The Great Kiskadee - Confirmed!

Local area birders have confirmed the sightings of Great Kiskadee and a Kiskadee nest at the James B Harrison Foundation’s Long Point Property.

A Great Kiskadee.

A Great Kiskadee.

We’d like to take a moment to thank our local birders who came out this past weekend to help us locate, document, and confirm our Great Kiskadee at our Long Point Property in Richmond.

The weather was beautiful for our early morning Great Kiskadee Expedition and while the group was searching for a pair of Great Kiskadee, we were surprised by the sighting of a 3rd Great Kiskadee! This is a unique find for Fort Bend County as the Great Kiskadee are not commonly observed this far North in Texas. They are more predominant further South in the Rio Grande Valley and Central America. For more information on our Great Kiskadee sighting please visit the eBird checklist for our June 22nd expedition. 

We will be offering more birding opportunities starting this Fall! Please tune in to our website calendar periodically as bird hike dates are finalized. For other inquiries, please email our Charitable Activities Director at hannah@jbhfound.org.

A Great Kiskadee inside its nest.

A Great Kiskadee inside its nest.

A pair of Great Kiskadee.

A pair of Great Kiskadee.

City Nature Challenge at JBH Long Point

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On April 27th, The James B Harrison Foundation along with the Fort Bend County 4H Program and the Texas Master Naturalist Coastal Prairie Chapter participated in the 2019 City Nature Challenge at JBH Long Point Ranch in Richmond.

The City Nature Challenge began in 2016 with a competition between San Francisco and Los Angeles and has now grown to 160 metro areas worldwide. To participate in this challenge, participants made and shared nature observations using the iNaturalist smartphone app. A nature observation could include a photo of an animal, bird, butterfly, plant, or any other sign of life. The iNaturalist app assists by suggesting an ID based on photo recognition, then the iNaturalist online community helps to accurately identify the species by agreeing with an identification or giving a better suggestion. The data generated from iNaturalist is publicly available to help researchers, land managers, and even policy makers.

The City Nature Challenge was open to participants of all ages and skill levels, as it’s designed for both new and experienced citizen scientists. During this year’s competition, the city of Houston made a total of 24,534 observations. Houston took the lead as the Wildest City in Texas, with the most number of species observed. During the challenge Houston recorded a total of 3286 species observed. This ranked Houston 3rd worldwide!

In Texas, nine regions competed for the title of the Wildest City in Texas. These nine regions included: Amarillo, Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas/Fort Worth, El Paso, Houston, Lower Rio Grande Valley, Port Aransas, and San Antonio. The Houston region consists of nine counties: Harris, Galveston, Chambers, Liberty, Montgomery, Waller, Fort Bend, Brazoria, and Austin.

During our City Nature Challenge event at JBH Long Point, we had 2 sites designated for the challenge. The first nature stop on our JBH Retreat Green People Hauler Route, was out at our Rookery. Our rookery is a common nesting ground for Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, Cattle Egrets, Little Blue Herons, and Roseate Spoonbills. Our second nature stop was located by our Horseshoe Pond. As an added bonus, at our second nature stop, challengers had an opportunity to get their hands dirty making native seed bombs (balls) and learning about the importance of native plants.

We’d like to thank our local Texas Master Naturalist Coastal Prairie Chapter for coming out and joining us for a fun day in nature! We look forward to hosting the City Nature Challenge again in 2020.

2019 Spring Bird Count Results

The James B Harrison Foundation hosted its first Spring Bird Count last weekend, on Saturday, April 13th. We had 9 birders in attendance with 3 Christmas Bird Count returners, and 5 new birding friends joining in on the birding action.

The weather held up for our 9 birders who observed a total of 62 species throughout the 4-hour morning count.

Adding to our birding checklist from our Christmas Bird Counts was a total of 15-species. Most of these 15 species of birds were migratory or spring species not usually recorded during our December counts. These species included Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Franklin’s Gulls, Broad-winged Hawk, Mississippi Hawk, Swainson’s Hawk, Purple Gallinule, Barn Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Purple Martin, Tree Swallow, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Hooded Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and the Carolina Wren.

