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Hill Country Chapter

Programs

Patsy Glenn Refuge

In partnership with Wimberley Birding Society this pocket park in the heart of Wimberley currently has a bird blind and trails.  Dr. Alice Le Duc heads up the Hill Country Chapter’s participation calling for workday volunteers as design, installation and maintenance opportunities come up. 

Festival Outreach Tables

Hill Country Chapter sets up outreach tables at several Hays County festivals yearly – San Marcos Discovery Center Spring Plant Sale and Fall Monarch Fest, EmilyAnn Butterfly Festival, Earth Day Fest at Charro Park, Heritage Museum Dinosaur Days. A two hour shift with other chapter members at our festival table is a fun place to pass out native plant information and talk to people who really want to plant natives in their yards. 

Website Newsletter & Social Media

Hill Country Chapter updates our website monthly with program news, events and chapter business. The website has just been  revamped on the new state NPSOT WordPress platform that is expanding with a native plant information database.  We also publish a monthly newsletter on a Robly platform with activity information and educational native plant news to our members and over 200 subscribed non-members.  With over 2700 Facebook members on our group we are actively sharing questions and information with each other.

Monthly Native Plant Presentations

At quarterly meetings in several Hays County locations the Hill Country Chapter provides in-person presentations about Texas native plants in a healthy wild environment as well as in your home landscape. We spread our core message through local experts who educate and share what works here in our Hill Country region. Our meetings are free and open to the public.  

NICE! Native Plant Partners

The NICE Native Plant Partners program is a collaboration between the Native Plant Society of Texas and local nurseries around the state to offer natives that are right for the local environment. Texas is a large, diverse state and plants that work for one region may not always be the best choice in a different region. Native Plant Partners committees run by our local chapters create a list of Plant of the Month plants (in some areas a Plant of the Season) in cooperation with participating local nurseries and wholesalers in order to assure availability. The Native Plant Society chapter then helps promote the Plant of the Month through its website and newspaper articles, signs at the point of sale and other means. Often an information sheet on the plant is available at the nursery. Hill Country Chapter is developing a NICE team to start work with Hays County plant stores and nurseries.

Native Landscape Certification Program

Our Native Landscape Certification Program (NLCP) is a series of day-long classes highlighting best practices for native plant landscaping, including wildlife habitat gardening.

Each class consists of an indoor training session and a plant identification session. We show you plants native to the local ecoregion and illustrate their use in the landscape.

In each level you are presented with 45 native Texas plants recommended for your area, and 5 non-native plants to avoid.

Goals of the NLCP classes are to (a) educate NPSOT members and the general public about the value of natives, (b) how to use native plants in home, public and commercial landscapes and habitat restorations, and to (c) provide native landscape education, CEUs, and credentials to landscape professionals, developers, and nature-oriented groups.

  • Level 1: Introduction to Native Landscapes – Class & Plant Walk
  • Level 2: Design and Development with Native Plants – Class & Plant Walk
  • Level 3: Installing and Maintaining Native Landscapes – Class & Plant Walk
  • Level 4: Stewardship of Native Plant Communities (under development) – Class & Plant Walk Visit Native Landscape Certification Program
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About the Region

New Braunfels, the location of our Fall 2024 Symposium, straddles both the Edwards Plateau Ecoregion and the Blackland Prairie ecoregion. Interstate 35 divides the city of New Braunfels; its path through the city closely parallels the boundary of these two ecoregions, with the Edwards Plateau on the west side and the Blackland Prairies region to the east. The Edwards Plateau area is also called the Hill Country; however, this general term covers a much larger area extending farther north. Spring-fed creeks are found throughout the region; deep limestone canyons, rivers, and lakes (reservoirs) are common. Ashe juniper is perhaps the most common woody species found throughout the region. Additional woody species include various species of oak, with live oak (Quercus fusiformis) being the most common. Sycamores (Platanus occidentalis) and bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) border waterways. This area is well known for its spring wildflower displays, though they may be viewed in spring, late summer, and fall, as well. According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, average annual rainfall in the Edwards Plateau ranges from 15 to 34 inches.

The Blackland Prairie extends from the Red River south to San Antonio, bordered on the west by the Edwards Plateau and the Cross Timbers, and on the east by the Post Oak Savannah. Annual rainfall averages 30 to 40 inches, with higher averages to the east. This region is dominated by prairie species. The most common grass species include little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) and Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans) in the uplands and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) in the riparian areas and drainages. Common herbaceous flowering plants include salvias, penstemons, and silphiums. This area has suffered greatly from overgrazing and agricultural use. Few intact areas remain, though many of the plants can be found along county roadsides throughout the region.

Our four host chapters (New Braunfels, Lindheimer, Guadalupe, and the Hill Country chapters) are located in one or both of the ecoregions above. However, the eastern portion of Guadalupe County also falls within the Post Oak Savanna ecoregion. Annual rainfall averages 35 to 45 inches, with higher averages to the east. A wide variety of hardwood trees are found, including several species of oaks, elms, and in the Bastrop area, loblolly pine (Pinus taeda). Grasses and forbs dominate in the open savannas, with most common grass being little bluestem. Ranching, agriculture, and fire suppression have allowed woody species to encroach on the once-open savannas.

Source: Wildflowers of Texas by Michael Eason