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CDRI Desert NewsFlash
May 2022
Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay, Photo by Alan Wintz. 
Spring in the Greenhouse
The Cactus Museum Collection inside the greenhouse has put on a spectacular "show" this spring. Throughout April, cacti in the genus Echinocereus displayed vibrant shades of red, orange, yellow, and pink. If you didn't see it, we want to share the beauty of the Echinocereus cacti in the photos below. 
(L) Echinocereus dasyacanthus; (C) Echinocereus hybrid; (R) Echinocereus davisii.
Echinocereus cacti "gone wild!"
(L) Echinocereus roetteri; (C) Echinocereus longisetus ssp. delaeti; (R) Echinocereus pectinatus v. wenegeii. 
Echinocereus pappilosus v. (The above photo by Alan Wintz.)
Memberships are Soaring! 
Here's Why:
CDRI members know that their membership helps support CDRI, and their membership also provides them free admission to the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center & Botanical Gardens for a full year. Details of all of the membership benefits are detailed on the CDRI website.  But did you know that your CDRI membership also allows you free entrance to ~350 Botanical Gardens and 125 Nature Centers across the United States? 
We can offer this phenomenal access to other Botanical Gardens and Nature Centers through our participation in the Reciprocal Admission Programs (RAP) with the American Horticultural Society (AHS) and the Association of Nature Center Administrators (ANCA). 
So, whether you're renewing your CDRI membership or considering joining as a CDRI member for the first time, please know that you are supporting your Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center & Botanical Gardens while at the same time reaping great benefits for a minimal price. 
Online registration is secure and easy at www.cdri.org/membership.html.
Welcome New Team Member
Miguel Lopez

We're pleased to introduce you t ao our Site Manager, Miguel Lopez!
Miguel hails from Houston, Texas, having spent more than 25 years in related work as Plant Maintenance Lead and Maintenance Supervisor. 
Miguel's daughter, Nellie, chose CDRI as her wedding venue nearly six years ago. Since that day, she and her family have visited the Nature Center often. So, we are delighted to bring the connection with the family full circle, with Miguel now being a part of the CDRI Team. Plus, it seems that there's nothing that Miguel can't do. He's got a great attitude and is ready to tackle any challenge before him.  
Please give Miguel a warm welcome if you happen to see him on-site during your visit to "the best rural Nature Center in Texas!"

Welcome New

Team Member

Rainey Miller

We're excited to introduce you to our most recent addition to the Visitor Center services desk, Rainey Miller.  Rainey works as Information Host on the weekends, welcoming guests, informing them of the many features at CDRI, and helping visitors with Gift Shop purchases. 
Rainey worked with the CDRI educational programs in 2015 when she volunteered at the Herp Day program as a Biology student while attending Sul Ross State University (SRSU). Since that time, she has worked summers at Yellowstone National Park, Mount St. Helens, and Glacier National Park. Rainey recently graduated with her Master of Agriculture degree in Natural Resource Conservation from SRSU. Her love of wildlife has proven to be an asset with the many questions posed by our visitors about their sightings.
Please be sure to stop in and welcome Rainey to the Nature Center.  

CDRI Features

Josh Burns as

Volunteer of the Month 

You've undoubtedly heard Johnny Cash's song, "I've Been Everywhere." That could be Josh Burns' theme song. Josh is an avid birder and traveler and one of CDRI's earliest Volunteers. 
We credit Josh for having "been everywhere, man!" from the stories he shares on each of his visits. He has visited every state from coast to coast and has many fascinating and humorous tales that accompany his travels. 
Josh is a serious "birder" who visits the Nature Center regularly, once a week, for a bird count and to report his sightings on eBird Texas. Josh has been a diligent recordkeeper of his sightings from CDRI for at least 20 years, and most likely, the actual number of years is much greater. 
Josh and his wife, Betsy, will be moving from Marfa this month to be closer to their daughter and her family in Belen, New Mexico. Do we even need to mention that there is excellent birding in and around Belen?
The entire CDRI Team will miss our weekly chats with Josh. We wish Josh and Betsy well in their travels, and we look forward to seeing what he posts on eBird New Mexico! 
Thank you for the friendship, Josh! We'll miss you.
The Conant Lecture Was Entertaining,  Informative, and a Huge Success!
April 14 marked our return to presenting the Roger Conant Distinguished Guest Lecturer Program as we welcomed James Cornett in his return engagement as our distinguished guest lecturer. The program was held at the Crowley Theater in Marfa, Texas. The timely topic, "Can't Live Without You: Hummingbirds and Ocotillos," was well-received by the audience as Cornett seamlessly injected humor throughout the lecture to make his point about a serious topic. 
Looking ahead to Fall 2022, CDRI is honored to present guest lecturer Dr. Louis Harveson, Director of the Borderlands Research Institute, Sul Ross State University. Save the date: Thursday, October 13, 2022 
We are grateful for the use of the beautiful Crowley Theater, Marfa, TX, for the past six years. Thank you to Tim Crowley for his generosity, to Emily Williams for helping with the details and providing access to the Crowley Theater, and to Rob Crowley, who oversees the sound and lighting for the programs. We couldn't do it without the Marfa Team. Thank you to each of you.
And thank you to the great audience that came out to the April 14th program.  After a two-and-a-half-year absence due to Covid restrictions, we were heartened to see the enthusiastic turnout for this important program. Thank you! 

