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.

Pics & Proverbs 2020

Prairie Notes #169
January 1, 2020

01) Pics & Proverbs 2020

02) Your MEMBERSHIP Matters

03) New Species - December 2020

04) MM&WW HIke the HIlls is TODAY

05) Videos of the Year 2020

06) Prairie Proverb - Rep. Deb Haaland



01) Pics & Proverbs 2020


With Tandy Hills more or less at rest, January is a good time to review and reflect on the past year via 2020's Prairie Proverbs and a few of my favorite pics from each of the past 12 issues of Prairie Notes. 


2020 quotations included a quirky mix naturalists, artists, scientists, environmentalists and philosophers. Each quote had a particular fit for the issue in which quoted, from the legendary quote by Fred Foy to the succinct and sassy four word quote by Yvon Chouinard. Many of the older quotes are strikingly pertinent to the times in which we now live.


Herewith, Prairie Proverbs I - XII from 2020, with photos of the quoted authors and select pics from the same issue. Thanks for reading and for your continued support!


Scroll SLOWLY for best results.






Prairie Notes #157, (PIcs & Proverbs 2019) January 1, 2020


"There are more than 200 million insects for every human being living on the planet today. As you sit reading this sentence, between 1 quadrillion and 10 quadrillion insects are shuffling and crawling and flapping around on the planet, outnumbering the grains of sand on all the world’s beaches. Like it or not, they have you surrounded, because Earth is the planet of the insects."

Anne Sverdrup-Thygesonprofessor of conservation biology at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and author of, Buzz - Sting - Bite: Why We Need Insects


Texas Polyporus (nocutis texana)


Moonrise over Tandy Hills, at Sunset, December 10, 2019

Hoof Fungus (Fomes fomentarius)

Prairie Notes #158, (The Uncanny Beauty of Briers) February 1, 2020



“These rare remnants of land provide a refuge and haven for many plants and animals that have few other places to survive as a diverse biological community. The combined biological diversity and cultural heritage of Tandy Hills and the adjacent 51 acre tract of land are one of the treasures of North Central Texas."


- L. Wayne Clark, Director, Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge, Retired, from a letter he wrote in 2007 to Chesapeake Energy, the new owner at that time, of Broadcast Hill.


Saw Greenbrier (Smilax bona-nox)

Don Young warming up a record sized crowd on New Years Day prior to the Manly Men & Wild Women hike.

These tiny red sprouts will soon become Trout Lilies (Erythronium albidum)

On January 27, 2020, a thick fog bejeweled spider silk with thousands of water droplets like earthbound constellations.

We first got wind of the possible acquisition of Broadcast Hill in early January. This map makes clear what was at stake.

Prairie Notes #159, (A Lasting Legacy (Hot Diggity Dog!)) March 1, 2020



"Fort Worth loses 50 acres of natural space a week to development...We are now identifying and protecting quality open space. You are all familiar with the old Channel 5 up on the hill and the beautiful prairie below it? The City has purchased Broadcast Hill."


- Fort Worth Mayor, Betsy Price, announcing the land acquisition during the annual, State of the City address on February 28, 2020


The leaders of the Broadcast Hill Campaign which helped raise $65,000 to aid the purchase of 50+ acres.


Trout Lilies were right on time in 2020 when Sam Kiescnick led the annual Trout Lily Walk.


A massive Bois D'arc tree was discovered and freed from a wall of invasive privet by the Prairie Posse in March.


Prairie Notes #160, (Earth Day & Tandy Hills: A Natural Fit) April 1, 2020



"One of the things I missed most while living in space was being able to go outside and experience nature. After being confined to a small space for months, I actually started to crave nature — the color green, the smell of fresh dirt, and the feel of warm sun on my face."


- Scott Kelly, retired NASA astronaut who spent nearly a year on the INternational Space Station. On March 21, he wrote an essay on tips to cope with isolation from COVID-19.


Eastern Swallowtail gorging on Wild Hyacinth.


Fringed Bluestar in a field of Purple Indian Paintbrush.


Cooper's Hawk hunting dinner.

Acres of Purple Indian Paintbrush cover the top of Broadcast Hill.

Prairie Notes #161 (Earth Day Redux) May 1, 2020



"If we continue to address the issue of the environment as though we are the only species that lives here, we'll create a disaster for ourselves. Our goal is not just an environment of clean air and water and scenic beauty. The objective is an environment of decency, quality and mutual respect for all other human beings and all other living creatures.”


- Gaylord Nelson, (1916 - 2005), Founder of Earth Day, U.S. Senator, Governor of Wisconsin, consumer advocate and civil rights champion.


A Cooper's Hawk flying through a rainbow on a summers day above Tandy Hills.


