Dallas Sierra Club
Explore, enjoy and protect the planet
#########Dallas Sierra Club News

February, 2010: In This Issue. . .


Learn How to Backpack

Why in the world would anyone want to go backpacking? You have to carry this heavy thing on your back, sleep on the cold ground, eat crud out of a plastic bag, and wear out your feet.

You can drive to some pretty amazing and beautiful places. And from your car, you can dayhike to a bunch more. But if you look at a map, you'll see that roads and dayhiking only get you to a very small percentage of America. If you want to see the rest, you have to backpack.

Once you learn to backpack, a whole world will open up for you. A world of supreme beauty, star encrusted skies, rushing mountain streams, desert solitude, and quiet you won't find here in the Metroplex. You'll also find that that thing on your back (your backpack) does not have to be heavy, sleeping on the ground can be amazingly comfortable, you can have gourmet food, and your feet won't wear out.

So, how do you get started? You're in luck! The Dallas Sierra Club's Beginner Backpacking Class will be Saturday, February 13. If you miss this one, we won't have another until September. So mark your calendars now.

This class is an ideal way to learn about backpacking. Topics covered include wilderness ethics, outdoor clothing, boots, backpacks, tents, sleeping bags, cookware, food, and preparing for a trip. The class it taught by experienced Dallas Sierra Club trip leaders. There will be plenty of time for a hands-on look at all kinds of backpacking equipment and to have all of your questions answered. We'll even break up into male and female groups so you can ask any gender specific questions you may have.

We'll provide lunch. You'll get a chance to sample a variety of backpacking foods. (And, we'll show you how you can get all your food at the grocery store.) We'll also have water and cokes available throughout the day.

Before the class is over, you will have a chance to sign up for one or more beginner backpack trips. These can get you ready for our most spectacular trips, our bus trips to Colorado, New Mexico and, at Thanksgiving, to Big Bend National Park.

The class will be held at REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.) in the second floor program room. REI is at 4515 LBJ Freeway, north side service road, between Midway and Welch, Mapsco 14Q. The class will start promptly at 10:30 AM and will end at about 5:00 PM. The fee is $20 for Sierra Club members and $30 for non-members (you can sign up to be a Sierra Club member at the class). No reservations are necessary, just show up. Bring a light jacket or sweater, as the room is often cool.


January General Meeting Program - February 9, 7:00 pm

Amir Omar is a City Councilman for the City of Richardson and the Council liaison to Richardson's Environmental Advisory Commission. In 2006, Richardson was the first North Texas city to approve the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement as part of the Sierra Club's Cool Cities initiative. Councilman Omar will be sharing the efforts of Richardson to decrease its carbon footprint as well as increase the awareness of things residential and commercial entities can do to impact theirs. Richardson will be putting in place two groundbreaking projects that could impact the way Cities across the Metroplex approach conservation efforts.

Visit our website for complete information about our General Meeting, including a map.


Outings Highlights

Taos Bus Trip, February 18-22
IT'S TIME TO PLAY IN THE SNOW! (And, there is still room left on the bus.) Want to enjoy a variety of winter activities but can't get away over the holidays? Reservations are now open for our annual bus trip to Taos, New Mexico leaving after work Thursday, February 18 and returning early morning, Monday, February 22. The trip offers hotel or yurt lodging and several activity options including alpine snowshoeing, downhill skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing. We also offer a walking tour for those interested in learning more about outdoor photography and local culture, including a visit to the famous Taos Pueblo. Of course, you're also welcome to just stroll Taos to enjoy the many galleries, museums and restaurants. For complete trip details, price and reservation information, ski on over to www.dallassierraclub.org.

Trailbuilding 101: Step It Up!
Have you ever wondered why our local service outings tend to be all about pulling weeds and picking up trash, and wished for something a bit more challenging, like building water diversions and setting steps? Well, get ready to step up your efforts. The Dallas Audubon group has recruited the Dallas Sierra Club group to join them in helping to repair and maintain trails at the Cedar Ridge Preserve in south Dallas. And to ensure that we have trained and able experts to do the work needed, they are offering a one-day trail building workshop at the Preserve on February 27, 2010. So if you are interested in acquiring or expanding your skills in trail maintenance, make plans to attend. Hours are from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM and lunch will be included for those who attend. After a brief classroom presentation by Audubon's Randy Shane, you will have the opportunity to get out on the trails and get your hands dirty by setting steps where needed and building water diversion structures on the Preserve's trails which were badly affected by last year's heavy storms. No special tools required, just bring your work gloves and a water bottle. For more information, call Sharon Noyce at 972-572-8428.

