Winter 2011 Newsletter

Happy Holidays!

First a reminder that membership renewal is due in January. If you renewed after September, 2011 your membership is good until 2013. For the rest of us it's renewal time in January. This year you have the option of renewing by sending in a check or renewing online using PayPal. The levels of membership are: Individual - $25; Family - $30; Senior - $15; Contributing - $50. FOFWP is a non-profit charitable organization, and all contributions are taxdeductible.

The address is: FoFWP, 21395 Milsa Drive, San Antonio, TX 78256-9610. And thank you for your continued support of FOFWP!

As the year draws to a close I think it fitting to give you an update on the activities of your Friends group as well as updates on what is happening in the natural areas.

Zoning -- Those of you who visit the park on a regular basis are aware of the building going on at the corner of IH 10 and Oak. It will be a car dealership. We negotiated an agreement to mitigate the development's impact on FP, including restrictions on traffic ingress/egress on Oak, as well as limits on outdoor speakers, intrusive lighting, and non-native plantings. It was on this case also that we made our position clear that we would oppose any future attempts to gain commercial zoning on Oak Drive.

Building of new pavilion at entry to Park trails--The presentation by Rialto passed its first review. The pavilion has been modified to a manufactured structure that is more in keeping with existing structures. A small kiosk, similar to the one at Crownridge, has been added to the plan. Marek-Hill Design is under contract to develop interpretive signage (with staff assistance) for the pavilion and map board for the kiosk. Marek-Hill designed the interpretive signage along the new San Antonio Museum Reach. We are looking forward to construction beginning in December and for a completion date by March 1, 2012.

Education – The Friends Group managed the Brackenridge Grant which provided nature field trips for 800 economically disadvantaged first and second grade children from four schools in Harlandale, Northside and Judson ISD's. The children were transported by bus to Eisenhower Park, one of the natural areas supported by the Friends group. They were given a pre-tour direct teaching experience from trained naturalists including hands-on, manipulative kits related to trees or mammals. Following the pre-tour the children were taken on a nature hike through rocky canyons, savannah, woodlands, and creek beds.

In May FOFWP provided funding for bus transportation to Eisenhower Park for a field trip for economically disadvantaged kindergarten children from Michael Elementary in the NISD. For two years, Natural Areas staff and volunteers travel several times to Michael elementary to do outreach programs for each child in school. The first and second grades were able to have field trips with the Brackenridge grant funds.

Throughout the year Peggy Spring, the education specialist, conducts mid-week morning and afternoon classes for home schoolers. We have assisted her by handling the financial aspects of her programming.

During the course of the year [Oct. 1, 2010 – Sept. 30, 2011] 3349 youth and 1522 adults were impacted by education programs sponsored by San Antonio Parks & Recreation. The Friends group played an integral part in these programs by providing funding for hands-on activities and take home projects.

Other Activities Sponsored by the Friends
We helped to sponsor volunteer appreciation for the field guides in Peggy's education programs and in Jayne Neal and Wendy Leonard's research programs.

We provided some of the funding to allow Natural Area staff, Wendy, Jayne, Eric Lautzenheiser (Natural Areas Supervisor) and Gail Gallegos (Hardberger Park) to travel to Killeen for the Texas Society for Ecological Restoration meeting.

At the Texas Association of Environmental Educators meeting Peggy Spring received the Outstanding Environmental Educator Award for her phenomenal educational programming. FOFWP funds helped her attend the meeting.

What's been happening in the Natural Areas -- (these include our oversight areas of Friedrich, Eisenhower, Crownridge Canyon, Rancho Diana, and Woodland Hills) This was a brutal summer for plants, people and animals. Because of the drought, the landscaping in the natural areas required constant hand watering. Sixty to eighty-year old trees died. There was evidence of significant erosion. We need to recognize Lottie Milsap's dedicated work in the Naturescape in the picnic area at Friedrich. This year in particular, she and her fellow workers are responsible for saving many of the plants and trees from the extreme drought and heat.

Park staff & volunteers spent a lot of time removing invasive species in all the natural areas. Jayne Neal and Wendy Leonard carried on golden-cheeked warbler and black-capped vireo (both endangered species) studies as well as studies on the rare bracted twistflower. Staff installed a temporary horizontal cedar log fence in the area between the parking lot and trail entry sidewalk to discourage foot traffic through the landscape until construction begins on the new entrance system at Friedrich

Several Boy Scouts chose to do their Eagle projects at Friedrich and Eisenhower Parks. They placed standardized trail way-finding signage on the upper trails of Friedrich like those on the lower trails. Identical signage was also placed at Eisenhower. Another Scout project renovated the short bridge leading to the seating area on Forest Range Trail with new paint and wood.

We members of your Board cannot stress enough how important your membership in the Friends of Friedrich Wilderness Park is. Without concerned stewards like you, who both use and support the Parks and their staff, we would not have the wonderful natural areas that we do.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you

Denise Schneider


FoFWP is a non-profit, charitable organization, and all contributions are tax-deductible.