WBS Wimberley Birding Society

Patsy Glenn Refuge
nature in the heart of Wimberley

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Patsy Glenn of Wimberley was the prime force behind creation of this birding/nature sanctuary. With great vision and gentle persistence, she worked to create a wonderful Nature Refuge and Bird Sanctuary in the heart of Wimberley.

Patsy Glenn Refuge

Patsy was tireless in establishing this refuge. Through her efforts, an un-used portion of land next to the proposed community center was turned over to the Wimberley Birding Society for development as a bird sanctuary. In October, 2001, she enlisted over 60 volunteers to clear the land, create the nature trails, wildflower areas and feeders to attract birds. She guided numerous improvements since that time, including a chimney swift tower, viewing platform, rainwater collection system and butterfly garden.

The Patsy Glenn Refuge encourages and protects birds and all wildlife. It has also served to inform and educate visitors, including area school children, and to improve the Cypress Creek watershed.

Patsy Glenn was that rare individual who took a dream, and with extensive communication and sensitivity, inspired others to join her to preserve a delightful environment where birds, flowers, fauna and people flourish. A former co-president of the Wimberley Birding Society, in 2002, Patsy was the first winner of the Golden Eagle Award, an annual award presented by WBS to the person who does the most for birds and birding in Hays County.

For people, wildlife, and the environment
The Patsy Glenn Refuge was established as a 1.8-acre haven for local and migrating birds, other wildlife, insects, and native plants of the Wimberley area. It was also established as a refuge for the people of Wimberley-both visitors and residents-to enjoy the tranquil beauty of the Hill Country in the heart of the village, immediately adjacent to the new Wimberley Community Center.

As the restoration of the Patsy Glenn Refuge has begun, we have seen birds such as Black-crested Titmouse, Painted Bunting, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Carolina Chickadee, American Kestrel, Cedar Waxwing, Clay-colored Sparrow, Lark Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Western Scrub Jay, and Northern Cardinal. Eastern Bluebirds have nested in boxes that were built for their specific nesting needs. Butterflies such as Red Admiral Butterfly, Monarch Butterfly, and Tiger Swallowtail have begun visiting the nectaring plants. Other animals, insects, and invertebrates have also been seen. As the habitat restoration continues, we expect to see increases in all types of animals and insects using the Patsy Glenn Refuge.

There are a variety of native plants and trees already growing in the Patsy Glenn Refuge, including wildflowers such as Prairie Verbena, Texas Bluebonnet, and Blue Sage; shrubs such as Agarita and Possumhaw; and trees such as Wild Persimmon and Red Oak. We have planted other native plants chosen for their ability to attract birds, butterflies, and wildlife. In October, 2008, The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center established an online Special Collections database with all of the native plants that have been identified on The Patsy Glenn Refuge. This valuable resource makes available the common and scientific names, complete information, and color photographs of each plant.

Nature education
On the Winters-Wimberley property adjacent to the Patsy Glenn Refuge, children and adults are already learning to appreciate the history of their village. With the development of the Patsy Glenn Refuge, there will be a chance to blend the history of the early settlers with learning about the rich biodiversity that was here for the settlers, and how we can maintain it by living lightly on this land. The Patsy Glenn Refuge will function as an outdoor classroom and living laboratory for visitors to learn about the unique natural history of the Texas Hill Country.

A Chimney swift tower was added early in 2006 and an educational kiosk at the base of the tower is under development. Also in 2006, we added a platform for viewing field birds near the back of the Patsy Glenn Refuge.

Responsible land stewardship
The restoration efforts at the Patsy Glenn Refuge demonstrate responsible stewardship of our natural resources. Whether you are a new property owner or have lived here for some time, and regardless of the size of your property, you can see sustainable clearing and habitat restoration practices that you can easily adapt for your own use, including:

  • Filter-strip dams made from selectively cleared cedar to slow soil erosion and control water run-off into Cypress Creek, which in turn helps protect our fragile watershed
  • Brush piles of cedar and rock to provide shelter for birds, animals, insects and reptiles
  • The Guzzler, a simple way to collect and disperse rainwater for wildlife and irrigation

Since that time, the Patsy Glenn Refuge has begun to move from vision to reality through the combined efforts of many dedicated volunteers. Through their efforts, the Patsy Glenn Refuge now has walking trails, areas where the cedar has been cleared to showcase existing native trees, filter-strip dams to slow runoff into Cypress Creek, native wildflowers and grasses to attract birds and butterflies, brush piles for wildlife habitat, a simple rainwater collection system, a Chimney swift tower, and various feeders and nest boxes.

Future plans
The kiosk soon will hold checklists, current bird and wildlife sightings, and information on Hill Country land care. Additional bird-friendly plants and nest boxes will be provided, and plans are underway to build a wildlife viewing blind and a photography blind.

If you would like to support the ongoing work of the Patsy Glenn Refuge, or to honor or remember a loved one, please send your tax-deductible donation to:

The Patsy Glenn Refuge Fund
Wimberley Birding Society
P. O. Box 1526
Wimberley, Texas 78676

The Patsy Glenn Refuge
To visit the Patsy Glenn Refuge, turn East at the stoplight at Highway 12 and River Road. Drive in front of the historical Winters- Wimberley House and the Community Center to the Patsy Glenn Refuge beyond the end of the parking lot.

© Copyright 2002-13 Wimberley Birding Society
Email: webmaster@wimbirds.org
wimbirds.org/refuge.html (Last modified Oct-15-08)