18 de septiembre de 2021

2021 Victor Emanuel Conservation Award Celebration Honoring Greg Lasley

SAVE THE DATE
October 8, 2021 at 6pm, A Virtual Event

https://travisaudubon.org/2021-vecal

2021 CONSERVATION HERO GREG LASLEY
AUSTIN, Texas– Travis Audubon announces the selection of the 2021 Victor Emanuel Conservation Award Hero.

Every year Travis Audubon honors an individual who has made an extraordinary contribution to promoting environmental conservation, education, or advocacy. These heroes are recognized at our annual Conservation Award Celebration, named after legendary birder and conservationist Victor Emanuel. The honorees are influential leaders who have inspired us to greater community involvement and environmental awareness through their work.

The Board of Directors of Travis Audubon is honored to announce that the 2021 Conservation Hero is Greg Lasley of Dripping Springs, Texas. The Board unanimously agreed that no one is more qualified for this award than Lasley, who accepted the honor before his death on January 30, 2021. Lasley will be honored posthumously at the virtual 12th annual Victor Emanuel Conservation Award Celebration on October 8.

Greg Lasley was a force in birding and conservation for more than forty years, but he was a student of nature all his life. He began with snakes—venomous snakes—and as a teenager, worked in the herpetology collection at the Atlanta Zoo milking the snakes for antivenom. Lasley kept snakes until his mid-twenties. He was even a falconer for a time, but it wasn’t until he moved to Texas and saw Painted Buntings at his backyard feeder that Lasley became a birder.

Everyone who knew Greg Lasley felt he was one of the most caring and generous people they had ever met. Those characteristics were evident in his work as a policeman and as a naturalist. Even before retiring as a Lieutenant with the Austin Police Department in 1997, Lasley had dedicated himself to wildlife photography. Lasley first pointed a camera at a bird in 1971 (a Horned Lark at Great Salt Lake, Utah) while he was in the U.S. Air Force. Since then, several thousand of his images have been published in hundreds of books, magazines, and websites. In 2000, he and photography partner Larry Ditto won the prestigious Valley Land Fund South Texas Shootout contest. His legendary photographic skills served as a model of technical craftsmanship and opened a window to the complexity of bird behavior and the natural world. A self-described “birder gone bad,” Lasley’s expertise as a naturalist, photographer, and mentor extended far beyond ornithology and into the world of dragonflies, damselflies, moths, and many other creatures.

Over the last decade, Lasley was a prodigious contributor to iNaturalist, the online citizen-science database, and he recognized the immense value of such efforts to understand the natural world. Lasley verified more than 450,000 observations from around the world, gaining a reputation as not only a knowledgeable naturalist but also as a skilled and patient teacher. Over the last forty years, few people have promoted birding and conservation in Texas—and the world—more than Greg Lasley.

Lasley gathered and shared data on birds in many other ways as well. If he came across a dead bird, he took it to Texas A&M to be part of their collection. He participated in various Audubon Christmas bird counts, a birding tradition that, over the last hundred years, has gathered more data on birds than any other effort in the world. His long editorship of the Texas column for American Birds magazine (and its various incarnations, 1970s-1990s) added keen insight into the data collected by Texas birders. In the late 1970s, he almost singlehandedly re-invigorated the Texas Bird Records Committee of the Texas Ornithological Society, elevating that committee and its work. Throughout his life, Lasley kept a list of every bird he saw and the numbers of each species and submitted this huge amount of data to Cornell’s eBird project. This data helps raise awareness of conservation needs, and Lasley devoted his life to sharing such data about the natural world.

Perhaps Lasley’s greatest conservation legacy is the countless people he inspired and encouraged to learn about the natural world. Lasley was a role model and inspiration to many—especially those just getting started in birding, wildlife identification, and photography. A true ambassador for birding in Texas, he was a kind and welcoming teacher, always willing to share his knowledge and skills. As a long-time birding-tour leader with Victor Emanuel Nature Tours, he had a direct role in introducing birders to the beauty and diversity of birds both in Texas and around the world. Greg Lasley is a model for us all when considering the impact that just one life can have on so many.

Lasley’s accomplishments will be celebrated virtually at the 2021 Victor Emanuel Conservation Award Celebration on October 8. We hope you will join us for this wonderful celebration of Lasley’s passion and dedication. Sponsorships will be available soon.

