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Bexar Audubon Society

Bexar Audubon Society

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Volume XXIV, No. 1Jan - Feb 2006
Best Laid Plans:How San Antonio Grew
Thursday, January 12, 2006 — Chapter Meeting 
6:30 p.m. — Social Time; 6:45p.m. — Announcements; 7:00 p.m. — Program Free and open to the public 
Cowles Life Sciences Bldg 11 - Room 336 - Trinity U., Corner of Hwy 281 & Stadium. Take Hildebrandexit from Hwy 281 N, turn left onto Hildebrand, then left (south) at first light west of 281 & Hildebrand.
Using maps, drawings, and photographs, dating fromthe eighteenth century to the present, we will explore howthe dusty frontier town of San Antonio grew to its presentmassive size, and discuss some of the environmental andsocial consequences of that growth. Among a number of questions that the talk will address are these: How and whydid the Spanish establish a walking face-to-face,community? How and why did the railroad, and then theautomobile, transform this once pedestrian-friendlycommunity into a place where walking is so dangerous?Why is that when it rains, we flood? And what have beenthe long-term consequences of living within a flood basin?Join us for an engaging conversation about the context of life in this sprawling south Texas metropolis.Char Miller is professor of history and director of urbanstudies at Trinity University. His talk to Bexar Audubon isdrawn from his most recent book,
 Deep in the Heart of San Antonio
, a result of his more than 20 years of observing and writing about our town. He is also author of the award-winning
Gifford Pinchot and the Making of  Modern Environmentalism
, and editor of 
On the Border: An Environmental History of San Antonio
50 Yearsof the Texas Observer 
. Char will have his latest book available if anyone wants an autographed copy.
City Arborist, Debbie Reid, will do a brief presentation withhandouts on three proposed tree preservation ordinanceamendments prior to Char Miller’s presentation.
Thursday, February 9, at 6:30 p.m. (see above for details) 
Medina River Natural Area
Past to Present: Jewel of the South Side
Medina River Natural Area is a new — just opened onApril 9, 2005 — 364-acre natural area located south of downtown on Highway 16. It is on the site of the oldproposed Applewhite Reservoir. It consists of two distinctareas that can be accessed north and south of theMedina River. On the north side is a large coveredpavilion, park headquarters, and 2.5 miles of trails linedby large pecan, cypress and cottonwood trees. The southend consists of picnic and camping areas. The hikingtrails have varying degrees of difficulty and accessibility,from eight feet to four feet wide and from concrete tonatural trails. If all goes as planned, the park will eventu-ally lead past another large natural area, the new Toyotaplant, the Land Heritage Institute, Mitchell Lake and thefuture home of Texas A & M in San Antonio, before endingat Mission Espada. Gail Dugelby will discuss the historyand natural history of this gorgeous and peaceful place.Gail was born and raised in Kerrville, Texas. She has aB.S. in Biology and an M.S. in Environmental Science withemphasis in Ecology from The University of Texas at SanAntonio. She has worked for the Natural Areas of the Cityof San Antonio for three years, working closely on allaspects of the City’s Natural Area and Edwards Protectionactivities, including tree surveying, bird habitat assessmentand surveys, and as educational interpreter and field guide.She is also a Certified Master Naturalist. In her currentposition, she directs the City’s first Natural Area on thesouth side, the Medina River Natural Area.
Bexar Tracks2Jan - Feb 2006
Chapter of the National Audubon SocietyP. O. Box 6084, San Antonio, TX 78209
GOALSThe Chapter’s primary goals areto promote species and habitatconservation and environmental educationin the community.
PresidentTony Wood.......(tonywood@sbcglobal.net)493-4684Vice Pres.Harry Noyes.....(harrynoyes@satx.rr.com).490-3124TreasurerCaryl Swann......(cjswann1@earthlink.net).....653-2860SecretarySusan Hughes..(susan@wordwright.com)....532-2032
Dean Bibles.........................(dbibles@aol.com)..............698-9264Joe Orr.........................(josephorr@aol.com)...........377-0621Kara Ryf.........................(kararyg@hotmail.com)......................
