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CDRI Desert NewsFlash
February 2023
We've seen many American Robins this winter, so Carol DiQuilio's terrific photo with the reflection of robins drinking water seemed the perfect fit. 
Mark your calendar:
for CDRI's Cactus & Succulent Sale 
Full Moon Hike
Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Celebrate the changing seasons as we hike to Clayton's Overlook to watch the moon rise to mark the end of winter and the first full moon of spring.  
When: March 7, 2023
            Sunset 6:58 pm.
            Moonrise 7:21 p.m.

Check-in at the Powell Visitor Center no later than 6:30 p.m.
This will be a guided hike. Bring water, a flashlight, and a jacket, and wear close-toed shoes with good tread on the soles. Admission is free; however, donations are always appreciated. 
Reservations are required. Please call 432-364-2499 to reserve your spot or email events@cdri.org. Space is limited. 
The full moon photo is by Andy Morgan Photography.
The Central Texas Trail Tamers are returning March 5 - 9, 2023! 

In March 2022, 11 members of the Central Texas Trail Tamers and a dozen CDRI volunteers worked tirelessly for five days cutting a new trailhead to access the Modesta Canyon Trail. They also created a new trailhead for Clayton's Overlook Trail and moved boulders for us in the Pollinator Garden to start a new garden project. The results are stunning.
The 2023 Trail Tamers' President, Kevin Deiters, has been to CDRI twice recently to survey the trails and has determined that Modesta Canyon will be the site of their next project. The team will arrive on Sunday, March 5, camping at CDRI's Pavilion site, with work beginning Monday, March 6, and wrapping up on Thursday, March 9.
The work toward the bottom of Modesta Canyon will require the knowledge and expertise of the Trail Tamers, who will be using rock tools and cables as they move boulders, create thick steps, and chisel new steps in an effort to provide an even safer trail to the canyon's spring.
We'll need volunteers to help with the tread work on the switchback portion of the trail coming out of the canyon and along the shelf-ledge of the trail. This entails cleaning the back slope, making the trail safer and more accommodating for hikers.  Please let us know if you can work one or more days for the week of March 6 - 9, by contacting Lisa at lgordon@cdri.org.
Note to all hikers: The portion of Modesta Canyon to be worked on from March 6-9, will be off-limits to hikers. Please accept our apology while we make every effort to make our most popular trail, Modesta Canyon Trail, even better. Thanks!
2023 Conant Lectures 
CDRI is celebrating 50 years with two great lectures scheduled for the Roger Conant Distinguished Guest Lecturer program. Our first speaker, Dr. Lauren Esposito, will be our distinguished guest lecturer on April 13, 2023, with the lecture to be held at the Crowley Theater in Marfa, Texas. Lauren is Assistant Curator and holds the Schlinger Chair of Arachnology at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, California. Her field of study is arachnids and, specifically, scorpions. Although most people cringe at the mention of scorpions, we know that this lecture will be exceptionally fascinating and one that you won't want to miss. 
Our second distinguished guest lecturer is Dr. Gary Paul Nabhan.  Gary is an internationally-celebrated nature writer, agrarian activist and ethnobiologist who tangibly works on conserving the links between biodiversity and cultural diversity. He serves on the University of Arizona faculty as a research social scientist with the Southwest Center, where he now serves as the Kellogg Endowed Chair in Southwestern Borderlands Food and Water Security.
The lecture will take place at the Crowley Theater in October 2023, with the date to be determined. In 2015, Gary was our guest lecturer for a standing-room-only audience, with the lecture based on his book Desert Terroir (in stock at CDRI's Gift Shop).  The next day after the lecture, Gary presented a workshop at CDRI about Monarch butterflies, including spreading milkweed seeds across the CDRI grasslands. We can't wait to welcome Gary and his lovely wife, Laurie, back to CDRI and Far West Texas. 
We're delighted to have both Lauren and Gary as our Conant lecturers this year. We know you'll agree! We'll have more details in next month's newsletter.  
CDRI History - Celebrating 50 Years!

