Lee Kelton, class of 2012, passes away

We received sad news that our friend and fellow Master Naturalist Lee Kelton passed away on Saturday, April 11th. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. Amy Martin, NTMN class of 2018, wrote the tribute below. Her longer version, published by GreenSourceDFW, includes testimonials from NTMN members and covers his efforts with NTMN, Oak Cliff Earth Day, and the Celtic community. A tribute album of photos is up at Flickr. Donations in Lee’s name may be made to Twelve Hills Nature Center

Lee Kelton

Some spirits depart and the void is immense. Lee Kelton is one of those people. A matchless spirit who gave so much to the world. Dallas is a better place to be because of Lee, and we were so lucky at North Texas Master Naturalists that he gave so much to us. It was sudden, being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia only last week, and his family was with him as he passed, including his wife Lybo Buchanan, class of 2020.

Starting with his graduation in 2012, Lee was integral to NTMN. He could work a Nature Discovery Trunk like no other. People flocked to the table to experience his raconteur spirit, but also his deep nature knowledge. His vision, affection and hard work infuses every square foot of Twelve Hills Nature Center, and his legacy will live on in all the students he interacted with in the Nature Leader Program at Rosemont Elementary, especially his posse of 5th-grade boys.

Lee was the energy and soul of the Oak Cliff Earth Day with Lybo, stepping up in a big way after his brother-in-law Coke Buchanan passed away. His volunteer spirit graced Cedar Ridge Preserve, Texas Discovery Gardens, and Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. He was active with Audubon Dallas and the Texas Wildlife Association where his enthusiasm enthralled Texas youth in the L.A.N.D.S. (Learning Across New Dimensions in Science) program. Recognizing his outstanding service, NTMN presented Lee the Volunteer of the Quarter Award in the summer of 2019.

Before he was part of NTMN, he was a cornerstone of North Texas Irish Festival. The NTMN booth at NTIF was enlivened by his mirthful visits and occasionally by his gift of whiskey shots. From his Irish enthusiasm with NTIF, to his outreach with NTMN and more, to his Oak Cliff activism staged from the love-filled house on Kings Highway he shared with Lybo, to the way he made even strangers smile every day, his is a tremendous loss.

Lee called himself a landman, working in the management of oil fields in Oklahoma, Wyoming, and Texas. He retired from Lone Star Gas as a Senior Petroleum Land Manager. From that point on, he was a land man for nature, pouring himself into the recruiting others to care as deeply for the Earth as he did.

His great heart, his deep spirit, his huge hugs, his terrible jokes, his deep laughter, his endless stories! The party started when Lee arrived. He was truly an overgrown Irish leprechaun, robust and larger than life. His eyes had a perennial twinkle. NTMN gatherings will simply not be the same without his presence. Our hearts go out to Lybo Buchanan, his loving family, and to the myriad of people who call him friend. At sunset tonight, raise high your favorite beverage (he’d appreciate if it were whiskey) and remember this great man and all he has done for our world.

The family asks that donations in Lee’s name be made to Twelve Hills Nature Center. We will keep you posted on the family’s decisions about arrangements.

Thank you,
Scott Hudson

An Urgent Update to the NTMN Community about Coronavirus – March 20, 2020

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An Urgent Update to the NTMN Community about Coronavirus – March 20, 2020

“Rapidly evolving” hardly captures the changes we’ve experienced over the last week. Phrases like community spread and social distancing, new to my vocabulary, are now heavily on our minds. As of yesterday, Dallas County reported 55 covid-19 cases and, sadly, our first fatality.

At the same time, significant progress is being made on the testing front and some of the first cases have already gone home healthy. We all have a major role in what happens from here. To quote Dallas County Judge Jenkins again,

“It is imperative that you exercise sound decision-making in your personal responsibility decisions. We must replace selfishness with sacrifice if we are to protect our seniors and most vulnerable amongst us. Don’t give into fear, rather have faith in the science, the science that will be your road map to keeping you and your family safe. Replace panic with prayer and personal responsibility. We can do this North Texas, but it takes all of us. The life you save may be your Nana’s.”

The latest CDC recommendation is to postpone or cancel events over the next eight weeks. The NTMN board wholeheartedly supports this. To that end, all North Texas Master Naturalist in-person gatherings are suspended at least until May 15th.

While our meeting venue at Brookhaven College remains closed, the programs team is working on a way to conduct the May meeting online. Check here for updated information.

We will be closely monitoring the situation. Any changes will be posted here.

Stay safe.

A few resources:

CDC on stress and anxiety: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/managing-stress-anxiety.html

DCHHS Order: https://files.constantcontact.com/4bcac1ec301/3a400386-6421-4650-9fe9-2ab00de017b9.pdf

City of Dallas Regulations: https://files.constantcontact.com/4bcac1ec301/0a508e65-854b-48a0-a5b3-9ce47c4f391d.pdf

Guidance as of 3/15/2020

Large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States via travelers who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities. Examples of large events and mass gatherings include conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies. These events can be planned not only by organizations and communities but also by individuals.

Therefore, CDC, in accordance with its guidance for large events and mass gatherings, recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.

