Category Archives: Joyce Dalley

Young Invasive Species Hunters Train at the Milam County Nature Festival

Future invasive species hunters train with Commander Ben at the Invasive Hunter Academy during the Milam County Nature Festival

Future invasive species hunters train with Commander Ben at the Invasive Hunter Academy during the Milam County Nature Festival

As I was asking folks which booth was their favorite,
the overwhelming majority said Commander Ben with a smile.

Chris Harper, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

I have been so busy finishing up eighth grade that I have not had a chance to share with you yet about a great experience I had last month.

On Saturday, April 13, I brought the Invasive Hunter Academy to the Milam County Nature Festival at the Rockdale Fair Park.  It was a great event with over 500 people in attendance.  I was invited to participate in the festival by Dr. John Pruett and Ms. Joyce Dalley, two wonderful Milam County Master Naturalists I had met last year at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center when I attended invasive species training for citizen scientists and the Invaders of Texas Program.

Ms. Joyce Dalley, Commander Ben, and Dr. John Pruett in the "Green room" before Ben's invasive species presentation at Rockdale Intermediate School

Ms. Joyce Dalley, Commander Ben, and Dr. John Pruett in the “Green room” before Ben’s invasive species presentation at Rockdale Intermediate School

The day before, I was invited to talk about invasive species and dyslexia at the Rockdale Intermediate School by Dr. Pruett, Principal Kathy Pelzel, and Ms. Susan Boyd, ACE Coordinator for the school. I had a great time with the students–future invasive hunters for sure!

Commander Ben talks about invasive species to over 350 kids at the Rockdale Intermediate School.

Commander Ben talks about invasive species to over 350 kids at the Rockdale Intermediate School

Lots of great kids came to the Milam County Nature Festival events and to participate in the Invasive Hunter Academy, including quite a few adults too!  After five hours of activities, I was exhausted but it was a lot of fun. Here are some pictures of the day:

Commander Ben getting the Invasive Hunter Academy ready for the Milam County Nature Festival

Commander Ben getting the Invasive Hunter Academy ready for the Milam County Nature Festival

Commander Ben's a featured festival presentation at 9:30 a.m. with the Invasive Hunter Academy going on all day.

Commander Ben’s a featured festival presentation at 9:30 a.m. with the Invasive Hunter Academy going on all day

Finding Commander Ben on a map of the Milam County Nature Festival.

Finding Commander Ben on a map of the Milam County Nature Festival

Commander Ben training budding naturalists to hunt invasive species.

Commander Ben training budding naturalists to hunt invasive species

Kids having fun at the Milam County Nature Festival

Kids having fun at the Milam County Nature Festival

El Camino Real - Texas Master Naturalists Chapter display

El Camino Real – Texas Master Naturalists Chapter display

More fun activities at the Milam County Nature Festival.

More fun activities at the Milam County Nature Festival

Near the end of the festival, I took a quick tour around the Rockdale Fair fair grounds to take in all the sights of the other nature festival activities. There were lots of booths, including a great exhibit about butterflies and the plants they like, another about how the coyote is the only relative of the wolf left in Texas, and still another was teaching all about crayfish. I even bought one of the books about crayfish.

I want to send out a special thank you to Dr. Pruett, Ms. Dalley, and all the Milam County Master Naturalists and volunteers for inviting me to be part of their Nature Festival.  Thanks to Mr. Harper and all the young invasive species hunters that I talked with.

I had a great time and know everyone else did too! 🙂

Your friend,
Ben

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Filed under Chris Harper, Invasive Hunter, Invasive Hunter Academy, Invasive Species, John Pruett, Joyce Dalley, Lights Camera Help Annual Nonprofit Film Festival, Milam County Master Naturalists, Milam County Nature Festival, Rockdale Fair Park, Uncategorized, US Fish and Wildlife Service

Commander Ben Talks about Invasive Species and Dyslexia at Rockdale Intermediate School

Commander Ben talks to 350 enthusiastic students about invasive species and dyslexia at Rockdale Intermediate School

Commander Ben talks to 350 enthusiastic students about invasive species and dyslexia at Rockdale Intermediate School

Last month, I had one of the greatest experiences in my life when I went to talk about invasive species and dyslexia to 350 third through fifth graders at the Rockdale Intermediate School.  Dr. John Pruett, of the Milam County Master Naturalists, coordinated the event as part of the Milam County Nature Festival, which took place the next day on Saturday, April 13.

When I arrived at the school, Dr. Pruett met me at the entrance and then I checked in and got to meet Principal Kathy Pelzel and Ms. Susan Boyd, ACE Coordinator for the school. Before the start of my talk, I joined the other Milam County Master Naturalists, including Ms. Joyce Dalley, in a conference room where we chatted about invasive species, nature, and other fun stuff.

At 2:00 PM, Dr. Pruett introduced me to a cafeteria room full of excited students. They gave me an enthusiastic and thunderous round of applause as I took the mic.  I was humbled…and nervous!  But once I started to speak, I relaxed and had a wonderful time. They were a great audience!

Commander Ben talks about his "Ecesis Far Far Away" video and the invasive species Elephant Ear.

Commander Ben talks about his “Ecesis Far Far Away” Video and the invasive species Elephant Ear.

I talked to the kids all about invasive species, the Invasive Hunter Academy, my blog, my videos (and showed a few of them!), and my experiences with dyslexia.  With each video, I talked about the characters that I played and the invasive species that I featured. It was a lot of fun.  It was especially rewarding when the kids laughed and laughed while watching my The Amazing Invasive Hunter Man video, part of my Battle with Invasive Species video series.

After my talk, the kids had some great questions for me…including…Was I nervous? (Yes) How old am I? (14) What’s my favorite animal? (Dog – especially my dog Obi-Wan) What’s my favorite color! (blue, but green for plants too) And what are some of the toughest invasive species in Texas? (Giant Reed and Hydrilla)

Ms. Susan Boyd, Dr. John Pruett, Ms. Joyce Dalley, and Commander Ben show off their invasive hunter skills.

Ms. Susan Boyd, Dr. John Pruett, Ms. Joyce Dalley, and Commander Ben show off their invasive hunter skills.

Thanks Dr. Pruett, Principal Pelzel, and Ms. Boyd for inviting me to talk to the great students at Rockdale Intermediate School. I hope the kids had as much fun as I did. I know they’re going to be great future invasive hunters!

Your friend,
Ben

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Filed under Amazing Invasive Hunter Man, Battles with Invasive Species, Dyslexia, In an Ecesis Far Far Away, Invasive Hunter, Invasive Hunter Academy, Invasive Plants, Invasive Species, John Pruett, Joyce Dalley, Kathy Pelzel, Milam County Master Naturalists, Milam County Nature Festival, Rockdale Intermediate School, Susan Boyd