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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.

Pics & Proverbs - 2021

Prairie Notes #181
January 1, 2022


01) Pics & Proverbs 2021

02) Your MEMBERSHIP Matters

03) New Species - December 2021

04) MM&WW HIke the HIlls is TODAY - 13th Annual

05) Videos of the Year 2021

06) Prairie Proverb - Megan Mayhew Bergman



01) Pics & Proverbs 2021


With Tandy Hills more or less at rest, January is a good time to review and reflect on the past year via 2021's Prairie Proverbs and a few favorite and timely pics from each of the past 12 issues of Prairie Notes. 


2021 quotations include the usual quirky mix of naturalists, artists, scientists, environmentalists, etc. Each quote had a particular fit for the issue in which quoted, from the inspiring quote by newly appointed Interior Secretary, Deb Halland to the perenially relevant words of Henry David Thoreau and Confucious. And I always find room for a few off-beat, unexpected quotes that reflect what was going on at the time. 


Herewith, Prairie Proverbs I - XII from 2021, with photos of the quoted authors and selected pics from the same issue. Thanks for reading and for your continued support! 


Scroll SLOWLY for best results. And please let these photos be a reminder of how incredibly special and vital Tandy HIlls is to us all.





The faces of 2021's Prairie Proverbs

Prairie Notes #169, (Pics & Proverbs 2021) January 1, 2021


"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.


December 11, 2020

The first Prairie Posse event on Broadcast Hill happened in early 2021.

December 22, 2020

December 22, 2020

Prairie Notes #170, (Big Trees) February 1, 2021



“When in the midst of this great Oak wood, you look around, you are struck by the great mass of gray-barked wood that fills the air. The leaves of these old Oaks are now fairly fallen, and the ground is densely covered with their rustling reddish-brown scales.”


- Henry David Thoreau, Journal, Volume 14, 1860


Ashe Juniper berries underfoot.

One of the largest Shumard Oak trees at tandy Hills rising aboove the forest floor.

There are several very large Oaks in the bottomlands of Tandy Hills.

Prairie Notes #171, (Chilly Scenes of Winter) March 1, 2021



"Look around,

Leaves are brown,

And the sky is a hazy shade of winter.

Look around,

Leaves are brown,

There's a patch of snow on the ground."

- Simon & Garfunkel, from the 1966 song, A Hazy Shade of Winter, lyrics by Paul Simon


February 14 - 16, 2021


Rabbits on the move after the big freeze.


The day after the coldest night in many years.

Despite a harsh winter, the Trout Lilies appeared on time, indicating that spring will surely come again.

Prairie Notes #172, (Blue Star Gazing) April 1, 2021



"We have, I fear, confused power with greatness...Plans to protect air, water, wilderness and wildlife are, in fact, plans to protect man."


- Stewart Udall, Secretary of the Interior from 1961 - 1969, under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. He played a key role in the enactment of environmental laws such as the, Clean Air and Clean Water Acts and important Amendments to the Wildnreness Act, Endangered Species Act, Land & Water Conservation Fund Act, National Trail System Act and the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act.


Fringed Blue Star (Amsonia ciliata) ws the main subject of #172.


Say goodbye to the mysterious and lovely Trout Lily until next spring.


An exciting new species was discovered in 2021: Blue Funnel-Flower (Androstephium coeruleum)

Prairie Notes #173 (Hygh On Hyacinth) May 1, 2021


"People are mostly layers of violence and tenderness wrapped like bulbs, and it is difficult to say what makes them onions or hyacinths."


- Eudora Welty, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, 1909 - 2001


Getting Hygh on Hyacinth in April, 2021.


Indian Paintbrush & Antelopehorn Milkweed shared the spring spotlight.


The botanical diversity and beauty found on newly acquired, Broadcast Hill, was in full eveidence in spring 2021.