The CDRI Endowment;
Firm Footing for Your Nature Center
While celebrating 50 years, each month through 2023, we’ll share some of CDRI’s history, filling in those gaps and answering questions you might have. This month, we’re re-running an article published in an earlier Desert NewsFlash (Feb. 2017) about generous donations that helped to fund the CDRI Endowment.
Small non-profit entities, like CDRI, are often perpetuated and propelled by the energy, vision, passion, and commitment of its members, visitors, employees, directors, and donors/supporters.  The fortunate ones, like CDRI, have some form of “endowment.” 
Essentially, bequests or gifts of assets to a non-profit may contain restrictions (e.g., limiting the use of the principal amount and/or limiting the use of income and gains from the principal amount invested) or be made without restrictions. 
The four bequests (meaning a gift of assets via a decedent’s will or made while living) forming CDRI’s endowment were each unrestricted.  These types of bequests or gifts do not relieve the recipient of a fiduciary duty and stewardship to the donor and the enterprise. Still, the absence of restrictions allows the decision-makers latitude as to how best to deploy the funds for the enterprise’s longer-term benefit.
In CDRI’s specific case, some portion of many site improvements, which are being enjoyed by every visitor and member, benefitted from the prudent use of some of the funds.  Examples include the paved entrance road, the game fence protecting the botanical garden, the maintenance building, the greenhouse, as well as certain exhibits.  That said, in large part, given the personal relationships with these four generous donors, enabling CDRI to be familiar with their intentions, CDRI has always been protective of the majority of the principal.  This level of stewardship is evident in the professional manner in which the Investment Committee selects asset categories for investment. The objective is always to honor the donors by doing the “prudent thing” to help ensure their gifts survive well into the future, helping to sustain a vibrant organization that remains true to its Mission.  After all, it’s the CDRI Mission that these donors elected to support.      
                Donor                                                  Amount           Year 
Elvie Williams, Alpine, TX                           ~$    250,000         1997
Dr. Roger Conant, Albuquerque, NM           ~$ 1,000,000         2005
Kathryn Gloyd, Phoenix, AZ                        ~$    880,000         2010
James W. Francois, Alpine, TX                    ~$      53,000         2010
Ms. Williams was raised in Brewster County, worked many years at SRSU, and befriended Dr. Jim Scudday, a CDRI founder.   
Dr. Conant was a renowned herpetologist and friend of Dr. Scudday, as well as a science advisor to CDRI.  After Dr. Conant lost his wife Isabelle and his friend Howard Gloyd passed, he and Kathryn Gloyd married. 
Mrs. Gloyd passed some five years later, in 2010, and donated much of her estate to CDRI. 
James Francois, a long-time Alpine resident and philanthropist, made a gift from his will to CDRI.                                                        
These four unrestricted bequests have greatly enhanced the Nature Center’s site and support of CDRI operations, which are very carefully managed.
For more information on Planned Giving and Estate Planning, please see http://www.cdri.org/planned-giving-estate-planning.html or contact Lisa Gordon, Executive Director, at lgordon@cdri.org or call 432-364-2499.
Including CDRI in some portion of your estate planning is a wonderful way to join the generous parties listed above in knowing that CDRI’s Mission will continue to be perpetuated for generations to come.  Our most sincere gratitude to these donors and to others who may donate.  
We are honored by every visitor, member, donor, supporter, and volunteer every time you elect to share your time and/or resources with us. Thank you.
Mistletoe is not all bad.
Certain birds & butterflies need Mistletoe.

