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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.

Brush Bashing Unabashedly

Prairie Notes #110
February 1, 2016

1) Brush Bashing Unabashedly
2) Field Report - January
3) BioBlitz UPDATE
4) And the Winner Was....
5) Habitat Heterogeneity
6) Seed Bomb Video
7) MMWW Report
8) Prairie Bookshelf
9) Prairie Proverb


1) Brush Bashing Unabashedly

In 2009, Friends of Tandy Hills decided to tacke the enormous and challenging job of restoring our 160 acres of prairie hills. In our naiveté we jumped in with both feet holding not one but two Bashes the same year, five hours each day. Tons of discarded trash, tires and other junk was hauled out along with a sizeable amount of the woody species that had been encroaching on the hills unabeted since, forever. We deiced to leave the abondened vehicles.

On January 30, 2016 we held a single Bash for only three hours and still had a very rewarding day. But more has been achieved than just progress on the ground. In every Bash, the public has responded enthusiatcally. People of all ages worked very hard in, usually, very rough weather to get the job done. This year, nearly half the brush bashers were kids. Progress has been made as you can see in the graphic below. 

But what the graph cannot show is the incredible dedication, willpower and the unabashed love of people working, not for money but, for a place that inspires and enhances their lives. I am eternally amazed and very grateful for their continued support.


Graphic by Michelle Villafranca, PARD, nicely illustrates the progress of Brush Bash.

All but the vehicles have been removed by Brush Bash volunters since 2009.

A group of Cub Scouts and their families from Arlington worked hard in their first visit to Tandy Hills. Pics by Greg Hughes

Khalil Ayoub, has been helping at Brush Bash for many years.

Prairie stewards working together.

Two young vols from Tech High School working with, neighborhood resident, Susan Manna.

Long time vol, Roger Bunch, deleting a load of roofing shingles from the prairie.

This is your trail. Take it.

2) Field Report - January

Apart from my daily photo-documentation project from the same spot at Tandy HIlls, I rarely ventured deep into the prairie during the month of January. It was cold out there and very few signs of spring. Rosettes of Engelmann Sage and Prairie Parsley were exceptions. Trout Lilies are at least a month away form emergeing from the leaf litter. (NOTE-The Trout Lily Walk with Jim Varnum is scheduled for February 28 @1 p.m.) Oh, and there was that Ring-necked Pheasant sighting at Tandy Hills in January. Honest.

However, the sky above Tandy Hils offered some incredible views. Here's a few pics of what crossed my paths in January.

These two shots are from my daily photo-doc project started last April and sum up the month of January.

Obviously not native but there it was, a Ring-necked Pheasant, at Tandy on January 17. (Photo by Chuck Ambrus)

Full Wolf Moon shining brightly over Tandy Hills on January 24.

A reflection of the wildflowers coming in May.

Watercolor sunset in mid-January

Chilly Winter sunset at Tandy Hills in January

3) BioBlitz Update

Super deluxe, Sponship packets were sent out to a select few. Friends of Tandy Hills are pleased to welcome Unity Church of Fort Worth as our first BioBlitz Event Supporter: Sponsorships have also been received from Frost Bank, Jane Rector and Greg & Mary Kay Hughes. What about you?

Our new sponsorship webpage is up for those who wish to support the Biggest Thing That Ever Happened To Tandy Hills. Check it out here:

4) And the Winner Was....

On January 23, Friends of Tandy Hills were honored to receive the Excellence in Sustainability Award from the American Institute of Architects-Fort Worth. The award represents the hard work of hundreds of volunteer-stewards, past and present, who recognize and appreciate the importance of the most valuable 160 acres in Fort Worth. The future of this public recreation and education resource looks very bright indeed.

Left to right: John Tandy, Heather Foote, Anne Alderfer, Jim Marshall, Don Young, Debora Young and Jen Schultes.

5) Habitat Heterogeneity

"Whether it’s fire, mowing, grazing, herbicides or various combinations of those, creating habitat heterogeneity may be the most important job of a prairie manager."

Heterogeneity is a new word I recently learned from, Chris Helzer, the Prairie Ecologist. It's another way of saying, diversity, something that Tandy Hills has is spades. Habitat heterogeneity is something we are aiming to improve upon using "all of the above" in an effort to "keep it like it was". Check out the Prairie Ecologist here:

6) Great Seed Bomb Video

In case you missed the event, heeeere's the movie from the Innagural Great Seed Bomb, starring, a talking bee, a well-nourished pigelt, a woman with horns and a special cameo by Olive the famous Prairie Dog. Hats off to GSB creator, Jillian Jordan.

7) MMWW Report

About 70 people showed up to earn their Manly Men and Wild Women cred today at Tandy Hills. It was cold, muddy, strenuous and a ton of fun.

Wild Women and Manly Men to be take to the hills.

8) Prairie Bookshelf

Look for Explore Texas -- A Nature Travel Guide in both print and e-book formats in early-June 2016 from Texas A&M University Press. It features 97 Texas events and destinations focused on nature and travel. Written by Mary O. Parker, with photographs by Jeff Parker, the book has a chapter on Tandy Hills and Prairie Fest. Oops, Prairie Fest has been discontinued since the authors first contacted me two years ago. Still, recommended.

9) Prairie Proverb

Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.

- January 29, birthday boy, Edward Abbey, from, A Voice Crying in the Wilderness (Vox Clamantis in Deserto), 1990.

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.