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EVENTS 

Artist: Chris Vest

Hello! We're glad you're here! 

To Sign-up, select your preferred event below and click "Register".

Please note: Events are popular and fill quickly! If an event is full, we encourage you to add yourself to the waitlist.

Traveling from out of town? Or want to plan a local staycation? Friends of Balcones event attendees are eligible for 10% off at the Mustard Seed Bed and Breakfast in Llano, Texas. Promo code: BALCONESVIP



Upcoming

    • Monday, February 05, 2024
    • 8:30 AM
    • Monday, December 30, 2024
    • 11:30 AM
    • Various Trailheads
    Register

    Volunteer on the Trails!

    If you love hiking the trails, here's a chance to roll up your sleeves and make a difference.  Trail workdays are scheduled from 8:30am-11:30am on the 2nd Saturday of each month, rotating among the trails. Come join this fun and energetic group of dedicated trail volunteers. 

    Please contact Ryan Beach at trails@friendsofbalcones.org if you are interested in participating and would like additional information. 

    Listed below are the monthly trail maintenance workdays at Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge scheduled for 2024.  (Dates  in the summer months are at Warbler Vista where we have lots of shade!)

     13 January  11 May   14 September
     10 February  8 June  12 October
     9 March  13 July  9 November
     13 April  10 August  14 December

    The team is always pleased to welcome new volunteers! Please join us! 

    Questions? Contact trails@friendsofbalcones.org

    Thank you!

    • Tuesday, February 13, 2024
    • 9:00 AM
    • Monday, December 02, 2024
    • 11:00 AM
    • Refuge Headquarters: 24518 E FM1431, Marble Falls, TX 78654
    Register

    Volunteer in the Pollinator Garden!


    Join us on the first Monday of the month from 9:00AM to 11:00AM to help in the pollinator gardens at the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters. Volunteers participate in planting, weeding, mulching, and watering. The gardens attract numerous butterfly and bee species to an array of native flowers from Spring through Fall. Bring your favorite garden gloves!

    Listed below are the monthly garden workdays scheduled for 2024.  

     January  6 May   2 September
     5 February  3 June  7 October
     4 March  1 July  4 November
     1 April  5 August  2 December

    The team is always pleased to welcome new volunteers! Please join us! 

    Questions? Contact Janet Rogal at janet@friendsofbalcones.org.

    Thank you!

ANNUAL Birding Festival HIGHLIGHTS


Sparrow

Sparrowfest

Feb 3, 2024 

SparrowFest is an annual event that celebrates the nearly 20 species of sparrows that spend their winters in Texas. Guided by experienced birding guides, local bird lovers flock to the refuge to see how many different sparrows they can spot and to celebrate the diversity of the little brown birds.

Bird list from 2023.

Songbird on a branch

BALCONES SONGBIRD FESTIVAL

April 26-27, 2024

The Balcones Canyonlands Songbird Festival is an annual celebration of nature through a collection of interpretive events designed to help you experience both bird species and their habitat. Experienced guides host bird walks on closed portions of the refuge and help birders from around the world add to their life lists. 

2024 Tours and Programs: Hill Country Birding, Identifying Bird Song, Birding the Plateaus and Springs, and The Power and Purpose of Nearby Nature.

2024 Guides: Shelia Hargis, Cheryl McGrath, Lee Kothmann, Rob Hardway, Jack Cochran, Byron Stone, Paul DiFiore, Jeff Osborne, Joseph Plappert, Jennifer Bristol, Carlos Cardenas and more!


SPRING BREAK ACTIVITY MATERIALS

Kinder-3rd Grade  (Downloadable PDF)

4th-7th Grade (Downloadable PDF)

High School (Downloadable PDF)

Nature Tracks Guide (Downloadable PDF)

PAST ACTIVITIES

Here’s some examples from previous events.  

Keep an eye on the calendar as many of these previous events and activities were so popular that we will be scheduling them again!

Opt Outside Hike: Where would you rather be on Black Friday, fighting the crowds or enjoying the peace and quiet of nature on a lovely guided hike. We started with an easy-to-moderate hike through grasslands, and along the north end of the creek. We saw lots of diverse habitat and plants, and heard lots of birds. Then we continued the hike along the creek, up the hill, circled the ridge along the Rim Rock Trail for some amazing, long-range views. A much better place to be on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
Native Plants: Are you ready to go native? What makes a plant a “native”? Why should we care? If I buy Lantana at a box store, isn’t it a native? If I want to attract birds, bees and butterflies, what should I plant? Are cedars and mesquite native? Are their good and bad natives? What's wrong with St. Augustine? Presenters from the Native Plant Society of Texas, Linda O’Nan and Jan Warren, answered these questions and so many more. Their talk was followed by a plant walk along two of our most popular tails.
Reptiles: Daniel Carter talked about native reptiles. A great activity for kids. Daniel shared some of his turtles, snakes, salamanders and lizards, and discussed their unique characteristics and explained their importance to our habitat.
Science Mill: From their bio lab to exploring the human body, a slice at a time, from the story of water to the mystery of fractals in nature, our tour guide helped us experience how nature, science and art intersect to create a world of curiosity and beauty in their creative and interactive exhibits. By igniting the curiosity of students, it inspires them to pursue post-secondary education, the Science Mill experience starts students on the path to a life-long career in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
Olive Oil: We took a field trip to the Texas Hill Country Olive Company is family-owned and they are passionate about what they do, and the most awarded olive oil company in Texas, located in the beautiful and beloved "Texas Hill Country" of Dripping Springs Texas. Since day one the focus has been on preserving the natural beauty of the area while providing fresh locally produced extra virgin olive oil and other premium quality products. We had a private tour in the olive grove and went into the Mill to see (and taste) some of their award-winning olive oils. It was a fascinating education on olive tree growing and producing extra virgin olive oil with a wide range of flavors.


SUGGESTIONS/COMMENTS

We welcome your ideas for future events! 

Owl

About Us

The Friends of Balcones Canyonlands NWR is a 501(c)(3) organization whose primary purpose is to support the mission of the Refuge in restoring and protecting the habitat. The Friends are committed to building a diverse, vibrant community that appreciates, supports, and connects with nature in a meaningful way.

Become a Member

Join the Friends in protecting the wildlife and habitat, and supporting the mission of the Refuge. Start by taking a hike or  attending an event, by watching the seasons change through what’s blooming, or by just watching a hawk soar, or even just sitting still and listening to the songbirds sing. You can have a positive impact. Come find your refuge at the Refuge and join the fun!

Find Us

Mailing Address:


PO Box 4678

Lago Vista, TX 78645

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