May 2022
Note from the Nature Center
Spring is in full swing! Nature enthusiasts will note that this is a time of transition. Colorful migrating birds are passing through the region, and resident species are building nests or incubating eggs. Reptiles have come out of hiding, with green anoles displaying their dewlaps and broad-headed skinks sunning in the morning light. Vibrant green leaves and fresh blossoms attract butterflies, bees, and other insects. Every day is different and full of possibilities.
If you want to learn more about spring birding, join us for bird walks at the preserve each Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. and the first Saturday of the month at 8 a.m. We will also offer a senior birding bus trip to those 50 and older on Friday, May 6. Travel with us to the coast in search of warblers, buntings, vireos, tanagers, flycatchers, and other species migrating north. Enjoy a unique opportunity to see endangered whooping cranes nesting on a private farm. Although this species typically only visits Texas in the winter, two pairs of cranes nested here for the first time in more than 100 years in 2021.

Our park is always improving. We now offer a monthly digital newsletter to help keep you informed about our news, events, and more. We hope you enjoy the new format.

Photos by Albert Holba and Sarah Kuzio
Test Your Knowledge!
There is only one bird whose entire breeding range is limited to Texas. It nests nowhere else on Earth!
Can you name that bird?
Painted bunting
Brown pelican
Golden-cheeked warbler
Scroll to the bottom for the answer!
A Closer Look at Nature

Thursday, May 5, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.

To register, contact Kleb Woods Nature Center at klebwoods@hcp4.net or call 281-357-5324.
Senior Birding Bus Trip - Spring Migrants on the Coast

Friday, May 6, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

To register, contact Kleb Woods Nature Center at klebwoods@hcp4.net or call 281-357-5324.
A Closer Look at History - We the People: The Constitution

Thursday, May 19, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

To register, contact Kleb Woods Nature Center at klebwoods@hcp4.net or call 281-357-5324.
Into the Woods
Nature's Perfect Predator
Sassafras is a tree native to East Texas and the eastern United States. It is unusual because its leaves come in three shapes: oval (unlobed), bilobed, or trilobed. Sassafras is also dioecious, meaning the trees are either male or female. When the trees bloom in spring, you can determine their sex by examining the flowers. While all sassafras flowers have six petals, the flowers of the male trees have nine stamens and females have six.
Every part of a sassafras plant is aromatic, and the roots were historically used to make traditional root beer. Filé powder, a key ingredient in Creole gumbo, is made from dried sassafras leaves. The twigs were even used to make toothbrushes. Imagine tasting root beer as you brush your teeth! Birds and small mammals eat the fruit, and white-tailed deer eat the bark and leaves. It’s also a host plant for spicebush swallowtail butterflies. If you’re lucky, you may find a caterpillar in a curled sassafras leaf at the preserve.

Photos by Kendra Kocab
Discussion Preview: Early Cypress History
From the Akokisa Indian tribes hunting the Katy Prairie to German immigrants farming the land, the Cypress area has a rich history. Join guest speaker Jim Sigmund on Thursday, May 12, 9 – 11 a.m. to discuss the early history of the Cypress area from 1831 to 1910. Learn how and why people settled in the area and what the arrival of E.F. Juergen meant for the community. 
Did You Know?
Answer to Your Knowledge Test
There is only one bird whose entire breeding range is limited to Texas. It nests nowhere else on Earth! Can you name that bird?
  • Painted bunting
  • Brown pelican
  • Golden-cheeked warbler
Golden-cheeked warblers are the only bird species whose entire breeding range lies within Texas. 

From March through June, they nest in the juniper-oak woodlands of the Texas Hill Country. When the breeding season ends, they migrate to southern Mexico and Central America for the winter. Golden-cheeked warblers have been endangered since 1990, mostly due to habitat loss, but conservation efforts have helped the birds rebound. They can now be found in several areas in Central Texas. Kleb Woods brought a senior birding bus trip to Pedernales Falls State Park in late March to view golden-cheeked warblers and other Hill Country inhabitants. These bus trips are a great way to learn from experts, meet fellow birdwatchers, and see some of the amazing bird species Texas offers!

Photo by Andy Jordan
Volunteer Spotlight
Mulch Madness!
Kleb Woods is mulched and ready for spring! Thank you to all our hardworking volunteers who mulched the vegetable garden, the trails, and the flower beds. If you would like to volunteer, join us on Tuesdays from 8 a.m. to noon or schedule a service project for your group by calling 281-357-5324.

Photo by Jim Pulliam left: Volunteers with the Church of Latter-day Saints mulch the vegetable garden.
Photo by Megan Ahlgren right: Students with the National Honor Society spread mulch along the trails.
Harris County Precinct 4
Commissioner R. Jack Cagle

Thank you for reading this monthly newsletter from the staff at Kleb Woods Nature Preserve & Center. I hope you learned something new about our services, activities, and programs.

As your county commissioner, I’m proud of the work your Precinct 4 staff and volunteers perform every day to improve access to greenspaces. We pledge to continue this service in the future. 

Please stay tuned for our next issue to learn more about Kleb Woods events, activities, and news!