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.
“Borderland Conservation: Two Countries, One Cause,” the 65th Annual Meeting for the Texas Section of the Society for Range Management, is being held in Alpine and Marfa October 7-9. A ranch tour of Dixon Ranches Mimms Unit is scheduled for Wednesday, with presentations on field recognition of ecological sites, soil interpretation, map unit design, and soil inclusions.
You can now listen to the Sept. 8 Talk at Ten interview with Dixon Ranches Mimms Unit manager Casey Wade. He spoke with K. Yoland at Marfa Public Radio about the upcoming Open Gate, sustainable ranching, and other news at Mimms. Ann Adams from Holistic Management International also called in for the interview, and Megan Wilde, who manages communications for the foundation, joined them in the studio.
Open Gate at Dixon Ranches Mimms Unit to focus on improving rangeland in drought
Registration is now online for an Open Gate at Dixon Ranches Mimms Unit from 9am to 4pm on Sept. 13 in Marfa.
Agricultural producers, wildlife managers, local agency representatives, and anyone else interested in sustainability, drought mitigation and biological research findings: this is a day for you. Learn about “Improving Land, Animal, and Water Health in a Drought” through short presentations and small group exercises.
Our speakers will share ranching techniques that improve rangeland productivity, water-holding capacity, wildlife habitat, and soil health. Participants will improve their land-monitoring skills, while learning about key soil-health indicators and ways to improve their soil. How to mitigate wildfire’s impact on soil health will also be covered.
Presenters include Robert J. Potts, president and CEO of the Dixon Water Foundation; Casey Wade, assistant general manager of Dixon Ranches in Marfa; Dr. Bonnie Warnock, associate professor and chair of the Sul Ross State University Department of Natural Resource Management; Dr. Lisa Bellows, Holistic Management Certified Educator-in-Training and chair of math and science initiatives at North Central Texas College; and Peggy Cole, Holistic Management International program manager.
This event at Dixon Ranches Mimms Unit is part of Holistic Management International’s Open Gate Learning Series of peer-to-peer, action-based field programs, during which participants share discoveries and management techniques with guidance from experienced facilitators and producers. Holistic Management® enables producers to better manage risk, make better decisions, and enjoy the benefits of sustainable agriculture.
Advance registration before Sept. 9 is $20 per person, including lunch. If space is still available, walk-in registration on Sept. 13 is $30 per person. To register or find out more, visit http://holisticmanagement.org/mimms/ or call 505-842-5252.
Join drylands permaculture designer and educator Brad Lancaster for “Beyond Rain Barrels” in Alpine and Marfa September 19-21.
Lancaster will give lectures about rainwater harvesting at the Granada Theater in Alpine at 7pm on Friday, Sept. 19 and at the Crowley Theater in Marfa at 7pm on Saturday, Sept. 20. Lectures will be followed by workshops at the Alpine Public Library from 8am – 2pm on Saturday, Sept. 20th, and at the Marfa International School from 9am – 3pm on Sunday, Sept. 21.
Space is limited in these free workshops. Reserve a spot by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Ogallala Commons and Dixon Water Foundation are hosting a Playa Field Day on Tuesday, June 24, near Nazareth.
The event will be from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. beginning at the Home Mercantile Building, 101 Second St., in Nazareth. Texas Tech researchers will lead the tour of two playas, and those attending should dress appropriately and bring bug spray. There will be opportunities to wade in ankle-deep water to observe species like tadpoles, fairy shrimp, dragonflies and damselflies. The second playa is enrolled in the USDA-NRCS Wetlands Reserve Program and demonstrates improvements conservation efforts make, according to a news release.
There is a $10 fee for a sandwich lunch and refreshments. RSVP to Darryl Birkenfeld at 806-945-2255 to ensure an accurate lunch count.
MARFA – Laughter and moos filled the air as a herd of children met the herd of cattle at the Dixon Water Foundation’s Mimms Unit last Friday, during the Marfa International School’s week-long “Living Classroom” at the ranch.
Twenty-four students from kindergarten through eighth grade learned about desert grasslands and sustainable land management through science projects and presentations by local experts. The children experienced what it’s like to be a wildlife biologist tracking animals; to be a scientist monitoring water and soil quality; and to be a botanist identifying grasses and collecting native plants. Chasing grasshoppers, listening to birds, and writing about the landscape were also part of the program.
“This has been amazing,” said teacher Lisa Gordon. “To be outside actually doing this kind of science has so much meaning.”
The Dixon Water Foundation’s President and CEO Robert Potts introduced the ranch’s cattle management system, which mimics the grazing habits of native bison to conserve water, wildlife and the desert grassland.
“Cattle are the tool we use to keep more rainwater in the ground, improving the soil and improving the grassland,” he told the students, before demonstrating how he moves the ranch’s herd between pastures.
Mark Brandin, Marfa International School director, said the week was an enriching and memorable experience for all of his students.
“I believe each child at MIS now has a much greater appreciation for the unique land in which we live, and we look forward to further studies at the ranch throughout the year,” he said.
The Dixon Water Foundation frequently welcomes students to its ranches in Marfa and northeast Texas. Last month Marfa ISD eighth-grade students had a nature writing workshop at Mimms, and Sul Ross State University wildlife management students took a field trip there in September.
Educators are invited to contact Potts at email@example.com for information about visiting the ranch, as well as to discuss funding opportunities for using the ranch as a classroom.
One of the Dixon Water Foundation’s grant recipients is the North Texas Land Scholars program. This camp, tentatively scheduled for July 13-17, 2014, aims to connect youth to nature by improving their scientific literacy while teaching the value of land stewardship.