Five Chapters entered into the 2020 Chapter Project Fair. These are listed below with documents/slides shared and the recordings (to be shared as available).
Final winners will be announced on Saturday October 17th at the 2020 Annual Meeting Virtual Awards Ceremony. As a reminder, Project Fair rules can be found here – 2020 Project Fair: Rules & Submissions
Of special note – this years Chapter Project Fair presentations truly showcased each chapters’ ability to adapt and pivot during these challenging times, re-imagining their projects to make them work amid the health and safety restrictions for each given areas.
Presented below in the order they were presented to the judges.
Galveston Bay Area Chapter
Project Title: Galveston Beach Hero Project
Submission Contact: Maureen Nolan-Wilde, email@example.com
Project Description: Our project team created a fun, educational and engaging program addressing what we do to help combat plastic pollution on our beaches. Members of the cast wear super hero capes and ask the children what they are doing to help us. At the end of the program, we provide donated art supplies for each student to artistically show their efforts. Upon completion, our chapter collects the art work and awards a Beach Hero certificate. The art work is then exhibited at community meetings, an art gallery and on social media. To date, we have reached over 750 children in five under- served grammar schools in the Galveston area.
Due to the COVID restrictions, our program will not stop but has pivoted from in school presentations to creating a video for use by schools, adult day care centers and home schooling groups. We are leveraging social media to help us continue to share the artistic work and dedication of our students. Our chapter won’t let COVID stop us and we are finding ways to not only provide but improve our program.
Our project goals are providing a positive opportunity for grade school children to artistically depict their commitment to combating plastic pollution. We want students to think of the beaches as an extended part of their home and develop a desire to protect the environment in which they live.
Good Water Chapter
Project Title: From Guinea Pigs to Contributors – A Foray into Game Camera Citizen Science
Submission Contact: Mike Farley, firstname.lastname@example.org , 512-997-8095 and Kathy McCormack, email@example.com , 512-698-9880
Project Description: The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s first official loan in their Texas Nature Trackers game camera program was to the Good Water Master Naturalist chapter in Williamson County. With the search for mammalian Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) and the submission of these observations into iNaturalist as the primary goal, Phase 1 of the project was very successful and had a positive effect upon the chapter and its membership. With the chapter’s support, Phase 2 of the project initially continued as a basic inventory of mammalian species in a new location with new cameras. We will summarize our project results and Lessons Learned, and provide suggestions for how a chapter can start their own game camera project.
Hill Country Chapter
Project Title: Pollinator Garden Assistance and Recognition Program
Submission Contact: Rachel Thompson Rjat@alumni.rice.edu
Project Description: The Pollinator Assistance and Recognition Program (PGARP) is a project of the Texas Master Naturalist, Hill Country Chapter, and Kerrville, Fredericksburg, and Boerne chapters of the Native Plant Society of Texas. The goal of the program is to promote the creation of small-plot gardens (at least 100 square feet) to provide food, shelter, and water for pollinators, and to encourage greater use of native plants. A secondary goal is to recruit new members to the Master Naturalist program and the Native Plant Society of Texas. PGARP is publicized through placement of rack cards in our communities, newspaper articles, presentations to various organizations, and word of mouth. The project coordinator receives requests from the website registration form and they are sent to one of three area coordinators, based on the location of the property in our 10 county area. After the property owner has been contacted, a team of 2-4 volunteers visits the site. The volunteers identify existing plants, both native and exotic, and evaluate light, soil, terrain, and availability of water. The plight of the pollinators is discussed, the need for native plant
gardens to support them is explained, and the components of a pollinator garden are listed. Native plants appropriate for the site are suggested. The same information is provided in a written report and sent to the property owner and the project coordinator. Follow up visits are offered and if criteria are met, the property is declared a “Recognized Hill Country Pollinator Garden” and a garden sign may be purchased by the property owner. The program has been well received by the community, with 83 site visits made, 22 garden recognition signs awarded, and 24 community presentations given since April, 2018, when the program began. Approximately 25 chapter members have been involved. While “virtual garden visits” were considered during stay-at-home orders for Covid 19, there were no requests for visits during that time. Currently, because visits are outdoors, social distancing and face masks are used.
Longleaf Ridge Chapter
Project Title: The Inclusive Family Birding Club Project
Submission Contact: Danielle Horton, firstname.lastname@example.org
Project Description: Longleaf Ridge Master Naturalists host a monthly family birding club that welcomes all, especially underrepresented minority groups. Volunteers maintain viewing sites then welcome families to watch birds and
give a short program with hands-on activities at the local state park. Birding groups assemble on observation bridges or take short hikes to see and listen for birds. The club meets monthly with a seasonally themed program that highlights the local ecology. The chapter provides spotting scopes and binoculars, and additional equipment and supplies would make this truly fun and engaging for the whole family, including children. In order to encourage participation, LRMN outreach includes efforts to specifically invite these communities through local organizations and schools.
North Texas Chapter
Project Title: The White Rock Lake Blackland Prairie – Unit 2 Restoration Project
Submission Contact: Chrissy Cortez-Mathis, email@example.com
Project Description: The White Rock Lake Blackland Prairie – Unit 2 Restoration project was initiated to begin the process of restoring and preserving the 13-acre unit of native prairie land around White Rock Lake in Dallas, Texas.
Native habitat preservation is vital to the survival of our native Texas species: plants, mammals, birds, insects, and to the health of the surrounding environment, which is of particular importance in a sprawling urban area like Dallas. Working with Dallas Parks and Recreations liaison, Brett Johnson, and North Texas Master Naturalist project liaisons, Brenda Catlett and Jim Folger, 18 new Master Naturalists from the North Texas Chapter, class of 2020, conducted biological surveys over several months, created invasive plant informational guides, conducted a project workday (following coronavirus guidelines) to remove invasive species, collected seeds from native plants for dispersal on future workdays, and developed a three year plan. The three year plan is our commitment to continued invasive removal, identification of more native species, develop native grass and forbs seed collection protocols for use in future workdays, increase community involvement, provide educational opportunities and develop awareness of our ecoregion – the Blackland Prairie; and its part in maintaining the native biodiversity.