Fall 2019 | Volume 31, Issue III
Director's Report

Congratulations to the Jesse Jones Park Volunteers on their 30 th anniversary! The original JJPV minutes book recently resurfaced from storage and brought back special memories. It was Feb. 4, 1989, when then-Director Tom Olsen called together a group of 15 volunteers and five staff members (including me) for the first Jones Park volunteer meeting. During the meeting, three volunteers were appointed as interim officers until the elections in August: President Mary Keelen, Secretary Carol McCollough, and Treasurer Charles Boyd. The three helped create the JJPV bylaws, served as board presidents, and contributed to the same programs that we do today. Mary Keelen gave inspiration to and led one of my favorite Jones Park programs, the Tadpoles Club, including the “open-shut-them” rhyme. What fond memories I have of each of those special original volunteers.
 
Visitors may notice lush new growth along the trails, thanks to the regular rain this past summer. The conservation service groups have also helped curtail invasive plant species and assisted in litter removal. Thank you to all who participated in these volunteer service days.
 
End of the summer park projects kept everyone busy, including a homestead barn-raising, horse-trail clearing, rebuilding the steps for the overflow parking lot, and replacing the Nature Center windows. Best of all, the new park entrance monument sign project is underway.
 
Fall events are on the horizon, with a variety of volunteer opportunities available each month. Be sure to mark Tricks & Treats Among the Trees and Pioneer Day on your calendar! Whether you’re a new or longtime volunteer, you’re invited to help the JJPV celebrate 30 years on Monday, August 26, at 7 p.m.

Hope to see you about the park!

Photo: The original founding 1989 JJPV Board officers from left to right President Mary Keelen, Secretary Carol McCollough, and Treasurer Charles Boyd.
“The most difficult thing is the decision to act. The rest is merely tenacity”
~ Amelia Earhart
The Pleasant Surprise of a Bowfin

By Jason Naivar
Jones Park Program Coordinator

As a freshwater naturalist, I always look forward to the annual fish survey at Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center. It’s the one time a year when Jones Park visitors can glimpse the diverse life hidden beneath the murky surface of Jones Park’s largest waterway.

As you can imagine, catching fish is no easy task, especially on such a large scale. That’s why our staff joins forces with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Inland Fisheries Department for an annual electrofishing expedition on Spring Creek.

Most of the time, we catch common sunfish, catfish, and gar, but sometimes these surveys reveal rarely documented species.

Click here to learn more about electrofishing and the elusive bowfin recently found in Spring Creek.
Going Native: Planting Wildflowers at Home

By Matt Abermathy
Jones Park Assistant Director

Mowing, pruning, planting, mulching, and fertilizing – sound familiar? For many homeowners, springtime means birds, butterflies, flowers, new growth – and countless hours and dollars spent preparing yards and flowerbeds. What many people don’t realize is that you can avoid the chores and still have a spectacular garden. Wondering how? Look no further than native plants.
 
These low-maintenance plants not only add color to your landscape, but they also support native wildlife and pollinators like butterflies and hummingbirds.

Whether you are looking for ground cover, traditional flowers, or larger shrubs, you can find a native variety to plant. Ready to get started?

Click here for tips on planting your own native wildflowers.
Rare Finds at Jones Park

Crested Coralroot Orchid
Take a walk through Jones Park and you may notice rare native orchids sprouting like mushrooms from decaying material along the forest floor. With light brown stems that tend to blend with leaf litter, the crested coralroot orchid ( Hexalectris spicata ) is easily overlooked.  

Unlike those sold in stores, this orchid doesn’t grow leaves or contain chlorophyll, the chemical that gives plants their rich green color, so photosynthesis isn’t possible. Instead, the plant feeds on fungi and decaying organic matter.

Eastern Lubber Grasshopper
Featuring bold colors in shades of red, yellow, and orange, the eastern lubber grasshopper ( Romalea microptera ) is no wallflower.

To ward away predators, the grasshopper relies on its colorful appearance and defensive behaviors, including spreading its wings, hissing, secreting a foul-smelling liquid, and vomiting.

Despite its showy colors, sightings of the insect are rare. iNaturalist documents that this giant insect has only been spotted nine times in Harris County.

Read More about these rare treasures found at Jones Park.
Pioneer Recipe: Poyha (Cherokee Meatloaf)

Enjoy a taste of traditional recipes like this at Jones Park’s Native American Heritage Day on Sat., Sept. 14, and Pioneer Day on Sat., Nov. 9.
 
½ cup cornmeal
½ cup water
1 lb. venison, ground
1 tbsp. fat
15 oz. can whole kernel corn
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
       
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place cornmeal in a small bowl. Add water and mix. Allow to stand.

3. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the venison in the fat. When meat is thoroughly cooked, add the corn and onion. Cook 10 minutes.

