Join us each month for #TMNTuesdays Webinars!
On the second Tuesday of each month at 12:00pm Central Standard Time, the TMN State Office will offer an hour-long virtual advanced training event – with fantastic new and returning guest speakers. Scroll down the page and select a month for upcoming and past webinars.
We are excited to once again host our TMNTuesdays webinar series on the second Tuesday of the month through the 2023 year. TMNTuesdays are a way to learn about top conservation issues of the state, earn advanced training hours, and interact with wildlife professionals from across the state!
For the remaining TMNTuesdays, November and December, the events are being moved to a new WebEx account for our program. If you have already registered for the November and December events, please register again using the links provided for the new account below.
Speaker: Steve Nelle
Title: Land Stewardship – It Might Not Be What You Think
Description: Land stewardship has become a popular phrase over the past 20 years but what does it really mean? Here we will learn that land stewardship is not just a list of good land management practices but rather it is the inner attitude about land and the relationship that is formed between people and the land.
Note: A manuscript has been approved by TAMU Press under the title of “Lessons from Leopold”. Land stewardship will be the major theme. It is still early in the editing process and is expected to be completed in fall of 2025. It was written for a broad audience including landowners, Master Naturalists, students, and everyone in between who has a love of the land.
Speaker: L. Allen Smith
Title: Healthy Forests – Better Living Through Management
Description: The talk will focus on the current status of forests across the globe, the US, and Texas, and the differences between forests, woodlots, individual trees, and what this means for management options. Allen will also spend time on forest dynamics and how management strategies can achieve healthy forests by mimicking natural processes.
About the presenter: Allen Smith serves as the Regional Forest Health Coordinator and Entomologist for the Texas A&M Forest Service. He has served the citizens of Texas for 22 years. His duties include: supervising various insect trapping programs, providing training on forest insects and diseases and their management, administering the Southern Pine Beetle Prevention Program cost-share program, providing landowner assistance and public information and outreach. Allen also serves as a Geographic Information Systems Specialist in emergency response situations. He is the lead GISS for both the Lone Star State Incident Management Team and the federal Southern Area Blue Team. He received his B.S. degrees in Environmental Science and Forestry and his Masters of Science in Forest Entomology from Stephen F. Austin State University. An avid duck hunter and insect collector, Allen lives in Longview, Texas with his wife, Kerri and son, Drew.
Project Fair Contest
11:00am – Official Program Starts
11:10am – Rio Grande Valley Chapter presents Rio Grande Valley Pollinator Project + Q&A
11:30am – Hays County Chapter presents Beautiful Hays County Activity and Coloring Book + Q&A
11:50am – Rio Brazos Chapter presents their Brazos River Cleanup/Campout and Educational Extravaganza + Q&A
12:10pm – Galveston Bay Area Chapter presents their Bayside Regional Park: From Fish Farm to Natives + Q&A
12:30pm – Additional Questions, Final Wrap Up, and Closing
About the Projects
Rio Grande Valley Pollinator Project: The Texas Master Naturalist Rio Grande Valley Chapter welcomes the support of our community and partners as we come together to improve the habitat for our pollinators. Founding member and Texas Master Naturalist Chery Brummett took notice of the lack of habitat for pollinators during the 2022 Monarch Butterfly tagging season. She began reaching out to like-minded individuals within the community, and the Rio Grande Valley Pollinator Project was formed. The 1st meeting made it clear that we had a strong group of volunteers from the Chapter as well as the surrounding communities who were ready, willing, and able to do their part to improve the local habitat for these pollinators. Through outreach and education, we established a conduit to get the tools needed into the hands of our family, friends, and neighbors so they, too, can participate in making a positive difference. On a monthly basis, we continually meet to strategize and collaborate on both ongoing and upcoming projects. Outreach events have enabled us to share our passion for improving the pollinator habitat across the valley, not just for native pollinators but also for migratory species. Some of our efforts have included successful grants from Monarch Watch for native milkweed, assisting in city gardens, and working with city officials to bring more awareness about the benefits of native plants. A relocation initiative was launched to transfer native milkweed and plants from areas designated for development to community gardens in the same area; the partnership with local developers continues to expand with positive results. We have also established multiple media platforms to connect residents with native plant information and resources. Several members have pursued cultivating our own plants for distribution and seed harvesting with much success. Our vision includes obtaining a greenhouse for cultivating additional native milkweed and pollinator plants to address the scarcity of seeds and distribute them within the local region and beyond.