Ingresado el 18 de septiembre de 2021 por sambiology sambiology | 3 comentarios | Deja un comentario

08 de agosto de 2021

East TX gathering! Gus Engeling, Richland Creek, and Neches River NWR! Oct 1 - 3

Hey all,

Been a bit delayed in getting this scheduled (been busy!), but we've got another little gathering planned for East TX! There are three spots that we'll check out on Oct 1 - 3:
Richland Creek WMA
Gus Engeling WMA
Neches River NWR

We've got permission to blacklight in both of the WMA's, but not the NWR. So, here's my general plan:
Explore and blacklight at Richland Creek on Friday, Oct 1
Explore and blacklight at Gus Engeling on Saturday, Oct 2
Explore Neches River NWR on Sunday, Oct 3

Richland Creek WMA -- we can set up blacklights at the north unit, right off of hwy 287. Here:
31°58'14.0"N 96°05'02.6"W
31.970556, -96.084056

Camping is at that location as well.

Gus Engeling WMA -- we can blacklight at this really nice prairie unit here:
31°57'05.4"N 95°53'24.3"W
31.951500, -95.890083

Camping is a little off the beaten path, here:
31°56'29.8"N 95°52'50.5"W
31.941611, -95.880694

Neches River NWR has some closed units for hunting, but we do have access to the "Dead Water Unit." This is south of Hwy 79, here:
31°53'35.4"N 95°25'42.7"W
31.893167, -95.428528

No real itinerary or schedule with any of these -- just exploring some of the areas and then meeting for some blacklighting at night!

Palestine is probably the closest spot for hotels and stuff.

No electricity at any of the blacklighting spots, so bring those portable units!

Let me know if you're planning on coming! Here's my cell as well -- toss it in your contacts: 214 215 5605
:)

Ingresado el 08 de agosto de 2021 por sambiology sambiology | 46 comentarios | Deja un comentario

03 de agosto de 2021

Upcoming events in DFW! :) I'll update with more as I hear about them!

Mark those calendars! Here are a few events going on in DFW:

August 13 -- black-lighting event at Ten Mile Creek Preserve in Lancaster

September 4 -- black-lighting event at Bob Jones Nature Center in Southlake
September 5 - 11 -- DFW-wide socially distant bioblitz! Competition just like last years.

October 1 - 3 -- east TX gathering at Gus Engeling, Richland Creek, and Neches River
October 21 -- black-lighting at LLELA

If you know of others that need to be added to the list, let me know! :)

Ingresado el 03 de agosto de 2021 por sambiology sambiology | 19 comentarios | Deja un comentario

29 de julio de 2021

Positive Feedback Loop of Identifications -- it's a big deal!

Encouraging others, through words or actions helps to inspire and encourage you in return. You are helping others exactly the same time you are helping yourself. ~Nasreen Variyawa

I'm in a really lucky position to interact with lots of naturalists and nature enthusiasts. When we talk about iNaturalist, we talk a lot about the community. We speak of the great observations from around the world, some of the magnificent observations (which, the observation of the day and observation of the week highlight as well ), and the folks that make these observations. Most of all, we talk about the identifiers and experts that dedicate so much time and energy to welcoming us all to the community.

This process of adding identifications is a positive feedback loop. When we add on an ID to an observation, we welcome that observer to the community. Yes, we make the entire database better, we train the AI to give better suggestions, and we learn a lot when we ID. But, I think that the welcoming part is the most relevant and meaningful.

In my very biased opinion, this is the real power of this tool -- iNaturalist is all about engagement for me. We engage with nature, and we engage with the community of naturalists. Those are really meaningful experiences! When I'm outside, I feel like I'm traveling around with others -- other naturalists and other species! It's always fun to find a 'new' species for me, and I have some fun researching to try to figure out the name of my 'natural neighbors.'

I am in awe of the taxon experts that give the tremendous gift of their time and energy to adding in ID's. It's freaking amazing how talented these folks are -- and how generous they are with their knowledge. Some day, I hope that I can get to that level of experience with a particular group of organisms. In the meantime, I'm simply in awe of these amazing people.

I tend to be a 'regional ID'er' -- the vast majority of my time ID'ing is focused on north central TX... I'm far from an expert, but I've learned so much from helping folks learn the names of species. And yes, I've made thousands and thousands of mistakes on ID's -- it's ok. How do I know they were mistakes? Well, they were corrected by someone else! This is all part of the process -- I've learned a lot from these mistakes too. I still make them sometimes, but I'm still learning as well. :)

So, ID'ing is such a valuable part of this process of welcoming a naturalist to the community -- it inspires them to go out and make more observations, learn a little more, and engage again with nature. I love it -- it makes me so happy. :)

Inspiration is given to inspire. We give what we receive. ~David O. Mears

Ingresado el 29 de julio de 2021 por sambiology sambiology | 13 comentarios | Deja un comentario

22 de junio de 2021

Moth week stuff!

