Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween Fun at the Refuge

Families can find some “naturally” enjoyable ways to get into Halloween mode at Hagerman NWR. Take a walk along one of the five trails at the Refuge and look for something creepy like a spider web or a tree “skeleton”. You can pick up a printed trail guide at the Visitor Center or download one from the Friends website.

Wait – hush! What was that rustling sound? Was it the wind in the dry grass or did a ghost just brush by? Maybe if you’re lucky you might even spot that Halloween icon, an owl, or hear one hooting.

Other good “I spy” objects are – hollow tree, “faces” in the burl of a tree, animal tracks, leaf skeletons, crows, vultures, worms and beetles. On the way to the Refuge, look through your bird field guide for the birds wearing “masks”!

You can view the “ghost” town of Hagerman that was cleared away when Lake Texoma was built – with the lake level so low, the area where much of the town stood, although normally under water, is currently dry land.

If the Halloween fun begins to pall, you might want to move into “harvest” mode. At the Refuge, berry, nut, and mushroom picking are allowed without a permit, for personal use only, 5 gallons per person per day. Firewood cutting (from fallen trees) is allowed, with a Special Use Permit, obtainable at the Refuge Office during weekday business hours (7:30 – 4 pm, Monday – Friday).

One last thing - your car will turn into a pumpkin at sunset, if you are not on your way out of the Refuge! Visit the Refuge website and for more information.

Photo by Donna Niemann

Thursday, October 20, 2011

High on the Hawg is Back!

You can do your part to alleviate the wild hog problem at the Refuge!

Attend HIGH on the HAWG for 2011 !!

FUNdraiser event, Back for the second year

The Refuge staff will prepare delicious barbecue and the Friends will supply all the trimmings.

Not only can you help out, you will have three opportunities to do so!

Barbecue will be served from 5:30 – 8 pm on three Saturdays:

November 5, November 19 and December 3.

The Audio Visual Classroom at the Refuge will be transformed into the

"Friends of Hagerman Cafe"

Your waiters will be the Friends board of directors, with the aid of additional volunteers.

On the menu: BBQ pork, potato salad, beans, coleslaw, bread, pickles, onions, &

HOMEBAKED PIE or COBBLER! Plus iced tea or coffee.

All this good food, great service, and fun can be yours for only

$10 per person, and $5 for children aged 12 and under.

No reservations needed, just show up and purchase tickets at the door.

See you there!

For more information about Friends activities, see

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Good Old Days

October is the “Fair” season in N. Texas, when folks gather to enjoy fairs and festivals - today’s post features an excerpt from a “History of Hagerman” written by Annette Morrison Catts, whose family lived there, and generously shared with the Friends of Hagerman NWR:

The town of Hagerman developed several fun traditions which helped its citizens bond in friendship. For one thing, the Merchants Association of Hagerman stimulated their already good business by sponsoring Trades Days. Show windows were given a special shine, and the best merchandise was displayed. A big rodeo was usually the principle feature with local boys roping and riding for prizes offered by the merchants. Also, the Woodman Hall on the second floor of the Bean Brothers General Store was the scene of community gatherings, box suppers, beauty contests, dances and programs. Another big event was Election Day, which was always a red-letter day because the people on the route always came to spend the day, shop and visit with “the folks in town.” The post office and train depot were places for daily visits as well.

It was also exciting when before the 20’s the first automobile came to town. Two gas stations sprung up in response, Otto Dutton’s and Ma & Pa Black’s, which became Moore’s Service Station. Otto also had an Auto Parts and Repair shop. But people had to learn to drive their new horseless carriages. Someone accidentally ran into the vertical pipe that made the Artesian Well flow high enough to drink from and fill a bucket. They broke it off at the ground! That pipe was never replaced. The Artesian Well had been the focal point for many community picnics on the grounds of the Cotton Gin. It makes you wonder how TV and computers could have improved on that! Former residents were coming back for water until about 2005 when it quit flowing.

And, just as the headlines report crimes and wildfires today, Morrison continues:

There were other less pleasant sources of excitement, too. In 1917 bank robbers cut all the phone lines, dynamited the bank and shot up the Hunt Smith home, escaping with $3,000. And in 1926 and 1938 there were fires which destroyed several businesses. But since there was no fire department, the men just had to use a bucket brigade system to put out the fires. Tom Smith died of a heart attack after pumping water from the well and carrying a bucket to fight the last raging fire, when he was 74.

Photo: Main Street, Hagerman, Texas, circa 1910 (from Refuge files).

You can learn more about the town of Hagerman in the new exhibits at Hagerman NWR, and ironically, with the lake level so low, you can now walk about in the area where much of the town was located before Lake Texoma was filled.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

National Wildlife Refuge Week at Hagerman

National Wildlife Refuge Week begins October 9, and with the majority of the visitors at Hagerman coming on the weekend, the Friends will start the celebration one day early, on Second Saturday, October 8. "Prairie Grasses and Fall Wildflowers" will be the topic with Dr. Connie Taylor, Professor Emeritus of Biology, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, as the speaker. Dr. Taylor’s program will begin at 10 am in the Multi-purpose Room of the new Visitor Center at the Refuge.

The Refuge and the Friends are so fortunate to have speakers and program leaders who are experts in their field and Connie Taylor is no exception! Dr. Taylor earned her PhD at the University of Oklahoma, where her major was in Plant Ecology and Plant Taxonomy. Known for her research on Goldenrods and native and introduced plants and their distribution in Oklahoma, she and her late husband, Dr. John Taylor, collected and reported new to Oklahoma over 150 species of plants. Dr. Taylor taught at Southeastern Oklahoma State University for 28 years, offering 17 different courses. She authored a catalogue of all vascular plants growing in Oklahoma and Keys to the Asteraceae of Oklahoma. Currently she is working with the Flora of Oklahoma Group on Keys to the Flora of Oklahoma.

Dr. Taylor plans to take the group outdoors for part of her presentation, weather permitting.

Also on the calendar for October 8, early-birds can meet at 8 am at the FOH Center at the Refuge for a nature walk, led by Dr. Wayne Meyer, weather permitting. The walk will conclude in time for Dr. Taylor’s presentation.

There will be Coffee with Friends from 9 – 10 am in the FOH Center, with complimentary coffee available.

At 9:30 am, in the Multi-purpose Room of the Visitor Center, winners of the 2011 Hagerman NWR Photo Contest will be announced and awards presented.

At 10 am, just prior to Dr. Taylor’s program, a special presentation in honor of a long-time volunteer will be made by the Friends of Hagerman.

Also planned for National Wildlife Refuge Week:

Monday, October 10, is a federal holiday, Columbus Day, and although the Refuge Office will be closed for official business, the Visitor Center will be open to the public from 10 am – 3 pm.

The Fall Photo Safari will be held on Saturday, October 15. To register (advance registration please!!), send your name, contact information, camera make/model, and experience level to

The Refuge is open daily from sunrise to sunset, free of charge. This week will be a great time to visit Hagerman, to walk, bird, picnic, bicycle, take pictures, do the auto tour, see the new Visitor Center or just enjoy the outdoors and some glorious October days.

These programs, sponsored by Hagerman NWR and the Friends of Hagerman, are free and open to the public. The Refuge is located at 6465 Refuge Road, Sherman, TX, 75092. For more information, call the Refuge, 903 786 2826, or see