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.

National Prairie Day

Prairie Notes #150
June 1, 2019


01) National Prairie Day

02) Vicki's Yard

03) Field Report - May

04) New Species - May

05) Amazing Meadow Views - May

06) Hike Naked Day / Summer Solstice

07) Burn Area Update

08) PrairieSky / StarParty News 

09) I Am a Weed

10) Prairie Proverb - Sam Kieschnick



01) National Prairie Day


Federal offices will not be closed on Saturday, June 1st but, they should be. Why the heck not honor the USA's quintessential landscape with a national holiday? They are equivalent in value to the  forests, desert lands and marine regions that define our collective DNA. They provide an essential service as a "carbon sponge" for local residents. They delight our eye and lift our hearts with their unsurpassed diversity in an ever-darkening world. 


The first Saturday of every June has been National Prairie Day since 2016 when it was founded by the Missouri Prairie FoundationIf you are so inclined to celebrate this holiday, Tandy Hills is an excellent choice of venue. There are mesmerizing meadows scatterd across the 160 acres including, the Iconic Meadows along View Street, Barbara's Button Hill on the east-central region, Monet's Meadow and Texas Bluebell Hill in the middle and the Coneflower Meadow at the north end of the Sunset Trail. They all change with the seasons offering views your great-great grandparents and children of the future would appreciate.


Come on in.


> For a whirlwind tour of what you have to celebrate throughout entire the year at your local prairie, go HERE:


> For video introductions to the other meadows, go HERE:





Tandy Hills has been transformed since the burns of late 2018.


02) Vicki's Yard


Some of us View Street residents lucky enough to call Tandy Hills our collective "front yard", have gradually, sometimes subversively and even illegally, attempted to re-prairie our own yards. It is true that, the Tandy Hills prairie used to be where our street, yards and houses are now. With a little encouragement and luck some of those native plants have naturally crossed the street and returned to their old home albeit, with some frustration dealing with Fort Worth Code officers.


Take our next door neighbor, Vicki. Her yard was once planted with mostly non-native grass some of which died back leaving dead pockets and weeds. It didn't look so good. Then a few years ago Vicki began sowing Buffalo Grass seed and mowing around the wildflowers that naturally popped up here and there. When the flowers died back she scattered their seeds around her yard. It was a patchwork-prairie look for a few years but gradually, the wildflower footprint expanded. 


This year, after record rainfall in April, Vicki's yard became a prairie show-stopper of Indian Blanket, Engelmann's Daisy and Milkweed, all bio-identical to Tandy Hills. Success has inspired Vicki to introuduce more species variety next year with seeds gathered from her "other front yard." She followed the Code rules to the letter, mowing a 10' easement strip along the street. She expects the wildflower footprint to grow even larger next year.




03) Field Report - May


As expected, May provided an embarrassment of prairie riches. Here are a few of my best photo-moments in the month of May. (See #04 below for the big picture landscapes.)


Knee deep in native wildflowers on May 8, The Iconic Meadow was a pollinator & photographer magnet.


Bee Fly on a Coneflower


Diamond Flowers for your June wedding.


Yellow Compassplant orienting with its home star.


Red Admiral Butterfly brightening my day.


Purple Prairie Clover is a study in architectural perfection.


You can now hear Eastern Bluebirds singing on the Tandy Hills. Photo by, Gordon Henry, used with permission.


This Wavyleaf Thistle flower reminds me of artichoke.


Spikerush growing out of a seep has sensual quality often found at Tandy Hills.

Salt Marsh Moth caterpillar drenched in dew snacking on Common Hedge Parsley, a nasty invasive.

As I was snapping this pic of Sensitive Briar, a Honeybee photo-bombed me.


Pug Moth caterpillar


Queen's Delight looking delightful, with Greenthread flower heads top left


Bee Balm (Monarda citriodora) is a balm for the soul.


Arkansas Yucca with uncommon pink pigment. Note that nearby specimens are more common ivory-colored.


A nice bouquest of Coneflower, Prairie Parsley and Prairie Bishop. The Coneflowers were literally 5' tall.


American Crow barking for his mates.


04) New Species - May


As Sam Kieschnick would say, "Holy macaroni!In a normal month only a handful of new species are discovered and added to the Tandy Hills inventory. However, in the past 30-odd days, the species count grew from 1070 to 1193, an increase of 123 species


The vast majority of the new species were found on the evening of April 29, the last day of the City Nature Challenge when Sam K and his team observed and recorded 362 species on that one evening at Tandy Hills, at least 75 of them, NEW species. You can view the list of April - May new species on the About Us page of the website or visit iNat website, HERE:


Here are five of the most striking species found on April 29:


Calleida punctata, photo by Brent Franklin

Episemasia cervinaria, photo by Annika Lindqvist

Euclea incisa, photo by Annika Lindqvist

Peltodytes litoralis, photo by Annika Lindqvist

Pyrausta pseuderosnealis, photo by Annika Lindqvist


05) Amazing Meadow Views - May


May 2019 was an extraordinary month for the Tandy prairies. The last time wildflower growth looked this good was in 2010. Intersting weather patterns also created enhanced lighting conditions helping create some amazing views. Here's a few my camera and I managed to grab.


