January - We welcomed new Deputy Refuge Manager, Paul Balkenbush, shown below,
On Second Saturday we "traveled" to Peru with Dr. Wayne Meyer and learned about squirrels at The Refuge Rocks, initiated in January by moving the program for children ages 4 - 12 from the first Saturday each month to the third Saturday.
The Nature Photography Club was off to a great start for the year with a program by Trey Neal, Photographing Owls at HNWR.
February - Alex Ocanas shared her experiences volunteering with a Community Based Elephant Conservation program in Thailand, for Second Saturday, and youngsters learned about backyard birds at The Refuge Rocks, as we participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count.
|Courtney Anderson with a new microscope.|
|Education program in the Butterfly Garden using new equipment from PTAS, May 2017|
Refuge staff were monitoring a Bald Eagles' nest at HNWR, with the eagles believed to be incubating eggs.
School field trips began early in the year, scheduled by Courtney Anderson with educational activities led by volunteers and wildlife pros.
March - Led by FOH Committee Chair Larry Vargus and Courtney Anderson, staff, the new Outdoor Crew is working on improving trails, habitat and more at the Refuge, on the first Tuesdays and fourth Saturdays each month.
Dr. Jessica Healy educated and entertained us with "Otter Nonsense" on Second Saturday, and the youngsters were "Wild about Wildflowers" at The Refuge Rocks.
Nature Rocked also for Spring Break at HNWR, with crafts, hikes and more. The Nature Photography Club held a Signs of Spring photo shoot, and enjoyed a program this month on Bird Photography for Beginners by Dr. Mike Keck.
Paul Balkenbush, Deputy Manager at HNWR was the featured speaker at the FOH Annual Meeting. New Life Members recognized were Wes and Teresa Crawford, shown below, honored with a gift to FOH from Exxon Mobil for volunteer service, and Derek Miller, not pictured, honored with a gift to FOH from Texas Instruments Foundation for volunteer service.
Walt Davis returned to lead a second workshop on drawing and nature journaling.
April - Regular Butterfly Garden walks began April 1, along with regularly scheduled garden workdays. Docents benefitted from a program on Native Bees given by Carol Clark and the Butterbike Lady stopped by at the Refuge on April 15, shown in photo below, by Melinda Hill.
Dr. Wayne Meyers spoke on Warblers at HNWR for Second Saturday, following a guided bird walk led by Jack Chiles, and children attended The Refuge Rocks program, "Eggzactly!" shown below, in photo by Cindy Steele.
FOH provided free Save the Earth Coloring Books for Earth Day 2017.
Courtney Anderson and the Bluestem Master Naturalists held a night program, Hagerman's Enchanted Skies this month.
The Federal Junior Duck Stamp traveling exhibit of winners was on display at HNWR April - May.
May - A volunteer appreciation event was hosted by the Refuge staff on May 6, noting that more than 8000 hours of service had been given by volunteers in 2016.
We had a great turnout for Mother's Day in the Garden, with punch and cookies in the Butterfly Garden and lots of photo taking of moms and families.
|Mother's Day in the Garden, 2017|
|Wava Denito, with Junior Duck Stamp exhibit in background|
Youngsters learned about turtles at The Refuge Rocks.
Jimmy Thomas spoke on "Wildlife Photography in Africa", for the FOH Nature Photography Club.
Nest Box Monitors conducted weekly checks on the two Bluebird Trails at the Refuge and kept those who had adopted boxes informed of nesting activity throughout the season via emailed reports and photos like the one below.
The Bluestem Master Naturalists sponsored Nature O'Logy, outdoor experience for youngsters ages10 -11.
Who Has Seen the Wind? was the topic for The Refuge Rocks in June, shown below.