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Prairie Notes are monthly photo/journal observations from Tandy Hills Natural Area by Founder/Director, Don Young. They include field reports, flora and fauna sightings, and more, mixed with a scoop of dry humor and a bit of philosophy. They are available free to all who get on the FOTHNA email list.

Trout Lily Madness

Prairie Notes #111
March 1, 2016

1) Trout Lily Madness
2) Field Report - February
3) BioBlitz UPDATE
4) REI Grant for Tandy Hills
5) The Art of Solar Power
6) FW Parks Board Honors FOTHNA
7) Prairie Dog Come Home
8) BRIT Visits Tandy Hills
9) Vote the Environment
10) Prairie Proverb

 

1) Trout Lily Madness

Madness is afoot at Tandy Hills. On February 28, 2016, more than 60 people and a few dogs showed up at to see and photograph a blooming little 4" tall plant called a white Trout Lily. In the eight years that Friends of Tandy Hills have hosted this annual event we've rarely had more than a dozen folks. That is amazing.

The large and enthusiastic crowd of all ages and backgrounds got me reflecting about how much has changed since 2008 when spotting a Trout Lily at Tandy was easier than spotting a human. The public is apparently more hungry than ever for a connection to the natural world. The passion of the crowd also demonstrated to me that the anti-science, dumbing down of society in recent years by certain political forces is bound to fail. People need nature.

Trout Lily colonies have been diminished across much of the region (primarily habitat loss) but Tandy Hills with it's amazing biodiversity mostly intact, has thousands. Two of the top experts on native flora, Sam Keischnick and Bob O'Kennon, helped lead the two-hour hike sharing information about this rather amazing and iconic plant. The questions were many and the answers fascinating. (Ex: The plant produces a single leaf the first six years adding a second leaf and flower in the seventh year, ending it's growth cycle.

Our little lily has helped inspire a kind of citizen scientist trend that will come in handy at the Tandy Hills BioBlitz in April. They will be blooming for a couple of more weeks. Come on in and get inspired.

DY


Photo by Bill Webb. Used with permission. www.BillWebbPhoto.com


The one and only Sam Kieschnick, wowing the crowd with his knowledge.


The subject of all the madness.

2) Field Report - February

Harbingers of Spring are creeping across the Tandy hills starring the usual suspects. Two inches of rain in late February helped a lot. The air was also filled with Robins, Cedar Waxwings and many other species. Here are a few of my February photo observations.


Big Root Cymopterus (Cymopterus machroizus) is having a great year.


Wedge-leaf Draba (Draba cuneifolia) is more widespread this year.


Ripe Hackberries calling out for a milkshake.


It took an hour to pick and clean half a cup of berries, rather labor-intensive but worth the effort.


A spin in the blender with some water and the result was surprisingly sweet and tasty and nutritious.


Spiky shoots of Purple Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja purpurea) will soon be flagged with exotic purple blooms.


Lotus Milk Vetch (Astragalus crassicarpus) also known as Ground Plum in the glow of the sunset.


A solitary American Robin belies the hundreds that visited the park in February.


One of the family of Crows that inhabit Tandy Hills. 


This Cedar Waxwing was the subject of Prairie Notes #15 from 2008. His progenitors visit Tandy Hills yearly.

3) BioBlitz UPDATE

More than 35 of the top biologists in the the state of Texas have committed to participate in the Tandy Hills BioBlitz. It's getting huge-er by the week. Big thanks to our current Event Supporters: Unity Church of Fort Worth, Frost Bank, Native Plant Society of Texas (NCT), GreatWater Irrigation & Ecoscapes, Redenta's Garden, Greg & Mary Kay Hughes, Dr. Libby Gilmore, Jane Rector and Jim Marshall. We need YOU, too.

Check out the BioBlitz webpage for the evolving side events happening at the Blitz. More later: http://www.tandyhills.org/events/bioblitz

4) REI Grant for Tandy Hills

Look what arrived in the FOTHNA mailbox on February 16: 

"Congratulations! Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area has been awarded a $5,000 grant from REI to support trail improvements and overall stewardship of the park. We are thrilled to be joining the Fort Worth community and look forward to a strong and successful partnership!"

This grant will allow FOTHNA to pay for a Master Plan Trails System at Tandy Hills, determining where to open, close and repair trails, a deluxe trails map, and trail maintenance schedule. That project will begin later in 2016. By the way, REI is opening thier first store in Fort Worth in May. Be sure and pay them a visit. Thank you REI !

http://newsroom.rei.com/news/corporate/rei-to-bring-outdoor-expertise-to...

5) The Art of Solar Power

Dan Lepinski, longtime supplier of clean solar power for the Prairie Fest stage, recently tackled a very interesting project. He was asked to provide solar power for an art piece on display at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Read Julie Thibideaux's report in GreenSource DFW, here: 

http://www.greensourcedfw.org/articles/solar-panels-power-moon-modern-ar...


Artist, Glenn Kaino, standing next to his solar-powered piece, Tears of Maria, 2016.


Dan Lepinski and his Solar Shuttle.

6) FW Parks Board Honors FOTHNA

Don & Debora Young were proud to represent Friends of Tandy Hills (FOTHNA) at the Fort Worth Park & Recreation Department (PARD) board meeting on February24, where FOTHNA was recognized for their stewardship of the park. Thanks to Sandra Youngblood for the introduction and to Director, Richard Zavala and Chair, Jim Doherty for their kind comments.


L - R: Jim Doherty (PARD Chair), Debora Young, Don Young, Richard Zavala (PARD Director)

7) Prairie Dog Come Home

Olive the Prairie Dog, beloved mascot of Friends of Tandy Hills and all-around incredible being, has been missing since February 15. She has a chip and tags with phone numbers. If you see her please let us know. 


Olive the Prairie Dog knows Tandy Hills better than anyone.

8) BRIT Visits Tandy Hills

Bob O'Kennon, of Botanical research Institute of Texas (BRIT), led a contingent of BRIT employees to Tandy Hills in February to familiarize them with the place. Bob and many other BRIT staffers will be participating in BioBlitz. Welcome abourd ya'll.


Bob O'Kennon, standing right, and a group of BRIT staffers at Tandy Hills.

9) Vote the Environment

The Texas political primary is March 1. As always, I encourage you to Vote the Environment. While I can't endorse a specific candidate, I will remind you that, Lon Burnam, a true environmentalist and Friend of Tandy Hills is running for a seat on the Texas Railroad Commission. Vote wisely.

10) Prairie Proverb

“…a landscape can best be understood and given human significance by poets who have their feet planted in concrete - concrete data - and by scientists whose heads and hearts have not lost the capacity for wonder.”

- Edward Abbey, from his book, The Journey Home, 1977


photo by John Blaustein

 

Prairie Notes© is the official newsletter of Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. All content by Don Young except where otherwise noted.

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