Despite the shorter August days, things are still heating up for the Texas team! With a high of at least 100 degrees for the last 17 days, it’s hard to catch a break from the heat. Sweaty or not, the team still ﬁnds ways to have fun and enjoy the Texas outdoors. Throughout the season, we have been lucky enough to ﬁnd some cool swimming holes at our lakes. We make sure to drink lots of water, swim often, or if you are desperate enough you can go the route of Allison, and cut all your hair off. We have also recently acquired umbrellas that fasten to our chairs, sold as “chairbrellas”. Either way, the chairbrellas really do the trick!
For the Texas team’s ﬁrst conservation project in August the team traveled to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildﬂower Center in Austin. The Wildﬂower Center is a major player in Texas conservation. We went there to assist Minnette Marr in cleaning and prepping 10,000-20,000 Fraxinus Americana (white ash) seeds. Minnette will send 10,000 to 20,000 seeds from every individual species of Ash, one from each eco-region, in Texas to the Millennium Seed Bank (MSB) where they will be preserved. Minnette heads the Wildﬂower Center’s Ash Conservation in East Texas Forests Project, who has partnered with the (MSB). This project of hers is part of a nationwide program that is addressing North America’s losing battle against the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). An invasive beetle from Asia, the EAB nests speciﬁcally in Ash trees and consequently kills the ash tree. There have been no successful solutions in controlling the EAB population, putting all spices of Ash in great threat. The next best thing to getting rid of the EAB, is to save the tree by collecting an extensive seed bank.
Our other conservation day was spent planning and tying up some loose ends for the season. Allison was very lucky to be presented a wonderful opportunity, to create a trailhead map, by one of our favorite park rangers, Robert. They had a meeting together to discuss the details of the project. Kim worked on planning our last conservation day and the group took a long over-due trip to the recycling center.
Things were pretty low key in New England this past hitch. Surveys went according to plan and the team is getting ready to wrap up their last couple weeks. The team spent another day cleaning out bluebird boxes at West Hill Lake. For the second conservation day the New England team enjoyed a visit from a naturalist who was kind enough to take them on a plant walk at two of their sights showing them various different edible and medicinal plants and mushrooms. Consuming wild plants can be an exciting way to explore the outdoors, but always trust your own, and the identiﬁcation skills of an expert, because it can also be a very dangerous practice if plants are misidentiﬁed. The team also enjoyed playing disc golf at local lakes and is wrapping up the end of the survey season.