You are here

Prairie Notes header

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.

Happy Trails to Tandy Hills

Prairie Notes #138
June 1, 2018

01) Happy Trails to Tandy Hills

02) Field Report - May

03) PrairieSky / StarParty Report

04) National Prairie Day

05) Prairie Posse Report

06) The Silence of the Bugs

07) Prairie Proverb



01) Happy Trails to Tandy Hills


You should regularly expect big news from Friends of Tandy Hills but this news is BIG & HUGE. After a year and a half of dedicated effort, Friends of Tandy Hills has been awarded its largest grant, ever. On May 24, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department announced their Recreational Trail Grants for 2018. Here's the Press Release:


"Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area in Tarrant County received $28,000 towards Tandy Hills Natural Area. Improvements include, the rehabilitation of a 1.5 mile natural surface hiking trail and, an additional 1.5 mile hiking trail with a raised causeway and bridge."


FOTHNA friend, Suzanne Tuttle, took the lead on the grant application with a little help from Anne Alderfer, Don and Debora Young. The project should start this fall and be complted before years end. This is another major step in implementing the Tandy Hills Master Plan.


Big, huge thanks to Suzanne for doing an outstanding and successful job on the app....AND...Big, huge thanks to TP&WD for wisely seeing that Tandy Hills is worthy of this grant.


Next challenge: Build the Pavilion!






Example of rerouted trail in March 2015. (looking north)


The same trail in May 2018 with healing of old trail in progress. (looking south)




02) Field Report - May


Up until mid-May, Tandy Hills was crackling with wildflowers of many colors and textures. On several evenings the aroma of prairie flora and the light of the setting sun was simply intoxicatingly magical, luring nature lovers, pollinators and, of course, droves of glamour/family/baby/wedding photographers. By May 15 however, the showiness had begun to fade but not the amazing spring bounty of biodiversity. You just had to look a liitle deeper. As the summer Solstice approaches and late May temps hit 100+ with no rain in sight, the prairie is fast becoming more about grasses than wildflowers. But that makes Tandy Hills no less interesting. Check out my pics from May:


Magic sunset light on May 4th, lit up the prairie like fire.


FOTHNA Friend, Kim Clemmons, exclaimed when seeing this photo, "Looks like a delicious field of Lucky Charms."


Indian Plantain (Arnoglossum plantagineum) is now in bloom


Plantain has subtly colored yet shapely blooms.


Sand Wasp, a new species for Tandy Hills, was observed resting on the Plantain on May 15.


Queens Delight (Stillingia texana) cheerfully celebrating the Royal wedding, no doubt.


Purple Prairie Clover (Dalea compacta)


Crameria or Ratany (Krameria lanceolata), one of the largest specimens I've seen.


Aromatic Sumac (Rhus glabra) set it's fruit in May.


Barbara's Buttons (Marshallia caespitosa), still blooming in mid-May.


Grooved Nipple Cactus (Coryphantha sulcata) framed by Purple Paintbrush.


Just a few days prior to fully open blooms.


Fully opened and ready for pollinators.


Narrowleaf Four O'clock (Mirabilis linearis)


Purple Coneflower (Echinacea angustifolia) came online in early May.


Prairie Larkspur (Delphinium carolinianum) sending it's spiky white spurs skyward.


Familiar Bluet Damselfly (Enallagama civile) dining quietly in the noonday sun.




03) PrairieSky / StarParty Report


On an enchanted evening in May with a crystal clear sky above, a crowd of 60-odd people headed for the Tandy Hills to do a little star-gazing. It was special. As one observer remarked:


"Ah, the sensory experience of an evening in a city park surrounded by telescopes. The wind is cool, children are laughing and parents are yelling, DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING!" 

All telescope pics by, Loraine Glueck





04) National Prairie Day


The first Saturday of every June is National Prairie Day. (June 2, 2018) The event was founded in 2016 by the Missouri Prairie Foundation. If you are so inclined to celebrate this holiday, Tandy Hills is an excellent choice of venue. Check out this little 2-minute vid to see what you have to celebrate throughout the year at your local prairie:



05) Prairie Posse Report


A posse of six, hard working, heroic folks showed up on May 19 and proceeded to clear a big meadow of privet giving the native species a a little more room to roam. You are welcome. Join us next time.






06) The Silence of the Bugs


This recent Opinion piece in the New York Times by Professor, Curt Stager, points to the importance of citizen scientists and iNaturalist in keeping track of what's going on in a natural world that is rapidly changing. HIghly recommended reading.


Illustration by, Enzo Peres-Labourdette, for the NY Times



07) Prairie Proverb


"The prairie was built by prairie plants, a hundred distinct species of grasses, herbs, and shrubs; by the prairie fungi, insects, and bacteria; by the prairie mammals and birds, all interlocking in one humming community of cooperation and competition, one biota. This biota, through ten thousand years of living and dying, burning and growing, preying and fleeing, freezing and thawing, built that dark and bloody ground we call prairie."


- Aldo Leopold, 1887 - 1948, from his 1938 journal, A Survey of Conservation







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.