Little L Ranch (Walker Ranch) Bioblitz and River Cleanup Info (2024)

Ahoy, River Rats! Here is the updated schedule, training topics and speakers, and important information about the river cleanup May 17-20, 2024, at Little L Ranch. Be ready for a fun weekend of river cleanup, learning, tasty food, visiting with old friends and making new ones, and did we say FUN??!!
• Crews will be available to assist arriving campers with sign-in, parking spots, RV sites, and tent set-up. Bring your lunch and plan to meet your fellow campers and conservationists. There will be time to explore, network, and document discoveries in iNaturalist until dinner.
• Dinner at 6 pm will be the first official event and will be hosted by the Rio Brazos Chapter and the Little L Ranch. Since this is a group effort, please help by bringing your favorite appetizer, salad, dessert, or drinks to share with the group during the three evening meals. Meat will be provided.
• After dinner there may be an outdoor movie, but if not, there will be time to stargaze or just get away and listen to the night sounds prior to turning in early for the river cleanup the next day.
• If you are staying in Glen Rose, or coming from out of town and pass through Glen Rose, plan to meet at the Brazos Outdoor Center at 8 AM. (BOC) is located under the South/West end of the 67 Bridge about 5 miles East of Glen Rose (1191 County Rd 316, Rainbow Tx. 76077). There you will sign in with the Friends of the Brazos (FBR) group. Nick Dornak (President of FBR) will be your lead. As a bonus, Nick will have breakfast tacos available, however, bring a sack lunch as you will probably still be on the water until early afternoon.
• If you are staying at the Little L Ranch we will meet at the "Red Neck Kitchen” at 7:45 for coffee and a light breakfast (procured from the Snack Shack). From there you will be assigned a river section. You will either launch at Little L Ranch, clean the sand bar there, or load up and caravan to another launch point. Bring your own lunch and plan to stop at a scenic location for a short break.

• After the cleanup we will all gather at the ranch for a little free time prior to the evening meal hosted by Friends of the Brazos. They serve a complete meal. However, we may pull out some hors d’ oeuvres while we play games and wait for mealtime (6:00 PM).
• After dinner, Sam Kieschnick, Texas Parks and Wildlife Urban Wildlife Biologist, will bring out his big-rig mothing gear and entertain us into the night. For anyone who doesn’t know Sam: He holds a master’s degree from Tarleton State University and previously worked as a nature educator for the City of Mansfield and instructor for Weatherford College. He served as a naturalist at the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge, a science interpreter with the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, and an herbarium assistant with the Botanical Research Institute of Texas.
• Advanced Training Day will start with the traditional Mountain Man Breakfast (a real treat!), prepared by Dave Moore, Rich Grayson, Gary Hinds, and perhaps other chefs extraordinaire.
• Show up at the Red Neck Kitchen at 7:30.
• A full day of classes will follow breakfast. Bring your own lunch. There will be snacks and hydration available. See the class listing for more details.
• Grab a quick coffee and donut and get ready for the big bird walk led by Dave and Wendy Moore. This will last for a couple of hours and will be followed by brunch prepared on the griddle by Austin Walker and Crew. Then – clean up, pack up, and say our goodbyes. That is, until we meet again on another one of those TMN missions to save the world!

(class at 8:30-10:00-11:30)

This session will be held on the Brazos River. Activities will include seine netting, dip netting, cast netting, and rod and reel fishing. All fish collected will be measured, identified, photos uploaded to I-Naturalist, and released. Macroinvertebrates, mollusks, and other organisms will also be collected for identification and discussion of their roles in the ecology of the Brazos River. All attendees that would like to participate in the capture, measuring, and handling of fish are required to have a fishing license. (from here you will be directed to one of two other morning classes)
Bob Ritchie, Certified Texas Master Naturalist™ -- Plant Walk: Edible, Medicinal and Useful Plants. (class at 8:30-10:00-11:30)

