Society for Ecological Restoration

Texas Chapter 


     Restoration Update                         April, 2017

In This Issue




Quick Links




Board of Directors 



Kelly Lyons


Vice President

Katherine Crosthwaite



Matthew McCaw



Colin Shackelford


North Texas Rep.

Michelle Villafranca


East Texas Rep.

William Forbes


South Texas Rep.

Forrest Smith


West Texas Rep.

Charlotte Reemts


Central Texas Rep.

Ingrid Karklins


S. Coastal Texas Rep.

Alejandro Fierro Cabo


N. Coastal Texas Rep.

Bradley Hoge


Chapter Director

Gwen Thomas





(972) 768-8067 


2017 Conference
Nov. 10-12, 2017
Univ. of North Texas
Denton, TX

Visit: for conference details.

Employment Opportunities 
& More
For up-to-date announcements of positions open in ecological restoration and environmental science,
visit our website at:
Job Postings

We also post a wide range of articles on ecological restoration issues as well as job and volunteer opportunities on our Facebook page at:
TXSER Facebook Page

South Rio Grande Valley
TXSER Newsflash 

TXSER Member, Suzanne Tuttle, Nominated for the
Society of Ecological Restoration John Rieger Award

SER's John Rieger Award recognizes individuals or organizations that have dedicated their time and skills to the service of SER and to advancing the science and public understanding of restoration.  

We are thrilled about Suzanne's nomination for this prestigious award.  Suzanne was a founding member of Texas SER, serving on its Board in many different capacities.  She also served as Treasurer of SER's global Board of Directors.  

Suzanne worked for 20 years at the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge, first as Natural Resource Manager and later as its Director.  She implemented restoration projects in prairies, wetlands, riparian gallery forests, and Cross Timbers oak woodlands. Tuttle also oversaw the management of the Refuge's bison herd, worked on several prairie dog reintroductions on the Refuge, and co-developed the feral hog control program.  

Suzanne has promoted ecological restoration to the public and to land managers.   She has interacted personally with thousands of people at the Refuge and serves as a resource for park managers state-wide.  She has also facilitated and supervised numerous academic research projects at the Refuge ranging from tree ring studies to fire effects and endemic plants.  

Suzanne is a co-founder of the Texas Master Naturalist Program, now 46 Chapters strong.  She wrote some of the original curriculum used in the training of over 10,400 volunteers who provide over 3.2 million hours of service to protect and conserve the State's natural resources. The Program recently received Harvard University's  "Bright Ideas in American Government Award."  

Even in retirement, Suzanne is involved in TXSER, serves on the Board of the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute, and volunteers at her beloved Refuge.

The award recipient will be announced in August at SER's 2017 World Conference in Iguassu, Brazil.  There couldn't be a more worthy person for this award.  
TXSER Action Items

1.   H.B. 1009 - Legislation to Reclassify Prescribed Burning

Fire is a natural process and is important for the proper functioning of most Texas ecosystems. Prescribed burning is a powerful tool used by land managers to mimic the effects of natural fires. While prescribed burning draws upon many of the skills used in firefighting,  it is classified and regulated in Texas as a land management activity. 

H.B. 1009 would reclassify prescribed burning as a firefighting activity and make it illegal for any municipal employee who is not a full-time, permanent civil service employee of a fire department to participate in any wildland firefighting activity, including prescribed burning.

H.B. 1009 would hinder natural resource management by restricting and bureaucratizing prescribed burning and could ultimately be detrimental for public safety by ending collaborative relationships that facilitate wildland fire training for fire departments.

TXSER is closely monitoring this piece of legislation.  H.B. 1009 has been referred to the Calendars Committee.  This committee determines if the bill moves on to the Senate.

Committee Chairs are: Rep. Todd Hunter, Chair and Rep. Donna Howard, Vice-Chair.  Other committee members include:  Reps. Roberto Alonzo, Trent Ashby, Byron Cook, Sarah Davis, Charlie Geren, Helen Giddings, Kyle Kacal and Ken King.  

TXSER's Plan:  

1.  Call the Committee Representatives soon and follow up with a letter or email to express your concern about this bill.  If your representative is not on the committee, contact the Chair, Todd Hunter.  See the below link for talking points that you may use, amend, or, write your own.

