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  • Saturday, November 14, 2015 3:46 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The first of a series of learning workshops was led by Deborah Holle and Jean Nance on Saturday, November 14.  Sixteen people learned the process and techniques of leading a successful nature walk. 

    Some folks were new to the Hill Country, some experienced naturalists and one came from as far away as Paradise (Texas that is).  The day was paradise for hiking, cool and colorful.

    The “walk and talk” included how to’s about preparation, structure, adaptability and practice, practice, practice.  The birders, photographers and plant enthusiasts among the group all had something to see.  It was a beautiful and informative day in the Hill Country.

  • Tuesday, November 10, 2015 9:25 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    During the FOB Annual Meeting on Sunday, November 8 four new members were elected to the Board of Directors and executive positions were filled.  Pictured left to right; Gary Caylor, Joan Mukherjee, Bill Carr, Pat Wilkinson (Treasurer), Lynette Holtz, Evelyn Nugent, Fred Zagst, Dub Lyon (President), Jane Brunclik (Vice President) and Erica Yake (Secretary).  Not pictured Jim Nosler (Government Relations Director).

  • Tuesday, November 10, 2015 8:51 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Though the morning hike started off blustery, Sunday turned out to be a beautiful autumn day for the Friends of Balcones meeting and awards luncheon.

    Post hike David Maple talked about the state of the Refuge and Cindy Fronk gave out volunteer awards.  In addition to the volunteers who received recognition from the Refuge there were several awards given by the Friends of Balcones to members who had gone beyond the call of duty.

    Cathy Harrington who will soon be hitting the road in her RV was recognized for her many years and thousands of hours dedicated to the Refuge.  From organizing the CBC and Songbird Festival and more to creating this website Cathy’s skills will be sorely missed.

    Karen Kilfeather was a founding member of the FOB and was our photography and graphics guru.  Karen is the caretaker for the Peaceful Springs tract and was instrumental in bringing it into the Refuge.

    Joan Mukherjee not only placed her ranch into a conservation easement managed by Balcones Canyonlands NWR but she spearheaded the effort to purchase Peaceful Springs.

    FOB President Dub Lyon has devoted 12,500 hours to Balcones Canyonlands and was honored for becoming the National Wildlife Refuge Association’s 20 15 Volunteer of the Year.

    The Flying X looked very festive with autumn themed décor on the table thanks to Sandy Gilchrist and Sharon Macut organized the a hearty lunch with help from board members.

    As you can see happy socializing followed.

  • Thursday, October 22, 2015 3:33 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • Tuesday, October 20, 2015 1:13 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On Oct. 1, one of the most vibrant and important land conservation programs--the Land and Water Conservation Fund--expired. We need your help to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). 

    From protecting endemic bird and plant species at the Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge in Hawaii to conserving working landscapes in the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge, the LWCF has protected nearly 2 million acres in the Refuge System in the past 50 years. 

    The fund--which has wide bi-partisan support and uses monies that are NOT taxpayer dollars--authorizes revenues from offshore oil and gas drilling be put into a fund of up to $900 million annually. Help us reauthorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund at $900 million per year, and of that, provide $173.8 million in FY16 for conservation easements and refuge land acquisitions.


    Please urge your representatives to act now: Reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund to help conserve the habitats for endemic species and wildlife. Help conserve biodiversity for the present and future generations.
    Take action today!

    Act Now

  • Tuesday, October 20, 2015 11:26 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Carl Schwope, fire management officer at Balcones Canyonlands NWR, is featured in this months Flyer newsletter from the National Wildlife Association .

    There is also a feature article on the Refuge itself.  No doubt it was inspired when folks from the Association come out to present Dub Lyon with the 2015 Volunteer of the Year Award                   

  • Wednesday, October 14, 2015 3:18 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On September 28 Friends President, Dub Lyon, was presented with the National Wildlife Refuge Association 2015 Volunteer of the Year at the Flying X Ranch.

    Cynthia Martinez, Chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System and David Houghton, President of the National Wildlife Refuge Association flew in  to present Dub with his well deserved honor.  

    Here David Houghton is presenting Dub with the 2015 Volunteer of the Year award.

    Acting Refuge Manager, David Maple presented Dub with a flag flown over our nation's capital sent by Rep Roger Williams.

  • Wednesday, October 14, 2015 8:28 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    This summer volunteers collected over 150,000 milkweed seeds for the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Centers as part of Monarch Joint Venture.  They collected antelope horn, zizotes and some rarer wand milkweed seeds.  We were lucky to have Dominique O'Connor as our Monarch intern this summer.  Dominique oversaw our collection and helped develop two new Environmental Education programs; All about the Monarchs and Bee Helpful to Pollinators.

