Diversity and Inclusion at North Texas Master Naturalist

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As North Texas Master Naturalists, we pledge to “subscribe to the highest standards of integrity and conduct.”  Given the current unsettling events in our country, it is time to be forthcoming and unwavering in our commitment to this pledge within our community.

Nature teaches us that biodiversity ensures the stability, productivity, and progression of an ecosystem and what affects one element in nature will in turn affect the entire ecosystem. At present, we have a diverse community, but we do not presently have a diverse organization. We recognize we must do more to increase diversity, provide equity, and promote inclusion in our North Texas Master Naturalist membership, programming, and activities.

In January, we formed a Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, which was charged with researching, creating, and establishing guiding principles relating to equality, equity, and inclusion. We seek open dialogue and input from all of our members. While we may stumble along the way, we will not let that deter us from the crucial work of moving this chapter toward fully realizing the values implicit in our mission which we hold so dear.

Our pledge to the Black people and people of color in our chapter and in our community is to speak openly about injustices and create a more welcoming, supportive environment for all who want to enjoy and preserve nature. We pledge to critically examine our own complacency and biases in order to effectively make substantial and long-lasting changes. Finally, we pledge that by the end of the summer, the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force will provide actionable, strategic steps in making these vows a reality, all the while remaining fully transparent.

We are committing to all our members and the North Texas community to improve and enhance who we are as an organization. The work required to achieve this will not be easy, nor will it be comfortable. It is a long trail to hike and a tall mountain to climb. However, together with our chapter members, partners, stakeholders, and our community members, we will create and cultivate a diverse and thriving ecosystem.

If you have any questions about this, please email us at contact@ntmn.org

Board of Directors
Texas Master Naturalist Program
North Texas Chapter

Tribute to David Rogers, award-winning NTMN photographer

from: Stalin SM, NTMN photo committee
I just wanted to share a few memories of David Rogers and highlight some of his contributions to our chapter.

A lot of the new members in our committee might not know David. A succinct intro about David in Bruce’s words:

We discovered that David Rogers was a member of our chapter when they announced him as the grand prize winner of the photography contest at the TMN annual meeting. We didn’t know who he was but found out he had transferred from the Blackland Prairie chapter just before the annual meeting. He was very active as a member of the photography committee and could be counted upon to shoot chapter events.”

I started interacting with David from 2016 primarily through our photo committee work. He was very silent and attentive. Two great attributes for a nature photographer! You get to see his pictures more than him photographing. This is something which we photographers know first hand. He was one of us and made a difference through his photography.

His nature photography was crucial in the remarkable resurrection story of the Frankford Prairie. Kathy Wells Power, President Frankford Preservation Foundation mentions:

“David was really the first photographer to work at Frankford after we discovered the prairie. He was the one who called me that March day in 2012 to say the east meadow was covered with a blanket of light blue flowers. His images of Frankford in the early days of its awakening are treasures.”

In 2018, he dropped by at our Annual awards dinner. He said that he wanted to just meet a few folks and leave. But he felt great seeing and talking to the chapter members and stayed back the whole night. At one point he picked my camera up and just held it in his hand. He held it silently for a moment, as if someone tenderly holding a childhood treasure, and handed it back to me saying he hasn’t been able to shoot lately. He was sad that his cancer was relapsing and he was not confident of recovering. It was very tough for me to process his painful situation. But I was really glad that he spent some time that night with us and importantly felt good.

One of my favorite pictures in our archive is this image below by David from the 2016 Native Plants and Prairies Day (NPPD). It is a timeless memory of a master naturalist kindling the curiosities of toddlers with all the bugs on a blooming milkweed.

I happened across this picture on June 4th and sent out an email to David and wished him strength and joy. I would like to think he got a chance to see it in his last week and that it would have brought him fond memories to ease his suffering.

He greatly valued his friendship with Carroll and appreciated his support when he informed him about his cancer. He felt the engagement with the photo committee connected him with the rest of the chapter.

David’s photos won the grand prize at the 2016 TMN State conference at Lake Conroe. Here is what Bruce mentioned about it in his message.

“NTMN photographers submitted their photos in several categories. David Rogers won two first-place awards as well as the Grand Prize. Photos on the first page. When you see an outstanding photo,you don’t necessarily know why you find it so attractive because it is often the combination of the subject matter and the composition. David’s photos caught the eyes of and spoke to the judges and the Master Naturalists who voted.”

He was a good man and I pray for his family during this time. Have him in your thoughts if you are outdoors in a prairie this weekend. I know he will cherish it. May his soul rest in peace.

Enjoy this video that David produced.

Here is his obituary.

Regards,

Stalin

How to Be a Guide with Adrienne Paquette — online Aug 5 Wed

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

LOCATION: Online with Zoom

Announcements begin at 7 pm. Speaker begins at approximately 7:30 pm.

