Connemara teams with community partners to bring back Bobwhites

Connemara BobwhiteSeveral years ago, the Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area (LLELA), under the direction of Dr. Ken Steigman, began releasing Northern Bobwhite quail in order to restore them to the LLELA nature area.  About the same time, the Connemara Conservancy Meadow Nature Preserve began to do the same thing, as Bobwhites had last been seen in the Meadow in 1999.

During the Summer of 2019, two pair of the released Bobwhites in the Meadow successfully hatched and raised chicks.  This was a major milestone accomplishment and led to a meeting between LLELA and Connemara last December to discuss various techniques, lessons learned and plans for the future.  One of the action items agreed to at the meeting was to jointly sponsor a Bobwhite restoration workshop as soon as possible in 2020 in order to interest other nature areas and localities in the possibility of restoring Bobwhites at their locations.

The Heard Museum agreed to host the workshop with attendees from the cities of Frisco, Plano, McKinney, Allen, the Ft. Worth Nature Center, the Blackland Prairie Raptor Center, the Heard Museum and Nature Center, various representatives from local Audubon chapters and the president of the East Texas Bobwhite Restoration chapter among other interested individuals attending the event on Jan 24, 2020.  Various presentations were made throughout the workshop with the idea of encouraging other organizations and individuals to get on the Bobwhite restoration bandwagon.

Bobwhites released at Connemara Nature PreserveIn early Spring of 2020, the City of Plano and the Blackland Prairie Raptor Center opted in for Bobwhite restoration and began close cooperation with Connemara. In April, 2020, Kristen and Mark Payne, long-time supporters of the Bobwhite restoration effort at the Meadow, delivered 215 four-week old chicks to the Meadow.  These chicks were fed a diet that included medication to take care of internal parasites and other diseases.

Of the 215 delivered, 205 survived thanks to the constant care provided by Steve Thier, a volunteer at the Meadow.  An agreement was reached with LLELA, the City of Plano, and the Raptor Center that each organization would take about 1/4 of the Bobwhites to be released at their locations. Prior to the release, volunteers at LLELA were able to take photos of two broods of chicks from Bobwhites released in 2019 at the LLELA Nature area providing proof that the release effort at LLELA was working.  The 2020 release process began with the City of Plano in early June, then with LLELA, and finished with the Raptor Center on June 27th.  In each case, Bobwhites were taken from the Meadow, placed in “holding pens” for a few days in order for them to get used to their new surroundings, and then released. The Meadow released their Bobwhites on the 29th of June.  The efforts at the Blackland Prairie Raptor Center a credit to Lorelei Sterlin, with Kym Hughs and Ann Fuller leading the way with the City of Plano.

A long-term goal of the restoration effort is for the Bobwhite populations at each location to begin reproducing on their own.  Another goal is to interest other cities, nature areas and private landowners in Bobwhite restoration so that this iconic ground nesting bird of Texas can return to its Blackland Prairie roots.  Each of the organizations involved in the Bobwhite restoration effort recognizes that this is a long-term effort, stretching over 5 years or more.  We hope by working together and sharing information/techniques that our success rate of the released Bobwhites producing and successfully raising new chicks will continue to increase. 

Bobwhites in Connemara MeadowAs Ken Steigman told the members of our Bobwhite restoration workshop, “prior year’s releases have revealed that these birds disperse much farther than many people realize.  In addition to sharing ideas and birds, another reason we are working together in an attempt to create a metapopulation of bobwhites in adjacent cities and towns are the many natural corridors that currently exist in this region, and more that can be created by habitat restoration.  

Bobwhites are short-lived birds.  When bad years occur due to drought or extreme winters (and they will), some local populations may be diminished below the minimum covey density for survival. It is our hope that surviving birds from these adjacent populations will repopulate habitats during the next breeding season utilizing these corridors.

For more information or to volunteer to join our Bobwhite restoration efforts, contact Connemara Board President and Meadow Manager Bob Mione at meadowmanager@connemaraconservancy.org or 214.534.1900.

Save The Date: NT Giving Day

North Texas Giving Day logo

Mark your calendar for Thursday, September 19. That’s the date of the annual North Texas Giving Day when your contribution to the Connemara Conservancy goes even further!

On September 19 your donation to Connemara will help us qualify for bonus funds and prizes from the Communities Foundation of Texas.

Schedule Your Gift In Advance

To make it even easier to show your support, you can schedule your gift in advance by visiting our page on NorthTexasGivingDay.org at any time beginning September 9.

We will have more information on how you can participate as we get closer, but for now be sure to mark you calendar for the morning of September 19 to “Get Up And Give.”

News from Connemara

Connemara newsletter logo

The latest issue of Landscape, our newsletter, includes a message from the President of the Connemara Board, information on the annual Earthfest celebration and news and updates on activities the Meadow.

CLICK HERE to read the latest issue.

Backyard Gnome takes a look at Connemara

the-backyard-gnome-logoWe love it when someone talks about Connemara and our mission.

The latest comes from The Backyard Gnome, where writer Tony McLellan takes a thoughtful look at our history as well as the work we are doing today.

[Read more…]

Thank You for your support on North Texas Giving Day!

THANK YOU! to everyone that donated to Connemara during  North Texas Giving Day.  It was our most successful North Texas Giving Day fundraiser ever!

Your support also helped us qualify for bonus funds from the Communities Foundation of Texas. More importantly, however, your contribution will play an important role in helping us expand our work with landowners, local governments and forward-thinking developers to preserve and protect critical acres of open space and provide conservation education programs throughout North Texas.
[Read more…]

Connemara reintroducing Bobwhite Quail to North Texas

Connemara Bobwhite quali

Photo courtesy Chris Jackson, DFW Urban Wildlife

Chris Jackson of DFW Urban Life recently wrote about Connemara’s efforts, spearheaded by Meadow manager Bob Mione, to reintroduce the Northern Bobwhite Quail to North Texas.