On this walk, Bob will share his passion for foraging native edible and medicinal plants. He’ll start with a quick botany lesson on how to positively identify the plants we are seeking. That will lead to searching out and trying some of the fresh and tasty offerings that grow naturally in our area. He also will lead the class in discussion of useful and medicinal plants that can be found in the area. (from here you will be directed to one of the other two morning classes)
Bob is a Dallas native who raises bees, chickens, rabbits, cats, and dogs. He likes birds, plants, bugs, fish, herps, fungi, kayaking, fly fishing, anthropology, archaeology, and more. An amateur naturalist since an early age, he has spent much of his life outdoors. When he’s not spending time outdoors, Bob works for an architectural firm in Deep Ellum. He is the owner of The Custom Coop Company which designs and builds custom chicken coops in the Dallas area. Bob is also a certified Texas Master Naturalist™ and the past president of The Trinity Valley Beekeepers Association, the local honeybee club in Dallas. He is an avid bicycle rider and a registered yoga instructor.
Mark Pyle, President of the Dallas Fort Worth Herpetological Society - Reptile & Amphibian Expert (class at 8:30-10:00-11:30)

Mark has been the Education Director of two Herpetological Societies and is currently President of the DFW Herpetological Society. He has working relationships with Zoos, TPWD, State Parks, Nature Centers, Audubon Centers, and animal control officers in many cities of North Central Texas. He has conducted numerous herp surveys including a survey of Nerodia Harteri (Brazos River Water snake) with the TPWD Biological Inventory Team. Mark works with several Herpetological survey districts and is team leader of District #5 and temporary leader of District #3. He created a Facebook group to quickly identify snakes of North Texas. See: What Kind of Snake is This? North Texas: Information Outlet.
Mark will present on common snakes of Bosque and surrounding areas as well as one special snake endemic to this area. As a bonus he will have live snakes on hand and will pass along tips on how to attract snakes…or not!
(1:00-2:00). Bring your own lunch, once finished eating take a chair to the larger barn for afternoon classes.
• Dr. Karen McGraw, Lead Outreach Coordinator for DarkSky Texas – Protecting Dark Skies for Humans and Wildlife. (2:00-3:30) Lecture shared with Mei Ling Liu (Lights Out Texas)
Almost every living thing on our planet uses the cycle of light and dark to trigger life processes. Artificial Light at Night (ALAN) and light pollution interrupts this cycle. This program helps us understand the effects of light pollution on living things, including ourselves, and how we can protect dark skies for humans and wildlife. Participants will take home a new awareness about lighting practices, which allow us to have the light we need for nighttime activities while minimizing the negative effects of ALAN. You will learn things you can do to reduce light pollution (glare, light trespass, skyglow), increase safety, limit the negative consequences on wildlife, and create a more aesthetically pleasing nocturnal environment.

