Cibolo Nature Center – October 2012

Grow Your Harvest
by Ben Eldredge, Director of Adult Education

I once met a man who built a green home not because he’s an environmentalist, but because it was a sensible thing to do.  In his youth he was a Boy Scout and he took the motto “Be Prepared” to heart.   By reducing his water and energy needs, collecting rainwater, and harvesting the power of the sun to generate electricity, he has taken a significant stride toward preparing himself and his family for an uncertain future.

While his quest to be self-reliant is admirable and his efforts commendable, he’s missing one of the most important resources of all. . . a reliable source of healthy, affordable food.

During World War II, “Victory Gardens” played a vital role in the security and food supply of the United States.  These gardens were part of our nation’s strategy to defeat tyranny overseas and address potential threats to our nation’s food supply.

In the years since the war, the simple art of growing food has become far less prevalent.  We have succumbed to the convenience of industrially processed food,“fast food,” as well as fruits, vegetables and meats shipped from all over the world.

All of this convenience has come with a cost.  Our food is now more chemically laden and unhealthy than the food consumed by our grand parents, and the price of this food is increasing daily as global demand continues to rise.

Our industrial food system is also reliant on petrochemicals.  Oil is used to manufacture fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.  Fuel is also burned during cultivation and while transporting food from farmer to processor to grocer, all of which increases the cost of food.  As the cost of oil rises, so goes the cost of food.

Meanwhile, in the “Bread Basket of America,” crops and pasture land are succumbing to drought, shaking the foundations of our food security and further increasing the price of food.

In an increasingly expensive and uncertain world, it’s time for us to take a good look at what we are doing and to seek better ways to sustain our lives and our health.

The Herff Farm at the Cibolo Nature Center is here to help.  We opened our gates in May with the launch of our farmers market, which aims to stimulate our local food economy so that more food is grown locally.

On October 20th we are beginning a new chapter at the Herff Farm with our “Sustainable Harvest Day.”   This family event will provide the training you need to sustainably grow and store your own food at home.

The mild Texas fall, winter and spring seasons are ideal for starting a garden.  Unlike more northern climates, we are perfectly situated to produce vegetables from our gardens all year long.

At the Sustainable Harvest Day, you will learn how to produce high quality fertilizer at home, discover tips and tricks for fall and winter gardening, and find out how to preserve your food for the months and years ahead.  Plus we’ll have kids activities to keep the little ones happy.

At the Cibolo Nature Center’s Herff Farm we’re fostering the regional community while helping you live healthy, happy and sustainable lives.  Come join us for some outdoor learning and fun!

Every Saturday in October
Farmers Market at the Cibolo, 33 Herff Road, Boerne
The Farmers Market at the Cibolo features locally produced, high-quality organic or natural foods and products such as vegetables and fruits, heritage lamb, pork, farm-fresh eggs, exclusively created baked goods, artisan chocolates, edible ornamental plants and organic gardening supplies – plus a demonstration organic veggie garden.  Enjoy breakfast and listen to live music while you shop.
Cibolo Nature Center Programs

1, 3, 6 & 12
Fall Incidental Bird Count
Date: October 1, 3, 6, & 12. Time: 8- 10 am.
Location: Free.
Tuition: Free.
Join a team of citizen scientists and bird enthusiasts to conduct a bird census at the CNC. This is an excellent opportunity to see migrant and resident birds of a natural area that includes woodland, prairie, marsh and cypress lined Cibolo Creek. You will learn how you can census birds in your own backyard, while enjoying a beautiful morning walk with a friendly group of birders. With a checklist in hand, you will find these walks to be easy and fun!

Boerne Birders:  Incidental Bird Count
Date: Saturday, October 6. Time: 8 – 10 am.
Location:  CNC Park.
Tuition: Free.