Mission Statement: Raise awareness across the Rio Grande Valley of pollinators and their need for sustainable, native-plant food sources and ecosystems so they can thrive and multiply.
Beautiful Hays County Activity and Coloring Book: Beautiful Hays County is a children’s activity and coloring book, published in spring of 2023 by the Hays County Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalist™ program. This 25-page nature discovery guide showcases eleven Master Naturalist projects across Hays County. Created for promotional and educational purposes, the book encourages Hays County children and their parents to GO, KNOW, and GROW as citizen naturalists, learning ways to appreciate and cherish the natural world close to home. The book contains information and detailed illustrations about each site, a glossary, and a passport page to encourage and reward those who visit the parks, refuges, natural areas and preserves that are featured. The book aligns with the TEKS standards and the content of the Texas Master Naturalist™ training program. This foundation creates the platform for additional service-oriented programs – a Spanish translation, a website with supplementary resources for teachers and parents, a promotional tool for Outreach for our chapter and our partner sites, collaboration with schools and libraries, and the Nature Superstars – a month-long event this fall where we bring the book to life with educational events at each of the eleven sites.
Brazos River Cleanup/Campout and Educational Extravaganza: The Rio Brazos, known for recreation, electrical generation, irrigation, and home to countless animals, has also been used as a tire and trash dumping ground for over 100 years. In 2017 the Texas Master Naturalist, Rio Brazos Chapter, created a project to cleanse our namesake of tires, trash, and other debris that has accumulated over the decades. The project has morphed from a simple 4-mile section with 13 chapter members participating in 2017 to a 17-mile stretch worked by four crews and over 60 participants this year. Our goal is to continue bringing other groups into the project as we expand our footprint (or should I say erase footprints) up and down the Brazos. We utilize canoes, kayaks, and foot patrols to clean the river, sandbars, and banks. In 2018 we added a weekend campout to the cleanup as a way for chapter members to have the time to visit and really get to know each other. In 2019 we began utilizing chapter members to give advanced training classes on Sundays. This multiple-event weekend of cleaning the river on Saturday and engaging in classes on Sunday quickly became a successful template to draw volunteers from the community as well as a tool for recruiting new members. We have had several non-profit groups join the project as we gained experience each year handling volunteers on the river and want-to-be naturalists attending weekend lectures. This year we invited five other chapters to join us for the weekend event. We now set up tents and campers on Friday and start the festivities with a welcome dinner that night. Saturday is reserved for our river cleanup, and Sunday is a full day of advanced training classes. The 2023 classes were taught not only by our educators but also those from other chapters, as well as individuals from TPWD, NRCS, the Brazos River Authority, and the Lower Brazos Riverwatch. On Monday, we have a long bird walk followed by a final brunch, break down, and goodbyes. With measurable results of over 20,000 pounds of tires and trash collected, new members recruited, and new friends and chapters participating, we would like to invite all Texas Master Naturalist members to join us in 2024.
Bayside Regional Park: From Fish Farm to Natives: Bayside Regional Park is in a diverse, under- served community in Bacliff, Texas. When GBAC members learned that Galveston County had purchased a 64-acre fish farm and intended to convert it to a park, they began working with the Galveston County Parks Department for approval via a Memorandum of Understanding, to install native plants in a 1-acre area of the park. A Steering Committee of the GBAC was formed to plan the project. Volunteers collected seeds, propagated, purchased, and planted plants, developed soil amendments, created an iNaturalist project, installed a water feature for wildlife, built and installed Bluebird nesting boxes, applied for grants, conducted outreach activities for Seniors and the public, and planted native trees along a planned pathway. Using only native plants found on the Floyd Waller 1974 Plant Survey, a Native Plant Exhibit was planted, including a demonstration Pollinator Garden, and a demonstration Prairie Garden. A native prairie re-creation is underway. Future plans include forming a youth birding and/or junior naturalist group.
