In keeping with our slogan, “Home of Natural Sights and Starry nights,” the Driftwood United Methodist Church has graciously agreed to allow the DHCS and the Hays County Master Naturalists to create and maintain a natural area showcase for the benefit of the entire community on 10.5 acres in the heart of Driftwood. This is a long term project and the entire community is invited to participate in bringing the natural area to life. (Click the diagram for a larger image.)
The ultimate goal is to create a natural area that includes:
The first stage is the creation of a Monarch Butterfly Waystation, which was completed on April 22, 2018. Monarch butterflies travel through Hays County in the spring and fall and need milkweed and nectar plants to support them while they are in the area. The Native Plant Society of Texas (NPSOT) provides grant funding for projects that create and maintain gardens that support the Monarch migration. We received a $400 grant to purchase native milkweed and nectar plants for the waystation. Labor and other materials needed to establish the waystation were obtained through donations and organizations that provide volunteers such as Texas Master Naturalists, Master Gardeners, the DHCS, and members of the community. We had a Master Naturalist or Master Gardener on site for every workday. All of the Master Naturalists who live in Driftwood agreed to participate in the project and other MNs from Dripping Springs, Wimberley, San Marcos and Austin have participated as well. They bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise in managing land for the conservation and maintenance of native plants, grasses, and trees, trail creation and maintenance, rainwater collection, wildlife, and night sky preservation.
Marking out, mowing , and mulching a walking trail. Committee Chair Venita Fuller has arranged to have PEC deliver mulch from their roadway tree clearing projects, and DHCS member Jeff Smith mowed and spread the mulch.
Installation of freestanding rainwater systems (donated by Plateau Land & Wildlife) as well as other necessary weeding and cleanup activities.
We have received a $400 grant in support of our natural area project. In February, we submitted the design of our Monarch Butterfly Waystation for consideration by the Native Plant Society of Texas (NPSOT) for grant funding sponsored by the Bring Back the Monarch to Texas program. We were in competition with many other projects from around the state and we received the maximum grant amount of $400. This is great recognition for our project and the Driftwood community.
The funding is restricted to the purchase of milkweed and nectar plants beneficial to the Monarch butterfly. Members of the Beautification Committee and others purchased and installed plants from various native plant sales in the area. The butterfly waystation has been fenced in the southeast corner of the natural area. Thanks to the DHCS members who participated! Anyone interested in assisting with the continuation of this project should email the committee chair: Venita Fuller.
The committee appreciates the hard work and dedication of Board and RAP members who participated in this project, as well as the cooperation of the neighboring landowner who allowed us access to the site.
The Beautification Committee has constructed a butterfly garden in the Natural Area. Using mulch donated by Pedernales Electric Company, volunteers have also begun construction of the walking trail, and plans are on the move for the bird watching station and bee hotels, with a water feature in the future.
On Wednesday, March 11, a large group of Dripping Springs High School students conducted a service project at our Natural Area. They assisted with installation of a birdwatching station as well as other necessary weeding and cleanup activities. Master Naturalists also provided support.
DHCS has adopted a two-mile stretch of FM 150. Our next cleanup is to be determined. Meet in the Methodist Church parking lot at 7:45.
Participants are asked to review the TxDOT safety information at http://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/get-involved/volunteer/adopt-a-highway/safety-tips.html.