You can sign up for tours during online registration.
Due to circumstances beyond our control all tours must be booked no later than Feb. 21.
All Tours are on Saturday, April 27, 2019
Departure will be from Victoria County Community Center. Departure times to be announced later.
Tour 1, Historic Goliad / Goliad State Park - $50
There will be a tour of a Goliad County family farm to be announced later.
Note: The charge of lunch at a nearby restaurant is not included on the tour.
Downtown historic Goliad with its picturesque 19th Century buildings has unique places to browse, shop and dine. At the center of the square is the Goliad County Courthouse built in 1894 and the famous Goliad hanging tree.
Goliad State Park has expert guides to make your visit memorable. Operated by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, it encompasses 276 acres. Included on the park tour are:
- Aranama Walking Trail featuring many native Texas plants and Cardinal’s 7 Heaven Bird Blind nearby.
- Mission Espiritu Santo established in 1749 and rebuilt in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
- The birthplace of Gen. Ignacio Zaragoza, hero of the Battle of Puebla (celebrated in Texas and Mexico on Cinco de Mayo).
- Newly opened El Camino Real de los Tejas Visitors Center which has a list of native park plants and tells of the King’s Highway that stretched from Mexico to Louisiana.
- Fannin Memorial Monument, the mass grave of Col. James W. Fannin and his men who were executed March 27, 1836, at nearby Presidio LaBahia.
Tour 2, Aransas Bay Habitat / Fulton Mansion in Fulton - $65
Welcome aboard for a guided tour of the Aransas Bay Habitat. Bring your camera and binoculars for this Spring birding adventure which begins in Rockport. You will experience the excitement of getting a closeup view of bird and marine life as the boat takes you to several locations along the bay. Enjoy the blue herons, roseate spoonbills and many other water birds in full plumage. There’s a good chance you will also see dolphins. The second phase of the tour is the Fulton House Mansion known for its Second Empire French architecture. Built by engineer, successful businessman and inventor George W. Fulton, the house was started in 1873 and completed in 1877. With its gas lighting, central heat and indoor plumbing, it was the only house of its kind in the area. Fulton House is owned and operated by the Texas Historical Commission. The grounds include a garden and education and historic center.
Note: The charge for lunch at a nearby restaurant is not included in the tour fee.
Tour 3, Aransas National Wildlife Refuge / Goose Island State Park - $60
The combined tour of the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and Goose Island State Park offers panoramic views of the St. Charles, Aransas and San Antonio bays. The birdlife, windswept trees and marshlands offer countless hours of visual pleasure. A catered box lunch is included. Guests should wear close-toed walking shoes and hats. They may wish to bring umbrellas in the event of showers.
Aransas National Wildlife Refuge
The Aransas National Wildlife Refuge is situated on Blackjack Peninsula and lies within Aransas, Refugio and Calhoun counties. The 59,000-acre park was established in 1937 as the Aransas Migratory Waterfowl Refuge by President Franklin D. Roosevelt who gave its present name in a 1940 proclamation. Roads, firebreaks and residential facilities were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1938. It is operated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The refuge is the winter home of the famous migratory Whooping Cranes. There is not enough space to do justice to this spectacular resource.
Among the features of the park are:
- Trails and walkways featuring freshwater sources, places to observe water birds and alligators, sloughs, shell ridges and oak forests.
- An ancient Coastal Live Oak thought to date back as far as the 1500’s.
- 167 wildflower species, and untold number of species of butterflies and dragonflies, blackjack oak, live oak, yaupon and red bay.
- Deer, squirrels, foxes, javelinas, alligators and over 400 documented species of birds.
- Forty-foot and 20-foot observation towers that offer a breathtaking view of the San Antonio Bay and Mustang Lake.
- A large picnic area.
Goose Island State Park
Located north of Lamar, Goose Island State Park has been a popular spot for fishing, boating, camping and wildlife photography for generations. It was cleared and constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1934 and 1935, and is operated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Surrounded by the St. Charles and Aransas bays, the park sits on 321.4 acres of land at Lamar Peninsula.
The park features the following:
- A mainland area where numerous live oak trees and red bay thickets abound. Visitors will find beautyberry, coral bean, wax myrtle and many other coastal Texas plants in addition to white-tailed deer, racoons, cottontail rabbits, foxes and over 300 varieties of birds.
- An oyster shell island which has a shell ridge and marshland. The shell ridge has numerous native plants including sea oats, ox-eyed daisy, wolfberry and sea purslane.
