Newsletter Articles

Sept. 2018

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WESTCAVE PRESERVE EDUCATION PROGRAMS PROVIDE CRITICAL CONNECTION TO THE NATURAL WORLD »

A second grader on a field trip at Westcave Preserve descended into the canyon and proclaimed, “I have never been this deep in nature before. This is awesome!

For many of the school children we serve, our hikes and education programs are a new experience, a novel...

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El Ranchito - Conservation Corps Logo

YOUTH IN CONSERVATION: DEVELOPING LIFELONG SKILLS IN WILDLIFE AND LAND PRESERVATION »

The El Ranchito Conservation Corps arrives, helmets on, tools in hand, and with an enthusiastic spirit to create an impact at Westcave Preserve. While the Westcave Conservation team hosts dozens of workdays throughout the year, the teenagers of the El Ranchito Conservation...

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June 2018

Buddy Steele

BUDDY STEELE - RETIRING BOARD CHAIRMAN »

In 1998 attorney Buddy Steele moved from Dallas to help open the Austin office of what is now the Locke Lord law firm. Shortly after getting his feet on the ground, he began looking for a volunteer opportunity with an organization dedicated to outdoor education. Westcave is grateful (and...

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Ladybird Lake - Austin Texas

CITY OF AUSTIN 2018 BOND ELECTION: ENSURING PARKS ARE A PRIORITY FOR INVESTMENT »

This article is adapted from the Austin Parks Foundation blog. We are deeply grateful for their work in supporting access to parklands in Austin, TX.

Every five to six years, Austin...

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Birds  Brew

BIRDS AND BREW - BIRDING SOCIAL EVENT »

Article & Photos by Tom Jones, Hays County Master Naturalist

Hays County Master Naturalists (HCMNs) attended the Westcave Preserve Birds & Brew, a birding and social event. This AT activity combined an evening Bird Walk with a social event. It was held Saturday May 5th at...

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SUMMER EDUCATION HIGHLIGHTS »

Summer has arrived and with that a transition occurs at the Preserve. The weekday school programs end as the final dismissal bell rings from a spring semester. Day camps and other organized youth/adult programs now take the place of those school field trips. Here’s what else we’re up to this...

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April 2018

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GOLDEN-CHEEKED WARBLERS RETURN TO WESTCAVE PRESERVE! »

How we study & help the survival of this endangered species

Westcave eagerly awaited the arrival of the endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler (Setophaga chrysopari), one of the more celebrated bird species at the Preserve. The first male graced Westcave...

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TWO UT McCOMBS SCHOOL "BOARD FELLOWS" JOIN WESTCAVE BOARD OF TRUSTEES »

Meet Jon Ulloa and Ming Liu, McCombs Board Fellows, pictured here with Westcave Board Member Rebecca Benz and Executive Director Molly Stevens

Last fall, Westcave received the great news that two students from the UT McCombs School of Business were selected as “McCombs Board Fellows” to...

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WELCOME NEW BOARD MEMBERS »

Dr. Tory Meyer and Josh Winkler Bring Time and Talent to Westcave

Dr. Tory Meyer grew up in Chappaqua, New York and received his bachelor of arts in Biology at Yale University. After taking a year to work and travel, he attended Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons...

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FIRST GREEN SCHOOL PARK AT BARRINGTON ELEMENTARY »

The City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department in partnership with Austin Independent School District held a public dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony at Barrington Elementary School to celebrate the first Green School Park.

Speakers at the event:

· Greg Casar,...

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under the grotto  - Spring 2018 Newsletter

PURE NATURE FOR TITLE I SCHOOLS »

How much time do you spend outside, completely surrounded by nature? Away from sidewalks, roads or anything else that shows human impact. For a lot of us this time in pure nature is very limited, but is so important....

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February 2018

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NOMINATE A NATURE WARRIOR »

Do you know an individual, school, or organization doing amazing work connecting kids to nature? Nominate them for the 2018 Children in Nature Award!

The Children in Nature Award winners represent the most innovative and successful initiatives to get kids out into nature...

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Amanda Carroll Fernandez

SPOTLIGHT: CONSERVATION ENTHUSIAST AMANDA »

Featuring our dedicated Conservation Intern, Amanda Carroll Fernandez, who started her time at Westcave in February 2017. She received her Bachelors of Science in Wildlife Biology from Texas State University in December 2016. Amanda is also accredited as an Associate Certified Wildlife Biologist...

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Volunteers

VOLUNTEERS NURTURE OUR NATURE »

Who puts the Nurture in our Nature? The Soul in our Work?

It’s our fabulous volunteers!

As we reflect on what was great in 2017 our volunteers are at the top of the list. We can’t say “Thank You” enough! Without their support Westcave would operate on a...

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Spring Conservation

CONSERVATION SPRING PROGRAMS »

Birds & Flowers & Brew – Oh my!

Our Spring Conservation Program listing will include old classics like the Spring Bird Walks and Wildflower Walks...

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November 2017

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Butterfly Garden Expansion »

When you hike the Uplands Trail at Westcave Preserve you pass through the Ahrns Grove. If you’ve been out recently, you will have noticed a few changes in the grove. Westcave conservation staff are working with Mayra Vazquez Radzinski of...

