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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.

Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear!

Prairie Notes #168
December 1, 2020

01) Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear!
02) Field Report - November
03) Botany Chicago Style
04) New Species - November
05) Prairie Restoration Report
06) PrairieSky / StarParty News
07) Go Take A Hike Day
08) A Thanksgiving Prayer
09) Prairie Bookshelf
10) Manly Men Wild Women - 2021 Style
11) Prairie Proverb - The Lone Ranger

01) Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear

 

Despite it all, 2020 was another record-setting year for Tandy Hills and the Friends of Tandy Hills. The big story was the acquisition of 50+ acres formerly known as Broadcast Hill. The Friends raised more thatn 1/10th of the hefty selling price, ensuring perpetual protection of valuable prairie and woodland acres, adjacent to Tandy Hills, from development. A masked crowd of dignitaries and FOTHNA supporters celebrated the startling acquisition in May.

 

We were humbled by several awards and honors again in 2020, most notably, the Native Plant Society, Digital Media Award for Prairie Notes, thank yoiu very much!

 

So, let us now reflect on those thrilling days of yesteryear and pray that 2021 and beyond will be even more fruitful, and safer:

 

  • The 11th annual Manly Men Wild Women Hike attracted an enthusiastic crowd of more than 70 hikers on New Years Day.

  • Friends of Tandy Hills raised a jaw-dropping $65,000 to help the City of Fort Worth's new Open Space program purchase 51 acres of Broadcast Hill drawing praise and attention from the public, the Fort Worth City Council / Mayor and multiple media outlets.

  • In its 10th year, Kids on the Prairie did not host any field trips due to virus, but the Greater FW Sierra Club donated $500 to help post the KOP field guide on the website for free downloads.

  • The annual Trout Lily Walk w/Sam Kieschnick drew a crowd of 28 nature mystics.

  • PrairieSky / StarParty was canceled for the entire season due to the virus. Home skywatching reports helped fill the gap.

  • Texas Highways magazine featured wildflowers of Tandy Hills in their March issue.

  • Tandy Hills and Earth Day celebrated their 60th and 50th birthdays, respectively, on April 22nd.

  • New trail markers and signs were installed by FOTHNA volunteers.

  • A photo of Broadcast Hill by, Don Young, made the cover of, Native Plant Society of Texas, Summer newsletter. HIs essay on The Magical Moths of Tandy Hills was featured in the Fall issue

  • Another photo by Don Young was included in the Native Prairies Association of Texas, 2021 Calendar.

  • A trove of rare and historic photos of Tandy Hills from the 1950’s and 60’s was discovered at two area digital library collections.

  • This FOTHNA monthly newsletter, Prairie Notes, was awarded the Digital Media Award, by the Native Plant Society of Texas.

  • A Star-Telegram print and video report on the problem of commercial photography at Tandy Hills made the front page of the October 8th edition.

  • The Tandy Hills iNaturalst page recorded 155 new species, in 2020. (1412 total species as of, December 1)

  • North Texas Giving Day donations totaled more $2,800, an increase over 2019.

  • Individual donations from people like you also came through bigly in 2020.

  • The Tandy Hills Facebook page had explosive growth again in 2020.

  • Prairie Posse had several productive work days, clearing the View Street meadows including, the liberation of a very old, Bois D’arc tree. A hired crew cleared a few other notable landscapes.

  • Friends of Tandy Hills partnered with Amon Carter Museum of American Art for the Mark Dion exhibition.

  • Friend of Tandy Hills and environmental author, Amy Martin, announced publication of a forthcoming book titled, Wild Dallas/Fort Worth, featuring a section on Tandy Hills.

  • A dozen issues of Prairie Notes were published and delivered to more than 1300 email boxes.

 

DY

 

The acquisition of Broadcast Hill's 50+ acres was a highlight of 2020. photo by Scott Carson Ausburn

 

2) Field Report - November

 

Freezing temps arrived after Thanksgiving weekend, which was the perfect time to catch the turning of the Oak tree leaves that run the entire length of the natural area from View Street to I-30. The Oak tree pics below were taken November 23rd. The fall color is fading fast but come on in and see the winter, "bones of the hills" take shape and form plus, many other signs of fall.

