Master Naturalist publishes book on Hill Country

Texas Master Naturalist and author Jim Stanley has published a third book that compounds his knowledge and insights about Texas Hill Country ecology, wildlife, plants and its bodies of water. PHOTO COURTESY OF JIM STANLEY

Jim Stanley, Texas Master Naturalist and author, has published his third book, “Hill Country Ecology: Essays on Plants, Animals, Water and Land Management.”

For the last seven years Stanley has written the Hill Country Naturalist column for the Kerrville Daily Times, and for the last 10 months. For this book, he has selected a little over 200 of the 350 or so columns, collected them into eight major sections and 25 subsections by topic and edited a few as necessary. All combined the book encompasses 288 pages and over 70 photos worth of knowledge and insights about Texas Hill Country.

The book describes the Hill Country ecology for current, as well as for new and prospective, residents. It seeks to teach readers about the Hill Country, including the native habitat, the land, the water, the plants, the animals, the people and the myriad interactions among them. And it does so, not in a collection of long detailed chapters, but in a series of brief, easy-to-read essays.

This is not a book for professional biologists, range scientists, or land management experts. It is, rather, a book for laymen, written by a layman. As such, it describes the various plants, animals, biological principles and land management issues as simply, but accurately, as possible without resorting to too much scientific jargon and/or more detail than most folks are likely to be interested in.

David Langford, longtime Hill Country resident, photographer and vice president emeritus of the Texas Wildlife Association, wrote of the book, “Jim Stanley’s longtime experience makes his book the ideal resource for factual, practical, and dependable wisdom about the Texas Hill Country’s ecology, and how we should understand and care for all our natural resources. ‘Hill Country Ecology’ is a pleasurable read, and a valuable resource to everyone who appreciates this special region of our state.”

Steve Nelle, land stewardship and riparian area expert, natural resource specialist, USDA/NRCS, retired, wrote the following: “This book is an interesting and informative collection of essays about the Hill Country from a highly qualified and deeply committed conservationist. It will give you a greater understanding and deeper appreciation of nature and how we can become better stewards of the lands, waters and wildlife of this region.”

Stanley’s previous books were “Hill Country Landowner’s Guide,” and “A Beginner’s Handbook for Rural Texas Landowners.”

Stanley grew up in the High Plains of Texas and obtained degrees in chemistry from Texas Tech and Indiana University. He had a career in academia and industry and retired to the Hill Country with his wife, Priscilla, in 2000. He has been active in the Native Plant Society of Texas, Riverside Nature Center and the Hill Country Master Naturalist.

The book is available at, and

San Marcos Daily Record

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