she said. Either way, the events that led to the preservation of this tall grass prairie took more than seven years.

The 400-acre tract is one of the last remaining segments of the Great Coastal Prairie, which once covered 6 million acres between Lafayette, Louisiana, and Corpus Christi. Nash is a pristine piece of prairie land, largely unaltered by man or machine. More than 300 plant species have been documented there, including several rare species and at least one type of grass thought to be extinct in Texas since the 1800s.

For information on becoming a Texas Master Naturalist, visit www.tmn-cot.org and click training.

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