Winter 2019 | Volume 31, Issue I
Director's Report

By Darlene Conley Hostetler
Jones Park Director

We had a great year in 2018! More than 30,000 people participated in park and outreach programs, events, and tours. Big cheers to our volunteers who contributed 11,074 hours to these programs in 2018.

We also accomplished several major goals last year, including ongoing Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts and renovations of the Nature Center and maintenance building. Other 2018 project highlights include a new green parking lot, resurfaced Jones Bender Trail, and a new trail connecting the Jones Bender and the Judy Bell trails. The homestead projects included converting an existing building into the new homestead costume barn and rebuilding the root cellar. Both improvements greatly enhance the homestead and assist re-enactors in providing quality programs. 

This year is already off to a good start with Homestead Heritage Day on February 9. Although it was a blustery cold day, a full troop of re-enactors, demonstrators, and volunteers rallied to make the event special for 336 visitors. Thank you to each volunteer who pitched in to make this event a success. Each hour you spent helping visitors learn Texas history is worth 10 times the effort to us. 

Spring is one of my favorite times of year. Each season has special merits, but I especially enjoy watching the tree buds open, flowers begin to bloom, and bright green sprigs begin to show. Jones Park is a great place to watch the seasons change. See it up close at NatureFest on Saturday, March 2, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Or join in the fun and volunteer at the event. There are a variety of ways you can help. Better yet, give us a call!

Word of mouth is the best form of volunteer recruitment. Share your volunteer experiences at Jones Park with family, friends, and neighbors and invite them to the next JJPV meeting Monday, February 25, at 7 p.m. The guest speaker will be Outreach Coordinator Anni Ranck presenting Lore of the Land: Mythological Flora and Fauna.

Hope to see you in the park!
“There is not a sprig of grass
that shoots uninteresting to me.”
~ Thomas Jefferson
Trapping: A Short-term Solution

Raccoons, squirrels, opossums, bats, and snakes — they’re the animals homeowners love to hate.These adaptable species often invade homes in search of food and shelter. Left unchecked, they can cause thousands of dollars in damage.

Although wildlife relocation may seem like a humane option, the practice can be   costly, ineffective, and detrimental to animals. Frustrated homeowners often turn to pest-control companies for wildlife removal, only to discover their services are ineffective.

In most cases, relocated animals cannot adapt to their new surroundings, no matter how lush their new home appears. Species that stockpile large quantities of food, such as squirrels, are especially prone to starvation if moved too far away from their food source. 

Fortunately, there are better options.

Click here to learn how to protect your home from a wildlife invasion and what to do if you find wildlife in your home.

(Photo credit: Andrew Shirley, photo contest winner.)
World-Renowned Birder Visits Jones Park

By Matt Abermathy
Jones Park Assistance Director

Jones Park has always been a hot spot for birders, but it still amazes me how far people will travel for new birding experiences. Last month, I had the privilege of meeting world-renowned birder and retired diplomat Peter Kaestner , although I didn’t realize it at the time.

It turned out Kaestner visited the Nature Center with two other birders on January 19 to inquire about birding opportunities within the park. Kaestner recently flew in from Maryland and was heading to Ecuador on a bird-watching trip. Because his flight was delayed, he decided to pass the time birding at Jones Park. 

Kaestner is just one of many avid birders who visit the park. Anyone interested in learning more about this popular pastime is invited to bring binoculars and a field guide Saturday, March 2, at 7:45 a.m. for First Saturday Birding. Right now, you can catch glimpses of the beautifully colored purple finch at the park.

For more information, click here. 
Photo Contest: Be a Jones Park Nature Photographer

Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center is holding its annual photo contest with a couple of twists!

Now, anyone with a mobile device or tablet can be a nature photographer — no fancy equipment needed.

So dig up those hidden gems on your phone or tablet that were taken over the past year in Jones Park, and share your love of nature with the community.

Gain even more exposure when you compete for this year’s new People’s Choice Award, which will be chosen by the public and published online!

Learn how to participate by clicking here!
Mosaic Students Join Adopt-A-Trail Program

We’re proud to announce that Humble ISD’s Mosaic program is now officially a member of Jones Park’s Adopt-A-Trail Program!

