Society for Ecological Restoration

Texas Chapter 


     Restoration Update                           January, 2017

In This Issue



Quick Links



Board of Directors 



Kelly Lyons


Vice President

Kate 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 

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
Message from Incoming Board President Kelly Lyons, Trinity University

Kelly Lyons, Trinity University
It was an honor to be elected president of the TXSER board. I am filling big shoes in succeeding Charlotte Reemts, who served two terms as president, as well as a long history of committed individuals. Ms. Reemts brought years of expertise in land management as TNC's Research and Monitoring Ecologist and dedication and organization to the board. I am very grateful for her example in leadership. 

In this position, I look forward to serving with many seasoned and new board members. A huge thanks to all of them, as well as to our Chapter Director, Gwen Thomas, for their willingness to serve the Society. 
For many years as a TXSER Board member I have championed dialogue across disciplines and vocations. I feel strongly that problem-solving is more effective when many perspectives are considered. This comes from a long-time interest in interdisciplinarity across the sciences and the humanities. I received a BA from American University in D.C. in International Relations with focus in Latin American affairs. I then completed a Masters and PhD at UC Davis, in Plant Ecological Physiology and Ecology, respectively. I was then fortunate to be funded as an NSF Post-doc and Fulbright Scholar to conduct research on invasive buffelgrass in Sonora, Mexico. This experience made me a good candidate to work in a small liberal arts institution, where my eclectic background is appreciated, and put to good use. Being hired as faculty at Trinity University allowed me to come home!
Buffelgrass (
Cenchrus ciliaris)

Returning to Texas, I discovered that our grasslands were in danger of being lost to invasive species and turned my attention to combining grassland restoration with invasive species management. It is here that I found my new research community in SER and TXSER.

The TXSER Board is dedicated to our yearly conference, which will continue to be held in central Texas and more remote locations in alternating years. It was clear from the lively discussions at our November 2016 TXSER conference that attendees appreciated a conference where practitioners, researchers, and students had the opportunity to interact. There was praise for our continued inclusion of many students, both undergraduate and graduate. Additionally, attendees expressed interest in engaging political leadership in the restoration dialogue and we will be discussing the latitude that the organization has in this regard.

One of the Board's goals for the foreseeable future is to increase sponsorship to make the budgeting process run more smoothly and enable us to underwrite more conference costs for students. My personal goal is to attract more young people to the field and chapter thereby building a more solid future for restoration in Texas.

I encourage members of TXSER to contact me with any questions, concerns, or ideas for making restoration more successful in Texas. You may reach me at We want to hear from you.

TXSER's New Year Resolution

In an effort to communicate with a broader audience, one of our two New Years Resolutions (the second will be announced soon) was to start tweeting.  Yes, TXSER has joined the twitosphere.  Our twitter handle is @SERTexas, so start using those # signs and link your restoration info to TXSER.

TXSER needs more tweeps who twitter as we wish to become one of the twitterati in the twitterverse communicating all things related to Texas restoration.
Follow us on Twitter
Tweet! Tweet!
Member Spotlight
Judy Walther planting cactus at the 
Texas A&M Kingsville Botanical Garden 
Photo credit:  ESC Colleague

Name:   Judy Walther 

City: Austin, Texas

Briefly describe your ongoing efforts/interest in ecological restoration.   I am President of Environmental Survey Consulting, a company of 26 employees that specializes in habitat restoration and native landscaping. Since 1984, we have been restoring and preserving small and large scale projects, including governmental, corporate and private sites. From parklands to wetlands, from rangelands to private yards, our goal is to establish as wide a bio-diversity as possible while creating resilient, sustainable habitat. I have a particular interest in creating interpretive materials for our projects, including brochures and signs for people of all ages. I enjoy leading workshops and classes on a variety of ecological topics. Educating the public is of great importance to me as a way of creating future stewards of the environment. 

What is the biggest challenge to the success of your work?   The biggest challenge is bringing the world of habitat restoration into the world of business. Sometimes a client's budget and goals restrict the scope of work, which can diminish the degree of restoration. This can be challenging. Producing a complete restoration is always our goal, but budget constraints can potentially hamper our work. At that point we have to use creative ways to do as good a job as possible, by at least putting as many ingredients into the site so nature can conceivably continue the restoration work on her own.

