1st Saturday Bird Walks
Nov. 6th – 7 am to 9 am
Dec. 4th – 7 am to 9 am
Jan. 1st – 7 am to 9 am
FREE to All!!!
If you have them, bring binoculars and field guide.
Stroll along and learn with Dr. Billy Teels.
How many species will YOU see?
For Guided Tours & Field Trips
Submit Your Request on the link below…
6 to 8 week lead time
1st Friday Homeschool Program
Click below for all information
Class size is limited to 20 students.
Class content is appropriate for
ages 8 to high school. A parent must accompany their
child/children to classes.
Fee: Refundable (less a 3% admin fee)
$50 per child, $100 max per
family to hold a space & signify
commitment to attend for the year.
Scholarships are available – please inquire.
For more information, email:
REGISTER at this link by Aug. 15th:
Annual Star Party Hosted at ANC by
Rio Brazos Master Naturalist
FREE For All To Enjoy!
4:30-5:30 Solar Observing (Farm House)
5:45-6:45 Astronomy Program (Pavilion)
7:00-10:00 Deep Sky Observing (Farm House)
ANC LECTURE SERIES
1ST Sunday, Every Quarter
Learning to be stewards of our natural resources Lectures
Lectures are held the first Sunday of the month in January, April,
July, and October at 4:00 PM.
This lecture will be via Zoom. To
register for this free program, email:
First Lecture…Prairie Ecology with Dr. Billy Teels – October 3, 2021
Can you name the most endangered ecosystem in North America?
It is not the old growth forest, arctic tundra, or Eastern deciduous forest.
In fact, the ecosystem is so rare that most Americans have ever laid eyes upon it.
Join us as we discuss this first topic!
Annual Monarch Tagging
Hosted at ANC by the Rio Brazos Master Naturalist
FREE TO ALL!
U.S. bird populations are declining rapidly, with 1 out of every 4 birds lost since 1970. An estimated one billion U.S. bird deaths occur annually from collisions with buildings and structures, with migratory species at most risk. Attraction and disorientation resulting from light pollution concentrate migrant birds in cities.
Why It Matters:
Birds are essential to our planet’s ecology – and local economies. Birds provide ecosystem services, act as benchmarks for environmental health, increase livability, and connect people of all ages and abilities to the natural world. Birds also support the Texas economy. In the Rio Grande Valley alone, Texas A&M found that nature tourism – which is dominated by bird watching – contributes $300 million to the economy and supports 4,407 full and part-time jobs annually.
Here’s How YOU Can Make a Difference:
Building owners, businesses, developers, and homeowners can help protect migrating birds by turning off all non-essential nighttime lighting on buildings and other structures from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. each night.
NATIVE BEE STUDY AT ANC!
What are those “white things”?
Homes for Native Bees!
While we first think of honeybees as our pollinators, they are NOT native to Texas or even North America. The Jamestown colonists brought European honeybees to the New World in about 1622.
Our native plants (including tomatoes, pumpkins, squash, alfalfa, melons, cranberries and blueberries for starters) are most efficiently pollinated by…. NATIVE BEES. There are more than 800 native bee species in Texas, but most of us only recognize a few of them. Texas has nine species of bumblebees, for example. You’ll see the American bumblebee nectaring on the mealy blue sage in the Butterfly Garden, but they nest underground, as do 70% to 75% of our native bees.
Cavity-nesting native bees make up the other 25% to 30% — these include the leafcutter and mason bees from the Megachilidae family. These bees are mild-mannered and solitary (they have no hive to defend). Each female will lay an egg on a pollen ball she has collected and brought to an individual cell, which she then seals and begins to fill about five more cells. While these bees usually nest in the “galleries” left behind by wood-chewing beetles in dead trees, the bee homes are offered as an alternative habitat in hopes of learning more about what species in the Megachilidae family may be found at the Acton Nature Center.
What’s inside that “white thing” behind the cover?
Inside a “white thing” are about 50 hollow reeds or cardboard straws of varying diameters, though they are all six inches deep. Covers are necessary to keep out small birds in the spring. Wrens will pull out the reeds or straws, discard them, and build their nest inside a bee home instead!
The bee selects the sex of the egg she lays, and begins by laying a female egg in the farthest cell from the front. After four female eggs, she will lay eggs for two cells with male bees, as they will emerge first in the spring. Male bees are in the outermost cells, as they are the most expendable in case of predators.
All the bee larvae will pupate over the winter in their individual cells after they have devoured their pollen balls.
When springtime comes, the male mason bee pupae will undergo emergence in their cells and then chew their way out, freeing the way for the mason bee females to follow. Leafcutter bees emerge in late spring or early summer.
Mason bees use tiny grains of stone to make their cell walls, while leafcutter bees prefer bits of leaves and flowers! Look for these bees carrying their pollen on the underside of their abdomen.
The bee homes will be removed after the first freeze of the fall, and the bee pupae inside will be examined, checked for pollen mites, parasites, foulbrood (a fungal disease) and stored safely till the spring. Bee homes will be disinfected and fresh nesting tubes inserted when the homes are reinstalled after the first dandelions of spring flower. At that time the bee pupae will be returned to the bee homes so the cycle may resume again. COVID interrupted the human part in the cycle in 2021, but data will be collected again for both mason and leafcutter bees in 2021!
Would you like to learn more about native bees and how to encourage these essential pollinators? Visit the following websites for more information:
About Native Bees / The Jha Lab
Xerces Society – Invertebrate Conservation
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Pollinator Guides
Are you considering adding a bee home to your backyard?
Take along a dollar bill when shopping for a commercially-produced “bee house.” Since a dollar bill is about six inches long, it’s an easy way to check if the bee home nesting tubes are deep enough. If the structure is shallower than six inches, it alters the 4:2 ratio of female to male bees.
LOCAL SNAKE SPECIALISTS
DFW Herpetological Society
Come Out And
Tour Acton Nature Center for Your Geocaching
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