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  • Tuesday, December 06, 2016 1:12 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It's Offical!  Peaceful Springs is Ours!

    Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge has just grown by 520 acres. These pristine acres had preserved for 20 years by Cynthia & David Castleberry and contains native plants and trees now uncommon to this area. This tract now connects three parcels of the Refuge which provides uninterrupted habitat for two endangered bird species as well as numerous pollinators and mammals.

    The Friends of Balcones Canyonlands initiated the effort in obtaining half the needed three million dollars needed to purchase the land.  Lead by Singleton Bend resident and past Friends President Dub Lyon the group applied for grants from the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center and others along will donations from many in the area along with their friends and families.  With a gift from one very generous Friends member and generous concessions from the owners the deal was put together.

    The balance of the money was provided by a loan from the Land for Public Trust (TPL). The Friends of Balcones continued to make payments to the TPL with money raised from many donors both large and small.

    The US Fish & Wildlife Service in late fiscal year 2016 realized they were being given a gift of precious Texas Hill Country and found enough money in their budget to pay off the loan and bring Peaceful Springs into Balcones Refuge.

    At this time Peaceful Springs will be open to the public on a limited basis with interpretive hikes, use of the existing pavilion for an outdoor classroom and surveyed during the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count.

  • Wednesday, October 26, 2016 9:05 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Meet the Manager

    On May 1st we welcomed Kelley Purkey is the new Balcones Canyonlands manager. 

    Kelly came to us from  Tensas River NWR, Tallulah, LA where for nine years Kelly  oversaw the protection of the largest population of the Louisiana Brown Bear.  In 2016 Interior Secretary visited TRNWR to celebrate the de-listing of the bear from the Endangered Species List.

    Kelly says “ I have an open door policy and always am approachable, and I look forward to getting to know all the great folks that support the BCNWR.  Please let me know if you have any questions, comments, or concerns; I would love to hear from you!

     


  • Wednesday, May 18, 2016 10:50 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    16th Annual Balcones Songbird Festival

    “Golden-cheeked warblers, Black-capped vireos and OMG there’s a Painted Bunting!”  These words were heard everywhere during the Balcones Songbird Festival.  “Shhhhhhh, I can hear the Golden’s call! Wait it’s a male Golden cheek’s song!”

    Friends of Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge hosted Birders from thirteen states and three countries.  Four people came from as far away as Alaska just to see our endangered ones.  And no one went away disappointed.  Just walking in the door you were greeted by a volunteer host AND a Canyon Wren just to give you a hint of what’s to come.

    Experienced guides took our guests to remote locations on the Refuge pointing out birds, wildlife and wildflowers.  Over 128 species of birds were spotted during this 3 day event. Many got a look at our newest land acquisition, Peaceful Springs.  The weather was perfect from the first bird call of the day, until hours later socializing at the Meet and Greet. 

    28 volunteers kept everyone on schedule and handled any mishap that came our way.  The Marketplace was a huge success with t-shirts and hats flying out the door.  New memberships were secured and all reviews are in.  The 16th Annual Balcones Songbird Festival was a success.  Thanks to everyone for coming to the Texas Hill Country. 


  • Monday, May 09, 2016 11:20 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Friends Board of Directors and Cindy Fronk with the Fish & Wildlife Service celebrated Mother's Day with sculpture artist Carol Lou Trent and her friends.

    Ms. Treat is a well known wood sculptor who has won numerous awards and prizes for her lifelike bird sculptures with her friend the late artist Carol Rogers.

    Ms Treat gifted the Balcones Canyonlands NWR with three of her incredibly detailed sculptures with the rest to be bestowed later.

    After retiring from her career in counseling and authoring three books, Carol Lou moved to the Lago Visa area where she took up sculpting, golf, helped found Rolling Hills Community Church, LV Paws, the LV Art Association and became a certified EMT!  She is a fascinating women and the highlight of the day was visiting with her and hearing her stories.

    Now in her 80's, Carol Lou Treat continues to pursue activities that give her what she calls a "wonderful feeling of worthwhileness".  She feels that sharing the Treat-Rogers birds with Balcones Canyonlands will continue a lifelong commitment to education and allow others to enjoy the legacy and responsibility of the beautiful creatures found in the Texas Hill Country. 


    Photos courtesy of Ed Dupnick

  • Tuesday, January 12, 2016 10:53 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We Survived!

    A tough bunch made the New Year's Day Meet & Greet.  Stalwart Friends members and new friends braved the cold temperature and winds to enjoy an interpretive hike led by Lynette Holtz and the gathered for homemade cookies and hot chocolate.

  • Tuesday, December 29, 2015 1:23 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Sunday the 27th was a bit blustery but the plant walk  lead by Joan Mukherjee was a great success if you go by the number of pants we identified, I lost count after 40.

    We had to wait about half an hour for the rain to taper off but we squeezed in about a two hour walk before the next rain band came in.  

    Joan had the fire stoked up and hot chocolate and cookies waiting for us so we warmed up quickly.  Here we're checking out a huge hackberry.

  • 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)
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