SAN ANTONIO, TX—Walk Across Texas®, an official Fiesta event at the San Antonio Botanical Garden, will be held on Saturday, April 17, 8 a.m. - noon. In addition to special Fiesta activities, the Garden’s brand new Bird Watch will make its debut to the public that day. Just in time for spring planting, gardeners will want to get there early for theSpring Plant Sale on the same weekend, Saturday-Sunday, April 17-18.
The annual Walk Across Texas® event literally gives visitors a “walk across Texas” right in the heart of San Antonio. The loop trail system of the Texas Native Trail winds through an 11-acre native area of the Botanical Garden allowing guests to experience the diverse ecosystems of the Hill Country, East Texas Piney Woods and South Texas Plains. Visitors will be treated to Pioneer biscuits and gravy, compliments of sponsor C.H. Guenther & Son, near the Auld House along the Hill Country Trail.
Walk Across Texas activities will highlight the native birds and plants.
· Beginner’s Birdwalk at 9:00 a.m.
· Native Plants for Birds tour at 10:00 a.m.
· Herb Walk at 11:00 a.m. (which ties into the Big Read initiative)*
· Master Naturalist demonstration of the White-winged Dove banding summer project of the Parks & Recreation Department
· The San Antonio Audubon Society and Bexar Audubon will display information on the popular hobby of birding and a “banding” activity for kids. Volunteers from these groups will be on hand in the new Bird Watch to share their love of birding.
· A folklorist from theInstitute of Texan Cultures will present "Curanderismo: Traditional Folk Healing" at 11:00 a.m.
· The Herb Society, Daylily Society and the Garden Volunteers of South Texas will offer expert advice and plant sales in theFountainPlaza area.
· The Sierra Club will show visitors great hikes in the area and describe what it is like to “Leave No Trace” when in natural environments.
· Displays on ethnobotany show the medicinal and other usage of plants in our daily life.
· Volunteer docents will stroll the Garden sharing their educational Discovery Wagons with families.
· Children’s activities include a bird migration game to follow along the Texas Native Trail, pioneer-type toys and “touch boxes” filled with animal skins, feathers and more.
· Music for the morning (9 – 11:00 a.m.) will be provided by the River Pickers on their dulcimers. A dulcimer is a simple wooden instrument and considered to be America's oldest folk instrument and a truly authentic American creation.
Bird Watch Opens For Public Viewing
Because of its location on the Central Flyway migratory route, Texas is home to over 600 bird species and San Antonio is positioned as the gateway to birding in South Texas. The San AntonioBotanical Garden now has a Bird Watch for visitors to enjoy up close and personal encounters with migrating and resident birds. This new feature opens on April 17 to offer the public a bird’s eye of view migration in action.
Over 160 species have been sighted at the Garden. (A list can be found on the Garden’s web site www.sabot.org.) The Bird Watch was positioned in the South Texas Plains section of the Texas Native Trail, an area long frequented by birds as a natural stopping point on their trek northeast from Mexico.
Garden horticulturists considered all seasons and carefully planned theSouth Texas plantings around the Bird Watch to attract a variety of birds. For example, as the plantings mature, Maximilian Sunflowers and Salvia will attract the lesser Goldfinches in summer. In wintertime, berry-producing selections include the Barbados Cherry, Turk’s Cap, Possumhaw, and Yaupon Holly. The yellow puff ball bloom of numerous Huisache heralds the start of spring. Birds find this “stinky tree covered with bugs” to be a real temptation. Other plantings include the Texas Ebony, a favorite of the Long-billed Thrasher, and the endangered Vasey’s Adelia.
The Bird Watch is constructed of wood and large panels of glass. Near the structure sits a rain-collecting cistern. Water drips down into a shallow trough located in front of the viewing area, attracting birds looking for a long cool sip or a refreshing splash.
The Bird Watch was built in honor of John C. Holmgreen and donated by Bill, Bob, and Elizabeth Lende. The Botanical Garden also wishes to extend appreciation to the Myra Stafford Pryor Charitable Trust – Frost Bank; the City of San Antonio; and Graham Martin, AIA, Architect.
Birds that nest in the Garden and plants growing near the Bird Watch are noted on the list that follows.
Spring Plant Sale
Hundreds of spring plants expertly cultivated by the San Antonio Botanical Society Plant Team of Volunteers will be on sale Saturday, April 17, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. and Sunday, April 18, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Regional and watersaver plants will be featured. (Botanical Society members are invited for a sale preview on Friday evening.
Anne Marie’s Carriage House Bistro
Open for brunch on the weekends from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., the Bistro serves a full menu plus breakfast favorites. During the week, the Bistro is open Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. With its lovely outdoor seating, the Bistro is also a spectacular place for spring events like wedding showers and Mother’s Day family gatherings. Call 826-5800 for more information.
Garden Gate Gift Shop
Currently filled with a variety of new spring items, the Gift Shop is featuring a Walk Across Texas® Fiesta medal designed by artist Lyn Belisle. Fiesta pins are sold for $6; Fiesta medals are $8. The shop is open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The Botanical Garden is located at 555 Funston at North New Braunfels Avenue and is operated under the auspices of the City of San Antonio Department of Parks & Recreation. The Garden is open from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. year-round except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. For more information, the public can call 210-207-3250 or visit www.sabot.org.
*The Herb Walk ties in with the Big Read initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with theInstitute of Museum and Library Services and Arts Midwest. The book chosen for 2010 is Bless Me Ultima written by Rudolfo Anaya. In the story, a young boy is greatly influenced by a curandera, a traditional healer who uses her knowledge of medicinal plants to aid the community. The Botanical Garden is proud to work with the San Antonio Public Library to offer two herb walks in April as part of its full month of educational and entertaining events in support of the Big Read.
Birds that nest in the native area during breeding season:
Mealy Blue Sage
Inland sea oats