Moth-ers! Some 'mothing' events (I guess I really should call these "black-lighting" because we tend to be just as interested in all of the other bugs that come to the lights...) coming up in July:

July 17 - Spring Creek Forest Preserve in Garland
July 18 - Lochwood Park in Dallas
July 21 - Stephenville - journal post with more info here.
July 22 - John Bunker Sands in Seagoville
July 24 - Acton Nature Center east of Granbury

Should be fun! :)

Ingresado el 22 de junio de 2021 por sambiology sambiology | 32 comentarios | Deja un comentario

03 de junio de 2021

South Dallas County parks project -- species surveys in 10 parks!

Hey all,

We have an intern at the TPWD DFW office for this summer, and one of her projects will involve looking at 10 public parks in south Dallas county (locations around Duncanville, DeSoto, Lancaster, Dallas, etc...). At each park, we'll do some flora and fauna surveys -- lots of bug chasing, plant observing, and bird watching. :) We'll also do some 'human dimensions' study -- asking some of the fellow park visitors about their experiences with nature. We'll also have a little 'station' with some skins and skulls to maybe get some traction on folks coming to see what we're doing. We're working on a little survey/conversation piece to see how folks in south Dallas county engage with nature.

At the end of the project, we'll compare the size, management style, and human uses to the biodiversity that we document.

It should be loads of fun, and we'd love some help, if you want. We're also planning to use this data to highlight the biodiversity at our local parks -- these green places act as refuges to so many organisms!

Here are the 10 parks:
Herndon Park - Dallas 1901-1999 Alabama Ave, Dallas, TX 75216
Wonderview Park - Dallas 2400 Very, Cleaves St, Dallas, TX 75216
Glendale Park - Dallas 1515 E Ledbetter Dr, Dallas, TX 75216
Briar Gate Park - Dallas 3215 W Pentagon Pkwy, Dallas, TX 75233
Chris Paris Park - Duncanville 1223 Caravan Trail, Duncanville, TX 75116
Lakeside Park - Duncanville 500 Steger Dr, Duncanville, TX 75116
Waterview Park - Duncanville 1701-1799 Whitecliff Dr, Duncanville, TX 75137
Ernie Roberts Park - DeSoto 515 Pleasant Run Rd, DeSoto, TX 75115
Heritage Park - Lancaster 250 N Dallas Ave, Lancaster, TX 75146
Ten Mile Creek Preserve - Lancaster 900 Nokomis Road, Lancaster, TX 75146

If you're interested in helping, let me know! :) Oh, and I'll update this post with details as we get them.

Here's my cell: 214 215 5605

Again -- the main point of this is to convince/guide public land managers to manage their parks (at least partly) for wildlife. Wildlife is there -- people are there that engage with it -- so, manage for it!

Ingresado el 03 de junio de 2021 por sambiology sambiology | 37 comentarios | Deja un comentario

14 de mayo de 2021

Who can document the most invasive species in TX???

Thanks to @aenglandbiol , we've got a new competition! Let's see who can document the MOST invasive species in Texas!!! :)

Here's Angela's post:

Get Ready! The 2021 Texas Invasive Species Bioblitz Starts Saturday, May 15!
Now that the City Nature Challenge is over, are you looking for another reason to use iNaturalist?

Saturday May 15 through Sunday May 22 is National Invasive Species Awareness Week. This is a perfect opportunity for the Texas Invasive Species Bioblitz via iNaturalist.

In 2020, we had 3,104 observations of 121 species. There were 867 observers, and 299 identifiers.
https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/texas-invasive-species-bioblitz-2020

Let's see if we can beat that this year!
https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/texas-invasive-species-bioblitz-2021

If you have previously submitted records of invasive plants, you might want to return to the same place and take a new observation, and mention in your notes if you think the population is expanding, contracting, or changing, and if any attempted control efforts may have had an effect. You can include a link to those previous records too.

Any observations of species from the project list that are made in Texas May 15-22, 2021 will be automatically added to this project. It's a pretty extensive species list. If you're not sure if your organism is on it, go ahead and make the observation and if it is confirmed to be on the list, it'll count!

Happy hunting!

Ingresado el 14 de mayo de 2021 por sambiology sambiology | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

07 de mayo de 2021

Blacklighting at LLELA - Saturday, May 15th, 7 pm until late!

Hey all,

Lots of great observations for the CNC, and I know so many folks really went all out! Wonderful stuff. Instead of resting, why not get lots of more observations?!? :)

I know @pfau_tarleton has a gathering planned for the weekend of May 15th, but for those of us that aren't able to make it, we'll do an evening of black-lighting at LLELA. It'll be interesting to see some of the overlapping species that we document in both locations.