Once common throughout North Texas, the Bobwhites have all but disappeared. Now Bob is leading an effort at in the Connemara Meadow along with a few other organizations to bring the Bobwhites back to Collin County.

CLICK HERE to read Chris’ story the project.

Join our Adopt An Acre campaign to protect North Texas open space

As development continues to accelerate, open space plays a more important role in protection of our water supply.

At this time of giving, it is important to remember that one of the most important gifts we can leave for future generations is access to the beauty and wonders of nature. That’s why we hope that when you are making your end of year gifts you will include the Connemara Conservancy in your plans.

There is no doubt that the dramatic growth of North Texas over the past decade has put tremendous strain on our land and our natural resources. That’s why we are working hard with landowners, local governments and forward thinking developers to identify and protect open space throughout the area that will be important to ensuring that we are able to maintain our quality of life.

But there’s so much more to our land – and our work  – than just the acres on the ground, the sunsets, the hunting trips, the summers spent at the lakes and the wild places where imaginations can still roam free.

Conserving land provides many critical, long-lasting benefits. Protecting sensitive wetlands and the lands surrounding lakes, rivers and streams from development protects floodplains and keeps polluted runoff out of drinking water. Preventing more land from being covered in concrete ensures that more of the precious little water that falls has the ability to soak into the ground and our aquifers, replenishing our water supply and reducing the chance of serious flooding.

The need for conservation is growing

Connemara currently protects more than 6,000 acres of open space. In addition, we provide access to conservation education for thousands of students each year.

But our work is far from done. The demand for our services has never been greater.

That’s why we need your help.

Connemara relies on the generosity of people like you that believe in the importance of open space and conservation education.

Preserving our heritage

We invite you to read this year’s letter from Amy Williams Monier, who founded Connemara with her mother, Frances Williams, in the early 1980s.

Letter from co-founder Amy Monier Williams.

At the time, even though their farmland was surrounded by tens of thousands of acres of open space, they knew development was one its way and it was only a matter of time before their land would be surrounded by homes and shopping centers.

That day has arrived.

By establishing the Connemara Conservancy and setting aside 72 acres of their most pristine property as the Meadow Nature Preserve to be protected and enjoyed forever, however, they made sure that every generation to come would have access to the beautiful landscape that generations of their family had enjoyed.

Now we ask you to help us continue the important work by Amy and her mother over three decades ago by visiting our contribution page and making a gift to Connemara. As Frances was fond of saying: “Remember that even the most modest gift gives grace to the giver.”

Best wishes for a Happy Holiday season and a wonderful New Year.

Connemara Conservancy Board of Trustees.
Mark Yarbrough, president
Beverly Coghlan, vice president
Sherry Englande Brown, treasurer
Bob Mione, Meadow Steering Committee chair
Ross Obermeyer
Dr. Eileen Tollett
Jim Watkins
Scott White, secretary

Click Here To Make Your Gift To Connemara

 

Connemara launches campaign to protect Monarchs, bees and other pollinators

Connemara Meadow Monarch butterflyWith support of a grant from the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, Connemara has joined the nationwide effort to protect and restore habitats for the Monarch butterfly, American bumblebee and other pollinators critical to our way of life.

[Read more…]

An early Christmas present! Congress makes tax incentives for donated conservation easements PERMANENT!

The beauty of the Rockin’ K Ranch on full display.

In a strong bipartisan action, the Senate and House voted late last week on a broad, year-end tax deal that will make the enhanced tax incentive for donations of conservation easements permanent! [Read more…]

Connemara to protect 550 acres of the Rockin’ K Ranch in Navarro County

The beauty of the Rockin’ K Ranch on full display.

The beauty of the Rockin’ K Ranch on full display.

We are excited to announce that Connemara will provide protection for 550 acres of the Rockin’ K Ranch in Corsicana thanks to a recently signed conservation easement.

The easement will protect a portion of a large family cattle ranch in perpetuity. The land within the easement will also serve as a mitigation bank, protecting the flood plain of the Chambers Creek, which has been determined to be impaired by the state environmental protection agency.

“This area has potential to serve as an environmental training venue for wetlands education, waterfowl habitat and water quality work on polluted streams,” said Ray J. Kane, whose family owns the Rockin’ K Ranch.

Connemara Conservation Director R.J. Taylor explains that we will be able to enhance water quality entering the water way by using restored tributaries and wetlands.

The signing of the easement increases the amount of land protected by  Connemara to more than 6,000 acres as both fee land holdings and under conservation easements. This means that we have more than doubled the amount of land under our protection over the past five years.

The reason for this growth is simple. The explosive rate of development throughout Texas has dramatically increased interest in land conservation. Almost daily we are contacted by landowners, local governments and even forward-thinking developers about ways to protect important remaining parts of our landscape.

We are proud that for more than three decades the Connemara Conservancy has been at the forefront of land conservation and environmental education in North Texas. We look forward to making many more announcements such as this in the near future.

Connemara Conservancy Board President Marcus Yarbrough (left), Conservation Director RJ Taylor (Center) and landowner Ray Kane at the signing of an easement that moved Connemara over the 6,000 acre mark of conserved land in North Texas.

Connemara Conservancy Board President Marcus Yarbrough (left), Conservation Director RJ Taylor (Center) and landowner Ray Kane at the signing of an easement that moved Connemara over the 6,000 acre mark of conserved land in North Texas.

Site last updated September 18, 2020 @ 11:50 am