Thursday, March 29, 2012
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Thursday, March 15, 2012
St. Patrick, whose “holy day” will be celebrated March 17th, was credited with driving the snakes out of Ireland. Recently a gentleman came to the Refuge wanting to release snakes there that he had captured on a golf course. NOT! We began wondering what other rules and laws there are about this type of thing, and asked Hagerman NWR Manager, Kathy Whaley to update us. Here is Kathy’s information:
Snakes are considered non-game wildlife in Texas, and are not protected by law. However, it is unlawful to capture any species of wildlife on public lands without a permit, or along roadways and road edges. In addition, protected species of wildlife may not be captured or possessed without a special permit from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. On the Refuge, no wildlife may be captured without a Special Use Permit issued by the Refuge Manager. Permits are issued on a very limited basis for scientific research only.
Texas law protects 12 species of snakes which are considered to be threatened with or in imminent danger of extinction of local populations, or of the species as a whole. These threatened and endangered species are protected by law from hunting or harassment. You can find the list at http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/huntwild/wild/species/endang/animals/reptiles_amphibians.
Since 2008, a permit from Texas Parks and Wildlife has been required for the sale, transport or recreational ownership of exotic snakes (http://www.texasreptiles.com/snakepermits.html). Exotics include venomous snakes not native to Texas, several species of python, and one species of anaconda. Releasing these snakes into the wild is also prohibited.
Even though they usually get a bad rap, snakes are a very important part of the natural ecosystem and play a critical role in the balance of nature. Small snakes feed on many harmful bugs and insects while larger ones eat rats, mice, and other rodents that can destroy crops or damage property by chewing. Without snakes, the world would literally be completely overrun by rodents! Snakes also serve as a food source for larger predators such as hawks, owls, herons, and carnivores including bobcats and coyotes. On occasion, some snakes will even consume other snakes.
As with any relationship, it’s all about respect. A snake doesn’t want to be any closer to you than you do to it. Learn to identify poisonous snakes and keep your distance – enjoying the view from afar.
National Wildlife Refuges
It is illegal to release any type of wild or domestic animal on a National Wildlife Refuge. The reason for this is to make sure that animals not native to the area are not introduced to possibly start a population (such as what happened in the Florida Everglades with pythons). The other important reason is that wild animals brought in from another location can transmit diseases such as rabies, distemper, or hemorrhagic disease to previously healthy Refuge wildlife.
Happy St. Patrick's Day
Photo, Rough Green Snake, by Rick Cantu
Thursday, March 8, 2012
· 8 am, Nature Walk with Dr. Wayne Meyer on one of the trails at the Refuge, weather permitting. Meet at the FOH Center. You may want to bring binoculars, camera, field guides, and dress for the weather.
· 9:30 am - Noon, Red River Seed Bombs owner Carolyn Grissom will be in the Nature Nook in the Visitor Center to teach you how to “guerilla garden”! Seed bombs will be for sale in the Nature Nook.
· 10 am - Noon, Hummingbirds with Mark Klym, Visitor Center. Mark is the coordinator for the Texas Parks and Wildlife hummingbird programs and can help you get ready for the “jewels of the air”. Mark is co-author of Hummingbirds of Texas and will be selling and signing books following his presentation.
· 10 – 11:30 am, the Second Saturday for Youth topic is also Hummingbirds. Reservations are needed for the children’s program; please call the Refuge, 903 786 2826 to make sure there is still space for your child. For ages 4 – 10, with parents accompanying those 6 and under.
· 12:30 pm – Friends of Hagerman Nature Photo Club meeting, in the Classroom of the FOH Center. There will be a presentation on photographing wildflowers, and photo sharing. Bring a bag lunch and make it a day at the Refuge!
AND – we need your help! We are collecting empty (and clean) margarine tubs, yogurt cups and similar containers to use to hold the fish-bait we will be distributing at Fishing with Kids, at the Refuge, 9 am –Noon, March 31. When you visit the Refuge between now and March 31, if you can, please bring these items, even one or two from enough people will do the job, and THANKS!! See you at the Refuge.
Photo: Mark Klym at Hummingbird Festival (courtesy photo).
Thursday, March 1, 2012
This week we take a look back in time, with an article from Cliff Lewis, "The Flowing Well". Mr. Lewis came by the Visitor Center at Hagerman NWR recently and shared his memories about the Hagerman area, including this information which he later wrote up for the history notebook at the Center.
The Flowing Well, by Cliff Lewis
There are many stories about this place. Like other folklore, some are true, some have been enhanced over the years as they have been passed down from person to person. The following is what I have been told and what I have read about THE Flowing Well.
Most, if not all people refer to the well as “flowing wells” – probably because it is in an area where there are many wells that do, or did, flow. Thus the term “wells” came about. In several articles written about the well, the term “big well” is used, and that refers to the “flowing well”.
The origin of the “big well” is a good story. A man was digging for coal when he hit water. That was the artesian well that came to be known and The Flowing Well, northwest of Pottsboro. The well was finished out with a 10-inch pipe about four feet high; water bubbled out at least three inches above the top of the pipe. The pipe was anchored in concrete, and it was said that the well flowed about 20 gallons of water every five seconds.
Many changes were made to the well over the years. To make it easier to get water, a wooden platform was built around the pipe, and a trough placed at the bottom of the well to catch the water, so the horse drawn wagons could be pulled up to fill barrels.
My great-grandfather, C. B. Starnes came to Texas in 1879. In 1884 he bought 138 acres of land that contained the “flowing well”. Some years later, my grandfather, G. M. Lewis, had the first store at the Big Well. It was southeast of the well, near the west bank of Big Mineral Creek. In fact, it was an overflow of the creek that flooded the store and Grandpa was out of business. In 1919 Mr. T. A. Anderson built a new store there, and it did well for some time.
There are newspaper articles about the 4th of July picnics that were held at the Big Well, and weekend camping by “city folks”. There is one story about a summer snowstorm that happened on July 4th. My older brother, sister and cousins tell how they liked to go down to the well when the city folk would come out. The ladies with their pretty dresses and high heel shoes, would step upon the wooden platform around the well – the platform would be wet and slick…they saw many a good fall, pretty dresses and all!
My older brother talked about having to haul water from the well for Grandma and Grandpa Lewis and other family members. This would be an all-day job. Many families in the area also hauled way this way. It has been said that about 150 families depended on water from that first well, which was checked by the state lab and called the “purest water in the world”. Folks would come from miles around to get a drink of the cool clear spring water flowing from about 250 feet below ground. The local gentry tell about how good the water was, some even said it is “mineral” water, as are other wells in the area. My older sister would go to one of the wells near old Hagerman and get her mineral water.
Photo - Flowing Well, from Refuge files
Our thanks to Mr.Lewis and others who have shared information about the history of the area. For additional history, see the "Refuge Page" on the Friends of Hagerman website.