 


This picture-perfect fall landscape stretches across the entire length of Tandy Hills Natural Area.

 

Cloudy fall days seem to bring out the colors. of turning Oak leaves.

 


Brightly-colored Cottonwoods become more visible in the fall.

 


The north end of a long chain of Red Oaks.

 


Merry Christmas!

 

 


Warm weather in mid-November had a few species re-blooming including, this Narrowleaf Gumweed.

Autumn serenity

Little Elm leaves added their colors to the fall mix.

 

Aromatic Sumac

 

Saw Greenbrier (Smilax bona-nox)

 

I love the autumn pallette of Little Bluestem grass.

 

An unfortunate migratory, Dak-eyed Junco found on the trail.

 

My dog found this skull in the grass. Probably a Dog or Possum.

 


Wand Milkweed (Asclepias viridiflora) exploding effectively and symbiotically.

 


One of only a handful of Redberry Juniper (Juniperus pinchotii) trees at Tandy Hills. This one is quite old and handsome.

 


November 17 

 


November 17

 


About 1" of rain fell at Tandy Hills on November 24.

 


This exceedingly large and shapely Ashe Juniper, perched on a steep hill, needs no ornamnets.

 

3) Botany Chicago Style

 

Wowza! I recently got hip to a guy named Joey Santoro, a Chicago Italian who really knows his botany and has enthusiasm to match. He calls his YouTube video channel, Crime Pays But Botany Doesn’t, and it has gone viral

 

He came unannounced to Tandy Hills in late October and partially filmed the video below here. WARNING---It is tinged with a wonderful sense of dry humor and profanity-laden irreverence. But don't let that stop you from watching. I guarantee you will find it entertaining and educational. Watch it HERE:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4yq5Z1_0Eo&t=663s

 

See an profile of Mr. Santoro HERE: https://news.wttw.com/2019/08/07/meet-youtube-botanist-joey-santore

 


Must-watch video featuring Tandy Hills.

 

The enigmatic, sarcastic and yet thoroughly watchable Mr. Joey Santoro.

 

4) New Species - November

 

There were two new species observed in November, bringing the current count to 1412. There was also an observation of an Eastern Screech Owl. Until now, only a feather of one had been posted on iNaturalist. Check out the Tandy Hills iNaturalist page HERE.

 

At dusk on November 16, we spotted an Eastern Screech Owl. These small, 8" long birds have 20"+ wingspans. 

 

5) Prairie Restoration Report

 

A hired crew has been doing occassional restoration at Tandy Hills. In mid-November, they began clearing brush and invasives on a popular, far eastside trail. Volunteers gathered, bio-identical Little Bluestem seed to sow on the barren, cleared areas. This will help prevent invasive, KR Bluestem, from getting a foothold. Take the far-eastern trail along View Street and walk due north for less than a quarter mile. You will notice that a few Ashe Juniper trees and a lot of privet have been removed around a pair of Ashe Juniper trees and that a nearby unsustainable trail has been closed off.

 

Before

 

After

A new view has opened up.

Wide view of the trail after clearing. Note the trail to the right, created a few years ago by joggers, has been closed with cut brush.

 

Gathering bio-identical Little Bluestem seed for cleared bare spots.

 


This bare spot was recently cleared of privet wil get reseeded with Bluestem seed from Tandy Hills stock.

