What we’re about
What is a Nature Nerd anyway?
A Nature Nerd is someone who wants field based or hands-on experiences (e.g. hikes, citizen science, etc.), but is also interested in the current scientific research (i.e. astronomy, biology, ecology, physics, etc.). Anyone who wants to share what they know and what they are learning is included. Anyone is welcome and encouraged to join regardless of skill level, ability, or location!
Our basic expectation of behavior from everyone is "Be Considerate!'
The outdoor activities we schedule range from the Austin area, across all of Texas, and to other states. Hikes, observational activities (e.g. birding or astronomy), service/restoration/remediation projects with other groups (e.g Sierra Club), kayaking, and climbing are some examples. This includes more challenging back-country excursions with increased costs and skill requirements. If you have an idea for an activity or would like to participate as an event leader please contact any of the organizers.
"Men and women wanted for hazardous journey. No wages, bitter cold and sweltering heat, long hours of bright darkness. Safety doubtful. Wonder certain. More of the same in the event of success." 
We do have a basic rule that governs all activities:
No police, other LEA, firemen, EMTs, tax men, or other authority figures in a bad mood. If your event or project requires insurance, licenses, or needs to meet other regulatory requirements it is not Nature Nerds responsibility to provide them.
We also pursue deeper and more technical understandings of our interests by keeping up with the current literature (e.g. paper or book reading/reviews), as well as lectures and classes . These activities can be in person, virtual, or hybrid (i.e. in person and virtual).
Past activities have included nature walks to identify plants and animals, going to presentations (e.g. birds, grasses, and bats), and other activities that increased our knowledge and appreciation of the natural world. We have taken trips to Commons Ford, St. Edwards Park, Breckenridge Lab, and Canyon of the Eagles.
Sharing your experiences with pictures, videos, papers, computer programs, and other media is highly encouraged and your effort is appreciated.
Here are some links to better help explain the scope of our activities:
Basic Research -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_research
Hard and Soft Science -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_and_soft_science
Exact Sciences -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exact_sciences
Citizen Science -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizen_science (This used to be called 'Amateur Science' and goes back to at least 1928)
The Amateur Scientist -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Amateur_S...
Open Science -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_science
Backcountry vs. Frontcountry -- https://www.trailspace.com/blog/2010/07/06/backcountry-versus-frontcountry.html
Wilderness Medical Emergency -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilderness_medical_emergency (Please seriously consider taking the time and effort to get CPR and WFA training.)
Leave No Trace -- https://lnt.org/
The 10 Essentials -- https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/ten-essentials.html (Be sure to select the Expert Advise menu page for more outdoor information!)
The Rule of Threes -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_threes_(survival)#:~:text=Normally%2C%20the%20rule%20of%20threes,(extreme%20heat%20or%20cold).
Lightning Safety - American Hiking Society -- https://americanhiking.org/resources/lightning-safety/
Here are some groups that we partner with:
Austin Sierra Club (Disclosure - James Choate is an Event Leader for the chapter) -- https://www.sierraclub.org/texas/austin
Austin Astronomical Society (Disclosure - James Choate is a member) -- https://austinastro.org/
Austin Physics for Fun (Disclosure - James Choate is an organizer) -- https://www.meetup.com/physics-1/
Capital Area Master Naturalist -- https://camn.org/
Balcones Canyonland Master Naturalist-- https://bctxmn.org/ (Stephanie Putnam is a member of this group, please contact her if you are interested in joining.)
ASMBLY Makerspace - Was ATX Hackerspace -- https://asmbly.org/
Diogenes Makerspace - Private - Our primary build site -- Contact James Choate for more info
Texas Rock Climbing -- https://www.meetup.com/Texas-Rock-Climbing/
Asheville Science Tavern (Asheville, NC) - We cross-post activities with this group -- https://www.meetup.com/Asheville-Science-Tavern/
@Boslab Boston Open Science Laboratory - We cross-post activities with this group -- https://www.meetup.com/BosLab/
Counter Culture Labs -- https://www.meetup.com/Counter-Culture-Labs...
 Brotherton, Mike. "Spider Star" (ISBN 978-0-7653-1125-2).
This is a quote which is itself a play on Ernest Shackleton's supposed request for participants in his Antarctic Expedition:
"Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success."
The irony is it appears that the quote was fabricated many years after the actual event and is nothing more than urban legend.
Upcoming events (4+)See all
- Fluvial Geomorphology: A Kayaking Field Trip | W Fork of San Jacinto RiverStubblefield Lake Recreation Area, Huntsville, TX
CALL 832-686-3231 TO REGSITER!