  • Saturday, March 07, 2015 10:13 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 3, 2015
    CONTACT: Emily Paciolla,, 202-417-3803 ext. 20

    DubWASHINGTON, D.C., MARCH 3, 2015 - Wiley ‘Dub’ Lyon’s commitment and enthusiasm
    for the National Wildlife Refuge System and Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge in
    Texas have earned him the 2015 Refuge System Volunteer of the Year Award from the National
    Wildlife Refuge Association.
    Over the past 7 years as a dedicated volunteer at Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife
    Refuge in Texas, Mr. Lyon has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the refuge, donating
    his time and services whenever and wherever needed. Mr. Lyon has used his skills to provide the
    refuge with an invaluable resource.
    “Wiley ‘Dub’ Lyon is the gold standard for volunteers in the Refuge System,” said David
    Houghton, President of the National Wildlife Refuge Association. “His willingness to help out
    anywhere necessary from data collection to maintenance work make him an outstanding
    volunteer and asset to the refuge.” After building his own home and retiring from American Airlines where he supervised aircraft landing, take-off, and maintenance, Mr. Lyon found a place where he could apply his many skills
    – Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. After donating 1,168 hours in his first 8
    months, it was apparent Mr. Lyon was not an average refuge volunteer.
    Not only does Mr. Lyon serve as the volunteer coordinator and arrange the scheduling of
    recreational vehicle volunteers and large group volunteers, he assumes additional duties without being asked. He organized the Annual Friends Meeting and Refuge Volunteer Awards ceremony, worked with other volunteers to make sure teachers were able to schedule environmental education programs, and collected public use data for Refuge Monthly Activity Reports and Refuge Refuge Annual Performance Plan (RAPP) report. He regularly checks feral hog traps, helps with deer counts, works the deer check station, and gives PowerPoint presentations on the refuge to local groups.
    When funds are tight on the refuge, Lyon is always finding ways to accomplish repair jobs in
    cost effective ways. His welding, plumbing and carpentry skills are in constant demand. Mr.
    Lyon is truly a jack-of-all-trades. To increase his ability to help out on the refuge, Mr. Lyon has taken many classes to become certified to operate equipment, takes training courses to use U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service computers, and other pertinent training classes. He has even taken classes to learn more about the Department of the Interior to better understand the mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and what is being accomplished on the refuge.
    Mr. Lyon has been elected as President of the Friends of Balcones twice and was elected to the Board of Directors for the past 6 years. This year’s awards will be presented at a reception in Washington, DC on March 24, 2015.

    For more information or photos, please contact Emily Paciolla,,
    202-417-3803 ext. 20.
    The National Wildlife Refuge Association is the only independent nonprofit that promotes and protects the world’s largest wildlife conservation network: the National Wildlife Refuge System.

  • Wednesday, October 01, 2014 3:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Written By Dan Ashe
    Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

    Kenai RefugeTreelineFromTheDirectorKenaiRefugeTreeline

    The National Climate Assessment released in May puts it bluntly:

    Evidence for climate change abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans. Scientists and engineers from around the world have meticulously collected this evidence, using satellites and networks of weather balloons, thermometers, buoys, and other observing systems. Evidence of climate change is also visible in the observed and measured changes in location and behavior of species and functioning of ecosystems. Taken together, this evidence tells an unambiguous story: the planet is warming, and over the last half century, this warming has been driven primarily by human activity.

    The scientific debate about whether human-induced climate change is occurring – or whether rising average surface temperatures are disrupting the natural systems that support life on Earth – is over. But two significant questions remain to be answered: How catastrophic will the effects of this disruption be? And what can be done to avert the worst impacts and help wildlife and natural systems cope with those that occur?

    These are not easy questions to answer. Fortunately, we still have time to act to sustain the web of life that sustains human population.

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with the scientific, conservation and business communities to prepare for these impacts and ensure forward-thinking and effective conservation of fish, wildlife and plants, and their habitats. Guided by the President’s Climate Action Plan and the National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy, we are leading efforts to protect natural resources.

    The scale and intensity of climate change impacts pose an enormous challenge.

    But there is hope, and we are making progress. Here are a few examples:

    • ·       At Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge in Iowa, the Service and partners are finding that restoring diverse, native tall-grass prairie vegetation helps protect the soil year-round, slowing overland flow of water. It also helps recharge groundwater and provide important habitat.
    • ·       By planting trees at refuges in the Red River and Lower Mississippi River valleys of Louisiana, the Service and partners are reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and restoring habitat that feeds and shelters songbirds and other wildlife. Similarly, refuges in Texas, Hawaii and Kansas are planting trees to restore habitat and reduce greenhouse gases.
    • ·       Refuge managers in North Carolina and Virginia are helping to restore the natural hydrology of peatland ecosystems, which reduces fire potential and cuts carbon emissions.
    • ·       In California, refuge staff, Coastal Program staff and partners have been working to raise the elevation of former salt marsh areas around Humboldt Bay that have experienced significant subsidence. This project has helped offset the loss of approximately 95 percent of historic salt marsh around the bay, and builds resiliency to climate change and sea-level rise by providing areas for salt marshes to migrate to behind dikes.
    • ·       Biologists and university researchers have been monitoring the ecological impacts of climate change, such as the rising treeline in the mountains and American marten colonization of the lowlands, at Kenai Refuge in Alaska for decades.
    • ·       The Refuge System has worked to reduce its carbon footprint by purchasing hybrid vehicles, constructing low-energy “green” visitor center/headquarters buildings and installing renewable wind and photovoltaic systems.

    What happens in the next few decades will have profound implications for society. How we choose to respond here and now – or whether we respond at all – will determine the kind of world in which we and our families live for the foreseeable future, as well as the kind of world we leave to future generations. Everyone has a stake in the outcome of those efforts – and we must succeed.

    Biologists and university researchers have been monitoring the ecological impacts of climate change, such as the rising treeline in the mountains, at Kenai Refuge in Alaska for decades. (USFWS)

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