Although we left Christmas behind us over a month ago, we received responses from a few readers about last month’s Garden Notes on Mistletoe, commenting that we had only shared one side of the story about mistletoe. Like most all things, there are always two sides to a story – the good and the bad, the Yin and Yang. So we are sharing an article by the US Geological Survey (USGS) that informs about mistletoe, the parasite, and mistletoe, the life source of birds, butterflies, bees, and some mammals. Mistletoe is more than a kissing ritual for people. Mistletoe is important in other vital ways: it provides essential food, cover, and nesting sites for wildlife. In fact, some animals couldn’t survive without mistletoe. We hope you enjoy going on this adventure and learning about mistletoe.
American mistletoe fruit and flowers, Laurens County, Georgia. Photo courtesy of Alan Cressler, USGS. 
Mistletoe can take many forms other than the American mistletoe with berries seen around the holidays. The white-berried holiday mistletoe we hang so hopefully in places where our sweethearts will find us lingering is just one of more than 1,300 species of mistletoe worldwide. Globally, more than 20 mistletoe species are endangered. Two growth forms of mistletoes are native to the United States: the leafy American mistletoe (the one commonly associated with our kissing customs) and the mostly leafless dwarf mistletoe. American mistletoe is found from New Jersey to Florida and west through Texas. The dwarf mistletoe, much smaller than its kissing cousin, is found from central Canada and southeastern Alaska to Honduras and Hispaniola, but most species are found in western United States and Mexico.
Mistletoe is no newcomer to this country: excavations of packrat middens (the messy pile of sticks and debris they call home - including food waste, animal bones, and even human trash or ‘lost’ objects, all cemented together over time by the feces and urine of the packrat), reveal that dwarf mistletoes have been part of our forests for more than 20,000 years. Some fossil pollen grains even indicate that the plant has been here for millions of years. Mistletoes, said USGS researcher Todd Esque, should be viewed as a natural component of healthy forest ecosystems, of which they have been a part for thousands, if not millions of years.
Thief of the Tree

A dwarf mistletoe seed is disseminated by an explosive mechanism regulated by the buildup of water pressure inside a mistletoe berry as it ripens.  The seeds, coated with a sticky substance, cling to any surface they hit, including birds, other animals, or tree branches. (Credit: U.S. Forest Service, USDA. Public domain.)

The thing that all mistletoes have in common is this: all grow as parasites on the branches of trees and shrubs. In fact, the American mistletoe’s scientific name, Phoradendron, means “thief of the tree” in Greek. The plant is aptly named: it begins its life as a handily sticky seed that often hitchhikes to a new host tree on a bird beak or feather or on mammal fur. In addition to hitchhiking, the dwarf mistletoe also has another dandy way of traveling to a new host tree: the seeds of this mistletoe will, like tiny holiday poppers, explode from ripe berries, shooting a distance as far as 50 feet. One researcher said that if you put ripe berries in a paper bag and shake it, it sounds just like popping popcorn.

For the most part, the mistletoe is pretty darn cavalier about what host tree it finds — dwarf mistletoes of high elevations like most kinds of conifers, and those of the hot deserts generally prefer legume trees; American mistletoes are found on an incredible variety of trees. Once on a host tree, the mistletoe sends out roots that penetrate the tree and eventually starts pirating some of the host tree’s nutrients and minerals. In actuality, mistletoes are not true parasites; instead they are what scientists call “hemi-parasites” because most of them have the green leaves necessary for photosynthesis. Still, it seems like a pretty lazy life for most mistletoes: a little photosynthesis here and there and a lot of food and water stolen from their unsuspecting benefactor trees. Eventually, mistletoes grow into thick masses of branching, misshapen stems, giving rise to a popular name of witches’ brooms, or the apt Navajo name of “basket on high.”

