Kids on the Land returned to Dixon Ranches Leo Unit in April. Kids on the Land outdoor environmental programs teach children about the region where they live, connecting them to the land and a more sustainable future. The foundation’s education partners, like Kids on the Land, frequently visit Dixon Ranches for field days to learn about sustainable land management, watershed health, wildlife, native plants, and other subjects. Learn more about school field programs on this page, and check out the gallery below for glimpses into the fun Kids on the Land brought to the Josey Pavilion this spring.
Texas Wildlife Association L.A.N.D.S. recently held outdoor education programs at Dixon Ranches Leo and Bear Creek units. In December, AP Environmental Science students from Fort Worth Country Day School learned about wildlife tracking, watershed health, and other conservation topics at the Josey Pavilion. McLean Middle School students visited Bear Creek for a field day at the end of November. We are grateful to our education partners like TWA for using our ranches to put young Texans more in touch with their local ecosystem.
The first Chihuahuan Desert Riparian and Pond Management Workshop will be held at on April 13 at the the Dixon Water Foundation’s Alamito Creek Preserve. This workshop is a collaboration between the foundation and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Sul Ross State University, Borderlands Research Institute, U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Nature Conservancy.
Registration is set from 8:30-9 a.m. at the Marfa National Bank, 301 S. Highland Ave. in Marfa. At 9:15 a.m. participants will caravan to the Alamito Creek Preserve for the remainder of the workshop.
“This workshop will be fast-paced and held in the field on rough terrain and walking to various sites will be required,” said Jesse Lea Schneider, AgriLife Extension agent in Presidio County and a workshop coordinator.
She said proper dress, for example sturdy shoes and a hat, are a must.
“Please bring your own lunch and plenty of water,” she said. “In the event of inclement weather, the workshop will be rescheduled.
“Our Chihuahuan Desert Riparian areas are some of the most misunderstood and underappreciated of the ecosystems. Our hope is to make this an annual event to bring educational opportunities to landowners and enthusiasts across the area.”
Individual registration is $10. RSVP by April 11 by calling 432-295-0342.
Topics and speakers include:
– Introduction to Dixon Water Foundation, Alamito Creek Preserve, Robert Potts, Dixon Water Foundation president and CEO, Presidio County.
– Pond Ecology and Fish Stocking, Peter Woods, AgriLife Extension fisheries program specialist, Bay City.
– Riparian Vegetation and Best Management Practices and Ecohydrology of Streams and Springs, Jeff Bennett, National Park Service physical scientist and hydrologist, Big Bend National Park.
– Linking Pasture to Stream, Dr. Alyson McDonald, AgriLife Extension range specialist, Fort Stockton.
– Grazing Riparian Zones, Dr. Bonnie Warnock, Sul Ross State University professor, Alpine.
– Water and Wildlife, Benefits and Nuisance Control, Dr. John Tomecek, AgriLife Extension wildlife specialist, San Angelo.
– Waterfowl and Wetland Management in Desert Landscapes, Dr. Ryan O’Shaughnessy, Sul Ross assistant professor.
– Farm Bill Programs, Carrie Koennecke, Natural Resources Conservation Service district conservationist, Marfa.
– Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Landowner Incentive Program and U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service, Arleen Kalmback, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department landowner incentive program coordinator, Austin.
– Experiences From a Land Manager, Chase McRory, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department district biologist, Sanderson, and Casey Wade, Dixon Water Foundation manager, Presidio County.
The sixth National Conference on Grazing Lands, a unique conference for livestock producers by livestock producers, is coming up December 13-16 in Grapevine, Texas. The program lineup includes a tour of Dixon Ranches Leo Unit and soil health presentations by ranch manager Robbie Tuggle and science advisory board members Dr. Lisa Bellows and Dr. Richard Teague.
Learn more about or register for the conference on the National Grazing Lands Coalition website or in this article by Hugh Aljoe, foundation board member and Noble Foundation producer relations manager.
