Nature lovers looking for that different summertime activity need not look very far.
Headwaters at the Comal is offering several new programs in July and August for New Braunfelsers and visitors to enjoy. From a night hike to learning how to take stunning nature photos on a smartphone, there’s plenty to do at the Headwaters this summer despite the heat, said Lauren Strack, assistant manager of Headwaters at the Comal.
Strack, who designs the programs for the Headwaters, said she wanted to come up with a few programs that were applicable to everyone and chose morning and evening for many of the times since it’s less hot.
“We’ve got quite a bit going on this summer, focusing on having programs in the evenings to avoid some of the heat,” Strack said. “Next week on Tuesday the 16th, we’re going to have a night hike so a chance to kind of explore the Headwaters after dark and learn a little bit about nocturnal creatures.”
The night hike is a first for the Headwaters and will allow people a unique chance to see what the Headwaters at the Comal are like after dark, Strack said.
“We’ll also get to talk about the dark sky initiative, which is something that is important to the ecology of the area and something that NBU’s been working on,” Strack said. “The volunteers actually put together that night hike next week, so those are some really awesome people who are excited about that project and willing to help out.”
At the end of July, Headwaters at the Comal will have a nature photography with your camera phone class that Strack said she is particularly excited about.
“I try to take pictures out here all the time and they’re never as beautiful as I imagine they’ll be,” she said with a laugh. “It’ll be done by a local photographer who is also a master naturalist and master gardener and she’s going to kind of help people learn the basics of what they can do with their phone to make their photos better.”
One program that has made its return from last summer — the Headwaters’ first summer — is the bat talk and walks, Strack said.
“We’re just wanting to help people learn more about bats, they’re really good neighbors to have actually, even though people are scared of them,” Strack said. “They’re great for taking care of the bug population in your backyard.”
Still, this year’s program took away some improvements from the previous summer — it will start an hour later, Strack said.
“We probably started it a little too early — maybe it wasn’t quite dark enough for them to be active so we’re starting it about an hour later this year to hopefully be able to see more bats and get out there and see what’s out there,” Strack said.
Also making a return is the children’s programming, in partnership with McKenna Children’s Museum, Strack said.
“So that’s been a really successful program and we’ve enjoyed having kids out here to do things like search for pieces of meteorites and learn about science in their backyard and so we’re hoping that that can continue,” Strack said.
Although the children’s programming is something that started last summer, the programs themselves are still different this year, Strack added.
“Last summer, I think we did water rockets and then in the fall I think in October we did glow-in-the-dark pumpkins,” Strack said. “And this year so far we did meteorite hunts and also solar bags, back in May.”
Earlier this summer, the Headwaters also had its first outdoor yoga class, led by Gebhard Ebert, teacher and owner of Ashtanga Yoga Shala New Braunfels.
“We’ll be doing that one again in the fall,” Strack said.
As far as what else is new for the Headwaters, there are still some archeology updates coming in, although the digs are now over, Strack said.
“So (there will be) more YouTube videos our archeologists are going to be putting together to let people know what happens during the lab and research phase of an archeology excavation,” Strack said. “We’ll have updates about that on our website — we had the first one two weeks ago — so we’ll get more information about the different tests and research that they’re doing in the lab right now.”
Programs are open for sign ups to the public, however members do get a discount and sometimes programs are free for them, Strack said.
Folks can stay up to date on updates on programs, memberships and more at the Headwaters website at www.headwatersatthecomal.com.