Zilker Neighborhood Gardens

Commentary by a National Wildlife Steward who helps Zilker neighbors establish native plant gardens

Monthly Archives: September 2014

Impact from volunteering on Saturday

I volunteered for National Public Lands Day. I joined about 100 other people at 6th and Shoal Creek. I chose to pick up trash as I’ve done my tours with mulch, and it is way too heavy for me!

People gathered in a parking lot

Volunteers getting ready to start work

Besides mulching, some crews cleaned up the trail (a recent storm had deposited a lot of gravel and debris along the trail) and cutting back foliage along the trail. The trash group cleaned from Pease Park (15th) down through 2nd St. area. It was a pleasant walk back and it only took a bit over 2 hours to clean as much trash as we could reach without swimming.

People walking along path

Heading to work along Shoal Creek

I picked up a lot of clothes from the riverbed, a laptop computer top, a Seagate harddrive, a ballerina tutu and leotard, a backpack, a can opener, lots of plastic bottles and tons of little plastic wrappers (like from small candies). The biggest piece of trash was a large LAMAR sign (Lamar is a nearby street) which stretched about 6 ft X 1 ft. There definitely was more trash left in the riverbed that we couldn’t reach – mostly embedded up high in trees when the water was high during the last storm.

trash bag and big Lamar sign

Some of the trash I picked up

Here’s what the even organizers had to say:

This year’s event in partnership with Texas Conservation Corps included 38 projects and nearly 1000 volunteers working together to improve parks across the city of Austin and Travis County, tripling our efforts in the last two years.

Saturday’s projects included wildflower seed sowing, trail improvements and repairs, tree mulching, invasive species removal, litter cleanups, a butterfly garden, and more.

Want to continue caring for our parks? Be sure to mark your calendar for It’s My Park Day! on March 7. 2015!

How Wolves Changed Rivers (in Yellowstone)

I so enjoyed watching this four minute video highlighting how the introduction of wolves into Yellowstone in 1995 (a year I drove through Yellowstone, as I moved from California to Michigan for graduate school) not only change the ecosystem but changed the actual physical geography (the flow of rivers). It’s a story of “trophic cascades” in which an introduction to the top of the food chain can have remarkable effects all the way to the bottom.

Free Butterfly Talk on 9/22

Butterflying in a Suburban Yard, presented by Jeff Taylor.  Jeff, a long-time Austin Butterfly Forum club member, has spent many years cultivating a yard friendly to butterflies. He will share his knowledge on nectar plants, caterpillar food plants and backyard photography.

Date: Sept. 22, 2014

Time: 7 PM

Location: Meetings are held in the Zilker Garden Center, 2220 Barton Springs Rd., Austin, TX, 78746 at 7:00 PM on the fourth Monday of each month except December.

National Public Lands Day – Please volunteer 9/27/14

National Public Lands Day

Join me! Volunteer today! I’ll be cleaning up Shoal Creek – where will you be?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands including parks, trails, and green spaces. Austin’s annual NPLD event is hosted by Austin Parks Foundation and Texas Conservation Corps, and occurs this year on Saturday, September 27th. Since our first NPLD, the event has grown by leaps and bounds. Last year in Austin nearly 700 volunteers participated at 26 sites across the city, nearly doubling our efforts from 2012!

Austin Parks Foundation and Texas Conservation Corps invite you to join us to help make our 2014 event our best yet. There are many choices for NPLD projects, including mulching, habitat restoration, building and maintaining trails, park maintenance, clean-ups, and more. No matter how you choose to lend a hand for NPLD, you’ll be making a difference.

More information: http://www.austinparks.org/npld

Sign up to volunteer: http://www.austinparks.org/multi-project-list.html?eventid=820

Free Evening Talk: Hummingbirds 9/9/14

Jane Tillman will be giving a free talk next Tuesday, Sept. 9 on Hummingbirds of Central Texas, at Yarborough Library from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., 2200 Hancock Drive, Austin, TX 78756, USA in central Austin.
http://library.austintexas.gov/press-release/birds-central-texas-64046 (Note: The end time is incorrect on their flyer)

Gardening for Birds and Butterflies – mid-day Classes

Mark Klym is offering a course of  8 classes on Gardening for Birds and Butterflies​, beginning Sept. 16.  They will be from 1:30 to 3:30 P.M. Tuesdays at Christ Lutheran Church at 300 Monroe Street East, Austin, TX 78704, USA in south central Austin, 78704.  The fee for the whole course is only $20, through Lifetime Learning Institute of Austin.  There are still some places available.  For more information and the registration form, see www.lliaustin.org
Mark is coordinator of the Texas Hummingbird Roundup and Texas Wildscapes programs at Texas Parks and Wildlife.  He is coauthor of Hummingbirds of Texas by Texas A&M Press and is an excellent instructor.​
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