Society for Ecological Restoration

Texas Chapter 


      Restoration Update                      November, 2016

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 


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 Welcomes Two New Members
to the Board of Directors

Matt McCaw joins us from the City of Austin, Water Quality Protection Lands to serve as Board Secretary.  Forrest Smith of South Texas Natives, Texas Native Seed Project at the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute at TAMU-Kingsville joins us as TXSER's South Texas Representative.  Welcome Matt and Forrest!!

The New Board of Directors is as follows:

President - Kelly Lyons, Trinity University, San Antonio

Vice President - Kate Crosthwaite, HDR, Inc., Spring

Secretary - Matt McCaw, City of Austin Water Quality Protection Lands, Austin

Treasurer - Colin Shackelford, Texas Native Seed Project, TAMU-Kingsville, Alpine

Central Texas Representative/Student Association Liaison - Ingrid Karklins, Environmental Survey Consulting, Inc., Austin

South Coastal Representative - Alejandro Fierro Cabo, University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley, Brownsville

North Coastal Representative - Bradley Hoge, University of Houston-Downtown, Houston

East Texas Representative - William Forbes, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches

North Texas Representative - Michelle Villafranca, Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge, Fort Worth

South Texas Representative - Forrest Smith, South Texas Natives, Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, TAMU-Kingsville

West Texas Representative - Charlotte Reemts, The Nature Conservancy, Austin


Chapter Director - Gwen Thomas, Richardson
For more information on TXSER, contact Gwen at

Member Spotlight
Chris Sheffield in his native environs.  Photo credit:  Joe Henry Sheffield

Name:  Chris Sheffield

City:  Wimberley, Texas

Affiliation:  Trails Coordinator, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department; and Geography Masters Candidate, Texas State University

Briefly describe your ongoing efforts/interest in ecological restoration.  Growing up on a farm in the Midwest certainly prepared me for a lifelong interest in ecology and restoration. Roaming the field edges as a child, I remember being fixated with the slow trickle of field tile drains and wondering how they changed the land. I even clogged one up once (without my father's permission), but I won't go into that further! After moving to Texas to work at Guadalupe Mountains National Park, I was lucky enough to land at the Texas Conservation Corps where I got to spend many years integrating hundreds of young adults to regional conservation projects. Now I work with Texas Parks and Wildlife designing trail projects across the state park system. Beyond efforts to design a more sustainable network of trails for the state, its exciting to have a hand in shaping how park users connect to the diverse natural environment that envelops every section of trail. And I try to incorporate at least a small restoration aspect into every trail project.

Bushy bluestem (Andropogon glomeratus) on the Frio River, Ugalde County, 2012.
Photo credit:  Jim Conrad, Naturalist Newsletter
Briefly describe if, and how, climate change has affected your work.  One of my academic interests is to understand the ways in which small to medium acreage rural residential landholders are shaping their land. The use and frequency of common land management actions like brush removal certainly have a dynamic rela ti onship with climate change. Landscape management in the aftermath of oak wilt, for instance, may have many of these landow ners favoring even more aggressive brush control strategies.

Describe your favorite outdoor activity.  Being on or near flowing water in any capacity!

What is your favorite Texas plant and/or animal?
 My two boys are frequently wandering out and about and I get a lot of "Hey, dad, come look!"... Every one of those wild things, often an insect or bird, is a quick new favorite. It's usually me that calls their attention to the plant world. Bushy bluestem ( Andropogon glomeratus ) in the morning light gets me every time!
2016 Post-Conference Update

Fun Fact:  The National Park Service Staff at Big Thicket National Preserve referred to the participants on the 2016 Conference Centennial Forest/Big Thicket Friday Field Trip as a "Planting Machine."  The group of 11 plus 3 NPS Rangers planted 1200 trees in 1.5 hours!!   Way to go TXSER Team!


Suzanne Tuttle Receives the
2016 Award for  Excellence in Ecological Restoration!

Suzanne Tuttle, (r) recently retired from the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge, pictured above with Kelly Lyons (l), TXSER's incoming Board President and Michelle Villafranca (c) TXSER's North Texas Representative.

Tribute to the Prairie Queen
By:  Michelle Villafranca, Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge

During the years that I have worked with Suzanne at the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge (FWNC&R), she has taught me much about the ecology of North Central Texas.  She has been the 'Prairie Queen' of not only the refuge, but also the region.  Suzanne however, is not limited to prairie only.  She spent years working as a Natural Resource Manager, a position which afforded opportunities to implement restoration projects throughout the diverse habitat found at the FWNC&R:  prairie, wetlands, riparian gallery forests, and Cross Timbers woodlands.  During Suzanne's twenty-year career with the FWNC&R, she planned & implemented numerous restoration projects on the 3,621 acre refuge.