Monet's Meadow, was a peaceful, painterly palette of comforting composition on the edge of a seep in mid-May.


One of the largest stands of Prairie Bishop I've ever observed in mid-May.


This hidden alcove of wildflowers between the trees was a perfect place to spend a quiet afternnon in mid-May.


On the morning of May 18, a cold front brought in several inches of rain and unusual lighting conditions throughout the day.

The Tandy Hills Facebook page set a new personal record for most Likes & Shares with this pic of the Iconic Meadow.


The same meadow near sunset on May 18 with different light looks like a big 'ol bowl of Lucky Charms.


As the sun set on May 18 the meadows sparkled with amazing floristic diversity.


06) Hike Naked Day / Summer Solstice


It's the holiday season again, folks. My personal favorite holiday is the 2019 Summer Solstice which happens on June 21, which also happens to be, Hike Naked DayYOU MAY BE SURPRISED OR SHOCKED to know that nude hiking is legal in Fort Worth, if you behave, that is. After an inquiry from a visitor, I checked and got this response from the city attorney:


"There are currently no laws on the books that prohibit or criminalize the act of simply being fully nude while in a City of Fort Worth park. The act of being completely nude could rise to the level of criminal conduct (either indecent exposure or disorderly conduct) if it is combined with other factors such as sexual gratification and/or recklessness about whether another person will be offended or alarmed by the act. If the individuals wish to hike nude, then they need to be aware that it could result in a criminal violation…if someone observes such nudity and becomes offended or alarmed by it, then the police would need to be contacted.”


If you choose to hike naked, you may want to read a few safety tips HERE:


DISCLAIMER: Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area does not sponsor, promote or endorse nude hiking at Tandy Hills. We are simply passing on information. We urge you to always use discretion when hiking at Tandy Hills.



07) Burn Area Update


Check out the change at this burned area after 6 months time and a lot of rain. 


November 26, 2018


May 21, 2019


08) PrairieSky / StarParty News


Rained out again in May, we will try again on June 8th. The yoga class hosted by New Leaf Yoga is back on, as well. Here is what Fort Worth Astronomical Society rep, Pam Kloepfer, has to say about the June sky:


“The month of June will mark the beginning of Summer with the Summer Solstice on June 21! The Milky Way will be visible in the night sky from a dark sky location; however, we can still see stars in our city locations! The constellation Hercules will be overhead and is most notable for its globular cluster, M13. A globular cluster is a tight grouping of stars in the form of a sphere and can be seen with a telescope. Also above will be the beautiful constellation Corona Borealis, or the Northern Crown and is a grouping of stars in a semi-circle. At long last, a mighty planet will grace our skies - Jupiter! The moon will be just shy of First Quarter on the evening of June 8.”


I might add that, in classical mythology Corona Borealis generally represented the crown given by the god Dionysus to the Cretan princess Ariadne and set by him in the heavens. You gotta see this! Hope for clear sky on June 8.




Graphic by, By Till Credner


From, Alexander Jamieson's, 1820, constellation atlas, Reimagined by Don Young.


Corona Borealis photo by, by Maxim Markevitch


09) I Am a Weed


You may recall Prairie Notes #140: Feelin' the Flames, where I wrote about how to make your own, Sumac Tea, aka: Rhus Juice, a refrshing summer drink made from Sumac berries (Rhus glabra) wildcrafted at Tandy Hills. It was with great interest that I recently read about a new company called, Tama's Wild Teas, that has made this drink comercially available in bottled form. Tama Matsuoka Wong, of New York, is a forager of wild foods, consultant and author of the book, Foraged Flavor: Finding Fabulous Ingredients in Your Backyard or Farmer's Market, with 88 Recipes. You can make your own using instructions from #140 or order Tama's, I Am a Weed Sumac Tea, HERE



A "bob" of Rhus glabra, berries, from Tandy Hills



10) Prairie Proverb - Sam Kieschnick


Tandy Hills is a refuge for all of these species, even the little tiny ones just waiting for us to appreciate them!”


- Sam Kieschnick, Texas Parks & Wildlife Urban Biologist, after observing 362 species in one evening at Tandy Hills on April 29, 2019


Photo by, Scott Carson Ausburn. Used with permission.

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.