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Meetings are held at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens, 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd., normally on the third Monday of the month at 7:00pm. Various speakers present topics of interest to Master Naturalists, general Chapter business is conducted and social time scheduled, giving you the opportunity to get to know your fellow Master Naturalists. Guests are welcome and encouraged to attend.
January 16, 2006- Clinton Crowley, XTO Geologist & TCU Instructor, presents "GEOLOGICAL HISTORY of NORTH TEXAS". Have you ever wondered what the environment around you might be like if you could go back in time from the very spot where you are sitting right now? If you could turn time back a million years, or ten million years, or 100 million years, or even a billion years, what would you see - what would be going on around you? What would the ecology here in the Cross Timbers Region of North Texas look like? Did you know that the spot where Fort Worth now sits was once high up on a mountain? Well, It was. It's also been a desert, a shallow sea. a beach a deep gulf and perhaps many other things. And it might be some of those things again someday. Some of the things that happened here hundreds of millions of years ago still affect the way we use the land today. Does thinking about these kind of things excite you? Don't miss the January program! Come and let Clinton Crowley, Geologist and TCU Instructor take you visually back in time and show you North Texas as it once was.
REMEMBER, the January 16 meeting is going to be held at the Tarrant County Extension Office at 401 East Eighth Street instead of the Botanic Garden. You can park in the Extension Office parking lot. Pass the word.
February 20, 2006- Terry Schmidt, Park Ranger & Conservation Specialist U.S. Army COE presents "HISTORY of BENBROOK LAKE". Over 87% of the earth is water. Of that, 97% is salt water. Of the remaining three percent that's fresh, 66% of it is tied up at the polar ice caps, leaving less than one percent of the earth's water available for us to use, and a lot of that is polluted. That fraction of a percent has to supply all the needs of humankind - drinking, cleaning, crop irrigation, industrial powering & cooling and many other uses. Even so, that small amount is estimated to be enough for the entire human race, especially if we were to stop destroying the precious riparian ecosystems necessary for cleaning up the water going into aquifers and lakes. (But that's another topic.) So, if we really have enough water, why have wars been fought over water for the past several thousand years? And why do 10,000 to 20,000 children die every day for lack of an adequate water supply? And why has it been predicted that by 2050 more than half the worlds population will lack sufficient water to cover basic needs? Well, the problem right now is not the amount of available water - the problem is getting the right water to the right place at the right time. That's why lakes are built. While lakes are arguably not the most efficient or economical way to store water, they are the most popular. And they have the added benefit of providing habitat and recreational opportunities.
March 20, 2006- We are learning that life has existed on earth far longer than we could ever have imagined. Even in the first 60 million years, when the smoldering planet was being relentlessly bombarded by debris from the newly formed solar system, primitive life was forming in the still hot impact craters. Water, containing soups of amino acids and proteins, rained down from exploding comets and asteroids thus setting the stage for development of more and more complex forms of life. In the five billion years or so since then, literally thousands, if not millions, of species have evolved, developed, made their contribution and disappeared into oblivion never to be heard from again.
Now comes man. Man, the first species with the ability to make scars on the earth that can be seen from space. Man, the first species with the power and, unfortunately, too often the willingness to poison his own habitat to the extent that it becomes incapable of supporting even his own species. But, man, also the first species with the ability to apply thought and purpose towards protecting the earth and providing opportunity for other species to continue to exist in their natural relationships. Man ponders his power and likes to blame himself for everything he thinks is going wrong with the world. While it's true that man has had a significant impact over the past thousand years on the ever changing earth, especially the extinction of other species, to believe that this power is unequaled is the ultimate ego trip. What man has done is just a drop compared to extinctions occurring as the result of the processes of nature. In spite of man's laudable attempts to control and manipulate nature, in the fullness of geological time, the forces of nature - the rocks, the ice, the water, the fire and the wind - always win. Always.