If you'd like to come, meet at the greenhouse at LLELA close to the Jones St. entrance at around 7 pm. Here is the exact map location:
33°03'43.7"N 96°59'20.3"W
33.062126, -96.988968
https://www.google.com/maps/place/33%C2%B003'43.7%22N+96%C2%B059'20.3%22W/@33.0621305,-96.9911567,927m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m13!1m6!3m5!1s0x0:0x9d531440da7e0b1c!2sLLELA+Nature+Preserve!8m2!3d33.06209!4d-96.97958!3m5!1s0x0:0x0!7e2!8m2!3d33.062126!4d-96.9889677

I'll wear a mask when close to others -- especially at the sheets. So, if you wouldn't mind, please have a mask handy as you get close to others. We'll hopefully have quite a few stations, so there will be places to spread out.

In the past, we've had some really good mothing in this location, so fingers crossed for some reasonable weather!

I'm always leaving folks off of the tag list, so please, tag others!

Ingresado el 07 de mayo de 2021 por sambiology sambiology | 19 comentarios | Deja un comentario

24 de abril de 2021

West Texas gathering! Horrible conditions but great company.

What a joy it is to spend time with the iNat community. I know that the data we collect and the information that we document is great and all, but I think the community is where the real power of iNaturalist comes in. And hey, it feels pretty dang cool to be with fellow nature folks. :)

Around 20 folks (@austinrkelly @jcochran706 @annikaml @connlindajo @gcwarbler @tadamcochran @mikef451 @eric_keith @knightericm @pynklynx @cmeckerman @butterflies4fun @centratex @k8thegr8 @amzapp @jwn @elizrose @bosqueaaron @lovebirder @charley) showed up for the Elephant Mountain WMA gathering (from now on, I'm going to label these as gatherings rather than bioblitzes -- I want data collection to be secondary to the actual gathering). The week leading up to the gathering, I saw the dismal weather (cold front!) and catastrophic drought map... Both were present when we showed up! Nonetheless, I think we had a good time -- at least, I sure did!

The first day we gathered for some 'mothing' at the Elephant Mountain WMA registration office. I'd say it was pretty rough mothing... Cold, windy, and oh so dry. We did still document a few nice bugs. Elizabeth and I camped the first night -- and the wind did NOT let up. It blew alllll night long, and the temps were in the 30's! We also set up a few Sherman traps (live mammal traps) and caught 4 kangaroo rats!

The next morning (Saturday), we all kinda split up to venture off at the WMA and other places. We didn't have much access to the actual mountain (big horn sheep calving season still), but lots of the 'driving tour' roads and bunkhouse area was open. Despite being massively dry (like, scary dry!), I was surprised at the amount of plants and bugs and birds we spotted. Elizabeth and I went to get a few hotdogs to cook them up for the group in the evening, and we stayed in Alpine for the night.

On Saturday night/Sunday morn, we didn't catch a single mammal! Most of Sunday, Elizabeth and I drove around -- visiting Marathon and Marfa and a few places in between. One great spot was "Post Park" south of Marathon. Chuck suggested this spot, and it was great -- water! We watched some vermillion flycatchers, scott's orioles, golden fronted woodpeckers, and even a javelina sneak out from the bushes. We stayed at the hotel in Alpine again this night.

Well, we did end up bringing some rain with us on the last day (Monday). It was just enough to get our tent and sleeping bags (which we unfortunately left at the campsite) to get all wet and muddy! We caught 5 wet kangaroo rats on that last morning. We then headed off east -- making a couple stops along the way (Big Spring State Park and a couple roadside stops).

Overall, it was a challenging gathering due to the conditions, but it was just the best time ever to spend with friends. I'm so genuinely lucky to be a part of this group! Another gathering coming up in the fall -- stay tuned for details!!! :) We're leaning towards east TX -- maybe the new Neches River WMA (as suggested by both @centratex and @cosmiccat !).

Ingresado el 24 de abril de 2021 por sambiology sambiology | 10 comentarios | Deja un comentario

03 de abril de 2021

Back into ID'ing -- a slow process (maybe just my computer though?)

I had taken a bit of a hiatus from ID'ing observations, but with the City Nature Challenge coming up soon, I really need to get back into it.

I've mentioned it before, but ID'ing observations (or tossing on comments) is the most welcoming thing we can do especially to new iNat users! It's a great way to share our knowledge and what we've learned to teach others. And yep, I've been wrong thousands and thousands of times, but each time I've learned from my errors (albeit, I still make some!). Because there are soooo many new observations, I've had to narrow down my geographic focus to DFW (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?place_id=57484).

Anyways, as I'm getting back into ID'ing, I'm noticing that it's taking a lot longer than usual. Are others experiencing this?

I'll click on "agree" or add in a new ID, and there's a pretty lengthy delay (the grey circle with rotating green) before the observation updates... It's highly likely that it's just on my end -- my internet's never been super fast and my computer is a bit slow to begin with...

Have you been experiencing this too?

Nonetheless, super important to add in some ID's! :)

Ingresado el 03 de abril de 2021 por sambiology sambiology | 16 comentarios | Deja un comentario