The City of Austin’s Wildland Conservation Division offers outstanding activities to learn about the plants in our environment.
This month, I learned a lot about rare plants in Travis County with Central Texas native plant expert Bill Carr. He led us through a presentation about the unusual plants and gave us a guided tour of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve (BCP) that surrounds Concordia University.
Mr. Carr co-authored the Rare Plants of Texas field guide from Texas A&M press, and he said that Travis County has approximately 1500 flora species with 86 being endemic to the area. This means that the plants occur no where else but here!
A large part of Travis County is located on the Edwards Plateau. This area is a major center for plants because of its varied geology.
He also listed some of the plants with only 6-20 occurrences in Travis County:
- Basin bellflower
- Boerne bean
- Canyon mock-orange
- Corell’s false-dragonhead
- Bracted twistflower (may be one of the first plant species to make it on the endangered species list in Travis County)
After his informative talk, we took a hike through the BCP, which borders the university. I was so excited to find a small spring trickling down one of the small canyons. Fantastic that we can have some water still flowing through the limestone even with this terrible drought in Texas! Seeing the ferns was awesome! Thanks, Mr. Carr!
We learned about the top five invasive plants trying to sneak into the BCP:
- Tree of Heaven
Fight those invasives back!
I had a great time battling back invasive plants in the BCP last month, and I captured my experience in “Titanic Struggle with Chinese Privet Ends with their Doom”. This community volunteer effort was part of the many great activities that you can register for through the City of Austin’s Wildland Conservation Division. (During the 2011 Texas invasives conference, I also had a chance to talk to Louise Liller, Wildland Volunteer Coordinator, who was on our squad of invasive hunters versus the Chinese Privets.)
Amanda Ross, Conservation Program Coordinator with the City of Austin, welcomed us to the lecture and hike, and she invited us (you too!) to future Wildland activities.
Commander Ben signing off