Variegated Meadowhawk Dragonfly


False Foxglove casts a magical glow in certain light.


A dramatic sunset on April 7th highlighted the White Winecups.


Prairie Notes #162, (It's Delightful, It's Delovely, It's Dalea!), June 1, 2020


"The night is young, the skies are clear

So if you want to go walking, dear

It's delightful, it's delicious, it's de-lovely."


- Cole Porter, (1891-1964) It's Delovely lyrics from the musical, Red, Hot & Blue, 1936


There are three species of Dalea at Tandy Hills.


Compact Prairie Clover (Dalea compacta) known perhaps more accurately as, Showy Prairie Clover.


Carolina Saddlebags Dragonfly (Tramea carolina)  photo by, Victor Mozqueda


Grooved Nipple Cactus (Corphyantha sulcata) bloomed a full month later than normal in 2020.


A rarely seen, Rough Greensnake, was observed on May 30th, 2020.


Prairie Notes #163 (The Acrobatic Swallows of Tandy Hills) July 1, 2020


"True hope is swift, and flies with swallow's wings"

- William Shakespeare, from his play, Richard lll, Act 5.


In summer months, Barn Swallows can be found perched on the wires along View Street foraging for insects.


Blade-like wings and amazing dexterity allow Barn Swallows free rein of the prairie and surrounding neighborhood.


White Prairie Rose (Rosa foliolosa) are an uncommon and fragrant native species at Tandy Hills.


Robust Sunflower Leafcutter Bee (Megachile fortis), inside a Texas Bluebell flower.

The fruit of 27 generous donors who helped purchase 51 beautiful acres on Broadcast Hill.

Prairie Notes #164, (The Magical Moths of Tandy Hills) August 1, 2020


“After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, love, and so on—have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear—what remains? Nature remains.”


- Walt Whitman, from Specimen Days (1882)


Tersa Sphinx Moth (Xylophanes tersa)


White-lined Sphinx Moth (Hyles lineata)_Brent Franklin


Narrowleaf Gumweed (Grindelia lanceolata) looks smashingly cheerful, even in the summer sun.

The July 6th sunset was breathtaking.

Prairie Notes #165 (A Sleepin' Bee Done Told Me) September 1, 2020



"When a bee lies sleepin' in the palm of your hand

You're bewitched and deep in love's long look’d-after land

Where you'll see a sun up sky with the mornin' moon

And where the days go laughin' by, as love comes callin' on you

Sleep on bee, don't 'waken I can't believe what just passed

He's mine for the takin’ I am happy at last

Maybe I dream but he seems sweet golden as a crown

A sleepin' bee done told me that I will walk with my feet off the ground

When my one true love I have found."


- Truman Capote, lyrics from the hit song, A Sleepin' Bee, introduced in the 1954 musical, House of Flowers, which is based on Capote’s award-winning story of the same name. Music by Harold Arlen. Listen to a swinging jazz version by Johnny Hartmann, HERE:


A sleepin' bee tucked in for the night. Trust me. American Bumble Bee (Bombus pensylvanicus)


The Mantis moved in Tai Chi slow-motion towards the sleepy bees.

The light of August makes a prairie look nice.

Baby, it's hot outside. The temp hit 108 degrees on a couple of days in August 2020.

Prairie Notes #166 (Tandy Hills BEFORE Tandy Hills) October 1, 2020


Don Young fishing for wildflowers and allies to help protect the Iconic Meadows.


“Dear Mayor Moncrief - What makes Tandy Hills so special is the presence of native wildflowers and grasses. Biologists say that this little slice of land is still very much as it was in pre-settlement times. I find that to be something of a miracle! A report by the Fort Worth Nature Center notes that the the quality of the prairie grasses covering these hills in an undisturbed state, are the best in Tarrant County, even better than the Nature Center. Another miracle!


- Don Young, Letter to Fort Worth Mayor, Mike Moncrief, Prairie Notes #1, August 2004


Aerial view looking east, 1956, with I-30 under construction. High resolution HERE.


What you see in this complex photo is a Green Lynx Spider lunching on an Eastern Bumblebee atop an Eryngo plant.


Maximillian Sunflowers finally came through with their glorious blooms.


Gaura Borer Moth (Euhagena emphytiformis), a remarkably rare and new species for Tandy Hills, photo by Sam Kieschnick

The "Hillock" with magic autumn light, topped by, Little Bluestem.

Prairie Notes #167, (Duty Calls-Vote the Environment) November 1, 2020



"Vote the A_ _holes Out"


- Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia Clothing Company, had that (unedited) message stitched discretely on tags of their 2020 line of organic Stand-Up Shorts. Read more about that HERE.