Birds and the Mistletoe Trees

The plant’s common name — mistletoe — is derived from early observations that mistletoe would often appear in places where birds had left their droppings. “Mistel” in the Anglo-Saxon word for “dung,” and “tan” is the word for “Twig.” Thus, mistletoe means “dung-on-a-twig.” Yet even though bird droppings cannot spontaneously generate mistletoe plants, birds are an important part of mistletoe life history — and vice versa. A surprising variety of birds use or rely on mistletoe. In studies by former USGS scientist Rob Bennetts and other studies, a high abundance of dwarf mistletoe in a forest means that more kinds and numbers of birds inhabit that forest. Also, since the lifespan of mistletoe-laden trees is considerably shorter than trees where the plant is absent, a higher number of tree snags occupy mistletoe-laden woods. Not surprisingly, this means that more — one study documented at least three times as many — cavity-nesting birds live in forests with abundant mistletoes. The phainopeplas, a silky flycatcher, are beautiful birds that live in the desert areas of the Southwest and West and are especially dependent on mistletoe.
Sources/Usage: Public Domain.
A female silky flycatcher with a mistletoe berry in her beak. These flycatchers are intimately tied to mistletoe. They build their beautiful cup nests (much like a large hummingbird nest) within the mistletoe, or nearby. The young hatch during February when the mistletoe may be in flower and supply a rich source of insect nutrients for growing young. The rest of the year, and especially during winter, many types of birds including flycatchers and bluebirds rely on mistletoe berries for sustenance. (Credit: Todd Esque, USGS Western Ecological Research Center. Public domain.)
Diane Larson, a USGS researcher, studied mistletoes and birds in Arizona. “I found that phainopeplas, which rely on mistletoe almost exclusively for food during the winter, were also the species most likely to disperse the mistletoe seeds to sites suitable for germination and establishment. Both the bird and the plant benefited from this relationship,” says Larson. USGS researcher Esque said his goal is to understand the distribution of the host trees in relation to mistletoe patterns and bird behavior. “We know the relationship is mutually beneficial for both species,” said Esque. Some research indicates that if mistletoe-berry production is poor, these birds may not breed the following spring.
But the phainopepla is just one of many birds that eat mistletoe berries; others include grouse, mourning doves, bluebirds, evening grosbeaks, robins, and pigeons. Naturalist and writer John Muir noted American robins eating mistletoe in the mountains of California in the late 1890’s. Wrote Muir: “I found most of the robins cowering on the lee side of the larger branches of the trees, where the snow could not fall on them, while two or three of the more venturesome were making desperate efforts to get at the mistletoe berries by clinging to the underside of the snow-covered masses, back downward, something like woodpeckers.”
Birds also find mistletoe a great place for nesting, especially the dense witches’ brooms. In fact, northern and Mexican spotted owls and other raptors show a marked preference for witches’ brooms as nesting sites. In one study, 43 percent of spotted owl nests were associated with witches’ brooms. Similarly, a USGS researcher found that 64 percent of all Cooper’s hawk nests in northeastern Oregon were in mistletoe. Other raptors that use witches’ brooms as nesting sites include great gray owls, long-eared owls, goshawks, and sharp-shinned hawks. Likewise, some migratory birds also nest in witches’ broom — gray jay, northern beardless-tyrannulet, red crossbills, house wrens, mourning doves, pygmy nuthatches, chickadees, Western tanagers, chipping sparrows, hermit thrushes, Cassin’s finches, and pine siskins. “A well-disguised nest provides protection against predators such as the great horned owls,” Bennetts said.
The great purple hairstreak is the only butterfly in the United States that feeds on American mistletoe, the Christmas mistletoe. This beautiful butterfly lays its eggs on the mistletoe, where the resulting caterpillars thrive on a mistletoe diet.  Photo courtesy of Alan Cressler, USGS.
Bees, Butterflies, and Others
According to butterfly expert and Colorado State University professor Paul Opler, three kinds of butterflies in the United States are entirely dependent on mistletoes for their survival: the great purple hairstreak, the thicket hairstreak, and the Johnson’s hairstreak. The great purple hairstreak, says Opler, is the only butterfly in the United States that feeds on American mistletoe. This beautiful butterfly lays its eggs on the mistletoe, where the resulting caterpillars thrive on a mistletoe diet. The caterpillars of the other two butterflies feed on dwarf mistletoes. The Johnson’s hairstreak, restricted to the Pacific states, is usually found in association with old-growth conifer forests, the same places spotted owls prefer. The caterpillars of these butterflies closely mimic the appearance of the mistletoe with their mottled green and olive shades. Like people, the butterflies of these species use mistletoe for courtship rituals. After courting and mating in the mistletoe high in the canopy, the adults leave their eggs behind in the mistletoe. The adults of all three species drink nectar from the mistletoe flowers.
