‘Mr. Habitat’ to visit 5th Nature Fest

Fair Park site for naturalists annual event

Bill Oliver, ‘Mr. Habitat’ Bill Oliver, ‘Mr. Habitat’ A well known environmental troubadour, whose approach has been called “Smokey the Bear meets Chuck Berry,” will highlight the El Camino Master Naturalists’ fifth annual Nature Fest April 11-12 at Fair Park.

Bill Oliver will be at the park both days in the latest edition of an event that’s drawn huge crowds to the park the past three years.

The big day is Saturday, April 12 with more than a dozen exhibits including some hands-on experiences and a variety of informational booths highlighting everything from butterflies to crawdads.

All activities are free.

Theme of the 2014 event is habitat conservation and Oliver is the face of that issue.

For more than 20 years he has entertained, motivated and engaged at campfires and schools.

On Friday, April 11, he will visit Rockdale Intermediate School, then will beatFairParkfora7to8 p.m. program.

Mr. Habitat will return to the park during the Saturday, April, 12, activities with his Otter Space Band.

Fifteen-year-old “Commander Ben” Shraeder will return this year with his “Invasive Hunter Academy.”

His goal is to educate on invasives and their impact on the ecosystem.

Shraeder, who was also at the 2013 Nature Fest, was recently awarded the “Outstanding Invasive Species Volunteer of the Year” award from the U.S. Department of the Interior.

He will also visit Milano Elementary School at 2 p.m. Friday, April 11.

SPEAKERS—There will also be a pair of expert speakers on hand at the park on April 12.

Chris Harper of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Department will discuss prescribed fires and vegetation management.

Linda Ruiz-McCall of the University of Texas will use a groundwater simulator as she discusses water conservation.

Exhibits and activities Saturday, April 12, include the following:

• Angler education, with rods and reels.

• Archeology “digs,” find and keep artifacts while learning about the discovery process.

• “Birds, Birds and More Birds.”

• Butterfly life cycles and habitats, from the Milano

Junction Memorial Garden
Project, a “Monarch heaven.” • Texas “crawdads,” a
live exhibit.
• Pollinators, how they
help wildflowers and more.
• Knapping demonstrations, making knives,
arrowheads and more.
• Arrowhead hunting
and collecting.
• Native grasses, their
value in the world.
• Mammals pelts and
paws, see and touch skulls
and pelts, make molds of
your favorite animal tracks

and take them home.
• Garden habitat projects, from Little River Master Gardeners.
• Nature crafts, make
“goodies” to take home.
• El Camino de Los Tejas
National Historic Trail
• Garden Hope, food
plots project by Rising Star
Baptist Church.
• Face painting.
TREES—Again in 2014,
Alcoa will hand out free
trees on a first-come, firstserve basis.
Free trees include 200
crape myrtles (various colors), 100 roughleaf dog-

woods, 100 Chinquipin Oaks and 100 Mexican White Oaks.

Milam County Lions clubs will provide free “spot vision” eye screening for children ages 9 months to 5 years.

The RISD iTigers group will assist with activities.

Food services will be by Sho Nuff Soul Food.

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