I still can’t believe I was in so much mud.
I hope everyone is having a great summer. I’ve been having a lot of fun this summer and wanted to check in with everyone to say hi and to fill you in on what I’ve been up to.
So far this summer, I have been to a great week long camp that was incredible. I went with two of my friends, which made it doubly fun. We did all sorts of amazing activities, including an obstacle course where we had to slog through waist deep mud. We also played paintball. At the end of the game, everyone was calling me “Mr. Polk-a-Dots” because I was covered in paint ball hits that I received as I charged the opposing team when I was the only one left on my side!
Next, about a week after I got home from camp, I volunteered to serve as a counselor at my church’s camp for kids ages Pre-K to 5th grade. This was my first year to be a camp counselor and it was SO MUCH fun. The camp had a theme called “Wacky Animals” and I got to play a character called “Dr. Paws” who was an animal specialist. He was very funny and the kids really liked him. It was great fun for me, and I look forward to volunteering as a camp counselor again next year.
That Arundo donax is messing with the wrong Segway rider.
I also went rafting, horseback riding, hiking, canoeing, and lots of fun outdoor stuff too, including taking a a fun Segway tour around Austin. Highly recommended!
I hope you’ve been having fun this summer too. I’ll be catching up on my blog posts on invasive species, science, and dyslexia before starting school this fall. I’ll be a high school sophomore! Wow! Where did the summer go?
Commander Ben joins St Edward’s Earth Week celebrations
I’ve had an exciting last few weeks that I look forward to talking with you about, but I first want to catch up on some of the great events that I had a chance to be part of in April.
Last year, I was invited to St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, to give a talk about Commander Ben and the Invasive Hunter Academy as part of St. Edward’s 2012 Earth Day events. I had a great time and was honored to be invited to bring the Invasive Hunter Academy back on Monday, April 22, to St. Edward’s 2013 Earth Day celebrations.
Commander Ben and the Invasive Hunter Academy at St. Edward’s University
It was a beautiful sunny day and turnout for the event was great. Along with my Invasive Hunter Academy display and poster board about my invasive species nemesis, the Giant Reed (Arundo donax), there were lots of great people there with all sorts of Earth Day activities and information. I enjoyed visiting all the tables and meeting some very interesting folks.
Some of the groups I had a chance to speak with on Earth Day included:
Agana Rainwater at St. Edward’s Earth Week celebrations
Car2Go at St. Edward’s Earth Week celebrations
Johnson’s Backyard Garden at St. Edward’s Earth Week celebrations
Sustainable Food Center at St. Edward’s Earth Week celebrations
I want to thank all the people at St. Edward’s for another great Earth Day celebration, and a special thank you to Mr. Mitch Robinson, Education and Land Management Coordinator for Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve, and Ms. Cristina Bordin, Special Assistant to the President and Sustainability Coordinator for St. Edward’s University, who invited me to be a part of this great event.
Commander Ben and Mitch Robinson at St. Edward’s Earth Week celebrations
I’ll have more posts coming up about my other April adventures. Talk with you again soon! 🙂
Filed under Agana rainwater, Arundo donax, Car2Go, Christina Bordin, Earth Day, Giant Reed, Invasive Hunter, Invasive Hunter Academy, Invasive Species, Johnson's Backyard Garden, Mitch Robinson, St Edward's University, Sustainable Food Center, Uncategorized, Wild Basin Preserve, Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve
Commander Ben: An Invasive’s Worst Nightmare. (Photo Credit: Will van Overbeek)
I have great news to share with you today! There is a story about me in the March issue of the Texas Power Co-Op magazine and it’s titled, Commander Ben: An Invasive’s Worst Nightmare, and it was written by Texas Master Naturalist Mrs. Sheryl Smith-Rogers.
Awhile back I met Mrs. Sheryl on the telephone when she interviewed me for her article. She wanted to write about me and my fight against invasive species. Then, when I was presenting my Invasive Hunter Academy at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Nature Nights event, she was very kind to drive up from Blanco to meet me in person! She is so nice and a great writer. She even invited me to speak to her Highland Lakes Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists.
Once the story was sent off to her editor, the magazine contacted me to meet with the photographer, Mr. Will van Overbeek. We hunted down an invasion of invasive Giant Reed (Arundo donax—my arch enemy!) plants, and as I battled them, Mr. van Overbeek took my picture. (Thanks for the great picture Mr. van Overbeek!) It was a lot of fun, especially when other people walked by and stared, wondering what was going on! 🙂
Hope you enjoy the article!
P.S. Thanks Mrs. Sheryl! You’re a fantastic writer, and you have a great Window on a Texas Wildscape nature blog!
Filed under Arundo donax, Giant Reed, Highland Lakes Chapter, Invasive Hunter, Invasive Hunter Academy, Invasive Plants, Invasive Species, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Ms. Sheryl Smith-Rodgers, Nature Nights, Sheryl Smith-Rodgers, Texas Co-Op Power, Texas Master Naturalists, Wildflower Center, Will van Derbeek
Dr. Jay Famiglietti and Commander Ben at the Environmental Science Institute at UT Austin
Today, I had a great time interviewing Dr. Jay Famiglietti. I talked with him about the potential water problems that we might face in the future. We also talked about the different ways that we can conserve water. I’ll be posting these fascinating and insightful videos soon.
I’m looking forward to Dr. Famiglietti’s talk, “Last Call at the Oasis: Will There be Enough Water for the 21st Century?“, tomorrow, Friday, October 26, 2012, at 7:00 pm CT.
Mr. Famiglietti is a Earth System Science Professor with the University of California – Irvine. His presentation is part of the great Hot Science – Cool Talks series. It’ll be in the UT Austin Student Activity Center where Dr. Andrew Howell’s talk was earlier this year.
Invasive Hunter Academy and the Giant Reed
Be sure to get there early, because I’ll bringing my Invasive Hunter Academy to the prelecture fun starting at 5:45 pm. Not only will you have a great time learning about invasive species and creating an action diorama, but you’ll also learn about the Giant Reed’s (Arundo donax) threat to our water supply, especially along the Rio Grande.
If you notice something different about me tomorrow, I broke my hand fighting the Giant Reed (again!). It was trying to stop me from presenting at Hot Science – Cool Talks, but it’ll take more than a few moves from an invasive plant (and one of the world’s top 100 worst invasive species) from stopping me.
(Well, actually, I broke it during a recent Taekwondo sparring match. Ouch! But I still have a good hand if Arundo gives me any trouble! 🙂 )
Hope to see you tomorrow. It’s going to be a boatload of fun!
Filed under Arundo donax, Dr. Jay Famiglietti, Environmental, Environmental Science Institute, ESI, Giant Reed, Hot Science - Cool Talks, Invasive Hunter Academy, Invasive Plants, Invasive Species, Last Call at the Oasis, Rio Grande, Tae Kwon Do, Taekwondo, University of Texas, UT Austin, water, water conservation, water supply