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Tandy Hills Natural Area is Resting

Prairie Notes:
January 25, 2009

At least that's the way it seems on the outside. The grays and browns of January just can't compete with April's multicolored spectacle. Nevertheless, big things are happening on, under and above these treasured limestone hills. You just have to pay attention.

"Instructions for living a life:
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it."

This starkly simple yet wise little poem by, Mary Oliver, is from her new book, Red Bird. Her succinct message is the ideal way to approach Tandy Hills Natural Area. It pretty much sums up the reason why I write these Notes.

The best-selling author of over 25 books and winner of a Pulitzer Prize, Ms. Oliver is known for her clear and poignant observances of the natural world. Now in her 70's, "the poet's attention turns with ferocity to the degradation of the those who love power." Highly recommended.

Red Bird

Other books on my bedside table include:
The Remarkable Plants of Texas, by Matt Warnock Turner. This book is not really a field guide, but an intriguing look at the archaeological, historical, material, medicinal, culinary, and cultural significance of over 80 native Texas plants. From the publisher, "Illustrated with over one hundred color photos and organized for easy reference, Remarkable Plants of Texas can function as a guide to individual species as well as an enjoyable natural history of our most fascinating native plants." Check it out!

Remarkable Plants of Texas

The Peterson Field Guide to The North American Prairie taught me a lot about the ecology of the landscape I was born into and why it's disappearing. The ecological diversity of a prairie has been compared to a rainforest or a coral reef. Such a claim is verified when you see Tandy Hills NA in the spring. Highly recommended.

North American Prairie

Even though many respected film critics praised the latest Disney film, Wall-E, I assumed it was just a lightweight kid-flick. I was mistaken. Yes, Wall-E is a computer-animated, science fiction/romance about a solar-powered robot. It is also a wickedly subversive tale of what happens when humans lose touch with their connection to the natural world. Think: the message of Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth, but with cute robots and you get a rough idea of the films unexpected power. One measure of that power is the criticism the film received from right wing conservatives. That's a Thumb's Up! in my book.


After you've watched Wall-E and caught up on your reading, come to the meadow and renew your connection with the natural world.

The 4th annual, Fort Worth Prairie Fest is April 25th.
Check our website often for updates.