Garden Notes

by Faith Hille

April has been a fantastic time for growth in the garden. The temperatures are warming up, the bees are out, bats are roosting around our porch, and everything is thriving in the garden. We did manage to squeeze a couple of drops of rain from the skies on the night of April 26, but it was only a trace amount. Currently, the Trans-Pecos region is in extreme to exceptional drought conditions. Last March was the driest month in Jeff Davis County in over 128 years. I have my fingers crossed that our monsoon season will be a wet one. However, our garden is still green and growing. 
We started the month by planting desert willows. Two trees were planted near the Pollinator Garden, one near the Powell Visitor Center, and a large tree at marker "5" to replace one damaged by the 2021 freeze -- all with the help of volunteer Glen Eisen. They are healthy and are about to flower soon, in the next week.  
What’s blooming in the garden? Currently, Fragrant Ash (Fraxinus cuspidata) is one of the highlights of the garden. The smell is intoxicatingly sweet and the hum of the bumblebees is a delight to one’s ears. If you are currently looking for trees to plant this spring, I highly recommend the Fragrant Ash. It is drought tolerant, adaptable to different soil types such as limestone to acidic igneous, and a great source of nectar for pollinators. 
The antelope bush (Purshia plicata) is in full bloom with beautiful pink flowers. Apache Plume (Fallugia paradoxa) is also in full bloom with white flowers and pink silky-plumed seed heads. Our salvia bed is the real belle of the ball if you ask our hummingbirds and butterflies. The most abundant sages in our raised bed are Mexican Blue Sage (Salvia chamaedryoides), Cedar Sage (Salvia roemeriana)and Mealy Sage (Salvia farinacea).
The tufted milkweed (Asclepias nummularia) has emerged in the garden and along our trails. One can find tufted milkweed in the Trans-Pecos region, southern New Mexico and southern Arizona. It flowers April-August. The leaves are oval with fine hairs that disappear late into the summer and appear waxier.    
Another more common and showy plant that is blooming is the Orange Wedelia (Wedelia acapulcensis). Orange Wedelia is a larval host for the Bordered Patch and Lacinia Patch butterfly. It is easily propagated by dispersing fresh seed or by semi-hardwood cuttings. 
CDRI is considering starting our own compost pile with scraps from around the garden and, hopefully, y’alls kitchens. We would like to collect any of your kitchen scraps without seeds in the mix. We do not want to introduce foreign seeds that are non-native to the garden. Did you know that organic material does not decompose the same way a compost pile would? That is because the material does not get enough oxygen, water, and nitrogen/carbon to decompose fully. We are looking to reduce our “soil bill” and eventually become self-sustainable. If you are interested in contributing, please email gardener@cdri.com or lgordon@cdri.org
Last thoughts: We are looking for volunteers to help with “wrangling” our new shade cloth on top of our cactus house. The previous shade cloth was damaged in 2021 during a windstorm. More details will be sent out soon.
Did you know that TripAdvisor lists the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center & Botanical Gardens as the #1 thing to do in Fort Davis? It's true! We are among some stiff competition from the National Historic Site Fort Davis, the Davis Mountains State Park, and McDonald Observatory, to name a few of the popular attractions. It's folks like you who have shared your reviews with TripAdvisor that helped us get there! Thank you!
Needless to say, we are tickled over the rating, and we would like to hold on to it. If you enjoyed your recent visit to CDRI, please tell TripAdvisor with your review. TripAdvisor is an excellent source of advertising for us because it tells real stories from real people like you! Thank you very much! 

Visiting Groups in April

El Paso Cactus & Rock Club, El Paso, TX
Sun City Hiking Club, Georgetown, TX
Trinity School, Midland, TX
5th Grade
Providence Academy, Addison, TX
Alpine Christian School, Alpine, TX
3rd and 4th Grades
The Girls' School of Austin, Austin, TX
6th Grade
Dirks-Anderson Elementary School, Fort Davis, TX
1st Grade & Kinder
Valentine Elementary School, Valentine, TX
1st Grade & Kinder
This is what astronomers do in the daytime. 
The Birding Group from the Texas Star Party
Congratulations Rachael and Alex!
The Rachael Connelly and Alex Toder Wedding
From the CDRI Team, we wish you happy trails!
We look forward to welcoming you soon to
"the best rural Nature Center in Texas!"

The photo of the Black-crested Titmouse at the Bird Blind is by Faith Hille. 
Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute, P.O. Box 905, Fort Davis, TX 79734


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