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." [1]

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... (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Amateur_Scientist)

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/

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/

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... (https://www.meetup.com/Counter-Culture-Labs/)

[1] 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 (http://www.antarctic-circle.org/advert.htm) and is nothing more than urban legend.

Upcoming events (4+)

Using iNaturalist, Help ID Plants along the Northern Walnut Creek Trail, Phase 2

Help Keep Walnut Creek Wild make plans for projects to restore the plants along the newly opened Phase 2 of the Northern Walnut Creek Trail. Although I put a date on this event to post it, it's an Open Opportunity—you can do it any time you like. You will take photos and use them to create observations on iNaturalist.

This is a do-it-yourself activity, at whatever time and pace works for you. The path is concrete and has a gentle, ADA-compliant grade.

For details on how this event works, and to sign up to participate, go to this event's page on Givepulse.

Thanks in advance!

$$ - Crux Climbing Center (Central) - Bouldering - In Person

Needs a location

This is an in person event and COVID protocols will be managed by the sponsoring group policies.

You DO need to visit this site to get pricing and service costs (e.g. day rates and shoe rental) -- https://www.cruxclimbingcenter.com/

Nature Nerds Austin has this to say...

This is for any level of bouldering experience. I have a couple of chalk bags but you will need to provide your own climbing shoes or rent a pair from the gym.

If you don't have a membership, you may want to consider going down that road.

Hope to see you there!

Firefly Aerospace - Alpha Launch #2 - FLTA002 To The Black - Personal Activity

You do NOT need to sign up for this event. It is a placeholder only.

You DO need to check with these sites regularly for the latest event information and schedule --

https://firefly.com/alpha-flight-2-to-the-black/

https://www.spacelaunchschedule.com/launch/firefly-alpha-flta002-to-the-black/

Firefly Aerospace is located in Cedar Park, TX. (Austin Metroplex) -- https://firefly.com/

Austin Water Wildland Conservation - Diversity of Texas Salamanders - Online

This is an online only event. You do NOT need to sign up for this event. It is a placeholder only.

You DO need to visit this site to register -- https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_KzvK8m2uTEyQIPoGuc-oJA

Austin Water Wildland Conservation has this to say...

The Austin area is home to three species of aquatic salamanders that occur nowhere else in the world. You’ve probably heard of the Barton Springs Salamander and the Austin Blind Salamander but can you name the third? The threatened Jollyville Plateau Salamander, found only in Travis and Williamson Counties, benefits from the overall protection of Balcones Canyonlands Preserve (BCP) because much of its remaining spring-fed habitat lies on the preserve.

Learn more about salamanders at www.austintexas.gov/salamanders

Past events (540)

Dog Aging Project - Inside the Canine Diet - Online

Needs a location

Photos (741)