We would like to extend a big thank you to those birders who braved the unpredictable weather to join us for our first Spring Count and make it such a big success. You all are always welcome to join us for future events and we look forward to adding more birding opportunities to our calendar in the future.

JBH Spring Bird Count Checklist - Page 1

JBH Spring Bird Count Checklist - Page 1

JBH Spring Bird Count Checklist - Page 2

JBH Spring Bird Count Checklist - Page 2

2019 City Nature Challenge

Public is Invited to Join the 2019 City Nature Challenge in Fort Bend County

            Are you interested in helping the 9 counties of the Houston Region claim the title as the wildest in Texas? Then look no further! Cities around the world will compete April 26 – 28 to see which urban areas can document the most of their local wild plant and animal life within their regions.  The James B Harrison Foundation and Fort Bend County 4-H will be hosting challenge participants on Saturday, April 27thin Richmond at JBH Long Point Ranch. Texas Master Naturalist volunteers will be on hand to assist new citizen scientist. The event will be open from 8am-1pm and participants are welcome to come and go as they please. 

We encourage our participants to come with their camera or smartphone (preloaded with the iNaturalist App) and dress appropriately for the outdoor activities. Participants are also welcome to bring a picnic lunch.  You do not have to be a nature expert to participate in this event! All new or experienced citizen scientists are welcome. It is family friendly, open to all ages, and is absolutely free. 

To participate in the challenge, visitors create and share observations using the iNaturalist smartphone app. An observation consists of a photo of an animal, bird, butterfly, plant, or ANY other signs of life. These are uploaded and shared online together with the location and date (must be in the challenge area and date range). The app assists by suggesting an ID based on photo recognition, then the iNaturalist online community helps to accurately identify the species by agreeing with an identification or giving a better suggestion. This challenge is a great learning opportunity to get the kids involved and engaged with nature. 

The City Nature Challenge began in 2016 with a competition between San Francisco and Los Angeles and has now grown to 160 metro areas worldwide. Just in Texas, nine regions (Amarillo, Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas/Fort Worth, El Paso, Houston, Lower Rio Grande Valley, Port Aransas, and San Antonio) will soon square off to see which is the wildest.  The Houston region consists of 9 counties: Harris, Galveston, Chambers, Liberty, Montgomery, Waller, Fort Bend, Brazoria, and Austin.  The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Master Naturalists, and Houston Audubon Society, are among many organizations in Texas that will also be joining in on the challenge.  The data generated from iNaturalist is publicly available to help researchers, land managers, and even policy makers, so participation is highly encouraged!

            Interested in joining in on the fun? Visit https://www.jbhfound.org/calendar or https://agrilife.org/ftbend4h/event/cnc/for more details, directions, and to RSVP for the event. The James B Harrison Foundation’s JBH Long Point Ranch is located near George Ranch and Brazos Bend State Park in the Long Point/Fairchilds area of Richmond at 8200 Whaley-Long Point Road. More information on the challenge can be found at http://citynaturechallenge.org/

 

Questions?

Contact: Hannah Muegge, James B. Harrison Foundation Charitable Activities Director hannah@jbhfound.org or Amber Leung, Fort Bend 4-H Program Coordinator amber.leung@ag.tamu.edu

Visit    www.agrilife.org/ftbend4h/event/CNC    for more details and to RSVP.

Visit www.agrilife.org/ftbend4h/event/CNC for more details and to RSVP.

Connecting our Youth to Nature with iNaturalist

Connecting our Youth to Nature with iNaturalist

Looking for a way to get our youth engaged and connected with nature? Well, there’s an App for that!

iNaturalist is an online social network where people share biodiversity information to help each other learn about nature. Short version - iNaturalist was developed to help people connect with nature! The added perk is that each observation made has the opportunity to become research grade which then makes it research quality data for scientists working to better understand and protect nature.

