Did you know that funds from the sale of fishing licenses in Texas support the management of the state’s aquatic resources? 100% of your hunting and fishing license fees go to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for on-the-ground conservation efforts; with more than 2.4 million licenses sold annually, that adds up to a lot of funding. Fish stocking, wildlife management, habitat restoration, land conservation, and Texas Game Wardens are just some of the initiatives those funds support.
So, if you’re looking for an easy way to help improve our waterways and wild lands, get a license and cast a line. Your contribution might help build an artificial reef off the coast or remove zebra mussels from your favorite lake. And when you do go fishing be sure to follow state regulations for fishing in public waters.
Thank you for your support of outdoor recreation and conservation in Texas and our community.
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Residents are encouraged to support pollinators by registering their garden or yard in the newest Village Challenge. The Plant for Pollinators Village Challenge aims to raise awareness about the importance of pollinators and how habitat creation can support pollinator populations. Many pollinators, including monarch butterflies, have seen a significant decline in the last few decades due to overuse of pesticides and herbicides and loss of habitat. Take action today to protect bees, butterflies, moths and many more pollinators.
Registered gardens provide the basic needs of pollinators, including food, shelter and water in a chemical free zone. The garden registration form highlights the many ways you can help pollinators, like offering nectar-producing plants for every season, leaving bare ground for burrowing insects and providing host plants so insects can lay eggs. The form is a great guide for those looking to start a pollinator garden offering many options including native plant lists, shelter ideas and water sources.
Registrations received from June 1, 2020 through December 1, 2020 will count towards the 2020 Plant for Pollinators Village Challenge. Each registration earns a point for your Village Association. Program sponsors, The Woodlands G.R.E.E.N. and Project PolliNation, will contribute scholarship money to the three Village Associations with the most points. When you register your garden, you will receive a Plant for Pollinators window cling in appreciation. Find the garden registration form at www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/plantforpollinators.
Check out these past articles to learn more about local pollinators:
“Snakes. Why does there have to be snakes?” Perhaps you’re one of the many who empathizes with Indiana Jones. In fact, ophidiophobia (fear of snakes) tops the list of phobias, right along with public speaking. Fear of wild animals is valid, but what Indie probably didn’t consider is that snakes don’t seek out humans to attack. A bite is most always a defensive reaction. Indiana Jones movies introduce venomous snakes from around the world. In The Woodlands, we have only three. The Southern Copperhead, Western Cottonmouth and Texas Coral Snake.
Let’s get acquainted
Like most snakes, these three species are shy and generally keep out of sight. They travel alone and prefer brush, rocks and woodpiles. Multiple snakes will share a den for winter hibernation, emerging in late February through early March. They are active during the day in spring and fall and at night during the summer to avoid the intense heat.
All snakes are strictly carnivorous. The type of prey varies by the species and may include mice, rats, frogs, birds, squirrels, rabbits, lizards, insects, eggs, snails, scorpions and smaller snakes. Aquatic species, like the cottonmouth, also eat fish, crustaceans and amphibians.
Snakes play an integral role in maintaining a balanced ecosystem by helping keep prey populations in check. For example, controlling the rodent population results in the reduction of common diseases like hantavirus, lymphocytic chorio-meningitis and salmonellosis.
Living with nature
14 of the 17 species of snakes commonly found in The Woodlands are nonvenomous. While a bite from any wild animal is possible and can cause injury, most wildlife is harmless when left alone. If you unexpectedly encounter a cold blooded neighbor, follow these best safety practices.
Preventing snake bites
Most snakes live on or near the ground. Most bites happen around the ankle and about 99% of all bites occur below the knee.
Wear protective clothing; fangs are sharp but break easily and almost never penetrate leather shoes or boots. Long-sleeved shirts and pants will help further reduce your risk.
Watch where you step, sit down and put your hands (never blindly into a hole).
Avoid stepping over a log without first seeing what is on the other side. If you must move a log, use a long stick or garden tool first, to ensure snakes are not near.
Use a flashlight when moving about at night.
Around the home
Keep the grass short, shrubs trimmed, and flowerbeds free from debris.
Limit wood and brush piles and keep them away from the residence.
Keep storage sheds and garages as neat as possible.
Treat overturned boats, plant pots, tarps and similar objects as potential shelter for snake
Snake encounters and recommended responses
Removal – who to contact
When removing wildlife from your private property, it is best to call a professional.
Keep in mind that living in a densely forested area means that you may encounter snakes at local parks, ponds and along trails. Follow the recommended responses above during an encounter and avoid handling any wildlife. Snakes are a valuable asset to the health of our forests and we don’t want to remove them from their natural home.
Now that you’ve read a little more about snakes, hopefully you appreciate the importance of having them around. We’re not suggesting you’re cured of your fears but maybe you’ve found a new respect for snakes and you will let them be when you see them. And on the rare occasion that you encounter a pit of asps on your world-wide adventures, go ahead and channel your inner professor of archaeology.
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Shopping from the comfort of your home in your PJs is easy. Deciphering what to do with all the packaging that comes with those fabulous purchases is the hard part. Check out these tips to learn how to dispose of online shopping waste wisely.
Looking for ways to reduce packaging from online purchases?
Try filling your cart throughout the week and combining purchases into one weekly delivery. Choose “Frustration-Free” Packaging to reduce extra boxes.
Consider shopping at stores that use thoughtful packaging materials. As this concept becomes more mainstream, the demand will increase and gain popularity!
Choose ground delivery to reduce air travel. This option can save you a bit of money and also reduces the carbon footprint of your package.
Shop at local businesses and bring your own bag or containers.
Check out these recycling tips from previous blogs:
More than 500 households took the pledge to turn off their sprinklers from October 15, 2019 through April 15, 2020. Each pledge earned their village a point and a chance to win a monetary donation towards their scholarship fund as part of the annual Water Wise Village Challenge.
Turning off your sprinklers during the winter not only conserves water, it creates healthier lawns in the spring. The most common turf grass in our area, St. Augustine, goes dormant during the cooler months to conserve energy and strengthen its roots. Rainfall alone provides all the water it needs during this period. In fact, too much water will weaken grass, making it more susceptible to disease and pests when spring rolls around.
Now put your hands together for the 2019-2020 Water Wise Village Challenge Winners:
First Place – Village of College Park
Second Place – Village of Creekside Park
Third Place – Village of Sterling Ridge
Congratulations to these villages, but remember, everyone who saved water is a winner!
If you missed out on this year’s village challenge, be sure to check back in August and make the pledge to turn off your sprinkler for winter 2020-2021. Visit www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/environment for more information on Water Conservation and the Water Wise Village Challenge.
Turning off your sprinkler is just one simple way to save water around the house. Check out these resources for more easy ways to save water at home.