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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.

Hey! It's National Prairie Day!

Prairie Notes #126
June 1, 2017

01) Hey! It's National Prairie Day!
02) Field Report - May
03) Landscapes by the Dozen
04) Pavilion Exhibition & Reception
05) Lots of Kids on the Prairie
06) Prairie Posse Report
07) Meadow Mystery
08) Thoreau Forever
09) Scissortail Flycatchers
10) Prairie Proverb

01) Hey! It's National Prairie Day!

That's right, folks. Founded by the Missouri Prairie Foundation in 2016, National Prairie Day is celebrated the first Saturday in June every year. (That would be June 3, 2017) I can't think of a more worthy ecosystem to celebrate. They have published a spot-on list of Prairie Facts and a Mission Statement that reads remarkably like it came straight out of the Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area playbook:

  • Enhance public awareness of what prairie is, educate about its value and motivate all who learn about prairie to be inspired to support prairie protection, conservation, restoration, enjoyment and the ecological concepts found there.
  • Create curiosity and celebrate and encourage a national dialogue around the common ground of historic and current value of prairie.
  • Recognize the vital importance of conserving the original prairie that remians and the need to reconstruct native grasslands where appropriate.
  • Celebrate what we can learn, and have yet to discover from prairie.
  • Discover how each of us benefits from this complex ecosystem.
  • Bring together otherwise disparate entities, united on common ground towards a common goal.

See #3 below for a jump start on your Prairie Day celebration with a virtual tour of Tandy Hills prairie landscapes throughout the years and the seasons plus, a VERY COOL, 2 minute video for your viewing pleasure, > here:



02) Field Report - May

It was a busy month of May at Tandy Hills. The phases of wildflower blooms came and went quickly, many earlier than usual. You had to go weekly or miss a few species. On the wildlife front, we saw a coyote hunt down and eat a plump field rat. We saw rabbits foraging along the prairie edge and a rat snake dead in the street, most likely dropped by a spooked roadrunner who we saw moments before. It's wild out here.

Lance-leaf Loosetrife

Cottontail Rabbit, of course.

Queen's Delight

Bee Balm

Yellow Puff

Ladybird's Centaury

Antelope-horn Milkweed pod

American Basketflower

White Rosinweed

Purple Prairie Clover & friend

Yellow Prairie Clover

One of the many sunset sky dramas above Tandy Hills in May.

03) Landscapes by the Dozen

A recent photo project required me to crop some of my favorite landscape shots of Tandy Hills from over the years and seasons. The result illustrates what I've been saying to you for many years: This place is truly special.

04) Pavilion Exhibition & Reception

You are invited to attend the Tandy Hills Natural Area, Pavilion Design Exhibition. Architectural drawings from all 20 entrants of the recent design competition will be on display throughot the minth of June at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center. Included is a scale model of the winning entry by, Dennehy Architects.

A reception will be held Friday, June 2, from 6pm - 9pm. It's free and open to the public. This is a good opportunity to see the designs up close and better understand the architects' vision. Come by and visit with us, the architects and city officials. 

05) Lots of Kids on the Prairie

May was a busy month for schools visiting Tandy Hills. I think the kids outnumbered the wildflowers serving as a temporary bison herd. Lives were changed. Here are a few examples:

An enthusiastic clutch of kids from St. Rita Catholic School march of to a day of study on the prairie.

The St. Rita photo-op.

Everman ISD, Baxter Jr. High, set a Tandy Hills record for most kids at one time with nearly 500 seventh graders and staff.

Our Kids on the Prairie, sponsorship school, Meadowbrook Elementary, arriving for a 3-hour science based field trip.

A herd of 100 Meadowbrook Elementary Buffalo celebrate their field trip at Tandy HIlls.

This young lady, a 4th grade student at Meadowbrook Elementarty, won Best of Show in the art-writng-naturalist contest.

06) Prairie Posse Report

On May 20, the view from the trailhead was greatly improved thanks to the hard work of, Joseph Lippert, Don & Debora Young. Your help is requested  every 3rd Saturday. Join us in June.



07) Meadow Mystery

After observing and photographing Tandy Hills for many years, I'm often amazed at how different the same prairie can look year to year. That point came up recently when I received a scolding from a lady who came to visit the meadow this year after seeing a photo of same meadow taken in 2010. The nerve of some people!

That prompted me to research photos of the approximate same spot on the same meadow in mid-May since 2010. Most years have been spectacular but with different species dominating. The following pics illustrate this phenomonen. (Despite plentiful rainfall, sunshine and a mild winter, the difference between 2016 and 2017 is striking.)









08) Thoreau Forever

On May 23, the US Postal Service commemorated Henry David Thoreau on a Forever Stamp. The first-day-issue took place at the Walden Pond State Reservation. The stamp features Thoreau's portrait, based on an 1855 daguerreotype, and has been gussied up by artist, Sam Weber. Below the portrait, is Thoreau's signature and a branch of Sumac leaves.

09) Scissortail Flycatchers

On a lovely evening in early May, a pair of the iconic prairie birds were observed feeding on bugs at Tandy Hills. Their aerial poerty speaks for itself.

10) Prairie Proverb

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.
Live the life you have imagined.
Our life is frittered away by detail...simplify, simplify.
Things do not change; we change.
The world is but a canvas to our imagination.
It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see."

- Henry David Thoreau, 1817 - 1862


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.