Chapter meetings are held at 6:30 pm on the first Thursday of every month.
The public is welcome.
August 4, 2016
How I Came to Love the Syrphid Fly: from the Journal of a Citizen Scientist.
Syrphid flies (also called hover flies or flower flies) are important contributors to a wide variety of ecosystems. But most people know little about them. Through the story of her own wildlife-habitat gardens, Ms. Simpson shares what she’s learned about these amazing pollinators: how effectively they pollinate, how they contribute to garden health, and how beautiful they are.
Since early 2015, Lauren Simpson has spent her spare time transforming her urban home gardens into a pollinator-friendly habitat (currently a Certified Wildlife Habitat, Monarch Waystation, and Certified Butterfly Garden) and promoting pollinator conservation, education, and gardening through an educational Facebook community, “St. Julian’s Crossing-wildlife habitat,” the name adopted for her family’s Monarch Waystation. Ms. Simpson’s current citizen-science project is to identify and to catalog (on iNaturalist) the diurnal invertebrates that visit her family’s wildlife gardens.
Ms. Simpson is a recent member of Butterfly Enthusiasts of Southeast Texas and the Native Plant Society of Texas, and she actively volunteers in her neighborhood gardening group, the Oak Forest Community of Gardeners. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Houston Law Center teaching legal research and writing. She earned her B.A. (cum laude) in French and International Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri in 1988. She obtained her J.D. (cum laude) from the University of Houston Law Center in 1994. She is also a spring 2016 recipient of the University of Houston Teaching Excellence Award (Instructor/Clinical category). Ms. Simpson aspires one day to become a Texas Master Naturalist, a Texas Master Gardener, or both!
September 1, 2016
Suzy Briseño will speak on Native Bees in Texas Ecosystems, She will discuss a few of the 1,100 bees native to our great state, how to differentiate bees from flies from wasps, who nests where and what we can do to attract and keep these super pollinators in our gardens and yards/properties.
Suzy learned to love gardening and nature from her parents but spent most of her adult life residing in high-rise apartments, where her fire escape was her “garden” and long walks and hikes through city and state parks her nature experience. In 2003, Suzy moved to the Houston area and now lives in a suburban home. After early retirement from M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, she became fascinated with the local pollinator fauna, with a particular interest in hummingbirds, butterflies and bees.
To promoting pollinator conservation, education, Suzy writes gardening and naturalist articles that appear in master gardener and naturalist newsletters and in community newspapers. She also edits the educational Facebook communities, “Texas Bumblebees,” and “Native Bee Allies” and gives native bee and pollinator presentations to master gardeners, naturalists, garden clubs and school children.
Suzy is retired from M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, where she worked as Medical Staff Office coordinator of publications. She has also worked as a financial editor in New York City. While in New York, she sang professionally in concerts, operas and religious services and supplemented her income with administrative, paralegal and editing work. She earned her Bachelor of Music (cum laude) in Voice Performance and Literature from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, and her Master of Music in Voice from Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music.
October 6, 2016
Henry Owen and Eric Duran from the Nature Discovery Center in Bellaire will talk about the center and reptiles and amphibians of the greater Houston area.
A native of San Antonio, TX, Henry Owen fell in love with nature as a child at summer camp and on family camping trips. Henry believes that all people need to be connected to nature and that all children deserve opportunities for imaginative, exploratory, nature-based play. After many summers as a camp counselor and then assistant director, Henry earned a masters degree in education and taught 2nd grade. He co-founded and directed Friendship Gardens, a non profit project that grows food for meals-on-wheels in Charlotte, NC before moving back to Texas to serve the Nature Discovery Center. He is a husband, father, educator, adventure play advocate, garden nerd, and composter.
Eric Duran is the primary educator at the Nature Discovery Center, teaching the preschool Curious Kids classes, the Junior Scientists elementary classes, and developing unique classes for home school groups in addition to leading Nature at Your Doorstep field trip investigations, and developing the Discovery Room exhibits. Eric has been an environmental educator and naturalist at Armand Bayou Nature Center, the Houston Zoo, Moody Gardens, Patuxent Research Refuge in Maryland, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in southern Florida, and Sacha Lodge on the Napo River in Ecuador. He has fieldwork experience with Sea Turtles, Amphibian Call Counts, Sharks, Shorebirds, Forest Birds, nest box surveys, and King Eider on the Arctic Tundra of Alaska. His avocational activities include herpetology, science blogging, bird watching, and social activism. Eric believes that a vibrant natural world is an essential component to human health, happiness, and fulfillment.