Title: Safer Skies for Migrating Birds
Description: Every spring and fall, Texas skies become a superhighway for migrating birds. Artificial light at night and collision with buildings and glass are a significant cause of death to migratory birds in the United States. This presentation will introduce this challenging issue, why it matters to bird conservation, what we’ve learned through research and monitoring efforts, and strategies to make Texas skies safer for migrating birds.
Session Title: “Management and Educational Activities for Community Ponds”
“This TMN Tuesday presentation will cover educational and selective management activities TMN chapters can implement to both educate the public about management of water resources and improve the health of community ponds.”
Texas is uniquely situated with the crossroads of two major astronomical events crisscrossing the state in the coming year – an Annular Solar Eclipse October 14th, 2023 and a Total Solar Eclipse April 8th, 2024. All Texas Master Naturalist volunteers are welcome to learn about these upcoming natural events, how to safely watch them, and other programs our partners at NASA are hosting. Using your learned naturalist skills to study natural life, master naturalists can apply those same skills to this event and engage the public in learning about the natural world’s reaction to eclipses.
Join us to also learn about two projects sponsored by NASA’s Science Activation (SciAct) Program that you, and your community, can participate in for the October 14, 2023 and April 8, 2024 solar eclipses.
GLOBE Eclipse: Energy from the Sun warms our planet, and changes in sunlight can also cause changes in temperature, clouds, and wind. What happens when the Sun is blocked by the Moon during an eclipse? How will the eclipse affect these solar-powered processes? Participants use the GLOBE Observer mobile app to take observations and contribute to an open access database used by scientists and students to study the effects of eclipses on the atmosphere. GLOBE Observer citizen science is part of the NASA Earth Science Education Collaborative SciAct award to engage learners of all ages in NASA Earth science experiences.
Eclipse Soundscapes (ES) Project: The ES Project is focused on the following science question: How does life on Earth, specifically wildlife, respond to solar eclipses? Participants will document changes in animal behavior and sounds during the eclipse. There are multiple ways to participate and earn certificates: learn about eclipses, observe during an eclipse, collect audio data during eclipse week, and analyze collected data after eclipses. Visit https://eclipsesoundscapes.org to learn more. The Eclipse Soundscapes Project is a NASA Science Activation Project (Award #80NSSC21M0008).
About our presenters:
Adnet Systems/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Dorian has a passion for sharing the wonders of NASA’s science and exploration with others across all ages! For over three decades, she taught public school in both special and general education settings across all grade levels. She was an Einstein Fellow Finalist and achieved National Board Certification in Science Education, served on numerous education working groups, and wrote science curriculum for the Montgomery County Public Schools. She serves as NASA’s “Global Precipitation Measurement” (GPM) mission’s Education and Outreach Coordinator, and develops resources to help share the science, technology, and real-world applications of GPM with others. She is a Mentor GLOBE trainer, a member of the GLOBE Education Working Group, and supports the GLOBE field campaigns. Her most recent project is leading an effort to engage Lifelong Learners with The GLOBE Campaign’s Citizen Science efforts. Dorian is currently leading the Texas Master Naturalists’ “Eclipse Educators” virtual volunteer program.
Science Systems and Applications, Inc./NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
is the Deputy Coordinator for GLOBE Observer, the app of the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program. The goal of the app is to extend the reach of the long-standing citizen science and science education program to non-school-based audiences. She was also previously an Outreach Specialist for the Global Precipitation Measurement Mission. Prior to her work with NASA (as a contractor with Science Systems and Applications, Inc. based out of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.), Kristen taught middle school science for eight years in Montgomery County Public Schools (Maryland) and Denver Public Schools (Colorado), with a primary focus in Earth Science. She holds an M.A. in Education and a B.S. in Computer Science and Psychology, both from the University of Denver.