Dr. McGraw is a Texas Master Naturalist™, Elm Fork Chapter, and a Texas Stream Team citizen scientist. Karen is passionate about the reduction of light pollution to conserve dark skies for humans and wildlife. Since 2016, she has been involved in dark skies outreach and education for community, region, and state-wide events. She enjoys educating people and changing mindsets about conservation of the night.
• Mei Ling Liu, Community Conservation Director with the Texas Conservation Alliance (TCA, one of our sponsors) – Lights Out, Texas! A Statewide campaign to provide safe passage for migratory birds. (2:00-3:30) Lecture shared with Dr. Karen McGraw – ( DarkSky Texas)
Texas Conservation Alliance is one of the founding partners for Lights Out, Texas! a statewide campaign dedicated to education, awareness, and action aimed at safeguarding the billions of migratory birds passing through Texas. Since its launch in fall 2020, TCA has spearheaded bird-window collision surveys in Downtown Dallas, with a primary goal of gathering crucial data to evaluate collision rates and increase awareness of light pollution's impact. As of 2023, TCA has expanded its efforts to lead campaigns in Fort Worth and College Station. This presentation will offer an in-depth exploration of TCA's Lights Out, Texas! program, providing comprehensive updates and insights into its ongoing initiatives and progress.
• Aaron Lincoln, Certified Texas Master Naturalist™, Heart of Texas Chapter (3:30-4:00)
Aaron will give a Power Point lecture on the habitat reconstruction project he is responsible for at a lime plant and quarry in Clifton, Texas. Followed by:
Native Plant Walk (4:15-5:15) We will split into three groups and follow three local plant experts. Aaron Lincoln, Gaston del Pino, and one other expert will lead three groups on concurrent walks through different plant habitats while discussing the native plants in the area.
Aaron has also set up a four-day I-Naturalist bio-blitz that encompasses the ranch perimeter.
Aaron Lincoln resides in Clifton, Bosque County. He has a degree in Field and Organismal Biology from LSU in Shreveport and runs the lab and a biodiversity project at the Lhoist chemical lime plant and quarry in Clifton. He'll lead a plant walk to look at the flora of the Little L Ranch with an emphasis on native/endemic species and the relationship between plant communities and geology.
• The Extravaganza four-day weekend is Friday, May 17, to Monday, May 20. Of course you don’t have to stay the entire four days, and you can come and go as you please. If you are bringing an RV or are camping, the recommended setup time is early Friday afternoon. You are welcome to come a day early, but bring your own food and realize that we may put you to work. Let Robert Walker know if you plan to arrive prior to Friday.

• Since most of you are Texas Master Naturalists, you are probably are familiar with the necessities of a campout: Water, hat, sunscreen, lip balm, insect spray, flashlight, batteries, hand sanitizer, comfortable shoes, camera, sunglasses… you know the drill. The closest grocery store is thirty minutes away.
• Additionally, for those that will be braving the sharks and alligators (just kidding – there are no alligators in this part of the Brazos), here are some recommendations:
‒ Do not wear unsecured sandals or flip-flops on the river. The muck will suck them right off your feet. I personally like old tennis shoes and socks, but water shoes will also work.
‒ Bring gloves for digging in the sand.
‒ Wear quick-dry clothes. You might need a light jacket if we have a cool morning. Cell service is spotty on the river, but if you want to take pictures, I suggest using a waterproof pouch.
‒ Bring a small hand tool or foldable army style shovel.

‒ Bring toilet paper, just in case…
‒ Bring water, energy bars, etc., and/or your lunch. We will have light breakfast items that morning.
‒ We have a few life jackets, but if you have a couple of extras, please bring them. Also, bring extra paddles if you have them.
• Time on the river can be between two and five hours, with another hour of unloading tires and trash and loading the canoes back on trailers. Let us know if you aren’t adept handling a canoe or kayak, and we will pair you with someone who is experienced.
• If you want to fish, seine, or handle the fish in Andrew Brinker’s class on Sunday, you are required to have a fishing license. Purchase at Walmart, HEB, sporting stores, or online.
• If you wish to stay in a hotel or B&B, you can search online in Glen Rose and Cleburne. Each is about an equal distance to Little L Ranch (approximately 30 minutes). My sources tell me the La Quinta and Baymont are the best in Glen Rose and the Quality Inn is terrible. The Casa De Milagros is a nice B&B on the river and may be one of our launch points. Next year, we will aim to have a recommendation list.
• Facilities at the ranch: We will have porta-potties placed at appropriate spots. There is also a toilet, sink, and shower at the barn. There will be 3-4 miles of gravel roads once you depart the hard top road. Normally the county road (3 miles) is fair, and the ranch road (1 mile) is good, however I don’t recommend you bring your Grand Prix Ferrari.
• Food for this event is basically a pot-luck weekend. If there is a chapter that would like to step up and sponsor the main meat for the Sunday night meal, we won’t turn you down, otherwise it will be leftovers, hotdogs, and hamburgers supplied by Little L Ranch. Bring your on lunch for Sunday. Monday will feature a brunch right after the early morning bird walk and prior to our final goodbyes. We have three refrigerators and a freezer, so pack up your favorite meal accessory.