Events of any size should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populationshand hygiene, and social distancing.  When feasible, organizers could modify events to be virtual.

Please keep up the nonpharmaceutical interventions:

1 – Practice good hygiene 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

2 – Practice social distancing to minimize close contact, especially if you are at higher risk.

  • Limit going out as much as you can
  • When out in public, take advantage of the space available to spread out.
  • Greetings – consider a wave, nod, etc. A handshake isn’t necessary.
  • Vulnerable populations (60+ years old and/or certain health conditions) – avoid gatherings
  • Again, if you are sick, stay home and seek medical advice as needed.

These practices truly slow the spread of infection. And you’ll be modeling good behaviors to the public.

City Nature Challenge – Apr. 24-27

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City Nature Challenge Update 

The City Nature Challenge is still going on, and DFW is still participating. All observations will have to be made solo though – no gatherings or bioblitzes will be happening in the DFW metroplex. So, if you feel comfortable doing so, I encourage you to engage with nature during April 24-27 and make some iNaturalist observations close to home, in your backyard, in your home, or in a nearby park. I’m planning on going to a few parks, and I will go to places where other folks won’t be – little secret spots! The City Nature Challenge this year is all about engaging with nature during stressful times. Hope you’ll participate!

We’ll still use the results to show policy makers that nature is essential during these times – people NEED nature, always. I hope that will be a powerful message that folks in DFW care about nature. It’s essential to us.

For the past three years, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) through the Texas Nature Trackers program, has promoted and participated in the annual global City Nature Challenge (CNC) event, a biodiversity survey framed as a friendly competition between cities to see who can document the most species of plants and animals in and around urban areas.

Texas Nature Trackers will still monitor iNaturalist observations made during the four-day challenge (observation period runs Friday, April 24 through Monday, April 27) and we invite you, if nothing else, to document the plants and animals of your yard, common area, or even along the sidewalks when you get out for exercise for yourself and/or your pets.

Finally, please consider using the hashtag #yardchallenge on social media or as a tag in iNaturalist observations to share how you are engaging in this year’s event. To learn more about the City Nature Challenge is, please visit:  https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wild/wildlife_diversity/texas_nature_trackers/naturechallenge/ or Texas-specific information and project links and https://citynaturechallenge.org/ for a global perspective.

Check out this guide we’ve put together: Exploring Nature In and Around Your Home for the City Nature Challenge

Thank you,

Sam Kieschnick
Urban Wildlife Biologist, DFW
Texas Parks and Wildlife
972-293-3841 (o)
214-215-5605 (c)

Dragonflyer #80 March 2020

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March 2020, Volume 80

A Message from our President

Scott Hudson, our new NTMN President, brings us up to date on this year’s main goals coming out of the 2020 Planning meeting. The four identified priorities are:

  • Improving Outreach Efforts
  • Enhancing Member Engagement
  • Increasing Chapter Diversity
  • Improving Budgeting and Financial Processes

Read more about these efforts here.

Welcome 2020 Trainees!

On February 4th, we welcomed our newest Trainees. Read about their breadth of experience and diversity here. Lots to be excited about! We’re glad you’re here.

Photo: Alan Lusk

Amy Martin: Preserving and Creating Nature

North Texas Master Naturalists are making a difference in North Texas, and people are talking about it! Amy Martin (class of 2018) is featured in the February issue of Dallas Doing Good, a non-profit news and media website. Author Liliana Banta has written a wonderful article praising both Amy’s commitment to restoring Texas prairies and her considerable contributions to our chapter that culminated with Amy receiving a 2019 Chapter President’s Award. The interview provides a wonderful view into the passion for nature that lies at the heart of Master Naturalists everywhere. Read the article here!

Big Chapter Projects for this Year

This year, the membership voted on where to have our Big Chapter Projects.  While we had many great suggestions, there were two that stood out with multiple votes. The Spring edition will be at Post Oak Preserve in Seagoville, and the Fall edition will be at Twelve Hills Nature Center in Oak Cliff.

Photo: Carroll Mayhew


Help Wanted
We have a number of vacancies that could really use your support. Take a look at some of the great opportunities for you to gain your volunteer hours and help out the chapter.

Member Spotlight: Scott Hudson
Our latest featured member is our new Chapter President. Read more about his background here.

New Guidelines from Agrilife
Read about the new guidelines in place for accessing the Agrilife buildings and using their resources.

Join us on Social Media! Be sure to follow us on your favorite app.

And you know we have a private Facebook Group just for our members? Check it out!

The Media Room

Take a look at these photo albums submitted by NTMN photo committee and project leaders:
First Day of Class for the 2020 Trainees
New Year’s Day Hike and Chapter Meeting
2020 Chapter Planning Meeting

And visit our Flickr account to see albums from other events!

General NTMN Information

Monthly meetings are usually held on the first Wednesday of each month starting at 6:30 pm and are always open to the public. Check ntmn.org for speaker announcements and location.

Officer and Committee Listing
Event Calendar

Our Mission

To develop a corps of well-informed volunteers to provide education, outreach and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural wild areas within their communities within the state of Texas.