- The “Big Tree” which for years was the state champion Coastal Live Oak tree until a larger one was discovered in 2003 in Brazoria County. The tree is many centuries old and stands 44 feet high and has a trunk over 35 feet around.
Tour 4, Victoria Preservation Inc., Historic Homes Tour / Memorial Rose Garden at Victoria Riverside Park - $65
Victoria Preservation Inc. Historic Homes Tour
For three decades the Victoria Preservation Inc. has held annual tours featuring historic homes. In 2019 the tour will coincide April 27 with the final day of the Texas Master Gardener
Association state conference, and the VPI event has been joined to the TMGA tour listings. Past tours have featured 19th Century and early to mid-20th Century homes. For gardeners this is an excellent opportunity to see not only beautiful architecture but some equally fine landscapes. VPI is a non-profit organization which serves as a voice for historic preservation in Victoria. After the tour is completed Master Gardeners will dine at the PumpHouse Riverside Restaurant and Bar, a restored historic city structure at Victoria’s Riverside Park which is included in tour fee. The property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and as a Texas Historical Landmark.
Memorial Rose Garden at Victoria Riverside Park
Operated and maintained at Riverside Park by the Victoria Parks and Recreation Department, the Memorial Rose Garden sits on rich river bottom land an area of oak and pecan trees. It has survived deer invasions, thieves and Hurricane Harvey. Built in 1979 at Victoria Riverside Park, it is one of seven public rose gardens in Texas and one of 100 in the nation. Overtime the circular garden has been revitalized and expanded to one acre encompassed by a newly installed tall metal fence. There are 46 planting beds in addition to a gazebo and other garden structures.
Tour 5, Formosa Tejano Wetlands / Knopp Branch Farm in Jackson County - $60
Converting farm land that once raised rice into the Formosa-Tejano Wetlands took planning and work, but during the 2008-9 school year the outdoor education facility was finally established. The 243-acre wetland project was developed through the efforts of Formosa Plastics Inc., and the independent school districts of Calhoun County, Edna and Industrial. The tract offers distinct habitats for migrant birds such as ducks, geese, large wading birds and shorebirds. The coastal prairie area now has ponds, permanent wetlands and woodlands. The wetland is open 24-hours a day to the public and features two observation towers. Tour participants should bring along closed-toe walking shoes and hats. They also may wish to bring binoculars and cameras because this is an outdoor classroom for everyone to enjoy.
Knopp Branch Farm
What started out as a home garden for two retirees grew into Knopp Branch Farm. Donna and Ernest Roth did not intentionally set out to become farmers when they bought land just north of Edna in 2004. Their “accidental farm” came about due to a bountiful potato crop. What to do? So, they took their spuds to the Urban Harvest Farmers Market in Houston and the rest is history. Located in Jackson County the farm started out with thin, poor topsoil, but through the use of good organic practices the farm has become very productive. The farm’s vegetables and fruit are no longer sold at the farmer’s market but are purchased by some of the leading chefs at several leading restaurants in Houston. During the tour the story of Knopp Branch will be told, looking both at the past and the future. Lunch will be catered by chef Matt Hamilton, who also happens to be a gardener at the farm.
You can sign up for workshops during online registration.
9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Roy and Blanche Cavarretta
Birds Love Gourds Too
Gourd birdhouse craftsmen Roy and Blanche Cavarretta of Hallettsville host workshops
throughout the state and have been featured in several newspapers and magazines. They have won numerous awards for their work at art shows and have competed at the Southwest Fine Art Gourd Show, Lone Star Gourd Festival, Ruidoso Art Festival and the American Gourd Society gourd art competition. They will teach you how to make your very own gourd birdhouse.
Fee (supplies included): $25
20 people max
9:00 am – 10:15 am
Plants in the Round
Retired attorney Brenda Heinold of the Victoria County Master Gardener Association is fascinated with cacti and succulent wreaths. She will be holding a “Plants in the Round” session where we will provide the plants and wreath. Brenda has been a master gardener for two years and has incorporated succulents in her yard.
Fee (supplies included): $50
24 people max
10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Let your creativity flourish in painting a flamingo to your heart’s content. Take it home and proudly display your “one of a kind” yard art.
Linda has been a member of the Aransas/San Patricio Master Gardener Association for 5 years and is a Master Naturalist. She is presently the Vice President and a member of their Planning Committee. She has hosted many workshops including living wreaths and yard art for the Master Gardener program across the state.
Fee (supplies included): $30
20 people max
Merchandise can be ordered during online registration and will be available for pickup at the conference.
Unisex vented fishing shirt with logo
S - XL
Unisex vented fishing shirt with logo
S - XL
Cap with logo