Nature Fest this weekend in Cameron
Cameron’s Wilson-Ledbetter Park is the place to be this weekend if you love nature and the outdoors. The area’s first ever Milam County Nature Festival is set for Friday and Saturday, June 11-12 at the park located on FM 1600 just south of town, and will include exhibits, speakers and activities for the whole family.
The event is sponsored by the El Camino Real Master Naturalist group, who’s members have been getting the park ready since last fall. The free family event will run from 6-10 p.m. on Friday and 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. on Saturday. The group is expecting 2,000 visitors during the two-day event, according to event chairperson Ann Collins.
There will be many nature activities and walk-abouts on various nature topics, including birds, bats, bees, butterflies, dragonflies, raptors, snakes, frogs, horned lizards, spiders, native grasses, wildflowers and wildscapes.
Friday’s activities get under way with a welcome at 5 p.m. followed by:
• 6 p.m., Bird Sanctuary Dedication—Hear about the history of the park and see dedication of “The Francis Nabors Griffen Bird Sanctuary at Wilson-Ledbetter Park,” with a dedication of the sanctuary sign by Griffen’s grandson Chancy Lewis.
• 7 p.m. & 9 p.m., “Sounds of the Night”—Amphibian lovers will enjoy a “Sounds of the Night” program put on by Lee Ann Linam and Marsha May, leaders of the Amphibian Watch program with Texas Parks and Wildlife at 7 p.m. At 9 p.m., walk-about, look and listen to nature.
• 8 p.m., Water conservation with Andrew Sansom—The Executive Director of River Systems Institute, Samson will speak about water conservation issues from the old bridge over the creek.
• 9:30 p.m., “Americas Endangered Species: Don’t Say Goodbye”—Outdoor movie. Food and drinks will be available for purchase.
Experts will be on hand all day Saturday for presentations and walk-abouts. Scheduled events on Saturday include:
• 9 a.m., Dragonflies—Jason Lochlin with Temple College will give a talk about these beautiful creatures in the big tent.
• 10 a.m., Yard Art—Jill Nokes, landscape designer and author of Yard Art and Handmade Places: Extraordinary Expressions of Home will present information based on her book.
• 11 a.m. & 3 p.m., Ancient and historic Native American Lifeways in Milam County and vicinity—Alston Thoms, a professor of anthropology at Texas A&M, will speak on digging for artifacts and other archaeology topics.
• 12-noon & 2 p.m., El Camino Real de Los Tejas National Historic Trail—Jeff Williams, from Sam Houston State University, will speak on the fascinating history of the El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail, which runs right through Milam County.
• 1 p.m., Wildscapes—Mark Klym, coauthor of the beautifully photographed Hummingbirds of Texas will discuss components of wildscapes and how to build one at your own home.
Prairie, kids’ activities
The El Camino group is building a “native prairie exhibit” with native grasses taken from around Milam County and Dr. Barron Rector, Associate Professor at Texas A&M will lead discussions on these grasses.
A “wildflower meadow” was seeded in late fall. Flo Oxley, Director of Education and Conservation at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center will speak on “Wildflowers— Legends and Lore” and along with Debbie Harris, will lead a children’s activity on making Lollypop Flowers.
Joe Lapp, known as “Spider Joe,” will lead folks on an excursion through the trees to discover and discuss all kinds of these creepy-crawly creatures.
There will be twenty bluebird houses installed around the perimeter of the park and the Texas Bluebird Society will be on hand to demonstrate how to build and maintain a bluebird trail on your property. Bluebird houses and plans for how to build them and mount them, will also be available.
Kids activities throughout the day include track molds, bird nesting, bug catchers, caterpillar races, enviroscaping, grab bags, bat masks, face painting and much more.
Winners of the Master Naturalists photographer contest will be announced at 4 p.m. to conclude the event. There will also be door prizes given out and many food vendors on hand throughout the day.
Texas AgriLife Extension and Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife will also have displays throughout the festival. For more information, visit http://grovesite. com/tmn/ecrmn.