Preservation Society for Spring Creek Forest

Saturday, December 5
Special Event for the youngsters:  10th Annual Christmas is for the Birds
         

This is a super-fun event for pre-school or elementary school children.

Bring them to the Park Preserve where they make biodegradable bird feeders out of peanut butter and bird seed, then they hang the feeders in our forest. Yes, be prepared to get a bit messy.
Location: 1787 Holford
Time: 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.

  • Some folks make their own feeder treats at home and bring them to hang on the trees. See below for make-at-home suggestions.
  • We also have short nature walks to show children a little of our fabulous forest and prairie.
  • Biodegradable bird feeder ornaments must be hung with cotton yarn or string. The birds will use the string later for making their nests. Metal or plastic hangers, including fishing line are not allowed and are dangerous for birds and wildlife because they might ingest it and injure themselves. If you make bird feeder ornaments at home, please bring them to the park ready to hang.
  • Some examples of biodegradable bird feeders:
    • Pine cones coated in peanut butter and rolled in bird seed.
    • Strings of fresh or dried berries.
    • Suet balls (see recipe below)
    • Strings of non-buttered popcorn.

COOKIE CUTTER BIRD FEEDERS   
(Easily made by school age children with supervision)                     
1 Small package original gelatin unflavored (Knox)             
¼ Cup Water                                                                          
1 Cup Birdseed                                                                                  
Straws                                                                                    
Waxed Paper                                                                          
Cookie Sheet and Cookie Cutters                                         
Ribbon, string, or twine

Place unflavored gelatin in a pot and add the water.
Bring it to a simmer while stirring until all of the gelatin is dissolved. 
Remove from heat.
Add the birdseed to the pan of water/ gelatin mix and blend well; the mixture will smell earthy. 
Place waxed paper on the cookie sheet and put a cookie cutter on the waxed paper. 
Spoon the bird seed mixture into the cookie cutter pressing it in firmly. 
Cut a straw about 3 inches long and insert to make a hole for hanging. 
Let it set up, then remove cookie cutter and straw.
Add a string to hang it.

NO-MELT SUET BALLS
1 Cup crunchy peanut butter                         
1 Cup lard                                                                  
2 Cups quick-cook oatmeal
2 Cups cornmeal
1 Cup white flour
½ Cup Sugar
Raisins (optional)
Nuts (optional)

Melt peanut butter and lard together.
Stir in the other ingredients. 
Pour mixture into cookie cutters or form into balls and freeze. 
Raisins and or nuts can be added to the mix prior to freezing.

Unfortunately, we decided to cancel the Holiday Get Together that was scheduled for December 1. 

Trout Lilly in bloom

Trails

During the Covid-19 safety activities, getting outdoors can have positive effects on mind and body. Please get outside an enjoy the Preserve’s trails while still practicing social distancing. A map of the trails is available here. A map to the guided interpretive trail is available here.

Collections from the Field

Collections from the Field is a place-based community project that works at the intersection of art and the environment to offer a place for artistic contemplation, idea sharing, and reflection on the natural beauty of Spring Creek Forest Preserve located in Garland, Texas. This site functions as an online gallery space that emulates the creative storytelling of a field notebook to showcase art done by people like you that reflects the beauty, history, and ecology of Spring Creek Forest Preserve. View more at http://collectionsfromthefield.com/.

Monthly Work Session

Saturday, December 5
Come to our work session at 1770 Holford.
9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. 
No problem staying 6 feet apart – there is plenty of space. It will make you feel like a new person to get out in the middle of nature and help the Preserve. Face masks are required, at least while you check in. After that, if you have enough space, you can remove the mask.

We will break into teams and do multiple projects in our upper meadow, cleaning out woody plants that want to take over this great prairie remnant. Each team will have a knowledgeable volunteer so you know exactly what plants should be removed.

BRING WATER. Also, even in the heat, wear heavy work gloves, long pants, protective eye-wear, and sturdy shoes (no sandals) for your protection from poison ivy and thorns.  If you have them, bring loppers and/or small tree saws. And, don’t forget, face masks are required.

All participants and the parents of minors must sign our Liability Waiver.  All minors 16 yrs. and younger must be accompanied by an adult.  For Master Naturalists, this counts as Volunteer Hours on the Preservation Society for Spring Creek Forest project.

On October 31, 20 students from Garland High School honor clubs helped pick up trash in the Preserve area behind the GISD Event Center. Just 2 hours of work netted quite a large pile of trash. It was a pleasure working with these intelligent, energetic students.

Future Work Sessions

  • Saturday, December 5 – 1770 Holford Rd; 9 – 11 a.m.
  • Saturday, January 9, 2021
  • Saturday, February 6, 2021
  • Saturday, March 6, 2021
  • Saturday, April 10, 2021
  • Saturday, May 8, 2021

4th Sunday Nature Walks

Time: 2:00 – 3:30 p.m.
The locations of 4th-Sunday Nature Walks will vary throughout the Preserve depending on the subject of the walk. Be sure to check the latest announcements..

Sunday, November 22, 2020. 2:00 – 3:30; Tree Walk

Gwen Eishen, Texas Wildlife Association, will take us into our fabulous forest showing you how to identify our native trees. Even though most of the leaves have fallen by the end of November, there are still many other ways to identify what you are seeing such as branching structure and bark patterns.
          