A dramatic example of flagrant vandalism in 2021: A lady was caught red-handed diging up Indain Paintbrush

Prairie Celestial 

Prairie Notes #174, (High Drama Prairie), June 1, 2021



There is no way that this winter is ever going to end as long as this groundhog keeps seeing his shadow. I don't see any other way out. He's got to be stopped. And I have to stop him.”


- Phil Connors, played by actor, Bill Murray, in the 1993 film, Groundhog Day.


A beautiful pacth of Prickly Pear Cactus roses.


Susnet, May 3, 2021.


Checking out the wonders of Spittle Bugs with a group of Girl Scouts.


The year, 2021, was a very bad year for prairie vandalism but, we are finally getting some protection for Tandy Hills.


The prairie sunset on May 31th, 2021 was unusually striking.

Prairie Notes #175 (Silphium's Summer Splendor) July 1, 2021



"I am quite seriously proposing that we give legal rights to forests, oceans, rivers and other so-called ‘natural objects’ in the environment — indeed, to the natural environment as a whole.”

- Christopher D. Stone, legal scholar and professor, from his seminal, 1972 essay published in the Southern California Law Review and titled “Should Trees Have Standing? — Toward Legal Rights for Natural Objects.” Prof. Stone, was a giant of the early environmental movement whose ideas had a global impact. In 1972 he made the legal argument to grant nature itself the legal status of personhood. He died on May 14 in Los Angeles.


Checkered Setwing Dragonfly was one of several species observed in June.


This happy couple left behind a good-sized dead zone that looked like a hog waller. If caught, they would have been fined.
Eastern Cottontail Rabbit on the run. They were plentiful in 2021.


.Winged Loosetrife (Lythrum alatum) flowers are only about 1/2" across but beautifully complex.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly (front view) warming up in the Indian Grass.

Prairie Notes #176, (A Spiders Tale) August 1, 2021



"Is there anything in the universe more beautiful and protective than the simple complexity of a spider's web?"


- E.B. White, 1899 - 1985, author of Charlotte's Web and many other popular books for children and adults.


Green Lynx Spider in process of molting.


MALE Jumping Spider (Phidippus texanus).


FEMALE Jumping Spider (Phidippus texanus.

After early cancellations due to Covid concerns, PrairieSky / StarParty attracted large crowds in June.

Prairie Notes #177 (After the Rain) September 1, 2021



"Now comes good sailing."


- Henry David Thoreau's last words, as he lay dying in 1862, at age 44. It is also the title of a new book of essays. (See #07 above)


Magnificent stands of Eryngo peak in September. They are also popular hangouts for insects of all kinds.


Preying Mantis eyeing me. They blend and contrast so well with their summer home.

Scudder's Bush Katydid. They move very slowly like Preying Mantis but are herbivores.

A charming trio of, Sulcate Sunhead Mushrooms (Heliocybe sulcata) appeared after the rain.

Prairie Notes #178 (Creepy Critters of Tandy Hills) October 1, 2021



Snakes…why'd it have to be snakes?

- Indiana Jones, as spoken by actor, Harrison Ford, in the 1981 film, Raiders of the Lost Ark.



White Prairie Rose (Rosa foliosa) rose hips are striking this time of year


A Ladybeetle holding on tight to Indian Grass in a stiff, fall wind.


Crews from S&S Trail Service began work on new trails in September.


The seep under Barbara's Button Hill helps the Indian Grass grow in the fall.

Fantastic Mr. Gray Fox in his prairie home. A very rare sighting here. Photo by, Ryan Spates, S&S Trail Service

Prairie Notes #179, (Orchids Oooh-La-La!) November 1, 2021



“The orchids grow in the woods, even though no one is there to admire them. They release their fragrant smell even though no one may be there to appreciate it.”

- Confucius, famous orchid lover and Chinese sage, (551 - 479 BCE)


Here's a nice patch of Late Purple Aster and White Heath Aster, growing side-by-side in October

On October 7, Don & Debora Young led a hike for 25 folks from the Out & About program at Tarrant County College NE.