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The iNaturalist and Seek Apps allow users to make and record observations on the go! Simply go online and create a free user profile on iNaturalist.org to get started, and then download the App on to your smart phone to start observing. The iNaturalist and Seek Apps are very common except that in the Seek App there are challenges and badges that can be earned, the more you observe.

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The iNaturalist and Seek Apps do all the work for you! Simply take a picture of your nature find and then upload your photo observation to the App where it will suggest identifications for you to choose from. Select the suggestion that you feel best fits and then share it with the iNaturalist social community who will then agree with your identification or make a recommendation as to a better fitting ID.

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So what classifies as an observation? An observation records an encounter with an individual organism at a certain time and place. Your smart phone camera records the date, time, and location of each photograph which then follows it when it is uploaded to the App. Observations can be made of organisms such as animals, plants, fungi, and even animal tracks, scat, and nests which represent signs of life. Each observation should be recorded separately.

When taking photographs for observations, be sure that your pictures are clear and the subject is easy to view. If taking pictures of a plant or flower, it is recommended to get multiple pictures to include the flower, leaves and base of the plant to help with identification.

Take iNaturalist or the Seek App for a spin next time you’re outdoors or at the park, and then come join us in April for the 2019 City Nature Challenge. The James B Harrison Foundation will be hosting a bioblitz Nature Challenge on Saturday, April 27th from 9:00am to 12:00pm to help Houston become the wildest city in Texas! More details can be found at www.jbhfound.org/calendar.

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1st Annual JBH Foundation Photography Contest

The James B Harrison Foundation is excited to announce its Annual JBH Foundation Photography Contest. Our first contest will be open from January 2019 to December 2019. Entries are due by December 20th. It is our hope, with this contest, to capture the beauty of our JBH Foundation Properties through the eyes of our visitors.

The contest will be open to all ages and experiences. The rules are simple. Photograph entries must have been taken on a property within the Foundation. Limit one entry per person. Subjects can range from wildlife to landscapes and all in-between.

As this is our first contest, winner(s) and special categories will be dependent on the total number of entries received. The James B Harrison Foundation Board of Directors will serve as our contest judges and will select photographs that capture the heart of The James B Harrison Foundation.

Please see our Photography Contest under “Resources” for more information.

2018 Brazos Bend Christmas Bird Count

The Christmas Bird Count for Brazos Bend is set for Saturday, December 15th, 2018. This will be the 7th year that the James B Harrison Foundation’s Long Point Ranch will have participated in this event.

The Christmas Bird Count is an annual event within National Audubon Society, with over 100 years, 118 to be exact, of community science involvement. It is an early winter bird census, where volunteers across the country go out over a 24-hour period on one calendar day to count birds across a 15-mile radius tract in their local area.

The count is open to birders of all ages and experiences. Each participant must register prior to the scheduled bird count. Registration is now open for those wishing to volunteer and participate in this year’s bird count. Head to http://www.brazosbendcbc.com to register. If you should like to join us for this year’s count leave JBH Long Point Ranch in the comments section.

The day usually starts pretty early. It is recommended that participants bring a sack lunch to eat in the field as the count will wrap up in the late-afternoon.

Come dressed for the appropriate weather conditions and don’t forget your binoculars or camera as the day will be full of plenty of birds to see!

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Welcome to Our Website

Welcome to JBHFound.org! 

We are very excited to have our website up and running. Our goal at The James B Harrison Foundation is to organize and promote charitable activities, with an emphasis on youth involvement, to further education and research for land conservation, appreciation of nature and sustainability. It's been quite the learning process, but we are very eager to serve our local communities of Fort Bend and Wharton Counties. 

We hope that you take a few minutes to browse our website. Should you have any questions or would like to know more about us, please feel free to reach out under the "Contact Us" link.

Sincerely,

The James B Harrison Foundation

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