Join us for this beautiful fluvial geomorphology kayaking filed trip at Lake Stubblefield.
Lake Stubblefield is the northern part of Conroe Lake and is the transition stage between the West Fork of San Jacinto River and the Lake of Conroe. This is an easy paddling ecotour about 4-5 miles long to explore the calm waters of this quiet, green, and beautiful environment, part of the Sam Houston National Forest.
As we paddle along, we will observe natural features specific to deltas. We will discuss about sedimentary processes associated with streams, lakes, floods, wetlands, and the anthropologic impact on the environment, while enjoying many kinds of flowers and wildlife, including birds such as egrets, herons, owls, hawks, and water lilies.
In 1966, the upstream part of West Fork of San Jacinto River (WFSJR) was blocked by an earth dam to form Lake Conroe, as an alternate drinking water reserve for Metropolitan Houston. Conroe Dam is 2 miles long and has 5 gates of 40 ft. wide each. The dam was completed in 3 years and cost $84 million to build.
WFSJR is the main water-sediment supply that feeds into Lake Conroe. Lake Conroe was filled with water in 10 months. Lake Conroe facts: 26 miles long; 6 miles wide at its widest point; 20 ft. average depth; 75 ft. deep in the river channel; 160 miles of shoreline, with normal pool at 201 ft. above main sea level. Lake Conroe water quality is good, water from dam flows across Montgomery County into Lake Houston.
Despite being relatively close to a major metropolitan area, exploring WFSJR by kayak is a unique experience for most people: you will be amazed by its natural beauty and it's a cool learning experience!
Undecided? Would like to learn more? Check out our photo album:
LOGISTICS & COSTS
$155+ tax per person
Student discount rate is $100 per person.
Bring your own kayak for a 50% discount ($75 per person).
There are no kayak rentals available at Lake Stubblefield. Kayaks will be delivered by order from Houston, TX.
Family and friends are welcome to attend.
Minimum 5 participants for trip to go.
Only prepaid reservation via Venmo, PayPal or credit card.
We carry insurance. A released waiver must be signed.
Registration includes professional guiding services and delivery and rental of a premium quality kayaking equipment, including touring kayak, lightweight paddle, adjustable lifejacket, bilge pump, paddle float, dry bag, and use of group gear (tow rope, VHS radio, first aid kit).
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WHAT TO BRING?
Bring half a gallon drinking water and a snack. Bring a towel and a complete set of clothing to change into at the end, should that be necessary.
Bring a large brim hat, sunscreen, lip balm, sunglasses, and dress in synthetic comfortable outdoor clothing that dries-up quickly. No blue jeans, no cotton shirts. No rainboots, crocs or flipflops. Bring water shoes or old snickers; your feet will get wet. Wear long pants and long sleeves to avoid sun burn and insects.
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HOW TO SIGN UP?
Please reply with your phone number so I can give you a call to confirm logistics and gear size.
Please let me know if you have any questions!
Geology Professor, Certified ACA L-3 Coastal Kayak Instructor and Trip Leader, NOLS Wilderness First Aid
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Experienced trip leader. Local expertise. Relaxed pace. Awesome destination. Eye opening experience. Safe adventure. Family & beginners friendly. Premium quality kayaking equipment. Affordable!
Have in mind a different drill, date, or destination? Want to hire us for a corporate team building or family event? Let’s get in touch!
Born to Paddle!
- Book Study - 1/3 - E.O. Wilson "Genesis" - Hybrid1917 Hydro Dr, Austin, TX
Hybrid means that participants are both in person and online.
The discussion will be held at the Diogenes Makerspace in N. Austin near the intersection of Metric and Howard Ln. This is in the same building as the club Colette occupies. The entrance is the door at the far left of the building. When you enter you will be in a shop space, proceed upstairs. If Colette has an event the parking lot is reserved for them, so please park along the street. -- https://zaubee.com/biz/diogenes-makerspace-jv6oebd8
The Zoom link will be posted approximately an hour before the event starts.
The expectation is that participants will have completed the scheduled reading and have educated questions and opinions about the book.
List of Fallacies -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies
Nature Nerds of Austin has this to say...
E.O. Wilson was one of the leading scientific thinkers of the 20th century in evolutionary biology and psychology. He wrote many books and in the process won two Pulitzer Prizes. His research has changed our understanding of the world in several major ways. From a personal perspective, I first learned of him in the 60s when I was a young child interested in ants.