A sampling of projects she worked on includes using volunteers to collect and propagate native seed, salvaging native plants from construction sites, clearing invasive species such as privet and arundo, and outplanting native propagules to the site.  She was a hands-on practitioner who used heavy equipment to get the job done.  Suzanne knows how to operate 4x4 vehicles, ATV, skid steer, farm tractor, chainsaw and other equipment that is required to restore a site.  She also maintained a pesticide license and always ensured the proper application of chemicals.

Suzanne is not only proficient in native plants and their restoration, she also has much experience in wildlife management.  As Natural Resource Manager, she managed the Refuge's bison herd.  This is no small task when you consider working with bison in a handling system when the vet visits!  Her responsibility was to maintain the health of the herd, while using them as a tool for land management, conservation of bison genetics, and as an education/outreach resource.  Suzanne also co-developed the feral hog control program at the FWNC&R.  This required much time in the field scouting for hogs, learning their behavior, developing trapping protocol, and dispatching this invasive species. She also worked on several prairie dog reintroductions to the refuge which entailed coordinating the release of rescued prairie dogs from a West Texas site and monitoring the colony's establishment.

Suzanne honed her expertise on prairies by restoring several prairie and savanna sites through the removal of non-native invasive species and the application of fire.  She wrote and implemented prescribed burn plans with the goal of managing woody species invasion into prairie sites as well as timing the burns to avoid detriment to birds and pollinators.
Suzanne in her native habitat.

Suzanne has been generous in her skills and knowledge by broadening beyond the FWNC&R borders to help facilitate the protection and management of other parks in Fort Worth.

Beyond being a restoration practitioner and natural resource manager, Suzanne facilitated and oversaw numerous academic research projects at FWNC&R during her career:  ancient Cross Timbers tree ring study, fire effects on Johnsongrass, Comanche harvester ants, wetland demonstration project, soil crusts, fire/soil interactions, community structure of small mammals, endemic plants of North Central Texas, and much more.

Suzanne has taken her wealth of knowledge of the diverse ecosystems in North Central Texas, along with her years of experience in restoration, and has shared them with the larger community.  She helped co-found the Texas Master Naturalist program and wrote some of the original curriculum.

Over the years, Suzanne has interacted with thousands of people by providing programming to Master Naturalists and other groups including volunteers, visitors, and staff.  She is the keeper of the history (including geologic, prehistoric, and recent) of the FWNC&R and has generously shared stories to preserve the connection between the early days of the Refuge up to the present.

During Suzanne's tenure as the FWNC&R Manager, she moved forward on large capital-improvement projects including construction of the boardwalk and Cross Timbers levee. These are no small tasks as they require many meetings, construction knowledge, contract management and working with diverse interest groups for funding and support.  Suzanne has been the public face of the Refuge and has represented us well in all venues.

Suzanne will be missed at the FWNC&R, but we know that she will continue her service to the field of conservation by remaining active and taking a leadership role in many worthy groups. We also know that we can count of Suzanne for advice and help at the Refuge, as well as at Texas SER in the future.


Best Graduate & Undergraduate Student Presentations & Posters

Olivia Kost (l)
with Angela England (r)
Lela Culpepper
Olivia Kost (left), Dept. of Natural Resource Mgmt., Texas Tech University, Lubbock, takes home 2016 Best Graduate Student Presentation Award for her research presentation "Avian Community Response to Brush Management Efforts on the Welder Wildlife Refuge."

Lela Culpepper (right), Dept. of Ecosystem & Science Mgmt., TAMU, College Station, takes home the 2016 Best Undergraduate Student Presentation Award for her research presentation "Variation in Pollinator Abundance & Behavior During the Flowering Season of a Federally Threatened Thistle  Cirsium pitcheri
(Pitcher's Thistle): Implications for a Warming Future."

Savannah Bryson, C. Eric Johnson & Abigail Kropf (l-r)
with Brad Hoge (r)

Savannah Bryson, C. Eric Johnson & Abigail Kropf (left) , Program in Environmental Management and Sustainability, St. Edward's University, Austin win the 2016 Best Graduate Student Poster Award for their poster presentation of their research "An Assessment of Mechanical Removal Methods of Privet (Ligustrum japonicum & Ligustrum sinense) at Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve."

Samantha Sauceda (l)
with Charlotte Reemts (r)

Samantha Sauceda (right), Department of Biology, Texas A&M University, San Antonio wins the 2016 Best Undergraduate Student Poster Award for her poster presentation of her research "Preliminary Study to Assess the Growth of Sideoats Grama (Bouteloua curtipendula) with Soil Inoculum When Grown Together With Bermuda Grass (Cynodon dactylon).

With record number of student participants this year presenting interesting and relevant research and practical experience, the competition for the awards was stiff.  Many congratulations to all those who participated.  We hope to see you again at future conferences.  


Conference presentations and photos will be posted on the TXSER website in the next couple of weeks.  

A Heartfelt Thanks to the Following Organizations & Individuals for their Generous Support  of our
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!