On May 13, the Bluestem Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists will be hosting a free seminar and demonstration called Wildscapes: Creating a Space for Wildlife in Your Landscape. The event is in the second-floor meeting room of the Grayson County Courthouse in Sherman from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. You will learn more about developing wild habitats where you live.


A wildscape is a specifically maintained landscaping scheme composed of native plants that provide accessible food, water and shelter for wildlife. Landholders with small or large acreage can learn about the tools of the trade for practicing environmental stewardship on their own property at the Wildscapes event.


Keynote speaker George Cates of Native America Seed will start off the morning by sharing his experiences with native seed farming and harvesting operations across Texas. Cates has dealt extensively in both urban landscape conversion and large prairie restorations and will teach the audience about the benefits of using native plants to control erosion, cleanse the air, retain water and provide habitats for wildlife.


Throughout the day, visitors will also hear from Tim Yatko, a sustainability specialist for the city of Lewisville; Pam Fleming, a Bluestem Master Naturalist and Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge volunteer; and Bob Mione, Master Naturalist and manager of the Connemara Meadow Nature Preserve.


Yatko is a home gardening enthusiast with a penchant for native Texas plants. He will guide audiences through the options that small property owners have for making their yards more hospitable to wildlife. Fleming is the co-owner and manager of a restoration project on a 35-acre property in the Eastern Cross Timbers area east of Denison. She will discuss wildscapes on larger properties. Finally, Mione, who is responsible for the wetland creation and large-scale restoration projects at Connemara, will review the benefits of restoring native Texas grasses.


Participants will also be able to observe demonstrations on how to invite ducks to your property and how to construct birdhouses to distinct species specifications.


Overall, the wildscapes program will help visitors understand not only their stake in the stewardship of the natural world, but the concrete ways that they can contribute.


Training classes for the Bluestem Master Naturalist program will begin August 15. To learn more about training and other programs provided visit http://www.txmn.org/bluestem/. For more information on the Wildscapes seminar and to reserve your seat, call Ginger Mynatt at 903-819-3937.