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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
May 10, 2017     Hays Free Press
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May 10, 2017

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+ MAIN STREET Buda launches survey to find the "feeling" of Main Street. - Page 1D , May 10, 2017 Page 1C PHOTO COURTESY OF EMMA CHASE Raising awareness for the local, independent farmer is the focus for Farmgrass, a non-profit organization that will hold the fourth annual Farmgrass Festival in Niederwald this weekend. Annual festival raises .reness for 1 cal farmers BY MOSES LEOS III Farmgrass, anAustin area 501(c) 3 nonprofit Gflhrowing up in a fain- organization, will hold its y of ranchers inthird annual festival May e Manchaca area,12-13. Tymothy Bryce always had the agriculture life cours- ing through his veins. He knew how danger- ous the farming profes- sion could be, and how an injury sustained bya local farmer could affect an entire family. By turning a Nieder- wald-area farm into a concert venue, Bryce, along with his wife, Talia, hope to provide a helping hand to'injured farmers in need. The organization, according to its website, promotes the well-being of local, independent farmers in the Austin area. That includes fundraising to assist farmers who have suffered injuries while at work. Over the past three years, organizers have raised more than $34,000 to assist six farmers in the area. "Our goal is to show the community loves farm- ers," Talia Bryce said, "We want to see them do well and to thrive and help them, so they can keep going on and pass along (farming) to the next gen- eration." Origins of the festival began three years ago when Talia and Tymothy conceptualized the idea, which was to create a festi- val for a good cause. They also sought to start an emergency medical fund for farming, which Talia Bryce said is a "super dangerous profession." According to 2014 U.S. FARMGRASS, 4C PHOTO COURTESY OF EMMA CHASE It's About Thyme by Chris Winslow Though the fortunes of the monarchs rise and fall from year to year, when you look beyond the latest statistics and look back to the numbers recorded 20 years ago, then you realize how steep the overall decline has been. As gardeners, and as stewards of our lands, I believe we should all put aside some part of our gardens to be good hosts to our magical visitors on their epic 2,800 mile journeys back and forth between Mexico and Canada. To do this we just have to choose the right plants to support the butterflies during their larva (caterpillar) stage. For monarchs, try planting butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberose). This tropical milkweed grows to a height of 2 to 4 feet, and has striking orange and red flowers. Besides being a host plant, milkweed also has an abundance of nectar. Nectar plants act IT'S ABOUT THYME, 2C BY SAMANTHA SMITH For many children, learn- ing how to read in a public setting can be a nerve- wracking experience. A fear of being judged based on how they perform is often a reality. With the help of a local pooch, an Austin-area organization hopes to make reading a much more paws-itive experience for Buda residents. Lillian Sikorski, of Wimbefley, along with her five-year-old golden retriever, Samson, have spent Monday afternoons at the Buda Public Library listening to children read without judgment. The duo is part of the Bow Wow Reading Dog program, which is done through the Aus- tin Dog Alliance. "We go to schools and librar- ies and kids read to him which increases their reading skills in an environment where they won't be judged and they have a patient audience," Sikorski said. According to the ADA website, the BowWow program is where "non-judgmental therapy dogs" listen to "at-risk students reading aloud." The dogs are paired with handlers who are also educated on how to help at-risk readers learn how to read. The BowWow teams volunteer their time at local elementary schools, self- contained classrooms, libraries, after-school programs and col- lege campuses. Sikorski, a Certified Profes- Therapy Team diliian Sikorski with 'Samson' sional Dog Trainer, said Samson has been a certified therapy dog through Austin Dog Alliance for about a year now. Sikorski said she was inter- ested in having Samson involved with the Wnnbefley Library, but listening to Buda resident Erin read as they already had a therapy dog, she decided to approach the Buda Public Library about the therapy team going there. But Sikorski said not every dog is equipped to be a therapy dog. PHOTO BY SAMANTHA SMITH at the Buda Public Library. "Samson had to go through various tests with people, kids, loud noises and commotion to become certified as a therapy dog," Sikorski said. READ WITH SAMSON, 4C + !!iJ" lii ti