It was a great and happy time at the 47th annual Big Thicket Day
that was put on by the Big Thicket Association on October 8th. There
was a report by the National Park Service about the operation of Big
Thicket National Preserve (BTNP). Wendy Ledbetter gave a great
presentation about the All-Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (called the
Thicket of Diversity – in other words count all the critters and plants
in the Big Thicket). The continuous slide show impressed me and showed
the myriads of critters and happy people which can be found in the Big
Dr. Carl Knight of Eastfield College gave a delightful presentation
about Project Pathways. This $1.8 million grant from the National
Science Foundation not only introduced students to the Big Thicket but
demonstrated that no matter where you come from people respond to
Nature which teaches science and math better than any classroom. Dr.
Knight’s presentation kept the audience in stitches while providing
hope that we can get folks back into the outdoors so that they fall in
love with Nature like we have.
Then Pete Gunter made a short speech about the long awaited “The Big
Thicket Guidebook” that Lorraine Bonney worked on for 40 years.
Lorraine, unfortunately, was still hiding in Wyoming but her spirit of
irascible playfulness was in attendance, front and center. We were
urged to “buy, buy, buy” and I was taken in by this consumerist tide
and after a few minutes cradled four copies of the 800 page tome. This
book is to die for and will give you more adventure stories, history,
science, and travelogues than any book I know. If you want one book on
the Big Thicket this is the one for you!
Lunch was great with pasta and delicious deserts as well as a green
salad for the more health conscious. Good conversation was had by all.
An old timey country group serenaded us as we ate.
But the best part of the day for me, other than buying all those
books (great Christmas presents) was meeting Carol and Robert and
taking them to see the Lance Rosier home site in the Lance Rosier Unit
of BTNP. We drove down that long, lonely, beautiful green road and
finally came to the home site. The only indication of the home site is
the presence of a 150 year old Live Oak that was planted when the
Rosier family moved to the Big Thicket in the 1860’s. The diameter of
this tree must be about 5-6 feet in width and to say it is huggable and
at the same time majestic is an understatement.
After our visit to the Rosier home site we attempted to go to Teel
Cemetery. I say attempted because we met some folks whose vehicles were
in front of and behind a large tree that had fallen across the road.
They were chopping with small hatchets and had already called for help.
Made me glad we had not decided to go to the Teel Cemetery first. You
just never know what will happen in the Big Thicket! On the way home it
started to rain and continued raining during the evening. Who says
Mother Nature does not have a sense of humor.
All in all Big Thicket Day was great fun and I certainly look
forward to the next one. Buy those books and get out into the Big
Thicket. You will be glad you did.