Sunday, December 27, 2020. Leader: Stephanie Hanson – Nature Journaling

Sunday, February 28, 2021. Leader: Tom Frey – 28th Annual Trout Lily Walk

Sunday, March 28, 2021. Leader: Terry Comingore – Weather and Climate

Sunday, April 25. 2021. Leader Kevin Rudy

Sunday, May 23, 2021. Leader: Judy Aschner – Insects in our Preserve

  • Important information: The natural-surface trails are not stroller-compatible; everyone must be able to walk approximately 1 mile. Clothing: Even in the heat, wear long pants and sturdy shoes (no sandals) for your protection from poison ivy and thorns. Apply insect repellent. Bring water. .
  • Our guided walks every 4th Sunday of the month are fun, family walks, appropriate for anyone who wants to enjoy a guided walk in the Preserve.

New on our Schedule – Bird Walks with Reba Collins

Saturday, November 28, 2020 and Sunday, November 29, 2020:
Bird Walks with Reba Collins, Master Birder. 8:00 – 9:30 a.m., 1787 Holford Road, Garland, TX. What
birds are in Spring Creek Forest in late fall after Thanksgiving? Come for a morning
walk and find out.

Saturday, January 16, 2021 and Sunday, January 17, 2021:
Bird Walks with Reba Collins, Master Birder. 8:00 – 9:30 a.m. 1787 Holford, Garland, TX. Do you want to
learn what birds spend the winter in Spring Creek Forest? Come for a morning walk and
learn to identify some of our wintering birds.

Reservations are required for all 4 dates. Limited to 10 people per walk. Contact Reba at
rcollins20@verizon.net to reserve a spot. Participants will be required to wear face
masks and practice social distancing. Bring binoculars. Dress for the weather. If it has
been raining, rain boots may be appropriate.

Speaking of birds…

Our own Executive Committee Treasurer, Marvin Rogers, participates in Lights Out Dallas by looking for dead birds in downtown Dallas. In mid-September, Marvin emailed Ben Jones, Executive Director of Texas Conservation Alliance and volunteered to help conduct the bird surveys.
 
According to Marvin:
          I have participated 3 times so far, and it is a hoot! You do get your exercise; I walked a little over 10,000 steps last time. That is typical. We meet at 6:15 AM at the Perot Museum parking lot. The group divides into teams of at least two to walk the various large buildings in the downtown area, looking for birds that have collided in their migration travels. My team checked Bank of America, City Hall, and many places in-between. We reconvene back at the Perot at 8 o’clock.
 
          One morning we found a hummingbird and a Mourning Warbler. Another morning we didn’t find any! That is the better deal. But I’ve seen pictures of as many as twelve found. For me, this has been an interesting and enlightening endeavor.  It is a new aspect of the hobby of birding!
 
          Why go Lights Out? Most birds migrate at night, employing an incredible sensory system to navigate and to orient in darkness. Light pollution attracts and disorients these migrating birds, disrupting their systems and increasing the birds’ vulnerability to collisions with structures. An estimated 365 – 988 million birds die in collisions with buildings annually, including a number of species of high conservation concern. You can help dramatically reduce the hazards from light pollution for nocturnally migrating birds by turning off all unnecessary outdoor lighting during the migration period. The fall migration is mainly from early September through the end of October.
 
          For more information about the Lights Out program and BirdCast, visit https://birdcast.info/lights-out/. This organization predicts the intensity of the nightly migration by using radar systems primarily powered by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Colorado State University. If interested in volunteering, get more local information at ben@tcatexas.org

Speaker Series

Monthly Public Speaker Series: the 1st Tuesday of the month from September to April.   These are the Fall plans.

  • Meeting Time: 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • Location:  information to come
  • Tuesday, January 5, 2021: Bonnie Bradshaw – Coyotes and Critters
  • Tuesday, February 2, 2021: Rob Kaaa – Critter Cams in the Preserve
  • Tuesday, March 2, 2021: Jessica Crowley – Frogs
  • Tuesday, April 6, 2021: Kevin Rudy – Texas Snakes
  • Summer break
  • For Master Naturalists, this often counts as 1 hour Advanced Training, but check the MN schedule to be sure.

Do you have suggestions? If you have ideas for speakers or topics for future programs, please email your suggestions to Becky Sans, beckysans7@gmail.com.

iNaturalist – 5,000 observations for Spring Creek Forest and Park Preserve
Spring Creek Preserve has reached 5,000 iNaturalist observations! The most observed species is currently tied between two plants – Trout Lily and Mealy Sage. A big “Thank You” to everyone who has contributed both observations and species verifications.
 
Download and log-in to iNaturalist to check out the flora and fauna present in our Preserve. Then join this citizen scientist program so you can record observations of your own.

Do you have suggestions? If you have ideas for speakers or topics for future programs, please email your suggestions to Becky Sans, beckysans7@gmail.com.

Society MembershipMembership: Join Us Today! Download our membership form: https://springcreekforest.org/join/

Monthly Email: To subscribe please contact:
Barbara_Baynham2005@yahoo.com

Make a donation! Your donation helps the all-volunteer Preservation Society for Spring Creek Forest offer public lectures, conduct habitat management workdays, and offer public nature walks. Please mail your tax-deductible donation to: Preservation Society for Spring Creek Forest, Attn:  Treasurer, P.O. Box 450176, Garland, TX 75045-0176