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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.

Get Up & Give It Up!

Prairie Notes: #93
September 1, 2014
  1. Get Up & Give It Up!
  2. Field Notebook 
  3. Master Plan Now Online 
  4. Planning to Plant a Prairie in FW? 
  5. Swaying Into Autumn 
  6. "W" is for Wild Bill Hall
  7. Native Star Award
  8. Noteworthy 
  9. Genesis of a Campaign
  10. Prairie Proverb(s)


01) Get Up & Give It Up!

On August 18, Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area began a 30 day countdown campaign to raise awareness about North Texas Giving Day

- - - > What is North Texas Giving Day?  

It is a special one-day online giving event for certified nonprofit organizations to gain exposure and raise funds.  On September 18, 2014, donations can be made from6 a.m. until midnight HERE. Donations of $25. and above will receive bonus funds and prizes from Communities Foundation of Texas. Learn more about the event HERE.

- - - > Where do your $ donations go? 

Your donations to Friends of Tandy Hills are vital, but where do they go? There are no paid staff members in our nonprofit organization. All donations support conservation and education initiatives such as to fund Kids on the Prairie expenses such as transportation to/from Tandy Hills for the students, printing of field journals, pencils, snacks, onsite outdoor facilities and free healthy picnic lunches for the kids, teachers and bus drivers. All additional donations go to fund our long term goal of restoring the land itself via the Master Plan including the removal of invasive species, trail maintenance and construction of a visitors center.

Please mark your calendar and save the date to support your local prairie. September 18, 6:00 a.m - Midnight. This is the LINK to use: 


Grab a Giving Day flier at the Hawk Trailhead. Thanks to Jen Schultes for getting this done.

02) Field Notebook

August is a great time to escape from Fort Worth heat and humidity, as many of us did. 2014 was no exception. The green-ish prairie of July turned nut brown but a late August thunderstorm renewed the grasses and wildflowers adding some limited Fall-ish color. Fall-ish air has yet to appear.

Wildlife Report: What do you call a group of Hawks? A "cast", of course. A cast of half a dozen Red-tailed Hawks were observed soaring in pattern above the hills in August. Someone tell me why. 

A pair of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers in constant, acrobatic motion were also observed, munching on a "horde" of gnats in late August. Hummingbirds were seen almost daily. A "parliament" of two owls made their presence known.  Large numbers of pollinators including a "grist" of bees were observed as were clouds of Dragonflies and Grasshoppers.  Finally.... a single Monarch butterfly was seen heading south on August 30.

Interested in learning what you call a group of say, Ferrets, or other creatures? Check this out:

Here's a few scenes from Tandy Hills in August 2014.

August began greener than usual with splashes of Gayfeather. 

Ragged seed pods of American Basketflower and Indian Blanket have their own appeal. 

Little Bluestem grass remains vigorous heading into Fall despite the Summer heat.

An exaltation of Eryngo is the norm this year. 

Snow on the Prairie is a relibale presence on the late Summer prairie.

Post bloom White Prairie Clover is still rather showy as it fades. 

Magical light is often found in early evening at Tandy Hills.


03) Master Plan Now Online

I've often mentioned the Master Plan for Tandy Hills Natural Area, referring to the document created for the City of FW Parks & Community Services Dept. in 2008. The document is essentially a blueprint for restoring Tandy Hills to its pre-development state, or as I like to say, "like it was."

The 193 page document in full color with lots or charts and graphs is now available for online viewing. Check it out here:

BTW---Your donation to Friends of Tandy Hills on September 18 will help us continue enacting the Master Plan.

04) Planning to Plant a Prairie in FW?

- Planting native prairie wildflowers in your yard seems like the right thing to do, right? After all we are in a permanent drought and need to save water. Ditto native grasses that not only clean the air, they need much less water than non-natives and don't require mowing or fertilizing. 

Only problem is, the City of FW has a High Grass & Weeds Ordinance that places limits on what you can legally plant. FOTHNA founders Debora and Don Young recently had a meeting with FW Code officials and secured a copy of the ordinance. 

The ordinance does allow for and mention wildflowers specifically but it needs updating and some "gray areas" remain. You can download a copy of the current rules here:

- In related and somewhat contradictory news, the City of FW is now planting native grasses and wildflowers in select storm-water channels in an effort to reduce costs and improve neighborhood safety, not to mention the environmental and aesthetic advantages described above. read more about it in City Times, here:


05) Swaying Into Autumn

While hiking at Tandy Hills on August 29, I encountered a mystical scene of Snow on the Prairie, Eryngo and various prairie grasses swaying in the light breeze, as if possessed. Thanks to my little i-Phone camera I was able to record this prairie dance as a silent movie. It's even more magical, in situ.

06) "W" is for Wild Bill Hall

On August 22, wildly popular Kids on the Prairie volunteer hike leader, Bill Hall, was honored as North Texas Volunteer of the Year as part of the first ever North Texas Recycling Awards. We try to attract the best, brightest and sweetest volunteers. Mission accomplished with Wild Bill. Read more about the awards and how to make a nomination at Green Source DFW:


Bill Hall, left, doing what he does so well.

07) Native Star Award

Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area is very pleased to announce receiving the prestigious, 2014 Native Star Award from the Native Plant Society of Texas (NPSOT). The award recognizes our Kids on the Prairie program.

The Native Star Award is given for a specific act or program of conservation/public service by an organization or agency in the field of Texas native plants (previously included in the Nancy Benedict Memorial Award).

Friends of Tandy Hills is honored to receive the Native Star Award and be included in an esteemed list of past recipients of NPSOT Awards. See a list of previous winners in all categories HERE.

This and other awards will be formally presented at the annual Native Plant Society of Texas Fall Symposium in Texarkana on October 16 - 19.

08) Noteworthy

- The Autumn Equinox will occur in north Texas on September 23. This is always a good time to reconnect with the natural world at Tandy Hills. 

- The third meeting of Fort Worth Chapter of the Native Prairie Association of Texas will take place on Monday, September 8th at 6 p.m. 

09) Genesis of a Campaign

Back in July, I invited a select group of 15 respected members of the local community to aid our Giving Day campaign by sending us brief quotes explaining why they like or support the work of Friends of Tandy Hills. Although no money changed hands and some lacked the requested brevity, the results were an embarrassment of riches. We have some very good Friends, indeed.

The idea of a 30 Day Countdown campaign required us to find 15 additional "Friends" so we cast our net across space and time and language barriers to another select group and see what we might attract. Again, the results were awesome. We basically ended up with 30 new Prairie Proverbs.

Working together with the amazing graphic designer, webmaster and Prairie Fest 2014 co-director, Jen Schultes, we combined the words and images of our famous friends into a concise message to inspire YOU to make a donation on September 18

As of this writing we are halfway through the campaign, adding a new testimony each day on Facebook and on the FOTHNA website. See two examples under Prairie Proverb(s).

10) Prairie Proverb(s)


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.


Don Young