Mason County News
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Texas Nature Project Sustainable Leadership Program
Wednesday, September 2, 2009 • Posted September 2, 2009

Texas Nature Project is proud to announce that H-E-B Environmental Affairs is once again sponsoring our Sustainable Leadership Program this Fall, with a generous grant that allows us to host 25 urban college students for each of eight, 6-hour workshops throughout the fall semester.

Our first program, on Saturday, September 12, will focus on “Food.” George and KK Brannies will host students at his Ranch to learn about how cattle ranching practices affect the cattle, the beef, the consumer, the land, grasses and water, in an integrated and interdependent cycle. This session is designed to dispel the too-common notion that burgers come from the drive-through window, so that as Texas youth enter their professional careers and begin their own families, they will make more informed decisions about how they live on a day-to-day basis. In the afternoon, Sheila Endres will help students use local Mesquite to grind flour for biscuits and make jelly. Each student will have some of the honey-sweet gold treasure to take home with them.

Texas Nature Project will be participating in the Fredericksburg Renewable Energy Roundup and Green Living Fair, Friday, September 25 to Sunday September 27, where students will provide experiential educational activities for the expected 9,000 visitors, exploring everything from identifying native Texas wildlife to sustainable building to nature safety. We hope to see many of our Mason neighbors in attendance at this terrific annual event. More information about the event can be found at

Students will learn about “Water” quality and quantity issues as well as river basin management, hydrology and ecology of the Colorado River watershed at the Llano River, under the guidance of LCRA’s Lisa Benton on Saturday, October 3. We are planning some service activities surrounding water care for that workshop as well as sharing the beauty and calm of the Llano with our urban Texas neighbors.

On Saturday, October 24, Mr. Wilburn Shearer will share his impressive collection of Texas “Artifacts” with students, so that they can begin to make the important connections between nature and culture. Students will learn how spear points and arrowheads were made, and will look for artifacts. No doubt, they will be most impressed with Mr. Shearer’s handmade muzzle loader and a demonstration of how to load and shoot it.

Ms. Sue Kaan, local nature painter, will spend Saturday, November 7 discussing “Art and Aesthetics” and how nature has inspired all of the arts from music to dance to painting and more. Students will be invited to try their hand at some painting with Mason’s famous iron ore painting rocks. More importantly, they will learn how sustaining the diversity and beauty of natural landscapes is essential for feeding the spirit as well as the body and mind.

The final workshop of the semester, Saturday, November 14, will address “Resource Management” in a broader way, including all aspects of sustainable living, no matter one’s background, profession, aspirations, and expertise. Preserving the health and harmony of Texas’ natural systems is in all of our interests, and cannot be left so some few “experts.” It’s not naive to think that we can change the world. The fact is, each of us is already changing the world by everything we think, say and do. The only question is whether we are changing it for the better. And the only way to know if our decisions and choices are making a positive difference or causing harm is with a broad understanding of the interrelatedness of all life on the planet.

Texas Nature Project’s Sustainable Leadership Programs are open to students from any post-secondary institution in Texas and any major, so that students can earn internship, experiential, and service-learning credit. There is currently no charge to students for participation. However, capacity is limited to 25, so RSVP’s are required. Email

If you would like to join H-E-B and Texas Nature Project in supporting Sustainable Leadership education for Texas youth, we would like to meet you! For more information, go to

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