2.  We are watching the bill and will notify interested folks if, and when, it moves to the Senate.   If you wish to receive updates on H.B. 1009, contact Gwen Thomas at to be put on the information list.

Please join TXSER in taking action on this important piece of legislation.


2.  H.B. 78 - Parks and Wildlife Dept. Funding
(Submitted by our colleagues at Audubon Texas)

Texas State Parks provide over 600,000 acres of natural habitat critical for birds, wildlife, and people.  In 2015, the Texas Legislature passed H.B. 158, a bill securing 94% of the Sporting Goods Sales Tax as a consistent source of funding for the future of our state and local parks.  However, an error in the legislation did not make this funding the permanent source it was envisioned as.  

Budget conferees for this year's Legislative Session have been named and are meeting to take a critical vote on H.B. 78 - a bill that would permanently dedicate the Sporting Goods Sales Tax to the parks and provide approximately $313.5 million to the parks over the next biennium.  Without this funding, the parks will face a shortfall of roughly $100 million.  

Now is the time to call on all House and Senate budget conferees to fully fund our state and local parks.

Restoration Read

How Small Is Too Small?  by Chris Helzer, The Prairie Ecologist Blog

Send your thoughts on this article to and we will get them into the next newsletter.
News You Can Use

1.  Texas Pollinator PowWow   - Great speaker line-up including Drs. Doug Tallamy and Merlin Tuttle, among others.  Nacogdoches, TX.  May 5-7.

2.   Wetland Planting Days - Calling all Houstonites!  Get your feet wet & your hands dirty helping plant wetlands with two former TXSER board members Mary Carol Edwards and Marissa Sipocz with the Texas Coastal Watershed Program.  There are several planting days to choose from in April & May.  Join the awesome M&M team (Mary & Marissa) and have some fun planting.

3.  Teaming with Wildlife:  True to Texas - Spring, 2017 Newsletter

4.  Environmental Legislation - For those of you searching for information on environmental legislation before the Texas Legislature, the Citizens' Environmental Coalition in Houston has put together an extensive list (although there are a few gaps like HB 1009 that we mentioned above).  Shout out to CEC Houston for pulling this helpful list together.

5.  Federal & State Listed Plants of Texas Website - New resource on TPWD's website.  

6.  Interagency Fuel Treatment Decision Support System - Interactive fuel tool up and running.  

7.  Coastal Resilience Mapping Tool - Online decision support tool to assess the effects of climate change and natural disasters.

 - Two sessions June in CA and August in NY.

A Heartfelt Thanks to the Following Organizations & Individuals for their Generous Support  of our
2016 Annual Conference - Linking Science & Practice!!





Charlotte Reemts & Katherine Crosthwaite

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& Check Out Our Sponsors' Websites.


The Society for Ecological Restoration, Texas Chapter promotes ecological restoration as a means of sustaining the diversity of life on Earth and

re-establishing an ecologically healthy relationship between nature and culture. 



 Become a member today!                            Click Here to Join Us! 


Join the Texas Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration.  Chapter members receive valuable benefits including:

  • the opportunity to network with restoration practitioners and enthusiasts;
  • discounts to our Annual Conference, an opportunity to share and learn;
  • invitations to attend talks, ER Discussion Groups, and volunteer workdays around the state; and,
  • monthly updates and quarterly newsletters with articles and notices about regional events that allow you to connect to the local restoration community.

Chapter membership fees of $15 support chapter administration.  The TXSER Board of Directors consists of volunteers who share a passion for furthering ecological restoration in Texas.


Joining SER links you with a global restoration network.  SER member benefits include:

  • SERNews bi-monthly newsletter;
  • discounts on journal publications;
  • discounts to SER World Conferences;
  • discounts on SER Career Center;
  • access to a searchable, online member directory;
  • access to SER's Global Restoration Network; and,
  • promotional opportunities through the SER Calendar of Events and Restoration Project Showcase.

To become a member visit:


Be sure to click the Texas Chapter as your Chapter Affiliate.  We look forward to having you join us!