Victory! (fingers crossed)

Late Purple Aster


Great Plains Ladies Tresses are back for a limited time. The aroma will make you swoon, but you have to find them first.


October 30th sunset with lots of Bluestem and blue skies.

Plain-bellied Watersnake (Nerodia erythrogaster), a new species for Tandy Hills in November. photo by, achipps

Prairie Notes #168, (Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear!) December 1, 2020



“A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty Hi-Yo Silver! The Lone Ranger! ... With his faithful Indian companion Tonto, the daring and resourceful masked rider of the plains led the fight for law and order in the early western United States! Nowhere in the pages of history can one find a greater champion of justice! Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear! From out of the past come the thundering hoofbeats of the great horse Silver! The Lone Ranger rides again!”


- Fred Foy who famously voiced the introduction and end credits of the TV show, The Lone Ranger Rides Again. (1921 - 2010)

Hear Fred Foy recite the famous lines in this short video:


The acquisition of Broadcast Hill's 50+ acres was a highlight of 2020. photo by Scott Carson Ausburn


Autumn prairie serenity.


One of only a few Redberry Juniper (Juniperus pinchotii) trees at Tandy Hills. This one is quite old, handsome and well cared for.


Wand Milkweed (Asclepias viridiflora) exploding beautifully, effectively and symbiotically


02) Your MEMBERSHIP Matters

2020 was another productive year for Friends of Tandy Hills and 2021 looks promising. We hope these accomplishments will inspire you to make a donation today:


> Friends of Tandy Hills raised $65K to help purchase and preserve 51 new acres

> Prairie Notes awarded, Digital Media Award from Native Plant Society of Texas

iNaturalst observations at Tandy HIlls increased by 155 new species
> Manly Men Wild Women Hike, Trout Lily Walk, PrairieSky / StarParty & Facebook page introduced hundreds of new people to Tandy Hills
> Prairie Posse volunteers restored key sections of Tandy Hills
> Kids on the Prairie (KOP) field journal posted online for free downloads for homebound kids and families

> North TX Giving Day donations exceeded 2019

> Friends of Tandy Hills partered with Native Plant Society of Texas, Texas Parks & Wildlife, Native Prairies Assoc. of Texas , City of Fort Worth & Cross Timbers Master Naturalsts in 2020


Specific goals for 2021: 


- Improve the trails system

- Restore key sections of prairie

- Improve signage

- Better protection of View Street meadows


You can show your support for these and other initiatives with a 2021 Membership donation. Go HERE to become a Friend of Tandy Hills:


> > > Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and protecting Tandy Hills.


03) New Species - December 2020

There were 3 new species ID'd in December 2020 bringing the year end total to 1416 species.

Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca) photo by Sam Kieschnick

Moth (Genus Metaxaglaea) photo by Don Young

Great Black Digger Wasp (Sphex pensylvanicus) photo by Don Young

04) MM&WW Hike the Hills is New Years Day

Baby it might be cold (and wet) outside but don't let that keep you from participating in the 12th annual Manly Men Wild Women Hike the Hills on New Years Day (& weekend). The trail starts at the Trailhead at the end of the sidewalk, just north of the playground and is marked with a sign, PINK ribbons and paint. Including newly acquired Broadcast Hill, the full hike is about 3 miles long. Get your details here:


Look for this sign at the Trailhead.

Follow the PINK ribbons from START - FINISH.

Look for pink paint in some places.

05) Videos of the Year

If you prefer moving pictures, eight short videos showing the amazing diversity and wonderment of Tandy Hills were recorded throughout 2020: Click on each image below or access all of them from the About Us page.

360 Degrees of Indian Paintbrush_March 21st

Butterfly Tree_April 30th

Buckeye & Bee_May 23rd

A Swoop of Barn Swallows_July 19th

Broadcast Hill Celebration_June 25th

A Swarm of Mississippi Kites_August 16th

NEW, Iconic Meadow w/ Music by Johann Strauss_October 19th

A blast from the past: Prairie Fest 2010 from KERA is now posted on our website

06) Prairie Proverb - Rep. Deb Haaland

"A voice like mine has never been a Cabinet secretary or at the head of the Department of Interior. Growing up in my mother's Pueblo household made me fierce. I'll be fierce for all of us, our planet, and all of our protected land. . .  As our country faces the impacts of climate change and environmental injustice, the Interior Department has a role to address these challenges. The president-elect's goals, driven by justice and empowering communities who have shouldered the burdens of environmental negligence, we will ensure that the decisions at Interior will once again be driven by science."

Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M, tribal member of the Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico and U.S. Interior Dept. nominee, from her acceptance speech.

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.