An unusually voluptuous and fragrant Great Plains Ladies' Tresses Orchid (Spiranthes magnicamporum) seen in  late October.


The first of several new bridges on a newly created trail.

Prairie Notes #180, (Those Were the Days My Friends) December 1, 2021



"Those were the days my friend

We thought they'd never end

We'd sing and dance forever and a day

We'd live the life we choose

We'd fight and never lose

Those were the days, oh yes those were the days

La la la la la la"


- Mary Hopkin, Welsh singer, recorded the song, Those Were The Days, in 1968. It was a worlwide smash hit. English lyrics by Gene Raskin from an old Russian song.


Looking west across, Tandy HIlls & Broadcast Hill on a perfect fall day in late November.


An extra large, Texas Spiny Lizard catching some solar rays on a chilly day in November.


A magnificent carpet of Aromatic Aster along the Hawk trail.


A new trail created in early December begins to take shape.

A stunning view of Tandy Hills from December 3, illustrating how our local prairie is truly a national treasure.

02) Your MEMBERSHIP Matters

2021 was another productive year for Friends of Tandy Hills and 2022 looks promising and challenging. Our main goals are Habitat Restoration and Outdoor Education. We hope our accomplishments will inspire you to make a donation today.


Your Donations In Action:


> Secured and managed grant from Texas Parks & Wildlife and hired S&S Trails to create all new trails system

> Worked with City of FW officals to increase protection of Tandy HIlls from commercial photographers

> Prairie Posse volunteers restored key sections of Tandy Hills habitat
> Kids on the Prairie (KOP) hosted and led hikes for several groups

> Reported 885 volunteer hours to FW Park & Rec


Specific goals for 2022: 


- Complete the new trails system & GPS mapping

- Restore key sections of prairie and woodlands

- Update trail signage & info-kisok at trailhead

- Increased protection of View Street meadows

- Resume efforts to get pavilion constructed


You can show your support for these and other initiatives with a 2022 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.


Perhaps our most important accomplishment in 2021: This little sign and the words printed on it, posted along View Street.

03) New Species - December 2021

There were 6 new species added in December, bringing the new count to 1643. Key observations were made by, Sam Kieschnick, and Bob O’Kennon. See a few notables below and the Tandy Hills iNat Project Page HERE:

 Pale-banded Dart (Agnorisma badinodis) all photos by, Sam Kieschnick

Araneoid Spiders (Superfamily Araneoidea)

Leafhopper (Subgenus Texanus)

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

Baby it might be cold outside but don't let that keep you from participating in the 13th Annual Manly Men Wild Women Hike the Hills on New Years Day (& weekend). The hike starts at the Trailhead at the end of the sidewalk, just north of the playground and is marked with a sign (see below). PINK ribbons and paint will mark the entire hike which is about 3 miles total.


NOTE---Like last year, due the Covid concerns, the hike is NOT at a specific time or as an organized group. Get your important details here:


Look for this sign at the Trailhead.

Follow the PINK ribbons from START - FINISH.

Look for pink paint in some places too mark the way.

05) Videos of the Year

If you prefer moving pictures, four short videos showing the amazing diversity and wonderment of Tandy Hills were recorded throughout 202. Click on each image below or access all of them from the About Us page.

A couple of White Pelicans in flight above Tandy Hills on March 23.

A Flight of Swallows swarmed  the prairie on March 30.

A magnificent stand of Yucca was oberved on_May 29.

A very rare sighting of a Gray Fox occurred on September 28.  Watch HERE:

06) Prairie Proverb - Megan Mayhew Bergman

If there was ever a time to bridge the gulf between science and faith, or to integrate a reverence for nature into one’s belief system, it is now, when suffering and loss are more constant than episodic, and the cost of our species’ greed has become evident.”

- Megan Mayhew Bergman, Award-winning author, from her December 2021 essay in LitHub titled, Searching for the Scared on a Planet in Crisis


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.