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Girls Outside

Westcave Launches New Nature-Based Programs »

Girls Outside

In September, Westcave launched the Girls Outside (GO) program in partnership with Austin Independent School District and Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. With over 250...

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August 2017

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SUZY ROWLEY, NEW VICE CHAIR OF WESTCAVE BOARD OF DIRECTORS »

In 2015 Westcave competed for and won an $80,000 grant from Impact Austin. The process was a remarkable learning opportunity and resulted in securing the needed funding to buy and refurbish our Roadrunner Outdoor Adventure Bus. Another significant bonus was getting to know one of the...

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WESTCAVE'S FIRST SPRING CONSERVATION PROGRAM SERIES »

This spring the conservation staff introduced our first ever series of specialty hikes for the public hosting 16 total walks and a workshop. We held three Warbler Walks hosted by local bird experts incorporating an introduction to the golden-cheeked warbler’s life history, why it is endangered,...

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Texas Parks and Wildlife

WESTCAVE LAUNCHES GIRLS OUTSIDE! »

In partnership with AISD, Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center received a $30,000 TPWD COOP grant to launch Girls Outside. The new program will pair up 250 girls, with older students mentoring younger ones, from 10 different schools. During the coming school year, they will explore the...

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THE QUIET SIDE OF WESTCAVE PRESERVE »

It’s 9 AM on a Tuesday morning…the gates are not yet open to visitors and there are just a few staff members on property. Everything is quiet at Westcave Preserve except for Mother Nature’s wisps of wind through the trees, songs from our feathered friends, flowing water, and the occasional...

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May 2017

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EXPLORING THE DEPTHS OF THE GROTTO POOL »

“How deep is the grotto pool?” This curiosity is a common question received by Westcave tour guides from our Preserve visitors. Based on dated information, the typical response has been, "The deepest part is somewhere between 18 and 20 feet depending on recent flood activity.”

In January...

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RECORD SETTING VISITATION »

As warm weather arrived in March so did the number of guests from Texans to international travelers looking to experience the natural gem that is Westcave Preserve. During the week of Spring Break the Preserve hosted over 1,600 people causing some tours to be booked over three hours in advance!...

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THE 2017 CHILDREN IN NATURE AWARD WINNERS »

On September 29, 2017, Westcave will host its 10th Annual Celebration of Children in Nature Awards Dinner. On this evening, we will honor the following award winners for their extraordinary work in connecting...

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SPOTLIGHT: DAWN HOUSTON, AVIAN EXPERT »

Avian Biologist, Secretary of Westcave's Conservation Committee, and 2016 Westcave Conservation Volunteer of the Year, Dawn Houston, can be found at the Preserve at least once a week during the bird breeding season. Dawn has been volunteering at Westcave since 2014. She began by helping out at...

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November 2016

BIRD BLIND BENEFACTORS: THE CASAREZ FAMILY »

On October 1st, father Jose and son Sebastian Casarez came to Westcave Preserve to completely remodel our Murphy Bird Blind. The project was months in the making. Sebastian (age 13), an avid local birder who had visited the bird blind in the past, was inspired to beautify it and make it more...

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WEEKDAY WORLD OF EDUCATIONAL ADVENTURES »

We are often asked, “What happens at the Preserve on weekdays if Westcave only offers guided public tours on the weekend?” The answer is: We are fulfilling the educational component of our mission to “inspire people to develop a lifelong practice of enjoying and protecting nature through...

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SPOTLIGHT: BEAU WADLEY, CONSERVATION INTERN »

last semester as a Geography student at Texas State University, Beau dove into many Westcave conservation projects. He played a pivotal role in overseeing and implementing two major projects on the Preserve:

  • The installation of a new wheelchair-friendly trail leading visitors to the...
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May 2016

Westcave on Fire

WESTCAVE ON FIRE! »

Leap Day 2016 marked an exciting day for Westcave as our Uplands underwent its first prescribed fire as a beginning step in restoring 12 acres to its previous prairie ecosystem. The land management tool of a prescribed fire aims to safely reduce invasive and non-native plant species and to...

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Westcave Volunteers

BOUNTIFUL AND BEAUTIFUL »

The Pedernales River is flowing strong, the Canyon and Uplands are blooming, and the birds, including our endangered golden-cheeked warbler friends, are singing. Spring has arrived at Westcave and as people want to explore outside we have seen record numbers of visitors! We have experienced a...

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LEAVING A LEGACY: A WEEK SPENT OUTDOORS »

Thirty people walked into the woods over Spring Break. It would be five days before they returned home.

They were hoping to leave a legacy… to create something larger than themselves… to make a difference. And they needed the perfect place to do it.

They chose the...

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October 2015

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EXCITING ADDITIONS TO OUR NATURAL LEADERS PROGRAM, THANKS TO TPWD GRANT »

We’re delighted to share that Westcave was recently named one of just 26 recipients for a 2015 Texas Parks and Wildlife CO-OP grant. This $39,000 grant will support a significant expansion of our Natural Leaders Network (NLN) of Austin.

NLN Austin works with youth and young adults ages...

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READY FOR ADVENTURE? HERE COMES THE BUS! »

This month, Westcave purchased an 83-passenger 2001 Bluebird school bus, and has begun the process of transforming it into the Roadrunner Outdoor Adventure Bus.

Why the Roadrunner? For low-income families, the greatest barrier to spending time in nature is transportation. This also holds...

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