The Overlook Trail at Dixon Ranches Mimms Unit officially opened September 26, 2015, in conjunction with a grass identification workshop with Dr. Michael Powell of Sul Ross State University. About 45 people attended the workshop, and many of them stayed for a group interpretive hike to the Overlook viewing area, designed by Marfa’s Joey Benton. Local flora and fauna experts from the Texas Master Naturalists Tierra Grande Chapter answered questions along the way.
Powell is Director of the Herbarium at Sul Ross State University, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Biology, and author of numerous books and journal articles on plants native to the Chihuahuan Desert Region. Dr. Powell was assisted during the workshop with his wife Shirley Powell, a retired science teacher and the president of the board of directors at the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute.
The 2.5-mile walking trail at Mimms is open during daylight hours and features exhibits about grazing management and the high-desert environment. The trail ends at the Overlook viewing area, where visitors can sit and appreciate spectacular views of the Marfa grasslands and surrounding mountains.
The foundation’s West Texas office and the trailhead are at the north end of Austin Street in Marfa. Please read and respect the guidelines for trail visitors posted at the entrance to the ranch. Dogs must remain leashed. Bicycles, motorized vehicles, camping, and firearms are not permitted.
Landowners in Cooke County are invited to a one-day workshop on October 2 with Texas A&M AgriLife at Dixon Ranches Leo Unit. From 7:30am to 4pm, participants will learn about recognizing the cross timbers, wildlife habitat management & tax appraisals, range management, conservation easements, soils, and invasive plants. Admission is $20. CEUs available. For a complete program, download a PDF of the Cross Timbers Landowner Workshop agenda.
Our education partner Kids on the Land was at Dixon Ranches Bear Creek Unit in September. Their outdoor environmental programs teach children about the region where they live, connecting them to the land and a more sustainable future. With support from the foundation, Kids on the Land partnered with Morningside Children’s Partnership to provide this program to third through fifth graders from the Edward J. Briscoe Elementary School, which is a neighborhood in Fort Worth that has suffered high unemployment, violence, substandard health care, and low educational outcomes for years. Check out the photo gallery below and the testimonials to see what an impact this program had.
September 17 is North Texas Giving Day, when matching donors will double any contributions made to this great organization. Visit the North Texas Giving Day website to learn more.
Kids on the Land at Bear Creek
“Being a [volunteer] for KOL is the hardest work I have ever loved. Because of this experience many of these students will never look at their world in quite the same way. It is humbling, awesome and a joy to witness the impact one day in nature can have on a child.”—Karen McGinnis, Kids On the Land volunteer
“Teaching students in the Kids on the Land program connects them to their sense of place and the world they live in. It touches their souls and connects them to real world learning in a meaningful life changing way.” —Kathy Cash, Kids On the Land volunteer
“Best day of school ever!” —Charles, Briscoe 3rd grader
Ian Mitchell-Innes, Holistic Management Educator and mob-grazing expert, held a workshop with Dixon Ranches staff, board of directors, and advisory board members at Mimms Unit in July. The South African rancher discussed grazing strategies, animal performance, and other topics.
You can learn more about many of the principles and practices he covered in this online presentation, Ranching in Sync with Nature:
A Texas Riparian and Stream Ecosystem Workshop in the Hickory Creek Watershed will be held on May 21 in Denton. The training will focus on the nature and function of stream and riparian zones and the benefits and direct impacts from healthy riparian zones. This workshop is supported in part by a grant from the Dixon Water Foundation and is being co-hosted by the City of Denton and the Upper Trinity Conservation Trust. Learn more about this program and similar riparian workshops on the Texas Riparian Association’s website. RSVP required by May 15.
North Texas Farm and Ranch magazine’s November issue spotlights the upcoming Holistic Management Rendezvous 2014 and Josey Pavilion Grand Opening at Dixon Ranches Leo Unit. Check out the article about this sold-out event, or view the full November issue on NTFR’s website. The regional agricultural magazine also features a monthly column by Lisa Bellows, director of the Josey Institute for Agroecology at North Central Texas College.