Spring 2015

Management of natives and non-natives

We aren’t always able to burn, due to continued droughts, but this winter with nearly 12 inches of rain, conditions were perfect. Winter burns are considered a “cool fire,” meaning flame temperatures are such that they stimulate grass growth but don’t necessarily damage trees and shrubbery like a hot summer fire would.

Thank you to our volunteers who gave extra eyes, hands and boots on the ground, enabling us to burn nearly 300 acres over a week in March.

In other management news, Selah staff have trapped over 40 feral hogs, which can quickly devastate a landscape. (Last year, total and by comparison, we trapped 192 hogs, so we are well on track to repeat that number.)

And in just the first 2 weeks of allocated trapping season, we have trapped and dispatched more than 200 brown-headed cowbirds that parasitize our song bird nests each spring. (One female cowbird can parasitize and lay over 60 eggs each season, which can decimate your spring bird diversity.)

Management of natives and non-natives, in both plant and animal kingdoms, is an ongoing process!

Ranch Manager, Steven Fulton, using a drip torch to light a pasture.

Family day and picnic

Please join us for a gorgeous spring day that supports Selah education! Our annual Family Picnic Fundraiser is May 3, 2015 from 10am to 5pm.

Along with ranch tours, kids’ crafts, and fishing lessons, the day includes a delicious lunch made by our volunteer friends from the Bexar Grotto, silent auction, plant sale and rocks by Nature’s Treasures.

Proceeds from this event support our educational programs for local school field trips. Cost is $135 per family, with a family loosely defined at two adults and up to three children under the age of 15.

More information and registration is available on our website.

San Antonio's Bonham Boys were masters at collecting spiders and dragonflies and grasshoppers and moths and frogs and fish and and and...

Ranch-wide biodiversity research

Professors and researchers from a growing list of higher education institutions are joining in to help us with our large-scale, ranch-wide biodiversity research.
Of particular help are Dr. Wayne Seifert of Shriner University and his vast knowledge of beetles and Dr. John Pascarella of Sam Houston State University with native bee populations.
Both have assisted us with equipment and traps placed in different ecotypes around the ranch.

Dr. Pascarella is currently writing a field guide on Texas’ native bees, and in the near future will use Selah’s restoration as a comparative location to a nearby, unrestored cedar forest in regards to biodiversity and bee populations.

Caley Zuzula spending a lovely spring afternoon setting bee traps for Dr. Pascarella’s research.

C O L L E E N ’ S   C O R N E R
Passion alone is not sufficient

While not mine originally, I often use the saying “passion alone is not sufficient to sustain a worthy cause; financial support is critical.”
If you have ever visited the ranch on a tour, workshop or school field trip, you have witnessed the passion that literally pours out of Selah’s staff. But like many non-profits, we too need financial support.
At least for now, you won’t see us throwing any galas with expensive linen tablecloths and keynote speakers. We hold just one fundraising event a year, in the form of a family-style picnic.
It’s not just for fund raising but for friend raising as well. It’s great fun and educational for all ages, whether you have kids or not.
This spring is one of the prettiest we have witnessed in several years, and what better way to enjoy it than a few hours here with us, letting us show you what Selah does best.
Staff and volunteers make the majority of the unique silent auction items, many of the plants in our plant sale are grown here, and this year we have Jared Holmes, our own herpetologist doing a featured talk on snakes.
Additionally we have our friends from Nature’s Treasures out of Austin selling their gorgeous rocks and minerals — a portion of their sales at the picnic will go towards our educational programs. (Get here early and call dibs on the rocks or Amanda Fulton and I might beat you to it!)
Just one specific example of where proceeds from this charitable event go: June 2, 2015 we will host the entire 5th grade class (that’s nearly 100 kiddos) from inner-city Austin’s J.J. Pickle Elementary School for a 6 hour field trip.

The children will pay no entrance or tour fee; their school is only responsible for transportation to and from East Austin. This is possible because of donations and this event. Thank you in advance.
I look forward to seeing you at the ranch!

Colleen Gardner, Executive Director

What could you do with 6 hours at Selah for a school field trip?
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