Sunday, May 17, 2009

Selah, Family Picnic

Six years ago Board Members Anne Donovan and Maydelle Fason proposed that we begin holding an annual family picnic for young families and grandparents. The idea was to allow all ages to experience the ranch as a family.

On May 3rd, we held our 5th Annual Selah Family Picnic with some 200 plus attending. Here are some scenes contributed by Amanda Fulton, Helen Ballew, Kathy Wilson and Colleen Gardner. With so many people being here, I am not able to name them; but you can tell from these photos that the picnic was enjoyed by young and old.

This beautiful young girl appears eager to get involved.

What and where to do it.

Sallie Delahoussaye rehabilitates raptors, and often releases them here at Selah. She teaches about their value to the natural world.

Who can resist a kid goat?

Overcoming the fear of snakes.

Native Plant Sale. Most of these plants were raised by our biologist, Steven Fulton.

The kids made kites and now it’s time to fly them.

These birdhouses are made by students from J. J. Pickle Elementary and Metz Elementary of Austin, Johnson City Elementary, and Bonham Elementary of San Antonio Schools during their stay here last year. Each house contained a surprise gift.

Silent Auction. After all, the Picnic is our only fundraiser.

Tours were taken to other places of interest – dinosaur tracks, the chiroptorium (our man made bat cave), to Madrone Lake, and to see the endangered herd of African antelope, the scimitar horned oryx.

Our Bluebonnet is used for these tours.

With so many activities at Madrone Lake, this sign helped everyone decide which way to go.

This picnic is really for the kids, but we do need the parents. Aren’t we all kids, anyway?

With our volunteers and parents, the kids made their kites. Time for a test flight.

Well, they didn’t make this kite – a parent brought it.

At Madrone Lake, our volunteers, Susan Sander, Mary Kay Sexton, and Meg Inglis taught kids how to use binoculars and how to identify birds. We all start somewhere. Left to right: Meg Inglis' son, Meg Inglis, Mary Kay Sexton (back), Susan Sander (binoculars).

Young Sam Fason, a very accomplished birder and volunteer, is a very good role model for the young.

Fishing is always enjoyed. You can see the effects of this very serious drought. Madrone Lake has received no water since July of 2008.

Here the kids turned rocks and stones into critters.

All day long little kids were all over the ranch with this art.

Here wildflower seeds are rolled up in mud mixed with a little peat moss. The kids take them home to dry and next fall throw them out in a park or ranch or even their own backyard.

The kids and some parents painted the clay pots. They go home with the family. Maybe this is the beginning of a botanist?

Here’s the Selah staff (left to right) Steven Fulton, Ranch Biologist; Colleen Gardner, Executive Director; Scott Grote, Ranch Operations Manager; J. David Bamberger, founder; and Lois Sturm, Administrative Assistant. We regret that Justin Duke, Ranch Steward, is not in this photograph.

Music and entertainment was provided by Lucas Miller, “The Singing Zoologist” – He is such a hit with kids. His singing includes a trunk full of props that hold kids’ attention. You might call Lucas an environmental singer songwriter. I’m really sorry that we don’t have a photo with the dozens of kids listening. His website is:

Bexar Grotto of San Antonio, long time friends of Selah, supplied an unbelievable lunch. Here you see the preparation and below the service.

Thank you Bob Cowell and crew!

As the picnicers came off of tours or completed some activity, they gathered on the patio. Excitement and enthusiasm was everywhere. Be sure you come next year.

Native Treasures, a rock shop in Austin, provided table decorations with their outstanding collection of minerals, fossils, geodes and rocks. Their website is:

There are two absolutely wonderful types that make this picnic possible - our volunteers and our sponsors. As you look at the pictures, you’ll notice a lot of green t-shirts. All of these are volunteers. Once again, I’m sorry we don’t have pictures of all of them. I have said publicly that conservation and nature awareness will never be accomplished by the government with laws and regulation. No, it will be accomplished by those in our society that bring their knowledge, energy and time to projects like ours as volunteers.

Our sponsors play another role. They bring funding that supports not only this picnic, but all of our other programs. In economic times like today’s, it takes a strong commitment to continue supporting causes such as ours. I know very well how scarce funds are today, so their continued interest is a blessing.

1 comment:

cat said...

We had such a wonderful time that day! Thank you so much! And what a delight to see our daughter painting pots..haha! The girls had a wonderful time and we really appreciate you being there...thank you again..