The Austin Pond Society held its monthly meetingfor September this past Monday. As usual, we were treated to some very nice goodies which is actually a big part of our meetings. Not just because our Members like to eat but they do like to sit and talk while they are enjoying the food and we allow the first fifteen minutes of the meeting especially for this socializing. Or maybe they do like to eat….
This was followed by a slide show presented by Glen Hubenthal that showed a local pond builders work some of which was very nice. Looking at these sort of pictures, gives us all ideas that we might try to incorporate into our own ponds (or wish we had). Or just sit there in awe at the beautiful things that it is possible to build or have built.
Following the slide show, Bill Brister brought the meeting to order and the first business of the day was for Glen to present B.J. Jenkins with a plaque for her efforts this past year in organizing the Pond Tour. Great work, B.J, a big “Thanks” from all of the members for a very successful effort.
There was not much business except a plea from Bill for anyone who felt they had the time and interest to volunteer for one of the many positions that are open on the Board. Bill also discussed the Photo contest that was to be judged by the members later in the evening and went over the rules for the final time.
Next up was Carl Tinsley who told the group that he was still working on the new website and that he too wanted copies of the photos to post.
Steve Blackstone gave a report from the Austin Area garden Council of which Steve is our new representative
Finally it was time for the main speaker of the evening and we were to hear a lecture by Mary Gilmore, Austin Parks and Rec. Her topic for the evening was the efforts the City is making to plant vegetation in Lake Austin and also to a lesser degree, LadyBird Lake and she gave a very interesting lecture on what they had achieved so far.
It is an ongoing project and she outlined the difficulties they have encountered both of the natural kind from several pairs of swans that call Lake Austin home and the ducks along with underwater attacks from crawfish, turtles and the Asian Grass Carp that were put in to control the hydrilla which has taken over much of the lake. This included problems with outright vandalism by the two-legged variety who destroyed the wire baskets put in to keep the plants in place and to give them a chance to start to grow. Mary had her own opinions and she thought that the vandals just did not understand what the enclosures were really for. She suspected that the turtle lovers in the crowd thought that the baskets were to trap them. Of course, the turtles do sometimes get caught but that is not the intent. The problem with the Carp is that they cannot tell the difference between hydrilla that they are supposed to eat and the new plantings that they are supposed to leave alone.
Maybe PARD can put up little underwater signs that say, “Please don’t Eat Me” and then teach the carp to recognize the sign. Can’t be that difficult as they have already fixed them so they can’t have babies. A little brainwashing maybe? Bit of a stretch though…
She outlined the methods used by building wire baskets and setting them in groups close to the banks. Sometimes these smaller baskets were enclosed in larger wire enclosures to help with growth and to stabilize the operation as the pictures show.
There were questions from the floor many to do with the hydrilla already in the lake. A few people could not understand the need to plant in the first place and why not let Nature take her course. What happens when the enclosures are taken down, and did she (Mary) consider the project a success.
Most of these answers can be found on the video posted below. All in all, it was a very entertaining lecture.
This meeting was also the time for the members to choose the best pictures to put into this years Calendar. Members who were interested were asked to submit their 8×10 glossies which were divided up into different categories, Fish, Ponds and Waterfalls, Plants and lastly,Wildlife which included dragonflies and such. The plants were laid out in groups and the members chose the best two in each group. Finally, they were asked to choose an overall best which will become the cover picture.
As you can imagine, there were some beautiful pictures on display. The video below is of the members during the selection process. I did not take pictures of the entries making the personal decision to let them be shown on the Pond Societies new website rather than to get a jump on them being posted on this blog. The video below is of the membership making their selections.
The calendar will be offered for sale to all members and anyone else who would like to purchase one (or more). The cost is $7 each.
Bill announced the winners with a hearty congratulations to them all and a big thanks for all who had participated. We all look forward to getting the finished product.
We always end with a drawing for a door prize and although the prizes themselves are not of immense value, this had proved to be a fun event over the past couple of years, especially if one of the Board members draws a winning ticket. People cheer or boo or find another noisy way to show what they think. Its even worse and the noise is even louder when Bill, who is doing the drawing, draws his own name but in fairness to him, he always turns the prize back in and draws again.
With the drawing over, everyone made their way home although it is surprising how many stay behind in small groups just to chat. Just goes to show the interest these people have and the need to discuss it with other members.
Next meeting is November 21, 2012 at the Zilker Gardens Meeting Room starting at 7:00 pm. Come and enjoy the companionship of people with the same interests as yourself and the great discussions that we have. Oh yes, bring a friend…