For a complete list of our outings, visit our outings page.


The Outings Corner

My First Bus Trip
by Scherry F. Johnson, Ed.D., The University of Texas at Dallas

As a life-member of the Sierra Club, I obviously have an interest in nature, the environment, and outdoor activities. Although I am a certified diver, an active birder, a mediocre skier, and former scout camp swimming instructor, I had never gone backpacking. I kept seeing wonderful photos of places I would never visit if I stuck to roads and day hikes and I felt cheated! So at age 68, I decided to take action!

We are lucky in Dallas to belong to a local group which offers many hiking and backpacking options and even better for me, they offer a class for beginning backpackers. Signing-up was a "no-brainer" although it meant committing an entire valuable Saturday's to the class. I felt a bit shy about going alone and of course, most of the participants were younger, but I went with an open mind and determination to follow up with a trek! I knew it would take planning to find one which fits into my schedule. I am not retired and I have to fit trips into a busy professional life.

After completing the class, I knew that I needed to make an investment in basic proper equipment (and yes, I might be able to remodeled a small kitchen for about the same amount of money), but the backpacking class helped me evaluate what I really needed and what I could do without. I love my one person backpacking tent and my down sleeping bag. I am pleased with my compact cooking unit and my trekking poles. I covet having a better sleeping pad so one is now on my "wish to receive or to purchase" list. Although the topic is covered in the class, the whole issue of what food to cook on the trail still eludes me! I hate the commercial freeze dried food and I know I can survive a long time on hard crackers and peanut butter!

I got lucky on my first outing because the assistant trip leader is a professional colleague of mine and his wife was the leader - they were supportive and encouraging. The hiking was moderate but the altitude in the Colorado Rockies and the heavy back pack made the first day more challenging that they needed to be. I loved the hiking days that only required a day pack and the warm days and cool nights outdoors were just the break from my desk and computer that I needed. Some of my fellow travelers were very experienced back packers, others, not so much, but they were all friendly, fun and funny. The mountain wild flowers were breath taking.

The South Rim of Big Bend has been on my personal "bucket" list for years and this Thanksgiving, I ate my turkey sandwich there with my daughter and 8 other Sierrans on Trip #2 of the annual Dallas bus trip to Big Bend. The sunset on our last day was spectacular!

When they first learned that I had taken up backpacking, my friends laughed, my daughters could not believe that I would actually go several days without a hot bath or a glass of wine, and the trip leaders were probably skeptical as I got on the bus for my first outing with a pack that was obviously too heavy. But, I am happy to report that I am now a veteran of two bus trip outings and my tent is cleaned and ready for my next hike. (I have to keep going so I can amortize my investment!)

So, to all of you considering backpacking as a new adventure, here is my commercial:
Cost of equipment - $$; Cost for trip - $; Value of the experiences - Priceless!


Survey Direction: New Trips!
by Mark Stein

New trip destinations and new hikes at perennial destinations would increase the appeal of bus trips. So said respondents to a Sierra Club Dallas Group survey.

The survey was distributed electronically in December 2009 and again in January 2010 to approximately 1,000 addresses on the Outings mailing list. The response rate was about 5%--not overwhelming, but about the same as the percentage of voters who turned our for a December 2009 DISD runoff election.

Among other questions, survey recipients were invited to check factors that would increase the appeal of bus trips. 53% of respondents said "New bus destinations. 47% said "More choice of easy trips." 42% said "new hikes within the same bus destinations from year to year." When cross-tabulated by sex, men (57% of respondents) most often cited new destinations, new trips and more choice of moderately difficult trips. Women (43% of respondents) cited more choice of easy trips, followed by new destinations.

Reviewing the survey results, the Outings Committee agreed in January that adding new hikes to 2010 bus trip destinations should become a priority. A 2011 goal will be introduction of a new bus trip destination. Putting these priorities into immediate practice, the May 28-June 1 trip to Bandelier will include at least one trip outside the National Monument--the East Fork Jemez trail, tracking a scenic river born in the Valle Grande Caldera.