Aud. Adven.Betty Minyard.....(mink@texas.net).................344-6128BirdathonMarge Lumpe....(birdwatcher@msn.com)......545-1822Conserv.Harry Noyes......(harrynoyes@satx.rr.com)....490-3124ProgramPatty Pasztor.....(pasztor@ix.netcom.com)....824-1235Memb.......................................................................
PublicityHarry Noyes......(harrynoyes@satx.rr.com)....490-3124
SAEN Coord.
Bexar Tracks 
Content editor.................................................
Jill Sondeen......(jls2003@gvtc.com)......830-980-3277MailingBlair Richter..(barkisrichter@sbcglobal.net)....832-0522
Bexar Tracks 
is your newsletter.We welcome your contributions.
Printed on recycled paper.
Visit Bexar Audubon’sWeb Site:
Up-to-date environmental events and calendar can be found here — check often for news! 
Visit San Antonio EnvironmentalNetwork’s Web Site:
Suggestions and contributions are welcome.Please contact Harry Noyes atharrynoyes@satx.rr.com
If you missed the September,October and November chaptermeetings of Bexar Audubon Society,you missed some good’uns, presentedby three top-drawer local experts.
The bats of September.
InSeptember, Kim Hoskins talked to usabout bats. Kim has worked extensivelywith Bat Conservation International, thepremier group defending bats all overthe world. BCI is based in Austin andowns the Bracken Cave north of SanAntonio, home to up to 40 millionMexican free-tail bats, the largestassemblage of mammals on Earth.Why those bats are so terriblyimportant to us—they eat a couple of hundred tons of crop-threatening mothsnightly—was one of the things Kimexplained. But she also explained theother important roles played by bats,from spreading rainforest seeds topollinating plants such as the agave, usedin making tequila (bats = margaritas!).Unfortunately, many bat species arehighly endangered. It’s not as bad as afew years ago, because BCI has madetremendous progress in educatingpeople on the value of bats and on thefalsehood of many bat myths. As aresult a number of concrete steps toprotect bats have been taken, especiallyin the U.S. Nevertheless, on a globalbasis, there is still a lot of work to bedone. Help by supporting BCI!
The butterflies of October.
In October, Joanne Wells, aka theButterfly lady, told us about butterfliesin a program entitled “Gardening forButterflies and Other Wildlife.” It wasa suitable timing, as October is a greatbutterfly month with the monarchmigration going on. One of the mainthreats to migrating animals, whethersix-legged or feathered or furred, ishuman-caused loss of “stopoverhabitat” where they can rest and feed.Wildlife gardening can make up forsome of the damage we humans havedone to the natural environment and
September, October, and November 2005 Meeting Recaps
help our animal friends. Joanne gave awonderful slide show and talk, showingus how to identify many of the localbutterflies. She also brought along somelive butterflies and some live localcaterpillars for display on their hostplants—gulf fritillary on passionflower,pipevine swallowtail on pipevine, andmonarch on milkweed.
The parks of November.
InNovember, we heard from EricLautzenheiser, superintendent of SanAntonio Parks and RecreationDepartment’s natural areas. Hedescribed the history of the Proposition3 initiative, which temporarily raised SanAntonio sales taxes to finance purchaseof critical terrain over the EdwardsAquifer Recharge Zone and alongcertain vital waterways like LeonCreek. He described the carefulscientific process that was followed toensure optimal use of the resources.Then, using a large map, Ericshowed the results—a virtual necklaceof “crown jewel” lands across keystretches of the northside, showing anamazing amount of contiguity betweenkey parcels. Not only do these parcelsprotect some 6,000 acres of rechargezone from development, but most areasare or will be available to the public forlow-impact recreational use such ashiking, wildlife watching andphotography. The names to look forinclude Crown Ridge Natural Area,Rancho Diana, Cedar Creek, IronHorse Ranch and Windgate Ranch.The best news is that votersrecently approved an expanded revivalof the tax called Prop 1. Under Prop 1,the city can protect lands critical to theEdwards Aquifer even if they lie outsidecity’s extra-territorial jurisdiction. Tomaximize the effectiveness of thefunds, Prop 1 money will mostly be usedto buy permanent conservationeasements, which cost much less peracre than buying land.
