Winter 2014

Collect native grass seeds

There is always something to fill up your day when you’re managing and conserving any piece of land! Some projects can be very time consuming and physically demanding, while some can be easy and fun.

This autumn we held a volunteer workday to collect seeds of five different species of grasses for the purpose of redistributing them elsewhere on Selah. Along with paper sacks to keep species separate, each volunteer received a lesson on each of the grasses and the soil conditions in which you will find them.

We started with our state grass of Texas, sideoats grama, which does well in just about any soil type and readily germinates. We collected large sacks of two of the “big four” grasses: big bluestem and yellow Indiangrass.

Silver bluestem was collected because of its ability to germinate quickly and do well in areas that have been recently disturbed, like an area that experienced recent brush clearing.

We ended our enjoyable morning with vine mesquite, which according to ranch manager Steven Fulton, is arguably one of the most valuable of all our grasses, due to its value for wildlife and all seed-eating birds.

You can do this yourself along your county roads and in one autumn afternoon collect native seeds that grow well in your area. (Stay away from the highways, however, as TXDOT still puts some non-natives into their seed mixes, like KR bluestem.)

Dozens of paper sacks of native grass seeds were collected in just three hours.

Intern opportunities at Selah in 2015

Education at Selah is not limited to school groups or landowner workshops. We also take pride in hosting environmentally interested interns for a few weeks or a few months each year.
After two very successful intern experiences in 2014 and 2013, we will again offer a 5-month environmental education internship to one college-aged individual in the spring of 2015.
While with us, the experiences these young people have include exposure to a diverse range of guests and programs, physical working skills, and conservation biology concepts.
If you know someone who is interested in being a part of our Selah family, share this application process with a deadline of December 31, 2014. We will make a hiring decision no later than January 20, 2015 for an internship that will commence February 1, 2015. Direct internship inquiries to

Mark your calendar for other education-focused events:
Family Picnic Fundraiser: May 3, 2015 from 10am to 5pm. Proceeds from this enjoyable spring day 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 is available on our website.
Camp Selah: Calling all nature nerds, ages 9-13! June 13-18, 2015. Space is limited to 20 campers, so apply early! Download the application here.

Chris Burke leading a nature scavenger hunt with area elementary students.

iNaturalist species identification website

Have you ever heard of iNaturalist? Well now you have!
We are excited to add to our 2015 educational programs a concerted effort to document and identify species living and growing here at Selah by way of this social website.
iNaturalist is a crowd-sourced species identification system where all you need is a smartphone and a camera with which to record your own observations out in nature, that can then be uploaded to an account set up for that area. The primary goal of iNaturalist is to connect people to nature.
The secondary goal is to generate scientifically valuable biodiversity data. A growing list of parks, preserves, schools, even landowners are finding this to be a fun way to be a citizen scientist, discovering and sharing the wonders of the natural world.
Don’t know what you’ve observed? Not to worry, iNaturalist has experts who can do it for you. Visit our iNaturalist account for Selah and see what we’ve only just begun to document and then watch it grow with each visiting school group and nature camp in the years ahead!

This female alligator lizard was captured in a pitfall trap and shown to a group of landowner workshop participants. The lizard is now on our growing observation list at iNaturalist. She was later released in the same location as her capture.

G I V I N G   T R E E
Limited edition prints by Margaret Bamberger

2015 marked the five year anniversary of the passing of naturalist, artist, educator and devoted friend, Margaret Bamberger.
If you have read Water from Stone, the Story of Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve, then you’re familiar with the illustrations throughout the book that Margaret created, many of which were during the worst throes of her battle with cancer.
Margaret arranged to have fourteen of her illustrations printed into limited edition prints, both in black and white and in color. While most are not signed due to her passing, they are all authenticated limited edition prints available for sale now on our website.
The proceeds of all sales go directly to education programs, her lasting legacy here at Selah. Consider one of these for a unique and meaningful gift for Christmas or birthdays.

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If you would like more information about giving opportunities, please call David Bamberger at 830-868-7303, or Colleen Gardner at 830-868-2630. Our website's homepage also makes it easy to donate online.

Illustration by Margaret Bamberger.

C O L L E E N ’ S   C O R N E R
Preserve beautiful leaves and memories

A very fond childhood memory for me was collecting large autumn leaves with my parents during one of our family visits to New York.
Leaves don’t get that big, or seemingly as bright where I lived in Texas (Odessa), and those collections were cherished.
Most of the time we would just press the leaves in between dictionaries and other heavy books, only to have them crack and crumble shortly thereafter. But one year, my mom melted some paraffin wax, dipped in my favorite leaves and set them out to dry and harden.
Those East Coast autumn leaves were brought out year after year to decorate our Thanksgiving dinner tables, still just as colorful as I remembered at the picking.
This November has been dramatically beautiful with the fall colors. Go outside, collect some leaves with a child, a friend, a neighbor or just yourself!
You can find Gulf Wax with the canning and jamming supplies in your local grocery store. We used pie tins to melt the wax over the stove top and then just hand-dipped the leaves. They were dry and preserved within minutes of cooling.
The heat of the wax may change the leaf color slightly. You don’t need much but when you’re done, don’t pour the extra wax down the drain! Let the wax cool, wipe off the tin’s surface, and throw the wax into the trash.
I have found cypress needles don’t do too well, but all the oaks, cherries and maples work beautifully. You can save them for years if stored in a box where they can’t be crushed.
Be creative and make wondrous memories that can long outlive the passing season!
Have a merry Christmas and a safe and healthy new year.

Colleen Gardner, Executive Director

Joanna Rees, Selah board member and volunteer, dipped entire branches using a turkey basting tin.
Copyright © 2014 Bamberger Ranch Preserve, All rights reserved.

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