The East Texas Chapter of Texas Master Naturalist will meet Thursday, April 23rd, at the Mineola Library Annex located at 1721 N. Pacific St. in Mineola. Sarah Fuller, vice-chair of the East Texas Black Bear Task Force, will present the program, “East Texas Black Bear Task Force: The Return of a Texas Native,” focusing on the biology, history and current status of black bears in East Texas. Fuller states that the growing populations of black bears in adjacent states of Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma have resulted in a natural, slow return of the native species to eastern Texas in small numbers. Texas Parks and Wildlife began documenting black bear sightings and deaths in 1977, and since that time, the number of sightings has increased significantly in certain portionsof East Texas. Participants will learn how to report a potential black bear sighting to Texas Parks and Wildlife as the biologists with the state rely on citizen-reported sightings to maintain a better idea of bear numbers, which ultimately guide their management practices.
Ms. Fuller, a graduate of SFA State University’s Arthur Temple College of Forestry, states that the mission of the East Texas Black Bear Task Force is to support this natural recolonization through creating a well-informed public. As Texans better understand the black bear, its history in Texas, as well as its behavior and habitat needs, we can successfully cohabitate with this intelligent, adaptable native species once again. The meeting begins at 6:45 pm. The program will start at 7:00 p.m. The public is invited to attend.
The East Texas Chapter Master Naturalist is one of 42 Texas Master Naturalist chapters throughout the state. The Texas Master Naturalist program is sponsored by Texas A&M AgriLIFE Extension and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and is designed to develop a corps of well-informed volunteers who provide education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities for the State of Texas. The East Texas Chapter serves the ten county area including Smith, Cherokee, Anderson, Henderson, Van Zandt, Rains, Wood, Upshur, Gregg, and Rusk counties. For more info contact Brenda McWilliams, 903-530-0620, txmn.org/etwd or firstname.lastname@example.org