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Houston Regional Group - News
Big Thicket Day Brings Smiles and Rain!
Brandt Mannchen

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 Thicket.

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.

November 2011

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Last updated:  11/21/2011.   Content 1999-2011 by the Sierra Club.