The June 30-July 6 bus outings to the Pecos Wilderness and September 2-7 bus trip to the Weminuche Wilderness will also feature one or two original trips. The Outings Committee gets it that hikers like variety. This doesn't mean we won't offer the classic hikes, some of which are so good we offer them year after year.

One veteran backpacker commented that the current lineup of bus trip destinations is probably the best it might possibly be within our reasonable travel range. In recent years our destination calendar has been Taos in February, the White Mountains or Bandelier at Memorial Day, the Colorado Sangre de Cristo Mountains or the Pecos Wilderness for July 4, the Weminuche Wilderness at Labor Day and the Big Bend at Thanksgiving.

Destination requirements for a busload of 30 to 40 backpackers for three to five days include not only scenery, but trails adequate to construct five good trip programs for a range of abilities, water, roads adequate for bus access and a permit policy that accommodates us without cash commitments far in advance. High demand, early deposit requirements and policies that don't allow campsite reservations until 24 hours before use make it almost impossible to secure the right number of campsites at proper backcountry locations in the most popular National Parks.

Another observation from the survey was that 90% of respondents said earlier afternoon departures would probably be an acceptable trade for reaching more distant bus trip destinations. 65% said earlier departures would definitely not pose a problem.

Numerous free responses gave the Outings Committee ideas for future trips as well as compliments. Ideas included destinations from the Yucatan to Banff (and many places between), more boating trips, fly-drive trips, staying in cabins, not converting seats to bunks and free beer, wine and hot chocolate. Your outings leaders much appreciate these helpful opinions, which are welcome anytime. We're also constantly seeking new trip leaders a great way to directly implement your concepts for keeping the outings program fresh.


Recycling Round-Up
by Rita Raccoon

Recent Recycling News - February 2010

Wylie Uses Technology to Enhance Recycling
Using grant money from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the City of Wylie will use Radio-frequency Identification (RFID) tags in an innovative project to tackle recycling participation at the household level. The tags, as well as related equipment to scan and log the results, will be used to track recycling amounts on a per household basis. That information will then be used to determine which citizens would benefit from targeted outreach, education, and incentive programs.

With the goal of improving their current recycling rate of 40%, Wylie will be outfitting all residential recycle containers with the RFID tags and equipping recycle trucks with the necessary apparatus to make effective use of the tags. The equipment includes a device that weighs 90-gallon recycling containers, RFID readers, and other hardware and software for tracking individual household participation in the City's recycling program. This individual approach, combined with an novel incentive program is expected to dramatically increase recycling participation.

The incentive program will use the RFID equipment to accurately measure participation and total weight of recycled material that each household contributes. Every household that participates for four consecutive weeks or that contributes over 50 pounds of recyclables in any week, will be entered into a drawing (two drawings per month for twelve months) with the winners receiving their choice of the following: free solid waste services for a year, free use of the City Community Center, a free park pavilion reservation, or a free membership in the City's new Recreation Center scheduled to open in 2010. City staff will also use a variety of methods including utility bill inserts to not only introduce the program, but maintain interest as well.

In addition to environmental benefits gained from the increased participation, the City and its residents stand to benefit in other ways. The City is currently eligible to receive a rebate from its solid waste contractor based upon the tonnage of collected recyclables. An increase in participation will lead to an increase in this rebate thus adding to general funds available to the City. The City Council has already earmarked such rebates for use in beautifying medians.

Wylie's current solid waste and recycling contractor, Community Waste Disposal, is an integral part of the project and will be allowing their trucks to be modified with the necessary equipment as well as making their drivers available for training. Additionally, CWD is responsible for supplying accurate feedback on any productivity benefits or costs the RFID equipment produces. CWD also stands to benefit from the use of RFID technology – perhaps most importantly reducing fuel consumption with route optimization.