E.O. Wilson -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._O._Wilson
The book we will be discussing is "Genesis - The Deep Origins of Societies" and represents Wilson's view of the evidence that human society is a direct consequence of our evolutionary history. This is an outgrowth of his work in evolutionary psychology. Both thesis are hotly debated.
Evolutionary Psychology -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_psychology
There is no expectation that this tension will be resolved through our efforts here. We are challenged to simply understand Wilson's view. This was the fourth from the last book Wilson wrote.
Genesis: The Deep Origin of Societies
March 19, 2019
Amazon -- https://www.amazon.com/Genesis-Origin-Societies-Edward-Wilson/dp/1631495542#:~:text=Asserting%20that%20religious%20creeds%20and,behavior%20is%20to%20study%20the
You should look at the usual places (e.g. Half Price Books, Abebooks, Alibris, Thriftbooks, etc.) for a used copy. The paperback is going for about $8 USD. Half Price on N. Lamar had several copies on the shelf.
Reading Schedule: (This is from the ppb version ISBN 978-1-63149-667-7)
Week 1 (pp 9-48)
Ch. 1 - The Search for Genesis
Ch. 2 - The Great Transitions of Evolution
Ch. 3 - The Great Transitions Delima and How it was Solved
Week 2 (pp 49-78)
Ch. 4 - Tracking Social Evolution Through the Ages
Ch. 5 - The Final Steps of Eusociality
Week 3 (pp 79-126)
Ch. 6 - Group Selection
Ch. 7 - The Human Story
- $$ Oh, Summer Days! Sunset Waterways Exploration of Houston Downtown SkylineBuffalo Bayou Boathouse, Houston, TX
Prepaid reservation required. Call 832-686-3231 to confirm logistics, gear size and to process payment.
$100+ tax per person sole seat-inside the cockpit kayak
$200+ tax per tandem (two-seats) seat inside cockpit kayak
Oh, Summer Days! Sunset Waterways Exploration of Houston Downtown Skyline
Summer can be killing, but it can also be fun
The trick is to stay cool, despite the hot, hot sun!
Join us for super fun guided kayaking tour in the cooling evening breeze at the end of a hot and humid summer day to explore the waterways of downtown Houston and enjoy the skyline from an angle that very few people get to experience.
Urban streetlights, glassy skyscrapers, bridges and traffic shine lights that reflect off the water creating a magic display of colors and shapes and sounds. As we glide into the dark, the whole event is going to be really fun and your day will catch a new meaning.
Share the evening and the experience!
THIS TOUR CAN BE RESCHEDULED TO ACCOMODATE YOUR AVAILABILITY. MINIMUM 5 PAYING PARTICIPANTS REQUIRED.
Invite your family, call a friend or two, or a coworker or neighbor, or treat your date to a romantic paddle under the moon.
Night paddling can be very intriguing and also very relaxing!
We will start with on-land safety briefing and be on the water soon thereafter.
This is a family-friendly and beginner-friendly event. Strong kids ages 10 and up are welcome to attend accompanied by a parent.
Course: We will do a leisurely trip paddling for about 3 miles in one direction, then turn around. The total paddling itinerary is up to 6 miles or about 3 hours of paddling, depending on who is doing the paddling and who is enjoying the glide...
The trip can be shortened or lengthen depending on circumstances.
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Equipment Rental Available With Guided Tour:
Premium quality, sit inside cockpit kayaks and top of the line lightweight paddles and life jackets and qualified instruction will help you feel like a pro. Because our kayaks are long and narrow, even beginner paddlers in decent physical fitness can complete this 6 miles itinerary in a stride.
Double-seat/tandem kayak rentals are $200 each (+ additional gear and instruction)
Solo kayaks are $100 each (+ additional gear and instruction)
Kayaks, life jackets, paddles, instruction and event insurance is provided.
Minimum 5 rental seats are necessary for this tour to go as scheduled.
Gratuities are greatly appreciated!
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Registration: call Constantin at 832-686-3231 to sign up, confirm logistics, gear size and process payment.
We take Venmo, PayPal, card over the phone.
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WHAT TO BRING:
Bring 2 Nalgene-type bottles of drinking water and a snack. Bring with you a towel and a set of dry clothing for a comfortable ride home. It's a water activity and water dripping off the paddle into your lap is possible. Dress only with synthetic clothing that dry up quickly (like hiking clothes). Bring a headlamp if you have one. Your feet will get wet, so wear water shoes (old snicker work best, or closed toed sandals; no flip-flops, no crocks, no rain boots). Wear outdoor, fast drying, non-cotton/synthetic clothing. Large brim hat helps with the sun and gloves protect your hands from developing blisters (cycling or workout gloves are ok).
