Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Story of SUPER Saturday

SUPER Saturday has been on our minds, first in the planning and then the "un-planning" as the event has been cancelled due to the government shutdown/refuge closing.  So in lieu of an "event", here is a look back at lots of good times at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge:

2008 – Conceived by the Friends of Hagerman as a way to offer a free nature experience to area families on the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the first SUPER Saturday was held May 24, 2008 – 100 attended events including a morning Wildflower Walk led by Jessie Stephens (below), fly-casting demonstrations, nature crafts for children, Birding by Chair, shorebird tours, hot dogs on the grill at both noon and supper-time, and Sun Gazing and of Star Gazing led by the Astronomy Society of North Texas.

2009 – SUPER Saturday II was held May 23, despite the fact that the record lake level and construction on FM 1417 closed most roads to Visitor Center.   The day began with a Pancake Breakfast served in the “Highwater CafĂ©”, under the supervision of “Captain” Dan Dinkler (photo below).  Events added this year included a Fledgling Birder class and field trip for the youngsters and their families, led by Susan Knowles, nature talks by Cliff Moore and Donna Cole; youngsters assembled bluebird boxes and learned origami. Hayrides were planned but cancelled due to high water on many Refuge roads.

2010 – SUPER Saturday III added the Boom Boom Room – where hair collected from area salons was stuffed into stockings to make booms to help prevent spread of the Gulf oil spill -  this activity under the leadership of Refuge Manager, Kathy Whaley, was set up in the soon to be demolished Visitor Center.  An Info Tent set up outside the newly installed temporary Refuge Office trailer served as event headquarters. Darryl Odom supervised the Pancake Breakfast, Big Ed (Supina) was the chef of the day at the grill, and Super Spuds were available for the evening meal. Events added included Fly-tying demos, Kids Fishing at Picnic Pond (photo below), hayrides on the Refuge, and an Owl Walk led by Dr. Wayne Meyer.  The l-o-n-g day ended about 11 pm with Star Gazing led by the Dallas Astronomy Society.

2011 -  Renamed SUPER Second Saturday, the event was moved to September 10,  to be held in conjunction with the Grand Opening of the new Refuge Office/Visitor Center.  In addition to the excitement created by the new building (photo below), events added in 2011 included the hosting Blackland Prairie Raptors, a how-to program by the FOH Nature Photography Club, nature talks by Dr. Wayne Meyer, Kay Karns and Don Lawrence, bird carving demo by Dick Malnory, and a “Green Tour” of the new building, led by Rick Cantu, Assistant Refuge Manager.  Visitors enjoyed browsing the new Nature Nook book and gift shop. Over 300 attended.

2012 – Named SUPER Saturday once again, the event was held October 13, this year, to kick off National Wildlife Refuge Week. A highlight of the event was the introduction of the new open air, all-electric tram – the C and E Cardinal Express, donated by Dr. Carlos and Eulalia Araoz.  The Sherman Noon Lions set up shop to offer a hot dog lunch.   Among the events added this year were Digital Birding by Jack Chiles, Rainwater Harvesting by Steve Fleming,  making Wildflower Seed Bombs, a butterfly walk led by Laurie Sheppard, Wildlife Bingo, and Canoeing 101, a dry-land program on canoeing, by Aris Tsamis of Mariner Sails, Dallas.

2013 SUPER Saturday Maybe!  Turned out to be SUPER Saturday NOT.

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