Students in the Mosaic Program, which serves special-education students over 18, have committed one year to removing invasive species and clearing the area along the River Birch Trail.

With the removal of this dense vegetation, sunlight will be able to penetrate to the forest floor and allow native seedlings to sprout, creating a healthier, more diverse ecosystem at Jones Park. Thank you, Mosaic students! 

Scout Projects Shape Jones Park

By Matt Abermathy
Jones Park Assistance Director

Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center has always been proud to partner with both Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts on a variety of service projects and rank advancements.

In recent years, the demand for Eagle Scout and Gold Award projects has increased, along with an interest in promoting environmental conservation and expanding public access to nature. The staff at Jones Park strives to accommodate scouts with a variety of project ideas that appeal to their personal goals and interests.

Staff Update

By Darlene Conley
Jones Park Director

With a heavy heart, I share with you the passing of volunteer Beth Large. Beth and her husband, Richard Peters, officially became volunteers in May 2014, but had been helping with the Citizen Scientist invasive plant removal long before then. Beth had boundless energy in everything she did.

They both became the regular, happy faces behind the concession booth at all of Jones Park’s major events for the past four years — that means grilling approximately 6,000 hot dogs! No matter what, Beth always served customers with a smile and had the booth humming like a well-oiled machine. She will be greatly missed by Jones Park staff and volunteers. Our sympathies go out to Richard and family. 
Volunteers in Action
President's Message: Spring Cleaning

By Steve Hostetler
JJPV President

Today is a great day to begin spring cleaning — starting with your calendar! Choose the events that are important to you for your Jesse Jones Park Volunteer (JJPV) game plan.

For a productive year, make sure your calendar includes the following:
  • JJPV monthly meetings and Jones Park events you plan to attend.
  • Regular park programs or activities that you would like to attend.
  • At least one week set aside for summer camp or other summer programs.

Now is also the time to renew your commitment as a volunteer. We need more volunteers, board members, and volunteer captains to handle fundraising, media, photo wagon setup, and concessions. And, yes, we need volunteers like you to promote JJPV membership.

I hope and pray that you will do some spring cleaning of your schedule and discover where God wants or needs you to serve at His park! I pray for Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center and for the JJPV! 

God bless America and, yes, God bless Texas and Indiana! Amen!
Volunteer Spotlight: Trail Guides at Jones Park

If you could only keep one personal belonging, what would it be? That’s the question Mary Jo and Gary Chapman regularly ask Jones Park visitors. 

For the past few years, the couple has led groups of children and senior adults to the Redbud Hill Homestead to witness the lifestyles of early Texans. Their goal? To get children thinking like settlers.

“I set the scene,” said Mary Jo Chapman. “I tell them we’re traveling to the homestead in a covered wagon, and they can only choose one thing, and it can’t be electric."

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.
Support the Charity of Your Choice with AmazonSmile

Here’s something to smile about! The Jesse Jones Park Volunteers (JJPV) organization is now a charity you can support through the AmazonSmile Foundation! 

When you shop through AmazonSmile , .5 percent of the purchase price will be donated to the charitable organization of your choice.

Please choose JJPV as your charity and ask your friends and family to do the same.
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, NatureFest, and Spring Breakout.

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

JJPV Meeting
Monday, February 25, at 7 p.m. 

Tadpoles Club
Wednesdays in March and May at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.  

NatureFest
Saturday, March 2, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Spring BreakOut
Snakes of Harris County: Monday, March 11, at 10 a.m.
Junior Angler: Tuesday, March 12, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Texas Bound: Wednesday, March 13, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Junior Canoe Training: Thursday, March 14, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Canoe Spring Creek
Saturday, March 23, and Sunday, March 24, at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

BioBlitz
Saturday, April 6, at 8 a.m.

Earth Day Clean Up (Special Invasives Beware!)
Saturday, April 20, from 9 to 11 a.m.

Easter Games
Saturday, April 20, from 10 a.m. to noon

Family Fish Camp
Saturday, April 27, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Summer Nature Camp Registration
Saturday, May 4, at 8 a.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