For more information on the City of Wylie's solid waste grant project, please contact Jennifer Vuitel, Environment and Development Planner, at 817-695-9223 or jvuitel@nctcog.org or check  http://www.wylietexas.gov/index.jsp

Calling all Educators, Gardeners, Landscapers, and Nurserymen
Looking to promote more sustainable landscapes and gardening techniques in your community? If so, mark your calendar to attend a Texas SmartScape class scheduled for February 17, 2010 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Urban Solutions Center, 17360 Coit Road, Dallas 75252. Texas SmartScape is a "how to" program that teaches concepts of landscaping with native and adapted plants, and goes beyond basic xeriscaping principles to provide design, care, and plant search tools that are "smart" for North Central Texas.

Texas SmartScape is an award-winning gardening program that more and more people in our area are relying on to help protect the environment and save money. SmartScape plants require less water and little to no fertilizers and pesticides to thrive in the Texas heat, thereby conserving water and keeping harmful chemicals out of our lakes, creeks, rivers, and streams. Native birds, butterflies, and other wildlife are attracted to the beauty of a SmartScaped landscape.

You won't want to miss this opportunity to learn more about Texas SmartScape and partnership opportunities. Your community and clients will appreciate and benefit from this program. The SmartScape class will be taught by Dr. Dotty Woodson, Texas AgriLife Extension Program Specialist - Water Resources. Texas Nursery and Landscape Association (TNLA) Continuing Education Units (CEUs) will be available for landscapers and nurseryman.

To register for this class, visit http://urbansolutionscenter.tamu.edu/. For more information on Texas SmartScape, visit www.txsmartscape.com or contact Erin Blackman, Environment and Development Planner, at 817-695-9227 or eblackman@nctcog.org.


Green Infrastructure Planning, Preservation, and Restoration
A Key Goal of Vision North Texas Sustainable Growth Plan

By Joe Wells, Dallas County Treasurer

Infrastructure can be defined as the substructure or underlying foundation upon which the continuance and growth of a community and a region depends. Until recently, community planners and the public viewed infrastructure only as man-made buildings, roads, utilities, and water and wastewater systems which serve existing and future development. The planning and public and private investments that create this "gray infrastructure" have guided development.

Dallas Greenbelt"Green Infrastructure" is a relatively new concept with potential to impact the economic and environmental sustainability of community and regional design, growth, and development by redefining the infrastructure upon which that growth is planned and developed. Green Infrastructure includes natural ecological systems which provide a broad array of cost effective public benefits when incorporated into urban planning and development design. Green Infrastructure planning involves inventory, preservation, restoration, and management of interconnected networks of natural lands, open space, watersheds, floodplains, forests, and working agricultural lands which conserve ecosystem values and functions and provide associated benefits to human populations.

Regional and community planning and development that are based on initial inventory and preservation of natural ecological resources will provide sustainable economic and environmental benefits for current and future generations of North Texans. The protection and restoration of natural areas including watershed floodplain buffers and urban forests has numerous benefits. These buffers reduce global warming with carbon sequestration and improve air quality. They also protect and preserve water quality and supply by filtration and flood absorption while providing cost effective storm water management and flood hazard mitigation. Lastly, buffers and urban forests preserve biodiversity and wildlife habitat; creating healthy recreational and outdoor educational opportunities while increasing property values and quality of life in all communities.

The Vision North Texas 2050 Sustainable Growth planning process and the NCTCOG Environment and Development Department are providing the region with both the vision and new tools to inventory, preserve, protect, restore, and manage a network of Green Infrastructure assets. GIS mapping of watersheds, urban forests, habitats, working agricultural lands, and green printing significant ecological resources allows regional and community planners to develop strategies and policies which protect and utilize the ecologically beneficial values these natural systems provide.

The benefits of Green Infrastructure planning are tremendous:

  • networks of stream buffers for storm water filtration and absorption;
  • urban wildlife;
  • outdoor recreation and education;
  • urban forests to mitigate the urban heat island effect;
  • improved air quality; and
  •  prime farmland for producing local organically grown food at lower costs with reduced chemical and energy input.

My mom, 96 years old Sadie Louise Wells, has seen North Texas grow and prosper along with the loss and degradation of our natural resources. Is it possible her great granddaughter 6 month old Sadie Jane Wells' generation will still enjoy the remaining creeks, rivers, and forests of North Texas, eat home grown foods, breath clean air, and be supplied with clean and plentiful water supply? Will future North Texans live in communities with higher population densities, mixed use pedestrian friendly developments served by transit with green spaces and trails accessible to a network of greenways? That depends on decisions made by North Texas regional leaders now. Now is the time to redirect future growth and development to a denser, cleaner, and greener future. Green Infrastructure planning and development provides a foundation for economically and environmentally sustainable growth.


