Community Life: Charro Ranch Park
Dripping Springs has a beautiful park/nature trail located on Highway 150 — Charro Ranch park is the perfect setting to show off our natural Hill Country landscape. A ribbon cutting will be held Saturday, January 19th at 1pm at Charro Ranch Park to showcase the completion of a bird viewing station and the installation of a rainwater collection tank. Hays County Master Naturalist M. Lee Brown will provide a guided tour of the park after the ceremony. The public is invited to come out and join in the celebration.
The completion of the bird viewing station at Charro Ranch Park marks the culmination of a two-year project by the Hays County Master Naturalists. After identifying more than 100 species of birds in the park, Master Naturalists received approval from the City of Dripping Springs to construct a bird viewing station in the park. Generous support from the community allowed the project to move forward. The Hays County Master Naturalists were awarded grant funding of $1,500 from the Dripping Springs Community Foundation and $1,000 from Pedernales Electric Cooperative – Community Grants Program for the project.
Master Naturalists Construction Leader Jim Donohoe led the volunteers through the construction process using local materials to maintain the natural and cultural heritage of Dripping Springs. The posts for the building’s frame were cut, peeled, and shaped from cedar trees located in the park. Volunteers gathered rocks for the drystack rock walls from Parks and Recreation Commissioner Rich Moore’s ranch and from rocks located in the park. Master Naturalists also enhanced the area around the structure to provide an inviting and safe habitat for birds to visit.
A rainwater collection system was installed with a 305-gallon tank funded by the City of Dripping Springs. The system will supply a water feature for the birds throughout the year and will be replenished with each rain.
Local Girl Scouts had a hand in the project as they created a bird guide for the blind that will be utilized to help the identification of specific bird species. The Girl Scouts are also providing a trail sign and bird feeders at the park.
The completion of the bird viewing station also marks the beginning of Hays County Master Naturalists’ next phase of the project, which is to provide bird watching classes, wildlife habitat education, and educational outreach to local schools.
Volunteer and community support has been essential in the completion of the projects. Additional volunteers are always needed at monthly scheduled workdays. In the winter, volunteers meet from 9 am to noon every second Saturday of the month. Just bring sunscreen, gloves, a few yard tools and you will be put to work – there is a job for every ability level.