If not familiar with Zoom, arrive 6:45 pm to set your audio levels and learn the system. Please load in a profile photo. Zoom tips at the bottom of this post.

How to Be a Guide

Adrienne Paquette, L.A.N.D.S. Educator for Texas Wildlife Association.

Learn how to become better leaders and educators for guided hikes and other educational outreach events from Adrienne Paquette, L.A.N.D.S. Educator for Texas Wildlife Association. Participants will discover basic guiding practices, how to become a better storyteller, how to handle difficulties and overcome obstacles, and how to set up a hike or outreach event. Become a stronger leader who is more confident in sharing their passion and further the Texas Master Naturalist mission of nature education, outreach, and service.

Adrienne Paquette is a L.A.N.D.S. Educator for Texas Wildlife Association, a nonprofit serving Texas wildlife and its habitat by facilitating conservation efforts through education and outreach of those who value and steward wildlife resources. A graduate of Texas A&M University in College Station, she has a masters degree in Environmental Science & Sustainability from Saint Edward’s University in Austin. Before her work with TWA, she was an educator at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center.

Zoom Tips

Zoom works best if you download and install the Zoom app on your computer or phone. Do not rely on the browser version. Please do this prior to the meeting time. Go here: https://zoom.us/download

These Zoom Video Tutorials can be useful if unfamiliar with the platform, particularly Join A Meeting, Joining & Configuring Audio & Video, and Testing computer or device audio.

Updated Service Guidelines

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Updated North Texas Master Naturalist Volunteer Service Guidance

Effective July 2, 2020

As announced at the July 1 Chapter Meeting, we have updated our guidance for members. In addition, Governor Abbott also issued an Executive Order today ordering that all Texans wear face masks when in public in our county. Please see a link to his order at the bottom of this message.

Our focus continues to be on our volunteers’ and the public’s health and safety. Each Master Naturalist will decide when to comfortably return to service. No one should feel pressure to participate in volunteer activities.

As we return to in-person service, we must adhere to the following.

Guidance when working indoors:

  • Know and follow local partners’ and project locations’ individual health and safety policies which may be more stringent. They may not yet be open to volunteer service.
  • Practice exemplary hygiene. Wear a mask when in public.
  • When and where groups are allowed, limit groups working to 10 or fewer people, all spaced 6 feet or more apart.
  • Do not use shared equipment if possible. If it is necessary to share equipment, sanitize everything between each user.

Guidance for Outdoor Service:

  • Know and follow local partners’ and project locations’ individual health and safety policies which may be more stringent. They may not yet be open to volunteer service.
  • Practice exemplary hygiene. Wear a mask when in public.
  • Limit groups working outdoors together or receiving instructions to 10 or fewer people, all spaced 6 feet apart or more.
  • Individuals may work independently, keeping 6 feet or more apart from others in a wildscape garden or other natural area.
  • You should use your own gardening tools and equipment if possible. Sanitize shared tools and equipment between each user and clean after each use.

If you have any questions about our new direction, please contact Russ Olivier, Volunteer Service Projects/Advanced Training Director, at activities@ntmn.org.

Thanks to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Reopening Guidance, May 20, 2020 and Dallas County Health and Human Services Dallas County COVID-19 Health Guidance for the Public, May 11, 2020, from which this direction has been liberally adapted.

As we receive updated guidance from our sponsors, we will keep you posted.

Thank you for all you do as we work through these difficult times together,

Scott Hudson
President
North Texas Chapter
Texas Master Naturalist Program

All volunteers must comply with state, county, and local public health and safety mandates to protect the well-being of volunteers, employees, and the public. Bear in mind that we represent our Chapter and we should set an example for the community.

General health and safety guidance:

Take personal responsibility. Public health guidance cannot anticipate every situation. Everyone must take responsibility, act based on common sense, and follow the guidance recommended by health care experts. Remain at home if you are not feeling well or have a fever.

Do an honest self-assessment of your own comfort, risk, health and safety. This assessment should include asking these questions:

  • Do I fall into a high-risk category, based on age or other medical conditions?
  • Is there someone in my home, or someone with whom I interact on a regular basis, who falls into a high-risk category?

If the answer to either of these questions is yes, exercise extra caution and discretion before engaging in activities outside the home.

Perform exemplary protective hygiene. Distance yourself physically and clean the environment. NTMN volunteers should practice good hygiene and disinfecting practices to minimize risk of virus transmission.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as frequently as possible or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, especially after interactions with people or objects.
  • Stay home if ill.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, your sleeve or elbow, not your hands.
  • Clean high-touch surfaces (door handles, tools, counters, restroom surfaces, etc.) regularly.
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
  • Refrain from handshaking and other direct contact.
  • Maintain physical distance, keeping at least 6 feet between people.
  • Wear a facial covering when out in public or when in the company of others. Recognize use of facemasks or other personal protective equipment as a way of diminishing transmission, even if they are not currently required in a local jurisdiction or program.

