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Les Cockrell: Master Naturalists hope to spread word

Chapter to discuss projects, training at information session

Area residents will have an opportunity to learn about the Texas Master Naturalist program during an information session hosted by members of the Elm Fork Chapter at 10 a.m. Thursday.

The chapter meets at the Joseph A. Carroll Building, 401 W. Hickory St. in Denton.

Thursday’s meeting is an annual event designed to acquaint the public with the Texas Master Naturalist program and offer information about how to get involved.

Chapter members will present summaries of the more than 25 projects now underway in Denton County and answer questions about the program.

Guests can also learn about enrollment in the 2013 training program, which is still open. Weekly classes begin Sept. 3 and run through Nov. 19, according to a news release from the chapter.

Classroom instruction is presented at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office, 401 W. Hickory St. Many field trips are included to help trainees become familiar with area environmental areas such as the Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area, Ray Roberts Lake and the Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center.

Experts in the field have developed the curriculum, and educators and specialists from universities, state agencies, nature centers and other organizations provide the training.

The Texas Master Naturalist program is a partnership between Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Since it was established in 1998, Texas Master Naturalist volunteer efforts have provided more than 2 million hours of service valued at more than $45.2 million, according to the news release.

The Elm Fork Chapter was established in 1999 and has 110 active members from Denton, Wise and Cooke counties. For more information, call 940-349-2883 or visit .


Hot-air balloons to fill Highland Village skies

Gates will open at 5 p.m. Friday for the 26th annual Highland Village Balloon Festival.

Presented by the Highland Village Lions Club, this year’s festival will offer a variety of activities for area families, including balloon fly-ins and takeoffs, tethered balloon rides, arts and crafts, carnival rides, games, live music, food, vision and hearing screenings, a kids’ zone and balloon glows.

The location will be Unity Park, 2200 Briarhill Blvd. in Highland Village. The festival will continue until 10 p.m. Friday, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 6 to 10 a.m. Sunday.

Saturday’s special events will include a 5K and fun run at 8 a.m. and a car, truck and motorcycle show from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday’s schedule includes a pancake breakfast from 6 to 9 a.m.

Offsite parking will be available at Marcus High School, 5707 Morriss Road in Flower Mound, with shuttle service to and from Unity Park.

Admission to the festival is free, and parking cost will be a $5 donation. Proceeds from the event will benefit various Lions Club and local charitable projects, including blindness prevention, eyeglass and leader dog programs sponsored by the Lions, the Texas Lions Camp for Children, Highland Village police youth programs, diabetes awareness and area Boy Scout and Cub Scout programs.

For more information, visit .


CASA of Denton County receives Roughriders grant

Court Appointed Special Advocates of Denton County recently received a $1,000 grant from the Frisco Roughriders Foundation, according to a news release from CASA.

The funding will help cover the court and filing fees for children who will be adopted on Denton County Adoption Day, which will be Nov. 1.

CASA of Denton County’s next training session for new advocates begins on Sept. 6, and applications are now being accepted. For more information about training, call 940-243-2272, ext. 112, or visit .

The mission of CASA of Denton County Inc. is to provide trained community volunteers to advocate for the best interest of abused and neglected children and to promote awareness about child abuse issues, according to the organization’s website.


Conservation district honors area rancher

The Denton County Soil and Water Conservation District recently named Sanger-area rancher Dan Reding as Outstanding Conservationist for 2013, according to a news release.

Reding was also awarded runner-up in the category of Resident Conservation Rancher in May at the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board’s Area 5 awards banquet.

Area 5 consists of 52 counties in Central and North Texas.


Walgreens customers help fund breast cancer fight

More than $8.5 million raised by customers of Walgreens through an in-store donation program will help pay for treatment support and screenings for breast cancer patients in communities across the country, according to an announcement from Walgreens and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Nearly half of the $8.5 million will be used to fund community health and education programs in local communities served by Komen’s national network of affiliates, and another $2 million will be used specifically to support screening mammograms for medically underserved women, through grants to local nonprofits, the news release stated. The remainder of the funds will be used to expand Komen’s national breast care help line.

Walgreens customers donated the funds at its more than 8,000 locations across the country during a special donation promotion at checkouts last October.

The money raised will be directed to local community health programs granted through Komen’s nationwide affiliate network, which paid for more than 700,000 breast screenings in 2011 and provided financial social and patient support to another 100,000 people in 2011 alone.

Komen recently recognized Walgreens with its Mission Possible award, given each year to the Komen partner responsible for the most significant assistance in the organization’s efforts against breast cancer.

LES COCKRELL is interested in your input for Out & About. Help share information about Denton County events and people by calling him at 940-566-6887. His e-mail address is .