Mistletoe is also important nectar and pollen plant for honeybees and other native bees, says Erik Erikson, a bee researcher at the USDA Bee Research Lab. Mistletoe flowers, says Erikson, often provides the first pollen available in the spring for the hungry bees. “We look upon it as an important starter food source for the bees,” said Erikson. Wind and insects are important mistletoe pollinators. Although hundreds of kinds of insects carry mistletoe pollen, only a few dozen are important pollinators; these include a variety of flies, ants, and beetles. Yet other insects eat the shoots, fruits, and seeds of the mistletoe, including some that feed exclusively on the plant. Exclusive mistletoe-eaters include a twig beetle, several thrip species, and a plant bug whose coloration mimics dwarf mistletoe fruits. In addition, at least four mite species seem to be exclusively associated with dwarf mistletoe.
And Then There’s the Mammals
Don’t try it at home, kids and grown-ups — mistletoe is toxic to people, but the berries and leaves of mistletoe provide high-protein fodder for many mammals, especially in autumn and winter when other foods are scarce. Researchers have documented that animals such as elk, cattle and deer eat mistletoe during winter when fresh foliage is rare. In Texas, some ranchers even consider mistletoe on mesquite as an insurance forage crop, which the ranchers remove from the trees for cattle food when other forage is scarce. Other mammals that eat mistletoe include squirrels, chipmunks, and even porcupines, some of which are deliriously fond of the plant. A variety of squirrels, including red squirrels, Abert squirrels and flying squirrels often use witches brooms for cover and nesting sites.
A Blessing or a Bane?
Not everyone likes mistletoe. Many commercial foresters consider the dwarf mistletoe as a disease that reduces the growth rates of commercially important conifer species, such as the ponderosa pine. Ecologists, though, point out that mistletoes are not a disease; instead, they are a native group of plants that have been around for thousands, or even millions, of years.
Blessing or bane, it is certain that mistletoe is not spreading like wildfire — in fact, mistletoe spreads only about 2 feet per year. One study indicated that a 1.5-acre patch of mistletoe took about 60 to 70 years to form. Likewise, the death of an individual tree from dwarf mistletoe may take several decades, and widespread infestation of a forest stand may take centuries. Bennetts believes that the conflict with forest management and the perspective of mistletoes being a forest disease really only comes into play when the management objectives are to maximize timber harvest. Otherwise, he says, mistletoes have many positive attributes, including tremendous benefits for native wildlife. Thus, he says, when not in conflict with commercial timber management objectives, mistletoes should be viewed as a natural component of healthy forest ecosystems.
Says Bennetts: “I had the privilege of working with a biologist who had spent more than 50 years working on mistletoes. He began his work with the intent of finding a way to control this ‘forest pest,’ but in his later years, he even introduced dwarf mistletoe to some of the trees in his yard because he had grown to love this plant for what it is . . . a fascinating and natural part of forest ecosystem.”
This article was reprinted with permission from U.S. Geological Survey, Science Information Services. 
Garden Notes 
Cold Hardy Succulents
by Faith Hille
After the harsh freeze we experienced in late December 2022, with low temperatures of 8°F and a wind chill of -5°F, a common question I keep hearing is, “What agaves and cacti can I plant that are cold tolerant but also heat resistant?” My first answer is to hike in your area and find what is growing naturally. Your native plants have already adapted to the weather conditions, be it cold, rain or heat.
Here in the Davis Mountains, it is tricky to find succulents that will not only survive but thrive because of the extremely low temperatures we can experience. This is why our cactus collection is kept in the greenhouse. These plants come from all corners of the Chihuahuan Desert (CD), from over 9,000 feet in elevation to the vast arid expanses of the lower desert. So, some of our cacti are only cold hardy to about 30°-35°F.
Let’s talk about why some plants are better adapted than others, how to prepare for winter, and which are best adapted for winter in the Trans-Pecos region of the CD.   These protective adaptations range from a waxy cuticle coating to shrinking plant tissue during winter to modified leaves.
An example of a succulent with a waxy coating is Echeveria strictiflora (Desert Savior). It grows in well-drained rocky soils along mountain slopes. The waxy coating repels water from sitting on the epidermis and therefore prevents frostbite. If you look carefully in our Pollinator Garden, you can find E. strictiflora thriving among rocks.
Another adaptation that helps cacti survive through the winter is their ability to reduce water intake, resulting in the tissue shrinking in size to avoid freezing. Opuntia macrocentra (Purple Prickly Pear) is an excellent example because of its noticeable color change. During the monsoons, O. macrocentra will take in more water, expanding and turning greenish with a purplish hue on the edges of the pad. However, during winter, the entire pad turns a deep purple and is extremely thin due to the plant expelling water and going into a dormant state.  