Be prepared to support contact tracing when it becomes available. Keep a list of those with whom you come in contact to facilitate these efforts. If you have traveled to certain high-risk areas, you should self-quarantine for 14 days.

Additional Texas Master Naturalist program guidance on COVID-19 can be found at https://txmn.tamu.edu/welcome/covid-19-response/ and DCHHS guidance at https://www.dallascounty.org/departments/dchhs/2019-novel-coronavirus.php

For Governor Abbott’s order please go here: https://gov.texas.gov/news/post/governor-abbott-establishes-statewide-face-covering-requirement-issues-proclamation-to-limit-gatherings

May awardees – North Texas Master Naturalists Photo Challenge

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Phenomenal photos! These NTMN members made the most of the quarantine in May — congratulations!

The Naturalist-in-Training

  • Jamie Maraman – Reflections and Tadpoles
    • Name : Jamie Maraman
    • Title : Reflections and Tadpoles
    • Description : We love watching all of the small aquatic life scurrying across the water and swimming in the small marsh area near our home! Serena, 3 years old, is fascinated by the tadpoles and likes to move her hands into the water super slow, to not disturb them
    • Location : Garland, TX

The Outdoor Adventurer

  • Carol Garrison – Blanket Flower Fence
    • Name : Carol Garrison
    • Title : Blanket Flower Fence
    • Description : First trip to Cedar Ridge Preserve. It was packed despite the pandemic! We took a vigorous 3 mile hike, and I saw this amazing field of blanket flower along the fence that looked like it was from the 1800s. For a few moments, I felt completely out of sync with the modern world
    • Location : Cedar Ridge Preserve


The Birder

  • Adam Cochran – Harris sparrow
    • Name : Adam Cochran
    • Title : Harris’s Sparrow at dusk
    • Description : images were taken on January 4, 2020 during the 2019 Audubon Christmas Bird Count
    • Location : South Dallas (in the Wilmer area).


The Botanist

  • Linda Donnelly – Roadside Guara
    • Name : Linda Donnelly
    • Title : Roadside Guara
    • Description : Roadside Guara photographed during the NTMN Socially Distant Bioblitz.
    • Location : Cedar Ridge Preserve

  • Carol Garrison – Wetland Dandelion Wishes
    • Name :  Carol Garrison
    • Title : Wetland Dandelion Wishes
    • Description : Dandelion with all of the florets still attached
    • Location : John Bunker Sands Wetland Center

  • BrendaMaston – Wildflower Timelapse
    • Name :  Brenda Maston
    • Title : Wildflower Timelapse
    • Description : Time sequence from April-MayNotice the different wildflowers seasons.As some fade out others take their place.Very interesting how nature continues to give us a bounty of color for each week of spring! Hope that these pics are named with the criteria. Wildflowers are an awesome spring canvas of color, each species following the next according to their timing. I hope these pictures illustrate my timeline of changing species
    • Location : Springcreek Preserve, Garland

The Entomologist

  • Adam Cochran – Cabronid Wasp
    • Name : Adam Cochran
    • Title : Resting
    • Description : Cabronid wasp resting on a Dalea flower
    • Location :
    • Kiest Park conservation area

  • Karen Albracht – Milkweed
    • Name : Karen Albracht
    • Title : A Lot Going On
    • Description : I happened upon this scene while on Monarch caterpillar patrol. Frass, predator, prey, and an onlooker on an Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed) leaf. Caterpillar poop is called frass. The things we learn!
    • Location : Tenison Park Pollinator Garden, Dallas, TX


The Forester

  • Jamie Maraman – World Beneath the mushroom cap
    • Name : Jamie Maraman
    • Title : A world beneath the mushroom cap
    • Description : Mushrooms are amazing, and here we have a spider waiting for the flies that will contribute to decomposition, and a snail eating it. Amazing photo!
    • Location : Spring Creek Nature Preserve


The Wetlander

  • Linda Donnelly – Diamond Back Beauty
    • Name : Linda Donnelly
    • Title : Diamondback Beauty
    • Description : Diamondback Water Snake photographed during the NTMN Socially Distant Bioblitz
    • Location : Sunset Bay at White Rock Lake


The Wildlife Biologist

  • Linda Donnelly – Hidden In Plain Sight
    • Name : Linda Donnelly
    • Title : Hidden in Plain Sight
    • Description : Green Anole photographed during the NTMN Socially Distant Bioblitz
    • Location : Home, Dallas