4. Add the salt, egg, and cornmeal; stir well. Cook another 15 minutes.

5. Put in greased loaf pan and bake 30 to 45 minutes.

* This recipe is from Country Cookin', one of the cookbooks created at FamilyCookbookProject.com.
Jesse Jones Park Volunteers
Board Elections

Help elect the next Jesse Jones Park Volunteer Board and meet other volunteers during the Volunteer Appreciation Party on Monday, August 26, at 7 p.m.

The ballot includes the following candidates:

President: Gary Chapman
1 st Vice President: Mary Jo Chapman
2 nd Vice President: Cory Noble
Secretary: Anita Zeigler
Treasurer: Trudy LeDoux
Staff Update

By Darlene Conley
Jones Park Director

We welcomed new staff caretaker Baldwin Swayzer in July and bid farewell to Outreach Coordinator Anni Ranck and Volunteer Coordinator Kim Hammond in August. Also, we have thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated the help of our summer interns, Alana Ranck, Rebekah Rice, and Chandler Sanford. We wish all the best of luck and smooth trails ahead.
 
I’m saddened by the loss of Jones Park irrigator, Mike Mayfield, who passed away on Monday, June 3. Mike oversaw the park’s irrigation system, operated the pontoon boat, and always provided expertise for our sound equipment. He will be greatly missed by staff, volunteers, and park patrons. The JJPV is donating a memorial bench in his honor. Anyone who would like to contribute to the bench can make a donation to the JJPV, with a note labeled “Mike’s bench.”
Volunteers in Action
President's Message: An Interview with Steve Hostetler

Steve Hostetler, the president of the Jesse Jones Park Volunteers Board, will step down from the board in August after more than a decade of service. Although Hostetler has served six years as president and four years as 1 st vice president, he’s best known as the “concessions guy.”

Thank you, Steve, for all your service! You will be missed.

Volunteer Spotlight:
Meet Second Sunday Pickers' Bill Hunn

Few scenarios test the skills of a musician like a public jam session. Unlike reading music, jam sessions require players to improvise while keeping time and tune with others. When players work well together, the experience can be transcendent.

Bill Hunn has spent nearly 30 years leading public jam sessions at Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center. In that time, he's met both novice and expert musicians looking to refine their skills.

Thank You, Donors!

Thank you, donors , for the many ways you support Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center!

Because of you, Jones Park remains one of Harris County’s top recreational facilities.

This 312-acre park along Spring Creek continues to be a place where individuals and families can picnic, hike and bike along paved trails, paddle along the creek, fish, and participate in free programs and festivals.

With your continued support and generosity, Jones Park will remain a favorite destination for discovering nature and wildlife.
Volunteer Appreciation Party

Jones Park staff would like to thank our Jesse Jones Park Volunteers for their time and talent with a celebration at the 2019 JJPV Appreciation Party on  Monday, August 26, at 7 p.m.

Your efforts to support the park and its programs not only benefit wildlife and the environment but also children and the community.

Please bring a favorite side dish or dessert to share. To RSVP, call 281-446-8588 or email jjp@hcp4.net.
Volunteer Opportunities

Jesse Jones Park Volunteers (JJPV) needed! Join the JJPV team to help deliver great events to the community, such as Second Saturday Settlers, Tricks & Treats Among the Trees, and Pioneer Day

Whether you enjoy history, nature, or educating others, there’s a volunteer opportunity for you! No previous experience is necessary.

To sign up or view upcoming volunteer opportunities, click here .
Save the Date

Volunteer Appreciation Party
Monday, Aug. 26, at 7 p.m.

Conservation Connections
Every Wednesday (beginning Sept. 4), from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Pioneer Vegetable Gardening
Saturday, Sept. 7, from 9 a.m. to noon.

Native American Heritage Day
Saturday, Sept. 14, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

HCFCU Fun Fair
Saturday, Sept. 21, from 7 a.m. to noon.

Invasives Beware!
Saturdays, Sept. 21, Oct. 19, and Nov. 25, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Settlers Store Craft Day
Saturday, Sept. 28, at 9 a.m.

JJPV Monthly Program & Meeting
Mondays, Sept. 30, Oct. 28, Nov. 25, and Dec. 16, at 7 p.m.

Volunteer Meet & Greet
Saturday, Oct. 12, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Second Saturday Settlers
Spinning & Weaving : Saturday, Oct. 12, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Homestead Holiday : Saturday, Dec. 14, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Tricks & Treats Among the Trees
Saturday, Oct. 26, from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Pioneer Day
Saturday, Nov. 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Plant Texas Natives
Saturday, Nov. 16, at 9 a.m.

An Old-Fashioned Christmas
Saturday, Dec. 7, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Message From Commissioner R. Jack Cagle

Thank you for reading this edition of Cypress Log. As a county commissioner, I work to provide you with outdoor recreational opportunities throughout our parks system and along our nature trails. When people work together to protect our parks, everyone benefits through additional recreational opportunities, flood protection, and the preservation of wildlife and greenspace. I encourage everyone to get out and enjoy these beautiful and beneficial amenities!

Sincerely,

Commissioner R. Jack Cagle
Harris County Precinct 4

Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center
20634 Kenswick Drive in Humble
Phone: 281-446-8588