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Collin County Chapter – Creating a Pollinator Paradise at Home

June 4 @ 6:30 pm 8:30 pm

Pollinators and other wildlife face many challenges to their survival, and they need our help. The good news is that we can take simple steps to help them—right here, right now, right in our own gardens. Our June 4th program features Lauren Simpson introducing us to our pollinators and sharing simple techniques for transforming our own garden into a beautiful, native-plant paradise—one that supports wildlife and pleases neighbors!

Our program opens at 6:30 with a welcome and testing of connections, then at 7:00, Rodney Thomas, our chapter president, will have a short chapter update, followed by Lauren’s presentation. The meeting will conclude with a Q&A session.
You can attend the hybrid meeting in person at the Heard Museum in McKinney (link below) or online via Zoom – – Meeting ID: 885 5459 6572 ; Passcode: 571904.

Since early 2015, and in her individual capacity, Lauren has transformed her family’s home gardens into a wildlife-friendly habitat, currently a Certified Wildlife Habitat, Monarch Waystation, Certified Monarch Garden, and Certified Butterfly Garden. She promotes insect conservation and habitat gardening through presentations, events, interviews, and articles, as well as through a website and Instagram and Facebook communities under the appellation “St. Julian’s Crossing Wildlife Habitat”—the name adopted for her family’s Monarch Waystation.

Lauren is a member of local chapters of the Native Plant Society of Texas (NPSOT), Native Prairies Association of Texas, and North American Butterfly Association. She has also received Level 1 and Level 2 certifications through the NPSOT Native Landscape Certification Program (NLCP), has attended the “Monarch Conservation Workshop: Train the Trainer” training, and serves on the NPSOT subcommittee for the NLCP Advocacy companion class.
Independent of her naturalist activities, Lauren Simpson is a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Houston Law Center, teaching Lawyering Skills and Strategies.

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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