Thursday, February 27, 2020
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20191113 Snake Eyes Photo by Anita WesterveltHarlingen’s Hugh Ramsey Nature Park boasts 250 some species of Rio Grande Valley native plants, shrubs, trees, cactus and the untold numbers of birds, butterflies and critters that use this native habitat.

Rio Grande Valley Chapter, Texas Master Naturalist volunteers maintain Ebony Loop’s specialty gardens, working as a team every Thursday morning from 9 to 11 a.m. Many Winter Texans and local residents work alongside the naturalists. Volunteers are always welcome.

In addition to the Thursday morning volunteer opportunity, Texas master naturalists offer free guided native plant tours on the first Friday and third Saturday each month through May 2020. There will be only one held in November, on the 16th. Next one will be held December 6, and continue as scheduled.

There’s always something blooming around Ebony Loop. Hear about a fun shrub called snake eyes and maybe catch a chachalaca feasting on the berries. Mexican caesalpinia, is showy into the winter with bright yellow flowers. Learn about native plants that attract butterflies and birds.

Runyon’s esenbeckia, the rarest tree in Texas, is showcased in a garden named for historic Brownsville botanist, Robert Runyon.

One of the mysteries of our native trees is that many of them bloom after rain. With the recent rains, it’s a good opportunity to see which trees and plants will be showing their colors.

Ebony Loop is an easy quarter mile level caliche trail. Wear sturdy shoes, bring water and bug spray for yourself if desired. Restrooms are located at the park entrance.

Hugh Ramsey Nature Park is at 1000 South 499, just two miles south of Harlingen’s Valley International Airport or just north of the Arroyo Colorado River Bridge on Ed Carey Dr.

Meet up with the guides in the parking lot where the two-hour tour begins at 9 a.m.