A Natural Nature Networker

April 15, 2019

The annual Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Convention was held at the Fort Worth Convention Center at the end of March. The associated trade show was open to the public, and there were more than 200 exhibitors/vendors offering giveaways and information at various booths. Our own Dan Caudle, Resident Research Associate, worked several booths on behalf of the Youth Range Workshop, Texas Grazing Land Coalition (TXGLC), and the Grazing Animal Nutrition (GAN) Lab at the Blackland Research and Extension Center, this last of whom (according to Dan) "test livestock fecal samples with Near Infrared Spectroscopy to determine nutritional value of the forages that have actually been consumed, digested, and passed through the animals." You know...as one does (!!!!).

Though officially "retired" long ago, Dan remains quite involved with the natural resources community, attending conferences and meetings when he can and flexing his remarkable networking skills wherever he goes. We asked Dan how the event went, and he provided the little update below.

"The booth went very well! We had a lot of visitors come by to get more information about all three of these [organizations]. I dug and potted 32 grass plants from my backyard to use at our booth, and we held little impromptu plant ID quizzes. We gave away prizes (some of the plants, a few plant ID books, grazing sticks, luggage tags, publications, etc.) to those who participated. The value of prize was based on how well they did and what their interest was. That generated a lot of interest and got some really good conversations started. We also gave away a day on a ranch at Sterling City, Texas, with Frank Price. We also threw in one night’s lodging at a hotel in San Angelo for the lucky winner. Frank is one of the premier land stewards, cattlemen, and good guys among all of the ranchers in Texas. TXGLC’s theme this year is 'The Art of Grazing,' and Frank was our featured 'artist' at the TSCRA Trade Show.  We have a different featured 'artist' at every event.

 TXGLC has started a pilot program this year to provide paid internships to college students to work on carefully selected ranches for 2 ½ months during the summer to learn about all aspects of ranching. We will match the interested students up with ranchers based on experience, geography, skills, and level of interest. This year the pilot program will be only with Texas A&M University – Kingsville, and there will be 5 interns and 7 ranchers cooperating. If the program is successful, we hope to expand it to other universities in the future."

three photos of the booth and its items including potted grass plants

Dan also talked to high school and college students at the trade show, promoting both the Youth Range Workshop (which he's a Co-Director of) and summer volunteer opportunities with BRIT's Prairie Research Program. The latter was of special interest to Dr. Frank Owsley of Tarleton State University as his school requires all of the Range Science students to do an internship. 

Out of all the students Dan met at the convention, of particular note was a "really sharp young lady" from Nuevo Leon, Mexico, doing her grad studies at Sul Ross State University. Dan was able to recruit her on the spot to be a cabin director for a girls cabin at Youth Range Workshop. And this right here really sums up one of the things we love most about Dan: his ability to inspire those around him and get them as excited as he is to investigate the natural world. Thank you, Dan, for all you do to engage and empower these next generation scientists and environmental stewards! Nature Networkers like you are never not needed!

Leave A Response

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.

Related Articles

The Living Herbarium: Instructions for Life

Article originally published in The Leaflet (April 2014) by Brian Witte, PhD, BRIT Research Associate (Disclaimer: The technical aspects of this article are dramatically simplified in the interests of communicating with an audience entirely unfamiliar with molecular biology. Send me an email ( bwitte@brit.org ) if you would like a deeper explanation.) We like to repeat, loudly and often, that there are over 1 million plant specimens in the Philecology Herbarium at BRIT. It’s a nice, big, round number, and it sounds cool when tour groups come through. What if I told you that as imposing as that number sounds, the real number is closer to a thousand billion (1,000,000,000,000) plants*? The goal of a herbarium is to preserve plants. The ideal specimen, in many respects, has all the essential...
Read More >

The Living Herbarium: Many Hands Make Godzilla

Article originally published in The Leaflet (May 2014) by Brian Witte, PhD, BRIT Research Associate There is a stereotype of the scientist as a lone genius, laboring in obscurity until their “Eureka!” moment changes the world. If Hollywood is to be believed, this Eureka moment is usually followed by the destruction of Tokyo and/or New York by a giant robot/genetic mutant/superstorm. In reality, we have a tragic lack of giant robots, and nothing that we’ve done in the herbarium has (yet) threatened a major metropolitan area. We also rely heavily on collaboration, rather than solitary toil. In fact, I would venture to say that collaboration is the fundamental characteristic of science. NOT what we do…exactly. Nowhere is this more on display than in the herbarium at BRIT. Over the past month,...
Read More >

The Sweep of Time

Article originally submitted for The Leaflet (June 2014) by Brian Witte, PhD, BRIT Research Associate Most of us live in the moment. Paycheck-to-paycheck, living for the weekend, summer vacation, twitter updates. Updates now are measured in seconds. America, too, is a young nation. Few places west of the Appalachians boast buildings over 150 years old, and most of us live in suburbs built in the decades following World War II. So much around us is new…even our landscapes are new, transformed by mechanized farming, car culture, and introduced species. That’s not entirely news, and it’s not entirely new, either. Look, for example, at this sheet I recently encountered while tidying up a database of digitized herbarium specimens. Click to enlarge and read labels. This was one of the last colle...
Read More >

A 54-Year Celebration

The Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas ( JBRIT ) is celebrating its 54th year of continuous publication. It all started when Lloyd H. Shinners —a member of the Southern Methodist University (SMU) faculty and a prolific botanical researcher and writer who wanted to edit his work and the work of others—founded and published the first two issues of Sida, Contributions to Botany on November 23, 1962. He named the journal for a genus ( Sida ) of yellow-flowered plants of the mallow or cotton family (Malvaceae), distributed throughout the world and especially common in Texas. Shinners served as editor and publisher until his death in 1971, after which William F. Mahler, professor of botany at SMU, inherited the journal and continued to edit and privately publish it. Barney Lips...
Read More >