Calendar

Here is our calendar through March. For complete listings, visit us at www.dallassierraclub.org.

FEB 2 (TUE) YOUNG SIERRANS HH/DINNER - THE OLD MONK - DALLAS Please join us for a Happy Hour/Dinner at the Old Monk on Tuesday, February 2nd! Arrive anytime after 6:00p for happy hour. Please RSVP by noon on 2/2 to the Pingg invitation or the youngsierrans@dallassierraclub.org email address so we have a rough estimate for seating. All 20s/30s welcome; you don't have to be a Young Sierran or Sierra Club member to attend. **Address: 2847 North Henderson Ave, 75206 - Ph: (214) 821-1880** Contact: Candace Weinberg

FEB 6 (SAT) 2ND ANNUAL SUPER WEEKEND 10K DAYHIKE Hike 10K (6 miles) on the Lake Ray Roberts Greenbelt Corridor. This is an easy trail running along side the Elm Fork of the Trinity River. No reservations required, just show up. Please,no pets. Bring water and a snack. Meet at 9:00 AM at the Hwy 380 Trailhead Park. Admission to the park is $5.00 per person or free with a Texas State Parks Pass. There will be an optional lunch afterwards. The Park is on US Hwy 380 2.1 miles west of Hwy 377 or 2.8 miles east of Loop 288 in Denton. Hwy 380 can be reached from Central Expwy,Preston Rd., or the Tollway. Bring extra shoes in case the trail is muddy. The trip will be canceled if it is raining at the trailhead. Leader: Mark Adams 972-658-1281(C)

FEB 7 (SUN) SIERRA SINGLES SUPER BOWL PARTY ON THE 7TH OF FEBRUARY AT 5 PM Greetings everyone. Now that we know who will be in the Super Bowl this year, we are formally announcing the party place and time. The party will begin at 5 PM ish, you can come earlier and help set up if you'd like, and it will be at Paul Heller's house in Farmers Branch. The address is 13806 Wooded Creek Dr, Farmers Branch, TX, 75244. Please bring some munchies to share and your beverage of choice, of course. The more the merrier. Even if you don't like football, come out for the commercials and the people and fun times. It will be an excellent gathering, I assure you. Paul has a 61 inch TV, and it does the job! No need to RSVP, just show up. Bring a friend or two, and we'll all enjoy a slice of sports in America. See you then. Dont forget your libations! Organizers: Ginger Bradley 469-223-7902(C) and Paul Heller 972-620-1703(H)

FEB 9 (TUE) DALLAS SIERRA DLUB GENERAL MEETING Everyone is invited to the General Meeting of the Dallas Sierra Club. See article above for full details.

FEB 13 (SAT) WHITE ROCK LAKE CLEANUP. Walk and talk while helping to pick up trash and recyclables at the Sierra Club's adopted section of White Rock Lake Park. Meet at 8:15 AM at the Love of the Lake office on the Northeast corner of Garland Rd. and Buckner Blvd. Look for a crowd of people drinking free juice and coffee. Gloves, trash bags, etc. provided. Our area includes one of the wonderful prairie restoration areas, so there are always birds and wildflowers to enjoy. The lake and your karma will thank you. Brunch afterwards. Leader: Carol Nash 214-824-0244(H)

FEB 13 (SAT) BEGINNER BACKPACKING CLASS. This class is an ideal way to learn about backpacking. Topics include: wilderness ethics, outdoor clothing, boots, backpacks, tents, sleeping bags, cookware, food, and preparing for a trip. Instructors are experienced Dallas Sierra Club leaders. There will be time for questions and a hands-on look at outdoor gear. Lunch of backpacking food is included. You will also have the opportunity to learn about, and sign up for, several beginner backpacking trips. The fee is $20 for Sierra Club members and $30 for non-members (cash or check) You can sign up to be a Sierra Club member at the class. No reservations are necessary, just show up. The class will be held at REI, 4515 LBJ Freeway, Dallas, TX 75244 (north side of LBJ between Welch and Midway). The class will start at 10:30 AM and end at about 5:00 PM. Leader: Bob Gates 972-678-1221(H)

