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Archive for July, 2012

Estuaries generate economic activity and support jobs, more than we probably think. Coasts and Estuaries account for a large part of our economy through  fisheries, recreation, conservation, and commerce . How many jobs do they support and what kind of jobs are they? How do they compare to other economic activities? A report issued last year by Restore America’s Estuaries , “Jobs and Dollars”, details several important conclusions about employment and estuaries :

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I had the privilege of walking the open coastal prairie wetlands at Sheldon Lake State Park last week during my routine quarterly monitoring. This photopoint monitoring is one of my favorite excuses to do work and get some “pond therapy”.  The restored ponds encompass roughly 315 acres and it takes hours to walk and hit each photopoint for all 15 ponds.  This walk-through gives me perspective and inspiration.  Last June we were already deep in the drought and the wetland ponds were suffering, dominated by mostly dead, brown vegetation.  So what an incredible contrast to walk the same areas a year later and see lush, green, vibrant vegetation!  The restored wetland survived and thrived—a testament to restoration itself and the resiliency of the resource.  ImageImage

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Master Naturalist Steve Upperman is one of the Wetland Restoration Team’s most dedicated members and he is leaving Houston for a new life in Ohio.

To say he will be missed on the Team is an understatement.  No one else can entertain the student volunteers quite so well with a bare-handed dissection of coyote scat or an impromptu cross-prairie nature walk. He is equally enthusiastic about hair-raising true-life detective stories or home-made baked goods.  He’s often sharing results from new creative ventures like recordings of prairie frogs, taking infrared photos, or auto-portraits of night wildlife.

Steve’s photo gallery of Sheldon Lake State Park documents the changing prairie wetlands over the seasons and the years, with his sharp eyes trained on wild animals, wildflowers, and volunteers alike. This is a wonderful visual record that he leaves for us, and the impact of his work on the Wetland Restoration Team will be felt long after he’s started his new life in Akron. Much appreciated, Steve.

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Realtors talk about curb appeal—that first glimpse that captures the eyes and emotions of a potential buyer, beckoning the person with a welcoming sensation. Would your front yard pass the drive-by test? What would entice someone to linger at your walkway or be interested in knowing the person beyond the front door? Front yards used to be places where neighbors met regularly to chat or to exchange garden tips, recipes, or the gossip of the day. Above all, front yards were stopping points where neighbors got to know each other and acquired that sense of place. (more…)

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Learn about the work of the Wetland Restoration Team and receive basic plant identification training which will aid in your participation with the Team.  The course runs 5 weeks in August, 9-12am every Wednesday, at Sheldon Lake State Park in northeast Harris County. A different plant family– wetland grasses, rushes, sedges, and Sagittaria– will be the focus of each week, plus an introduction to our wetland restoration efforts of the past five years, current projects, and future projects.

For Texas Master Naturalists, the classes count toward advance training, even if the course has been taken previously.  Volunteer hours will also be received for participation in Team workdays.

Due to the popularity of the course and the limitation of the classroom size, the class is limited to 24 students.  You must register with Marissa Sipocz (m-sipocz@tamu.edu) by July 25, 2010 and receive a confirmation email to reserve a spot in the course. The fee for this course is $20. For more information on the course, including a carpool from our Clear Lake office, please see the online flyer.

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