Who We Are
Some History: 1982 -2014
Bastrop County is unique for the "Lost Pines," a stand of loblolly pines separated from others by more than 100 miles and its distinctive DNA. Bastrop State Park was established in 1938 to guarantee its preservation. County residents of like mind had been meeting, birding together, and carrying out Christmas Bird Counts beginning in 1977. They organized Bastrop County Audubon Society as a National Audubon chapter in 1982. Biological scientist David Mitchell was first president. In 1985 and again in 1991, led by Barbara Carson, BCAS hosted the annual Audubon State Council meetings. Ornithologist David Nichols, president in 1989, documented county bird life and published the article "The Adaptability of Night Herons." In August, 1991, David Carson won a National Audubon education award for his work with the State Textbook Review Committee, and Glenn Whitehead and Judy Ing won an award for the Bird Calls newsletter. David Carson also served on the National Audubon board for three years. During the 90s, BCAS was known for the Bat Education Program scripted by Joan Russell and presented to fourth graders throughout the county. in 1998, we developed study guides for the McKinney Roughs Conservation Education Center, featuring art by member Margie Crisp.
Beginning in 2000, we installed blue bird and screech owl nest boxes, constructed by Richard Hulsey, in Bastrop and Buescher State Parks. In 2013, the Lost Pines Master Naturalists joined in this on-going project by constructing more than 15 new latest-design nest boxes. Three years later, when the State Park golf course discontinued operation, we removed all our nest boxes, restored, and remounted along the Colorado River near Colovista.
In 2006, in collaboration with an Eagle Scout candidate, we sponsored construction of a wildlife-viewing blind in Bastrop State Park. (This blind, unfortunately, was to be lost in the Bastrop County Complex fires in 2011.) In February, 2007, Priscilla Jarvis won a Point of Light volunteer award from the Bastrop Chamber of Commerce.
In 2008, BCAS celebrated its 25th anniversary with a special edition of Bird Calls and a video called "Making a Difference," which was broadcast on community access television. in 2010, we added sponsorship of a second Christmas Bird Count, the Lost Pines CBC, in association with McKinney Roughs Nature Park and the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort.
Starting on Labor Day, 2011, 96% of the Park was burned in the Bastrop County Complex fires, with only about 100 acres saved. A number of BCAS members’ homes were among the 1600 homes lost on private land.
In May, 2012, we constructed in the City of Bastrop's Bob Bryant Park the Judy Ing Memorial Chimney Swift Tower. The same year, pursuant to reforestation, we donated substantially to Friends of the Lost Pines State Parks for erosion control and in 2013 donated and planted with Tree Folks for reforestation on private land. In the spring of 2014, we co-hosted the Audubon Texas Assembly of Chapters at McKinney Roughs LCRA Nature Park, attended by members of the 25 state chapters.
The population of Bastrop County is growing, especially surrounding the three municipalities, Elgin, Bastrop, and Smithville. But they are still small towns, and the county is yet somewhat rural. Despite the steady pace of new development, it takes but a few minutes to be in the field for bird-watching. The county has rolling hills, ravines, forests, the river, grassy flood plains, sandstone outcroppings, occasional severe droughts, some rainy springs, all for a variety of habit for wildlife and flora from orchids to cacti. BCAS remains alert to conservation issues in the county and state, including the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer beneath our feet, and any chemical waste, pipeline and mining hazards that threaten from time to time.