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Check out our photos here:
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I would be happy to answer your questions - please let me know if you have any. I look forward to be paddling together!
[Call/Text: 832 686 3231]
PS: Constantin is a certified ACA L-3 Coastal Kayaking Instructor, ACA L-3 River Instructor, ACA Trip Leader and NOLS Wilderness First Aid among other credentials (Master of Sciences in Geology).
Born to Paddle!
Do you have in mind a Different Drill, Date or Destination? Let's chat!!
We also run team building events, birthday parties, church functions, eco tours, overnight camping excursions down the river, across the lake and weekend long adventures at sea along the Texas Gulf Coast, and more advanced skills classes focused on sea kayaking and canoeing.
- $$ Fun Eco-Tour: Colorado River Geomorphology (Let's Kayak Columbus Loop)Beason's Crossing Park, Columbus, TX
Fun Eco-Tour: Colorado River Geomorphology
Let's Kayak the Columbus Loop and look at rocks!
More than 850 miles long, the Texas Colorado River is the longest river to start and end in the same state and is the lifeblood of our state’s economy, our environment, our industry, our agriculture, and especially our lives as Texans.
Columbus Loop Kayaking Trail is a relatively short guided geomorphology and historical eco-tour only 6.5 miles or 3-4 hours of paddling with breaks.
This eco-tour is ideal for families with kids and for beginner paddlers that want to take their skills up a notch and experience a grander setting.
Awesome trip for those that enjoy history, geology, nature, serenity and adventures.
In addition to kayaking, we will discuss Texas history and geology. We will take a couple of breaks to look at rocks, river banks, flood plains, channel shape and dimensions, analyze bedrock and geomorphologic features associated with stream and floods.
Enjoy this wide, open, peaceful trail with a few rapids and multiple islands and sandy beaches great for picnicking. We will pass several cattle ranches and very few houses as we paddle.
Our river float will end at a place where the Texas Army under the leadership of General Sam Houston and the Mexican Army under the leadership of General Santa Ana crossed the Colorado river before their clash at San Jacinto.
Your trip leader - Constantin - is an accomplished master geologist and certified river kayak instructor. This is an awesome kayaking geomorphology field trip and you'll be in for a great learning experience.
IN ADVANCE PREPAID REGISTRATION:
To register, please call Constantin at 832-686-3231 to confirm logistics, gear size, to answer your questions and process payment.
$155 + tax per person (gear + guiding included)
In advance registration required
We take Venmo, PayPal, card over the phone
Minimum 4 participants for tour to go
Small group size (max 10).
Event is cross-posted on several platforms
This eco-tour requires a shuttle service and a small kayak ramp launching fee. This guided tour requires a moderate fitness level. Our touring kayaks can accommodate paddlers up to 250 lbs. and 42 inch hip/pants size.
Please call Constantin at 832-686-3231 to confirm logistics, gear size, to answer your questions and process payment.
We take appointments. This event can be rescheduled for another time that's convenient for your party of 4.
GEAR PROVIDED WITH REGISTRATION:
Single seat OR tandem touring kayak
Adjustable life jacket
Small size dry bag for car keys, wallet, phone
Group first aid kit, safety and recue kit (bilge pump, paddle float, tow rope, lights, VHF radio, etc)
A waiver must be filled out.
WHAT TO BRING:
Bring 1 gallon drinking water and pack lunch. Leave in the car a towel and a full set of clothing for a comfortable ride home. Dress only with synthetic, fast-drying, comfortable/stretchy fit, outdoor clothing. Long pants and long sleeve shirts protect your skin from sun and bugs. Bring a large brim hat with under chin strap and sunglasses. Wear water shoes (closed toed sandals, old sneakers). No blue jeans, no flip-flops, no crocs or rainboots. Wear paddling or cycling/workout gloves to avoid hand blisters.
UNDECIDED? Check out our photo album:
I look forward getting to know you and to be paddling together!
[Call/Text: 832 686 3231]
PS: Constantin is an accomplished ACA L-3 Coastal Kayak Instructor, ACA L-3 River Kayak Instructor, ACA L-2 Trip Leader, Master of Science in Geology, and NOLS Wilderness First Aid.
Born to Paddle!
LET'S GET SOCIAL:
Do you have in mind a Different Drill, Date or Destination? Let's chat!!
We also run team building events, birthday parties, church functions, eco tours, overnight camping excursions down the river, across the lake and weekend long adventures at sea along the Texas Gulf Coast, and more advanced skills classes focused on sea kayaking, canoeing and SUP's. Let's chat soon!