Nevertheless, in the here and now, man is the dominate species on this wonderful and marvelous world the creator has provided for us. The more we can learn about the connections between all living things, including the effects of our activities on the environment and the life and death of other species, the better we will be able to maintain the earth as a fit place for humanity. As a naturalist, that should be one of our primary concerns, and it should start close to home. That is why you should come to the March CTMN meeting and participate in a presentation on " ENDANGERED AND EXTINCT SPECIES OF NORTH TEXAS".
April 17, 2006- "WHAT HAPPENED TO THE DINOSAURS AND AMMONITES IN NORTH TEXAS?" Dinosaurs ruled the earth for 160 million years. They were arguably the most successful species that ever lived. We know that they were here in North Texas because they left their tracks in the tidal flats and river deltas of the Cretaceous seas that waxed and waned across this part of Texas during the late Mesozoic. And, while the dinosaurs were lords of the land, ammonites pretty much had their way in the seas. We know for sure that the ammonites were here, too, because we can find fossilized remains of their beautiful and intricately coiled bodies in abundance in the cretaceous limestone deposits exposed here in Tarrant county. While the dinosaurs and ammonites ruled, lesser creatures hid in the rocks and crevices of the earth or burrowed into the mud of the sea bed to wait their turn. Then, 65 million years ago, their turn came. In a geological blink of an eye, nighttime came to the cretaceous and, not only the dinosaurs and ammonites, but seventy five percent of all life on earth vanished never to be seen again.
What happened 65 million years ago to change the course of life on earth forever? That question has been hotly debated by scientists for the past 150 years, and many theories have emerged and been discarded for lack of evidence. But evidence keeps turning up in support of one theory - that is, that a large body from space, the size of Mount Everest or larger, impacted into the Southwestern Gulf of Mexico. This event is believed to have been capable of causing such world wide devastation that only small creatures who could burrow into the deeper crevices of the earth, live on dung and such and hibernate for long periods of time could have survived. Come to the April meeting and see an excellent film about the gathering of evidence in support of the impact theory of dinosaur extinction, and then make up your own mind about whether to accept it or not.
May 15, 2006- John Davis, Urban Biologist presents "TURNING AN URBAN BACKYARD INTO A WILDLIFE HABITAT". When you make an environment unfit for wildlife, it soon becomes less fit for humans, too. Farmers and ranchers realized this a long time ago, and most of them now strive to maintain a healthy balance between commercial use of the land and protection of wildlife habitat. Unfortunately, most urban developers have not caught on. When what used to be woodland, prairie or wetland is turned into vast areas of concrete and close clipped, pesticide saturated bermuda grass dotted with rows of houses and evenly spaced tall trees, there is nothing left to support the birds, butterflies and other wild critters that used to live there. Every new development, whether residential or commercial, squeezes more and more wildlife out of the habitat they need to survive. You can help by turning your urban backyard into a wildlife habitat. You don't need to have a big yard, and the cost of building it and maintaining it can be far less than anything else you could do with your backyard. The educational, environmental, economic and aesthetic benefits of creating a backyard habitat are priceless.
June 19, 2006- "BIRD NEST CONSTRUCTION" presented by Dr. Marcy Brown Marsden , of the University of Dallas.
July 17, 2006- "FIRST AID"
August 21, 2006- "HERPS OF NORTH TEXAS" presented by Stephen Campbell of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. Ask any normal person to name the wildlife of an area and they will seldom mention the herps. They will usually stop after mentioning the mammals and the birds - the things we see more often. Even a Master Naturalist will most likely save the herps until last, and then mention them as an after thought - "Oh, yes, and there's also herps". But the herps play a big part in the ecology of North Texas, and we need to learn more about them. Come to the August meeting and learn about herps from Stephen Campbell, a recognized expert on the herps of our area.
September 18, 2006- "URBAN WILDLIFE- The Truth is Stranger than Fiction" presented by Bonnie Bradshaw.
October 16, 2006- "IMPACT OF GLOBAL WARMING ON NORTH CENTRAL TEXAS" presented by Daniel Huckaby.
November 20, 2006- "EDIBLE PLANTS OF NORTH CENTRAL TEXAS " presented by Marissa Oppel of BRIT.
December 18, 2006- ANNUAL CHRISTMAS PARTY