Briefly describe if, and how, climate change has affected your work.   There are three general ways climate change is affecting our work. First, we are noticing some plants are flowering at unusual times, which means the bell curve of their seeding time is changing. Since we do a fair amount of harvesting of wild native plant seeds, we have to pay closer attention to the most productive harvesting time for each species. 

Second, changes in blooming and growth times are affecting our maintenance schedule. Pruning and trimming times can be affected when some species are hanging on longer or flowering at odd times. Some plants might be ready for maintenance, while others are not. This might require our maintenance crew to visit a site more than once, which creates a budget issue.

Third, the increasing effect of climate change on pollinators is playing a role in our garden designs. We will continue to pay attention to how climate change is affecting the habitat range of central Texas species. While there haven't been huge changes, we are anticipating having to regularly adjust for these changes.

Describe your favorite outdoor activity. This is a hard question to answer, since I have more than one favorite outdoor activity. 

I love being by oceans, any ocean: Walking along a beach, listening to waves, watching shore birds, smelling the salt air. I grew up in the northeast, near the Atlantic Ocean, and spent time sailing, swimming and just enjoying the beach.

I also love deserts. Whenever possible, I visit Big Bend. The stillness of the air, the quiet, the arid smells, all are calming. Once I rode a camel into the Sahara and slept under the stars. I was in heaven.
Divine fruit - Texas Persimmon (Diospyros texana)  Photo credit:  Wild Edible Texas

And lastly, I love swamps: Hanging Spanish moss, murky waters, a close damp feeling, the jungle-like growth. Somehow it speaks to my reptilian brain. Hiking in a swamp, I feel like I'm at home again.

What is your favorite Texas plant and/or animal?   Again, how can I choose one? For this article, I'll choose the Texas spiny lizard (Sceloporus olivaceus). What I like about lizards is catching them, stroking their bellies, watching them relax and going into a trance.

For a favorite plant, I'll choose the fruit of a Texas persimmon ( Diospyros texana), which is so delicious. The etymology of "Diospyros" is from Greek words for divine fruit. I think it is truly fruit of the gods.

Restoration Certification, Field Day in West Texas    + Restoration Webinar

Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner Program  - The Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) is pleased to announce the world's first certification program for ecological restoration practitioners and practitioners-in-training.  Certification is intended to encourage a high professional standard for practitioners who are designing, implementing, overseeing, and monitoring restoration projects throughout the world.  The application window is open.  For more information, visit the SER website certification page - CERP.

Davis Mountain Preserve Field Tour & Volunteer Days 
March 24-25, 2017   

Note:  10 spots are reserved for TXSER members each day!

The Nature Conservancy has recently completed an ambitious tree thinning project at the Davis Mountains Preserve. The thinning treatments focused on canyons and riparian areas, because those sites had the highest tree density and were the most vulnerable to drought, insect outbreaks, and wildfire. Each day of the event will include hikes through treated areas to examine the results of the project, as well as tree planting conducted by the TAMU Forest Service. Attendees will also help to cut firewood for local food pantries, using trees cut down as part of the thinning program. The Friday and Saturday programs will be the same; you are welcome to attend one or both days. To attend, please respond to Charlotte Reemts ( by March 1, 2017.

What to bring: water, long pants and closed-toes shoes, work gloves, lunch.

Conditions: Hiking will be over rough, uneven terrain with some slopes. The volunteer project will require lifting and bending, but work will be structured to accommodate all experience levels. All equipment (other than work gloves) will be provided.

Cost: Free (but donations are always appreciated).

Tentative schedule:  (note that attendees will be divided into two groups)

9 am: Meet at McIvor Center. Introduction to the project and travel to field sites.

10 am - noon: Group 1-volunteer time; Group 2-hiking

Noon - 1 pm: Lunch (in the field)

1 pm - 3 pm: Group 1-hiking; Group 2-volunteer time

3 pm: Travel back to McIvor Center

4 pm: Depart

Restoration Webinar - January 26th
How Can We Improve the Quality and Reliability of Data Collected for Ecological Restoration Projects?  Click here for more information - Restoration Webinar

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





Charlotte Reemts & Katherine Crosthwaite

Please Take a Moment to Click on the Above Logos
& 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!