 

6) PrairieSky / StarParty News

 

2021 will mark the 5th year the Fort Worth Astronomical Society has scheduled the monthly PrairieSky / StarParty at Tandy Hills. Although the events are on hiatus for now, a schedule for 2021 will soon be announced. Until then, we will continue to publish monthly reports on what you can watch for at home or wherever you can see the night sky. Here is the December report from FWAS rep, Pam Kloepfer

 

“The deep, dark nights of December begin early at around 5:30PM. Begin looking for the winter constellations! You will recognize the three stars in a row of Orion’s belt. Use a phone app to locate the other stars that make up the rest of the mighty hunter. Overhead will be the Pleiades, a small dipper shaped star cluster that can be seen naked-eye but are breath-taking in any size binocular! Mars will also be glowing red over head and moving west. Set your clocks for early evening on December 16 when Jupiter and Saturn will appear a Moon’s distance apart low in the southwest just after sunset. A waxing crescent Moon will sit below them. They begin setting after 7PM so do not tarry! On December 21 the two giant planets will appear to meet in the sky. This is called a conjunction. Both planets will be visible together in a low-power telescope just after sunset, but you will easily be able to see them in sync just by looking up!”

 

7) Go Take A Hike Day

 

November 17 was, National Go Take a Hike Day. However, any day would be a great day to hike at Tandy Hills. You can check out the new prairie restoration project. Learn more HERE:

 

https://nationaltoday.com/national-take-a-hike-day/

 


Autumn is good hiking weather.

 

8) A Thanksgiving Prayer

 

Thanksgiving has come and gone but you may be interested in reading, Thanksgiving Prayer for Tandy Hills, from 2010.

 

In 1986, William S. Burroughs, wrote a bitterly sarcastic, Thanksgiving Day poem that was an indictment of all that was wrong with America at the time. Unfortunately, not much has changed since then. In 2010, on a more uplifting note, I borrowed the title, cadence and general idea of Burrough's poem and made it about Tandy Hills. I paired with photos of my home prairie. Here 'tis: https://www.tandyhills.org/…/thanksgiving-prayer-tandy-hill…

 

 

9) Prairie Bookshelf

 

Check out these recently published and notable books and articles:

 

Read an excerpt on the vulnerability of prairielands from, N. Scott Momaday's new book, Earth Keeper: Reflections on the American Land.

 

https://lithub.com/n-scott-momaday-on-the-vulnerability-of-prairielands/...

 


Wolf, Moonlight, by Frederick Remington, 1909

 

Read an excerpt from the new book by, Sir David Attenborough, A Life on Our Planet: My Witness Statement and a Vision for the Future. It's about how growth for the sake of growth is a no-win situation for Earth and its inhabitants. New Zealand has found a better way and is thriving despite the Covid virus.

 

https://lithub.com/sir-david-attenborough-nature-shows-tha…/

 

 

Read a recent NY Times article highlighting a new study that shows how Monarch caterpillars agressively fight for access to Milkweed:

 

https://www.nytimes.com/…/s…/hungry-caterpillars-angry.html…

 

 

10) Manly Men Wild Women - 2021 Style

 

Friends of Tandy Hills supporter, Raul Perez and I, recently ventured into uncharted territory at Tandy Hills while planning the new route of the, 12th Annual, Manly Men Wild Women New Years Day Hike. The new route will include the recently acquired Broadcast Hill land that will cross one of the largest open prairies in FW proper. It will be clearly marked from start to finish.

 

Due to the virus we are doing things different this time. Rather than gather together at an appointed time and hiking as a group, you are invited to take the hike at any time you wish on New Years Day weekend. That is, from Friday, January 1st to Sunday, January 3rd. We will use the honor system to award Cerrtificates of Completion. To qualify, send us a photo of yourself at a scenic spot of your choosing. <information@tandyhills.org>

 


The new route will increase the distance and go though the big meadow on Broadcast Hill.

 

 

11) Prairie Proverb - The Lone Ranger

 

A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty Hi-Yo Silver! The Lone Ranger! ... With his faithful Indian companion Tonto, the daring and resourceful masked rider of the plains led the fight for law and order in the early western United States! Nowhere in the pages of history can one find a greater champion of justice! Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear! From out of the past come the thundering hoofbeats of the great horse Silver! The Lone Ranger rides again!

 

- Fred Foy who famously voiced the introduction and end credits of the TV show, The Lone Ranger Rides Again. (1921 - 2010)

Hear Fred Foy recite the famous lines in this short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9lf76xOA5k

 
 
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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