Dr. Henry “Trae” Winter III
Co-Founder & Chief Scientist at ARISA Lab, LLC
Trae is a solar astrophysicist who has worked on eight NASA missions observing the Sun. His primary research focus was understanding how energy is released in the Sun’s atmosphere, the corona, and in other stars. Trae spearheaded many efforts to engage the public in scientific discovery, including work with the Montana Space Grant Consortium, the Salish-Kootenai Flathead Lake Reservation, and the Boston Lyrical Opera.
To highlight the spectacular images being produced by the Solar Dynamics Observatory, Trae designed a series of video wall exhibits for the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, North Carolina State University’s Hunt Library, the Harvard Art Museums’ Lightbox Gallery, and the Museum of Boulder. However, Trae quickly realized many people had no access to the exhibits he was helping create, people who are blind and have low vision (BLV).
To make science accessible to everyone, Trae began Eclipse Soundscapes to build a mobile application that would engage all users with the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse. Consultants, who were themselves blind, were included at every stage of the application’s design process. The application used images, spoken word descriptions, sound, and touch to make eclipse features accessible and engaging to everyone as they were occurring.
Based on the success of the Eclipse Soundscapes Project model, Trae and MaryKay Severino co-founded the ARISA Lab which could quickly assemble highly trained and diverse teams to invent the new technologies and techniques necessary to make scientific exploration effective, accessible, and engaging for everyone.
Links and Resources from July’s TMNTuesdays event:
- 2023 Annual Meeting – https://txmn.tamu.edu/2023-annual-meeting/
- Eclipse Poster – https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/resources/2943/2023-annular-solar-eclipse-poster/
- Eclipse Glasses Information – https://www.nasa.gov/feature/what-to-do-with-your-solar-eclipse-glasses
- Eclipse Guide – https://www.starnetlibraries.org/2020/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/SEAL-booklet-web-2.pdf
- Virtual Textbook StoryMap – https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/0b1573a5290f43b7b43bb44c7a9baf85
- GLOBE Eclipse Tool – https://observer.globe.gov/do-globe-observer/eclipse
- GLOBE Eclipse Toolkit – https://observer.globe.gov/toolkit/eclipse-toolkit
- AudioMoths Information – https://www.openacousticdevices.info/
- Resources available for accessing, citing, and using GLOBE data (e.g.,, APIs, etc) – https://observer.globe.gov/get-data
Survey of engagement plans for the 2023 and 2024 Eclipse – https://oregonstate.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6LlwfHofLz3eQ7A
Due to the size of the PPT, it was split into three documents:
Title: Roving Interpretation: Making Casual Connections that Matter
Most interpretive opportunities are casual contacts with people on the trails or hot spots in the wild. We’ll talk about some tools, tips, and tricks to make help make those contacts meaningful. We’ll also talk briefly about how you can help Texas State Parks celebrate 100 years!
Conservation of Insects!
The presentation will cover what people can do to help promote the conservation of insects and other arthropods, within their own backyard.
Texas Waters: Become an ambassador of our waterways!
The Texas Waters program informs and educates Texans about the most precious natural resource Texas possesses, its water. Many challenges face our state concerning water, particularly in our aquatic habitats, the water for wildlife. Texas Parks and Wildlife values the natural and cultural resources of Texas, and we want there to always be drinkable, swimmable, and fishable waters in our great State.
The Texas Waters Specialist program develops a corps of well-informed volunteer specialists who provide education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of aquatic resources and aquatic habitats within their communities for the state of Texas. In this session, learn what the Texas Waters Specialist program entails, how to become certified, and see the growth and successes of your fellow Texas Master Naturalist.
Texas Waters Links:
Curious to learn more about the inspiration to this year’s 25th Anniversary Annual Certification Pin? Then this month’s TMNTuesday is for you!
From the coast to the desert, we will take a look at the 11 ecoregions of Texas and their associated plant communities and abiotic characteristics. Additionally, we will explore the Ecological Mapping Systems (EMS) of Texas which have allowed TPWD to map even more refined habitat types within the ecoregions.
Scroll through the 2022 #TMNTuesdays hosted by the TMN State Office and recorded for your enjoyment!
Our first year of #TMNTuesdays webinars was a huge success! Click on a month below to see the past webinar.
Frequently Asked Questions