The Wildlife Viewing Station at the Blanco State Park is officially completed and open for use by park patrons and visitors. The completion of the structure was celebrated with a private dedication ceremony held on Monday, May 24.
The structure has been dedicated to long-time Blanco resident Jean Evans. Jean is an avid birder and authored Birds of Blanco State Park - A Field Checklist, a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department publication.
The checklist was the result of a five-year study conducted by Ms. Evans from May 1988 to May 1993. During this time, Jean spent at least a day per week observing and recording, by species and number, all birds seen in (or flying over) the park. The checklist not only itemizes all the species observed, but indicates if the species is a permanent resident, a summer resident, a winter resident or a migrant. It also denotes whether the species is common, fairly common, uncommon, rare, or accidental.
This checklist is a timeless and invaluable tool for birders and visitors to Blanco State Park, and copies are available at the park office. Jean has been an active member of the Audubon Society most of her adult life and has travelled the world in search of new birds.
Jean was also a contributor to the Blanco County News for many years, penning a regular article about birds and wildlife in the Blanco area. She is known to many as the “local expert” regarding not only birds, but all native wildlife, including flora and fauna. For many years Jean led an annual wildflower identification session referred to as “a walk in the park”, conducted on the grounds of the “old” Bindseil Park and Blanco State Park.
Park personnel have already begun taking advantage of the Wildlife Viewing Station. Mary Alice Partain, Park Interpretive Ranger has conducted two educational programs at the site. She has received unsolicited comments from park patrons that the Viewing Station is a wonderful addition to the park and provides a quiet, tranquil environment in which to observe and participate in nature. All are invited to stop by and share the experience.
To attract wildlife to the viewing area, the viewing station includes a circulating water feature which is fed by a rainwater collection system, and an extensive bird feeding station which contains multiple types of seed feeders, a suet feeder and a hummingbird feeder.
The idea for the Wildlife Viewing Station was that of local resident Shirley Winslow, who spearheaded the efforts required for its approval, funding and construction. Her dedication to the project was the key to its successful completion. Thanks are owed to the numerous generous contributors of funding, materials and labor and thanks to the local residents, Highland Lakes Chapter Master Naturalists and others involved in the completion of this project.