Summer in The Thicket Teaches Many Things

On a steamy Friday morning 6 fearless teens and a  retired English teacher joined  Texas Master Naturalist John Thaxter for a guided nature walk in the Frontera Thicket.  Preparations involved filling the gift shop’s water bottles and  applying a hefty spray of bug juice.  The teens are Frontera’s summer interns, a small but hard working group afforded us by Texas Workforce Solutions and a government grant that was awarded for summer employment of  youth aged 16 thru 24. The retired teacher is our administrative assistant, Chris, who is supposed to spend about 20 hours a week at Frontera, but with a combination of paid time and volunteer hours manages to spend over 40 hrs. managing the Visitors’ Center, overseeing accounts payable, and pitching in where necessary.

Asked to list one important lesson each learned in the Thicket with John on Friday, the group posts the following:

  • Corona de la Reyna (corona vine or coral vine) grows rampant in Mexico (and here at Frontera) although it is originally from the West Indies; it’s pink.
  • Cardinals can be very aggressive.
  • Mistletoe only grows on mesquite trees and doesn’t harm the tree.
  • In general, birds have no sense of smell.
  • Hummingbirds are attracted to bright color, especially red.
  • The Sabal palm is the only native palm tree to the RGV…and (great news) it has no spikes.

The interns are at Frontera everyday but Sunday working on the trails, pruning the butterfly gardens, and spreading mulch.  Chris is usually in the Visitors’ Center.  And, the action is always in the Thicket.  Come take a walk with nature (and John Thaxter) on Friday mornings.


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