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Posts Tagged ‘Wetland Restoration Team’

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A video about the floating wetlands project at Clear Creek I.S.D’s Education Village in League City arrived today! See it now.

It shows very well what enthusiasm the students, teachers, and volunteers have for developing a natural environment on campus, especially if it means trying something really new–like floating wetlands. The video was created by Kirk Swann, Janice Scott, and the folks in the CCISD Office of Communications. Thanks ya’ll!

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Recently I have seen multiple articles on various wetland restoration projects from California to Florida and the consistent (and obvious) theme: return the land to the wetland habitat  that once existed.  Those stories just lend credibility to our wetland restoration project at Sheldon Lake State Park.  The restoration of the 136 acres of prairie wetlands to date, and the upcoming additional 52 acres, reflects a true (as true can be) restoration–taking the landscape back to what it once was—wide-open coastal prairie and pine/oak savanna dotted and crossed by circular and linear marsh basins.   

As we look forward to Phase 4 of the restoration, its amazing to look at the pictures from Phase 1 and see that what we attempted to do with our restoration model, and indeed, how well it established and flourished.  Phase 1 was the beginning of the whole restoration process and we weren’t sure all we planned would work out–would the excavations be right? would the soils support the plant community? would the plantings take?  By the end of Phase 2 and 3, we felt that our model was solid and the progression below offers the visual testimony (picture of Pond 2, Phase 1)

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Phase 4 will take us into somewhat new territory but the principles of the model will remain the same. Investigate the landscape to uncover the past and precisely restore the wetlands were they once thrived and follow by restoring the native plant community by the hands of invested volunteers.  (Follow our efforts on the Wetland Team blog)

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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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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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The Wetland Restoration Team gets a three-week boost from 14 high school and college students in the Student Conservation Association. TCWP staff and Texas Master Naturalist mentors have been showing the students how to identify and dig important wetland species, divide them into sprigs for transplanting, and replant them into the developing prairie wetlands at Sheldon Lake State Park. With the SCA’s help, a phenomenal 2875 sprigs of desirable sedge species were planted last week! The students also collect bushels of ripe seed heads and separate out the seed for future projects.  The work of these young people is vital to the success of the wetland restoration program, and is greatly appreciated. Now, if we could only have some more rain…

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