Opuntia macrocentra (Purple Prickly Pear). Interesting fact: This species was identified and named by Jim Weedin and Michael Powell, co-authors of Cacti of the Trans-Pecos and Adjacent Areas and Cacti of Texas: a Field Guide, with Emphasis on the Trans-Pecos Region.
With climate change and dramatic temperature swings, it’s important to consider ways to protect your plants. If a plant cannot survive below 30°F for more than a few hours, it is best to keep it potted and relocate it to a protected area. For plants in the ground, cover them with a breathable fabric like frost cloth or old bedsheets, ensuring that the cloth doesn’t touch the plant to allow for air circulation. I generally like to build a frame out of PVC pipes, cover it with cloth, then stake the material down, so it doesn’t blow away.
Landscaping can also provide some cold protection, such as large rocks or boulders. The rocks absorb heat during the day and radiate the stored heat at night. We use a modified version of this in our cactus museum, with large, black barrels filled with water and buried underneath each steel display table. We credit the water-filled barrels for the survival of the cactus collection during the February 2021 “Texas deep freeze” when we were without power for four days. The most crucial tip for cacti is to stop watering when the first freeze is forecast. A cactus with dry soil and roots will better resist freezing and root rot.        
Candelilla has the protection of large rocks placed on either side of the plant. The rocks provide a wind break. They also absorb heat during the day and release the stored heat at night.  
Examples of Cold Hardy Succulents
      Common Name
   Botanical Name
Zone / minimum temp (F)
Claret Cup
Enchinocereus coccineus
8-11 / 10 to 45
Fender’s hedgehog
Echinocereus fendleri
5-9 / -20 to 30
Green goblet agave
Agave salmiana ferox
7-11 / 0 to 45
Havard’s Century Plant
Agave havardiana
5-10 / -20 to 35
Agave lechugilla
6-8 / -10 to 10
Living Rock Cactus
Ariocarpus fissuratus
8-11 / 10 to 45
Parry’s Agave
Agave parryi var. neomexicana
7-10 / 0 to 35
Prairie Hedgehog Cactus
Echinocereus viridiflorus
3 / -35 to -30
Queen Victoria
Agave victoriae reginae
7-11 / 0 to 45
Rough agave
Agave americana
8-11 / 10 to 45
Santa Rita
Opuntia macrocentra
7 / 0 to 5
Strawberry Pitaya
Echinocereus stramineus
6-7 / -10 to 0
Tree Cholla
Cylindropuntia imbricata
5-11 /-20 to 45
Whales tongue Agave
Agave ovatifolia
7-8 / 0 to 10
White lace cactus
Echinocereus reichenbachii
5/ -20 to -10
Yucca species
5-11 / -20 to 45
All plants in the above table are established in the garden and survived our last extremely harsh freeze.
If you are still trying to decide what plants will best survive your winters, your local nursery or nature center is a great place to start exploring. Another great resource is the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map (https://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/ ).
To help preserve the desert ecosystem, please make every effort to buy nursery-grown plants or grow them yourself from seed. There are several reputable online retail cacti growers and seed outlets. 
All photos for this story are by Faith Hille. 
Introducing Nature Book Guide
by Lisa Fargason Gordon
I was contacted recently by Beth Nobles, editor, and publisher of the Nature Book Guide, with an invitation to recommend or comment about nature-themed books for youth as a guest panelist for their Spring 2023 issue. With my background as an educator, I naturally jumped at the opportunity to recommend some of my favorite books that appeal to youth and the "child in all of us" for the Spring 2023 release. 
Many of our readers know Beth Nobles, but for those of you who don't, Beth was introduced to CDRI early in her tenure as Executive Director of the Texas Mountain Trail where she worked for a decade. When she became a Texas Master Naturalist (the local Tierra Grande Chapter), her first volunteer commitment was with a post-wildfire bee study conducted by Cynthia McAlister on CDRI's grounds. When providing background of her connection with CDRI, Beth stated, "I loved working on the bee project. My role was simple: putting out containers of soapy water and collecting samples a few hours later, but I knew this simple task could contribute to our understanding of the impact of wildfire on critical species." 
She explained, "When Texas Mountain Trail needed new office space, CDRI provided a room in the maintenance building in exchange for photographs and social media postings I was happy to create. I loved my time at CDRI--as a visitor, Master Naturalist volunteer, and office tenant."
Before her retirement in 2021, Beth led the Sand Creek Regional Greenway Partnership, supporting an urban trail along a riparian corridor in the Denver metro area, delivering environmental education programs and facilitating volunteer workdays.
She began the Nature Book Guide as a retirement project, inviting friends, colleagues, and friends of friends—all naturalists, scientists, and stewards of our natural resources representing a variety of perspectives—to recommend great books for readers.