FEB 17 (WED) OUTINGS COMMITTEE MEETING. Meet in the upstairs program room at REI (on north side of LBJ between Midway and Welch), at 6:30 PM. Bring your ideas for the Dallas Sierra Club Outings program. We will be planning local outings and bus trips. All outings leaders, future outings leaders, and interested Sierrans welcome. Ask Bill to be placed on the email list for an agenda. Contact: Bill Greer 972-247-0446(H)  

FEB 18 (THU) YOUNG SIERRANS HH/DINNER - TBD - ADDISON Please join us for a Happy Hour/Dinner at *tbd* on Tuesday, February 18th! Arrive anytime after 6:00p for happy hour; dinner at 7:00p. Please RSVP by noon on 2/18 to the Pingg invitation or the youngsierrans@dallassierraclub.org email address so we have a rough estimate for seating. All 20s/30s welcome; you don't have to be a Young Sierran or Sierra Club member to attend. **Address: ** Contact: Candace Weinberg  NEW

FEB 18-22 (THU-MON) BUS TRIP TO TAOS, NM Come play in the snow! Join us for this very popular annual trip to enjoy the winter beauty of northern New Mexico. We'll leave Dallas on our sleeper bus around dinner time on Feb. 18 and return early morning on the 22nd. The trip is very economical and offers hotel with hot tub or backpacking/yurt accommodations. Several activity options including alpine snowshoeing, downhill skiing, snowboarding, snowtubing, an outdoor photography walk and visit to Taos Pueblo, or just time to relax and enjoy the galleries, museums, shops, food and beauty of this scenic and historical town. Activity ratings range from easy to moderately strenuous. Trip includes transportation to/from Taos, Taos Ski Valley and trailheads. Click here for pdf version of the complete trip write up which includes trip details, activity descriptions, costs and required forms for your reservation. RESERVATIONS ARE LIMITED - CALL TRIP LEADER FOR DETAILS AND AVAILABILITY. Bus trip leader: Liz Wheelan 214-368-2306(H)

FEB 20 (SAT) DAY HIKE AT FORT WORTH NATURE CENTER Meet at 8:30 AM at the Hardwicke Interpretative Visitors Center Parking lot at Fort Worth Nature Center. After you enter the refuge pay your entrance fee and follow signs to Hardwicke. The park opens it gates at 8 AM so be there promptly. We will hike a 4-5 mile section of trails. Bring water, snacks, and raingear. Nature Center is located in NW Tarrant County on Lake Worth. Take Highway 199 exit west toward Azle off 820 West on western edge of Fort Worth. For more information on Nature Center, visit http://www.fwnaturecenter.org. In the event of rain, hike is cancelled. No dogs please. Leader: Claudia Blalock 817-924-6242(H)

FEB 20 (SAT) HIKE AROUND WHITE ROCK LAKE Meet at the Stone Tables at White Rock Lake near Lake Highlands Drive and Buckner Blvd. The hike will start at 9:00am. We'll walk 9 miles in about 3 hrs on a paved path. This is an ideal way to test your legs for the upcoming spring backpack trips. Bring water and snacks. No reservations necessary. Please, no pets. Optional lunch at local restaurant. Leader: Marcos Jorge 972-394-2546(H)

FEB 20-21 (SAT-SUN) WINTER IN ARKANSAS BEGINNER BACKPACKING TRIP We'll do a moderately-easy backpack of about 6-1/2 miles over 2 days along one of the most scenic backpacking trails in Southwest Arkansas. Because the trail follows the valley of the Little Missouri River there is minimal elevation change, but do be prepared for a couple of wet stream crossings. Drive up Friday night and return Sunday. We'll meet Saturday morning at Albert Pike Campground. This hike is suitable for graduates of the Sierra Club Beginner Backpacking Class. This is a beautiful time of year on the trail with no crowds and great views during leaf-off. The weather could be nice but come prepared for cold wet conditions. Leader: Mark Adams 972-658-1281(H)

FEB 23 (TUE) INNER CITY OUTINGS MEETING Snacks and social starts at 6:45 pm, meeting starts at 7:00 pm. Inner City Outings ("ICO") is an outreach program of the Sierra Club comprised of volunteers who provide wilderness experiences such as day hikes and camping for disadvantaged youth. ICO meets on the fourth Tuesdays at REI, 4515 LBJ Freeway, Farmers Branch, TX 75244 (north side of LBJ between Midway and Welch). All volunteers and those considering becoming an ICO volunteer are welcome. Contact the ICO Chair for more information. To receive future announcements and meeting information you may sign up for our email list.