-Harry Noyes
Bexar Tracks3Jan - Feb 2006
by Peggy Spring
January 21, 2006 — 6:30pm - 8:30pm:
(Note this is the third Sat. since there is a full moon on the 14th):
Winter Skies
Nov 2005 recap:
Caves and More
Texas Caves captured the attention of 36 participants during the SecondSaturday program at Eisenhower Park from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on November12th. The Bexar Grotto, a chapter of the National Speleological Society,hosted the program. The NSS wasfounded to advance the study,conservation, exploration, andknowledge of caves. Joe and EvelynMitchell of Bexar Grotto started theevening with an engaging power pointpresentation of local, state andnational caves and the relationship of caves to aquifers, majoring on theEdwards Aquifer. Displays anddemonstrations of caving equipmentand a working model of the EdwardsAquifer enhanced their informativeportion of the program that alsoemphasized caving safety andenvironmental concerns. Then Mr.Cowen, also of Bexar Grotto,explained his slides of bats from aroundthe world while sharing about theecological role of bats and theireconomic value as pollinators andinsect consumers. The entire programwas very popular with the children aswell as the adults!
Jan. 7, 2006 — 9:00-11:00 am — WALKER RANCH HISTORIC PARK — 12603 West Ave
Join us for a January walk in the brisk winter air at Walker Ranch and work off some seasonal calories whilelearning about the plants, animals and geology of this historic site.
Future hikes will be conducted:Feb. 4-Crownridge Canyon Natural Area; Mar. 4 - Friedrich Wilderness Park;Apr. 1 - Walker Ranch; May 6 - Crownridge Canyon Natural Area; Jun 3, 2006 - Friedrich Wilderness Park
reservations are highly recommended,
as the hike will not be conducted if there are no pre-registeredparticipants. Call (210) 698-1057 for particular park events.
Meet at the restrooms near the parking lot. A donationof $2 per person is suggested. Participants are limited to 15 per hike
. For groups of 8 or more please call toschedule a separate hike. See www.sanaturalareas.org for more information.Are the stars at night really bigand bright in Texas? Ever seen the‘man in the moon’? The City of SanAntonio Parks and Recreation NaturalAreas and the Bexar Audubon Societyinvite you to satisfy your curiosityabout these and other night skyquestions. This program, facilitated bythe San Antonio AstronomicalAssociation, is designed to give peoplewith little knowledge of astronomy anopportunity to view features of thewinter sky through telescopes operatedby their knowledgeable owners.For this event, it is recommendedthat participants observe a fewsuggestions:
The use of white light is highlydiscouraged. Please bring flashlightswith red bulbs or covered with redcellophane. Cellophane may beprovided if you do not have yourown.
Children are welcome but must beattended at all times.
Eisenhower Park
Presented by the San Antonio AstronomicalAssociation (www.sanantonioastronomy.org)
No smoking or insect repellantnear telescopes — the smoke andsprays can damage the expensiveoptics of the telescope.
Please ask permission beforetouching telescopes — they are veryexpensive!
Reservations are recommendedfor this event. Please call NaturalAreas 210.698.1057. This willinsure your spot at this event. Walk-ins will be accepted on a limitedbasis. There is a suggested individualdonation of $3.00 per individual or$5.00 per family.Eisenhower Park, Harris (MassPavilion), 19399 NW Military Hwy.Take FM 1535/Military Hwy/ShavanoPark exit off Loop 1604 on the city'snorthwest side. Go north on FM 1535/ Militry Hwy about 2 miles. Park entrance is on the left, just beforeCamp Bullis. The Pavilion is the gatedone to the right. Special Parking Areamay be indicated. Gates open 6:00pm.

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