Readers can access the Guide at NatureBookGuide.com and click on the "Downloads" page. From there, each quarterly issue can be downloaded for free, as well as posters, bookmarks, and extra features such as extended author interviews. It's a quarterly publication with new issues released on March 1 (Spring), June 1 (Summer), September 1 (Autumn), and December 1 (Winter). You can also follow their social media accounts @NatureBookGuide on both Instagram and Twitter.
The books I'll be reviewing are all available at the CDRI Gift Shop. 
The Roadside Gets a Cleanup
CDRI volunteers met on a chilly January morning to participate in CDRI's Adopt-a-Highway cleanup. The first of four cleanups for 2023 resulted in nine large bags of trash. Although the temperature was in the low 30s, it was a beautiful, calm morning, and it turned out, as they always do, to be a fun event. Participants included Cameron Adams, Thomas Adams, Ivory Harlow, Hoot Baez, Anne Adams, and Lisa Fargason Gordon.  
CDRI receives a gift of icicle cholla plants
The Cactus Museum Collection recently received beautiful icicle cholla plants ( Cylindropuntia tunicata) from David Harte. These were hand-picked from two separate plants on the family ranch, The Decie Ranch, located west of Marathon, Texas. These are excellent additions to the Cylindropuntia exhibit inside the cactus greenhouse. 
Icicle chollas are densely-branched, low-growing, formidable-looking cholla plants occurring in several areas of the Chihuahuan Desert in Mexico. However, they are found only in a few places in the Trans-Pecos region of Texas along the Pecos and Brewster County line, growing on limestone hillsides among the grasses and pinon pines. 
Thank you, David! 
Until next time...

...from the best rural nature center & botanical gardens in Texas,
We wish you happy trails, peaceful nights, and dark skies.
Thank you for your support!

Be sure to stop by CDRI's Gift Shop to pick up your favorite night sky photo by Andy Morgan. A new selection of matted photos just arrived!
Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute, P.O. Box 905, Fort Davis, TX 79734


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