FEB 27 (SAT) SATURDAY MORNING BICYCLE RIDE AT WHITE ROCK LAKE Let's ride around White Rock Lake. Meet at 9:30 AM at the Stone Tables near Lake Highlands Drive and Buckner Blvd. This will be a leisurely trip of 9 miles in about 1-1/2 hours. Any bike and any body is welcome. All participants in Sierra Club bike rides must wear an approved helmet. The trip will be canceled if it is raining at White Rock Lake. Optional brunch afterwards. Leader: Mark Adams 972-658-1281(C)

MAR 6-7 (SAT-SUN) BEGINNER BACKPACK TRIP TO THE CANEY CREEK WILDERNESS Join us for one of the Dallas Sierra Club's favorite local backpack trips. We'll backpack about 4 ½ miles and camp near a water fall. We will be hiking near a stream, and there will be a few small hills to climb. After setting up camp, we'll do a short day hike as time permits. Priority will be given to the graduates of the February 2010 backpack class. Leaders: Steve Longely and Marcos Jorge 972-395-2546(H)

MAR 13 (SAT) WHITE ROCK LAKE CLEANUP. Walk and talk while helping to pick up trash and recyclables at the Sierra Club's adopted section of White Rock Lake Park. Meet at 8:15 AM at the Love of the Lake office on the Northeast corner of Garland Rd. and Buckner Blvd. Look for a crowd of people drinking free juice and coffee. Gloves, trash bags, etc. provided. Our area includes one of the wonderful prairie restoration areas, so there are always birds and wildflowers to enjoy. The lake and your karma will thank you. Brunch afterwards. Leader: Carol Nash 214-824-0244(H)

MAR 13 (SAT) ST. PATRICK'S DAY PARADE ON GREENVILLE AVE - RECYCLING EFFORT - 3RD ANNUAL DSC PARADE ENTRY The Dallas Sierra Club will be entering a conservation-themed/SC awareness entry into the 2010 parade scheduled for Saturday, March 13th. Additional details will be posted later. For info/photos from last year's effort, copy/paste this link, and click back to March 2009: http://tinyurl.com/ygjuho6  To participate, please RSVP by 3/9 to the youngsierrans@dallassierraclub.org email address. We'll follow up to everyone by 3/11 with an email that includes final details. All are welcome to join in the fun! Contact: Peter Wilson

MAR 17 (WED) OUTINGS COMMITTEE MEETING. Meet in the upstairs program room at REI (on north side of LBJ between Midway and Welch), at 6:30 PM. Bring your ideas for the Dallas Sierra Club Outings program. We will be planning local outings and bus trips. All outings leaders, future outings leaders, and interested Sierrans welcome. Ask Bill to be placed on the email list for an agenda. Contact: Bill Greer 972-247-0446(H)

MAR 20 (SAT) SATURDAY MORNING BICYCLE RIDE AT WHITE ROCK LAKE Let's ride around White Rock Lake. Meet at 9:30 AM at the Stone Tables near Lake Highlands Drive and Buckner Blvd. This will be a leisurely trip of 9 miles in about 1-1/2 hours. Any bike and any body is welcome. All participants in Sierra Club bike rides must wear an approved helmet. The trip will be canceled if it is raining at White Rock Lake. Optional brunch afterwards. Leader: Mark Adams 972-658-1281(C)

MAR 20-21 (SAT-SUN) BEGINNER BACKPACK TRIP IN THE BEECH CREEK SCENIC AREA Backpack about 9 relatively flat miles (round trip) in this beautiful area of southeastern Oklahoma. We'll hike in the basin area of this 8,000 acre Oak-Hickory-Pine-Beech forest near the source of Beach Creek. We'll make camp near a stream. As time permits, there may be an optional day hike, or we can sit in the stream. Preference will be given to the "graduates" of the Beginner Backpack Class Leaders: Thai Le 469-644-9820(C) and Marcos Jorge

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