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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.

Down-Home Green Shindig

Prairie Notes: #88
April 1, 2014

1) Down-Home Green Shindig
2) Field Notebook
3) Prairie Fest Update
4) Sponsors Make it Happen
5) Unity on the Prairie
6) Prairie Wildflowers Illustrated
7) Prairie Proverb

1) Down-Home Green Shindig

Prairie Fest, that is. What is it, anyway?

Is it a party? A fundraiser? A protest? An environmental education experience? An Earth Day event? A celebration of Spring wildflowers?

The little festival that started in 2006 in an effort to save Tandy Hills from industrialization threats, evolved into a major green fest growing too big for an overworked band of volunteers and finally becoming in a Goldilocks-sized event that's a little bit of all of the above.

I've heard people describe Prairie Fest as, "the coolest festival in north Texas"; "a down-home green shindig" (Thanks, Julie T.); ""the only truly green festival in north Texas"; "the first of its kind in DFW".

While it may be all of that, Prairie Fest is fundamentally about Tandy Hills Natural Area and a celebration of our connection to the natural world. We think it's the hippest Spring festival in the most picturesque green space in Texas. It's a gift to you and your family from Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area.

It's Prairie to the People again on April 26. Come-On-In.


Solar-powered LIVE Music - Tipi & Trailside Storytellers - Local Food / Bev - Guided Wildflower Tours - Nature Science Hikes by Prairie Keepers - Prairie Circle Exhibitors - Plein Air Painters - Drummers - Belly Dancers - Boy Scout Monkey Bridge - and YOU! - Free & open to the public -

2) Field Notebook

April is peak wildflower season and it's coming on fast. Despite very dry conditions (Imagine: RAIN), the last of the early Spring wildflowers are still blooming with new varieties coming online faster than I can record them. See examples of what bloomed in late March in the following photos.

Insects, especially butterflies are very plentiful, and surprisingly, Cedar Waxwings are back again. (There may be a connection there.) A massive migration of Homo sapiens and Canis lupus familiaris is expected on April 26 and throughout the Spring.

Texas Blue Star (Amsonia ciliata) is the first "true blue" wildflower of Spring.

Cheerful trumpets of Puccoon (Lithospermum incisum) are having an exceptional year.

Several clumps of Milk Vetch Ground Plum (Astragalus lotiflorus) growing near Outdoor Classroom #1

After a brief rain shower on March 15, the Sun cast a mystical glow over the Tandy hills.

It left behind a colorful reminder of Spring.

3) Prairie Fest Update

26 days and counting until the 9th annual Prairie Fest sets up shop at Tandy Hills. Prairie Fest Directors, Carrie Vano and Don & Debora Young have a really big show planned. See below. But first: Prairie Fest Sponsors are still needed to help the event succeed. Please go here to become a Prairie Fest Sponsor or to renew your Membership:

There's lots of new stuff happening at the 9th annual that sets us apart from other Spring events. Please check out the website for details.

4) Sponsors Make it Happen

Without Sponsors there would be no Prairie Fest. While you're at the website, check out our well-loved group of Sponsors and thank them every chance you get. We are grateful to all of them. See the green-tinted sidebars on this webpage:

5) Unity on the Prairie

Unity Church of Fort Worth led by Rev. John Paul Roach, has been a top Sponsor of Prairie Fest for the past four years. On a beautiful, breezy Sunday afternoon in late March the church held their annual Spring picnic at Tandy Hills. There was kite flying, sweet music and about 100 nice people and dogs connecting with the natural world. Debora & Don Young led a prairie hike for an enthusiastic group 60 people of all ages.

Don Young and Rev. John Paul Roach of Unity Church of Fort Worth.

A cheerful band of nature lovers taking a hike across the Tandy Hills on a lovely Spring day.

6) Prairie Wildflowers Illustrated

Coming in April from OliveGirl Press: Prairie Wildflowers Illustrated, by Debora Young. This is an enlarged and expanded 116 page makeover of Debora's 2008 edition with 19 new wildflower drawings and updated text and index. It's part field guide and part art book, carefully researched.

Available at Prairie Fest and from

> > > Also available in mid-April: A set of postcards featuring 10 different wildflower illustrations from the new book. See examples below.

Wildflower postcards by Debora Young. (10 different designs to a set.)

7) Prairie Proverb

"For myself, I hold no preferences among flowers, so long as they are wild, free, spontaneous."

Edward Abbey, 1927 - 1989

The first Purple Paintbrush (Castilleja purpurea) of Spring 2014 would please Mr. Abbey.

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.