• Please bring items to share at the “Snack Shack” and “Hydration Station”. Think: water, sport drinks, iced tea, lemon aid, ice…oranges, apples, candy, cookies, power bars, beef jerky, etc.
• Please bring a fold out chair for classes and meals
• If you are coming in for the weekend and have room for a fold out table or two, please bring them.
• CONTINGENCIES: Yes, we do have those, I won’t bore you with details. But, for anything short of a total washout, we will adapt and use the barn and storage building to keep the show going as best we can.

Regards, Robert Walker and the Rio Brazos Chapter Exemplary Crew

Posted on May 22, 2023 02:32 PM by bosqueaaron bosqueaaron


@bosqueaaron, just checking, is this open to non-Texas Master Naturalists?

Posted by pfau_tarleton about 1 year ago

Yes, this is open to anyone and nobody is obliged to participate in the river clean-up part.

Posted by bosqueaaron about 1 year ago

Great! Thanks for putting this journal post together, Aaron.

Posted by sambiology about 1 year ago

I didn’t realize it was a camping event – I was expecting just a bioblitz for the morning. If it’s just for those hanging out for the whole 2 days, I have some ideas for other locations I might check out and have my own bioblitz.

Posted by observerjosh about 1 year ago

@observerjosh -- I think it's a come and go as you'd like -- no obligations to stay for the entire time.

Posted by sambiology about 1 year ago

@sambiology is right. Anyone can participate in as much or as little as they please.

Posted by bosqueaaron about 1 year ago
Posted by observerjosh about 1 year ago

Never mind! I just realized this is the same day as the Camp Leroy Shuman survey I'll be participating in. Too many good choices this time of year!

Posted by observerjosh about 1 year ago

This event is taking place again next weekend, May 17-19 if anyone is interested in attending. Various activities throughout the weekend including a presentation by yours truly on Sunday afternoon followed by a plant walk.

Posted by bosqueaaron about 1 month ago

Woo hoo! I'm excited! I'll be doing some blacklighting on Saturday night!

Posted by sambiology about 1 month ago

I hope to make it this time! Fingers crossed.

Posted by pfau_tarleton about 1 month ago

@bosqueaaron I may be interested in attending at least for a day. I don't see any directions, so roughly where is it?

Posted by rymcdaniel about 1 month ago

Brazos Point is the general area. I'll check with Bob Walker and see if he's got an itinerary and directions I can share.

Posted by bosqueaaron about 1 month ago

A note for anyone just tuning in,
This post is from LAST YEAR. See the current dates in the comments above. I'll work on getting more information.

Posted by bosqueaaron about 1 month ago

@bosqueaaron is this even only for Master Naturalists?

Posted by chandlerdavis about 1 month ago

@chandlerdavis No, it's open to everyone.

Posted by bosqueaaron about 1 month ago

I've replaced the info above with this year's information. Formatting is a little wonky, sorry.
Again, you may come and go as you please and no one is obliged to help with the river cleanup part, though it's pretty fun.

Posted by bosqueaaron about 1 month ago

The google address that will get you there is 1010 County Road 2960, Kopperl, TX. Though it's not really in Kopperl....
You'll turn there and follow the ranch road all the way down until you get to the main house and see everyone.

Posted by bosqueaaron about 1 month ago

@jellyfishmambo can't remember if I tagged you on this.

Posted by bosqueaaron about 1 month ago

@bosqueaaron -- don't forget to edit the location of that project from "Worldwide" to the location of the little l ranch -- or else it will population like millions of observations from all corners of the planet! :)

Posted by sambiology about 1 month ago

Lol, just caught that! Thanks!

Posted by bosqueaaron about 1 month ago

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