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Highland Lakes Chapter

Spring Photo contest – Deadline April 30

Spring is just around the corner and with the recent hard freeze and
generous rainfall, our upcoming spring season should present quite an
opportunity for the HLNPSOT active members to showcase the Indigenous
Blooming Plants of the Texas Hill Country through the creative lenses of
their Plant Photo Contest entries. Now’s the time to dust-off your favorite
lens of choice and prepare to “hit the trail” between March 1 and April 30
to capture the glorious blooms of our Texas Native Plants.

Subject of Photos. This year the contest will include any indigenous
blooming plants which have been photographed in our native to general areas:
Burnet, Llano, Blanco, Travis, Williamson, Bell, San Saba, or Lampasas
counties.

What are the Judges Looking for? Artistry, beauty, imagination, uniqueness,
and illustration of plant characteristics. Photos may be of any part of the
plant – e.g., leaves, seeds, flower, stem, or any combination. A close-up
photo of a flower should include enough of the plant’s leaves to allow for
identification. In addition to focus and exposure, the background is an
important factor in taking a good photo.

Who May Submit Photos? Any active member of HLNPSOT, except for the three
judges and the photo collector. If you are unsure of your membership status,
please contact Kay Zagst, HLNPSOT Membership Chair, kay.zagst@gmail.com
<mailto:kay.zagst@gmail.com>

How Many Photos May Be Entered? Each member may submit no more than three
photos. While “photoshopping” is not allowed, cropping and digital exposure
adjustment is permissible. By submitting photos to this contest, a
contestant agrees that HLNPSOT may use the photo or photos (with or without
attribution) for any purpose consistent with the mission of the Native Plant
Society of Texas.

How Old May the Photo Be? Since one of the objects of the contest is to give
our members a reason to get out of the house and enjoy nature, all
photographs must have been taken in 2024 and must be plants native to our
area and in their natural setting (no indoor or greenhouse plants).

When May Photos be Submitted? Entries should be submitted by email
beginning March 1. The deadline for submitting entries is April 30. Entries
will be acknowledged by return email.

How Should Photos be Submitted? Entries should be submitted by email to Toni
Strickland at Tonistrickland@verizon.net <mailto:Tonistrickland@verizon.net>
. Each email should include the words ‘HLNPSOT Plant Photo Contest’ in the
title and have just one photo attached to avoid excessively large emails.
Each entrant may send up to three emails, one for each entered photo. The
entries should include the submitter’s name, approximate location, and date
where the photograph was taken. The plant or plants in the photo must be
identified. Make sure you receive an acknowledgment from Toni for each
photo you send her. The photos will be passed on to the judges with an
identifier known only to Toni.

When Will Winners be Announced? Plant Photo Contest Winners will be
announced during the May HLNPSOT meeting. The prizewinning photos will
appear in the Newsletter.

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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