Wildlife Field Research
Date: October 8-13. Times: All Day.
Location: CNC Four Habitats.
Tuition: Free.
Details at
Are you interested in mammals, insects, reptiles, birds, grasses, trees, fishes or aquatic invertebrates? Become a citizen scientist! Volunteers receive training and hands-on experience doing surveys that monitor the nature center ecology and inform land management practices. Join the research team of your choice for one to three days. Attend the Friday evening Citizen Science Research Seminar and dinner. Details can be found at

Monarch Biology, Ecology, Research
Presenters: Mary Kennedy, Kip Kiphart, Cathy Downs.
Date: Friday, October 12. Time: 9 am-3 pm.
Location: CNC Auditorium
Tuition: Suggested donation $16.
Come learn from the top monarch educators in Texas as they explore the fascinating biology, ecology and behavior of monarch butterflies. Examine live specimens as you study the monarch’s lifecycle from egg to larvae, to chrysalis, to butterfly. Follow multiple generations as they embark on a fantastic annual migration from Mexico to the farthest reaches of North America. Learn about the predators and threats to monarch habitats that threaten the existence of this unique and wonderful butterfly. Get up to date on the latest monarch research and realize how you too can contribute to scientific research and monarch conservation.
“MLMP@CNC” The Monarch Larval Monitoring Project
Presenters: Mary Kennedy, Kip Kiphart, Cathy Downs.
Date: Saturday, October 13. Time: 9-Noon.
Location: CNC Auditorium.
Tuition: Suggested donation $8.

Second Saturday Volunteer Day of Service
Date: Saturday, October 13. Time: 9-Noon.
Location: Meet at CNC Visitor Center.

Mother Nature’s Storytime: Spiders!
Date: Tuesday, October 16. Time: 10-11 am.
Location: CNC Visitor Center.
Cost: $5.00 suggested donation per family.

Giants in Our Midst: Ancient Trees
Presenter: Mark Duff.
Date: Thursday, October 18. Time: 6-8 pm.
Location: CNC Auditorium.
Tuition: Suggested donation $7.
Join forestry expert Mark Duff as he takes us on a tour of the forests and shores of the Olympic Peninsula and the world’s biggest trees. The Olympic Peninsula supports around 30 native tree species, which grow in habitats ranging from rainforest to sunny Sequim. It is home to the world’s largest Red Cedar tree, which is 1000 years old, stretches 178 feet tall, and has a girth of 61 feet!

Sustainable Harvest Day
Learn how to produce high quality fertilizer at home, discover tips and tricks for fall and winter gardening, find out how to preserve your food for the months and years ahead, and more! Bring the kids for some fun farm crafts and activities.
Date: Saturday, October 20. Time: 9:30 am-12:30 pm.
Location: Herff Farm and Farmers Market.
Cost: $5 person; kids 5 & under free.

Rainwater Revival
From the seven hills of ancient Rome to today’s Texas Hill Country, rainwater collection has spanned the globe and the ages. To celebrate this timeless conservation practice, rainwater collection professionals and enthusiasts converge in Boerne, Texas on Saturday, October 27, 2012 from 10am to 4pm for the 3rd annual Rainwater Revival. The festive day will be filled with informative and entertaining presentations by professionals and users of rainwater, water conservation-related business vendor booths, rainwater system displays, and plenty of experts to provide guidance and services; as well as food booths, shopping, live music, plus much more!
Date: Saturday, October 27. Time: 10 am-4 pm.
Location: Boerne Convention & Community Center.
Cost: Free.

Presenter: Dr. Eric Swanson, Professor Emeritus, UTSA.
Date: Thursday, November 1. Time: 6-8 pm.
Location: CNC Auditorium.
Tuition: Suggested donation $7.

Mapping Your World with ArcGIS
Presenter: Eric Bowman,  ESRI Instructor.
Date: Saturday, November 3.  Time: 9 am-3 pm.
Location:  CNC Library. Limit: 10.
Tuition: TBD.

Winter Vegetable Gardening
Presenter: Keith Amelung.
Date: Wednesday, November 7. Time: 6-8 pm.
Location: CNC Auditorium.
Tuition: $15 members; $20 non-members.

Those Who Came Before Us: Early Texas Naturalists
Presenter: Lonnie Childs.
Date: Thursday, November 8. Time: 6-8 pm.
Location: CNC Auditorium.
Tuition: Suggested donation $7.


Leave a Reply

Created by SMV Texas - Boerne based web-ninjas SMV Texas Design Group for EXPLORE Magazine