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.


Prairie Notes: #85
January 1, 2014

1) Relationships
2) Proverbs 2013: I - XII
3) REmembership
4) Coming Attractions
5) How Birds Cope
6) Prairie Proverb

1) Relationships

I often express pride in the accomplishments of Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area (FOTHNA), especially in light of the fact that it was founded and remains independent of corporate or government influence. Yet the success of the organization's achievements depend on variety of crucial relationships.

First and foremost among these is FOTHNA's relationship with the citizens of north Texas who visit the parkland and connect with it independently or through one of our events or conservation and education programs. This relationship is the bedrock of our success and essential to keeping Tandy Hills "like it was."

Unlike many "Friends" groups, FOTHNA was not founded by a happy group of citizen volunteers. In 2004, founding members were at odds with city leaders about the future of the 160 precious acres. We were committed to preventing any type of incompatible activity.

The huge success of Prairie Fest proved that thousands of north Texans agreed with us and cared about Tandy Hills and their environmental heritage. Later we secured official non-profit status and forged a relationship with Fort Worth ISD to sponsor field trips at the park. That relationship brought thousands of school kids to the prairie and emphasized our commitment. The city took notice.

Eventually, it became clear that both parties were allies. In April 2010, a rather historic support agreement was established between the City of Fort Worth and FOTHNA. Quarterly meetings between the parties have insured good communication and positive outcomes. The once antagonistic relationship bloomed into one of shared goals, cooperation and friendship.

The relationship has improved to the point that in December 2013, the Parks and Community Services Advisory Board recognized the accomplishments of FOTHNA at their quarterly meeting. Superintendent, Jerry McDowell, a staunch supporter of FOTHNA activities, spoke appreciatively to our efforts with Brush Bash, Kids on the Prairie and other outreach programs.

The Board of Directors of FOTHNA wishes to thank the city for this recognition and look forward to a long and rewarding future of working side by side for the betterment of our Tandy Hills.


L-R: Sheila Hill (PB Chair), Kathy Scott, Richard Zavala (PACS Dir.), Jerry McDowell (PACS Superintendent), Jim Marshall, Phil Hennen, Heather Foote, Don Young, Debora Young and Kathy Cash (FWISD).

2) Proverbs 2013: I - XII

As is my custom in the cold, dark days and long nights of Winter, when the prairie is sleeping, I like to revisit the wisdom of Prairie Proverbs of the past 12 months. I've also included some of my favorite photos from each month. Starting from 01/01/13:

"Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land."

- Also Leopold, A Sand County Almanac, 1949

"I walk here and there, seeking open,
flat spaces against a sky up high.
I have discovered, too late, perhaps,
that I always preferred the empty more than the full,
for breathing and forgiving."

- Teresa Palomo Acosta, The Prairie Farmland Fields, (from, Between Heaven and Texas) 2006

"...extreemly fertile; consisting of a happy mixture of prairies and groves; exhibiting one of the most beautifull and picteresk seens that I have ever beheld."

- Meriwether Lewis, describing his impressions of the American prairie, (from, Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition) 1804

"It happened I couldn't find in all my books
more than a picture and a few words concerning
the trout lily,

so I shut my eyes.
And let the darkness come in
and roll me back.
The old creek

began to sing in my ears
as it rolled along, like the hair of spring,
and the young girl I used to be
heard it also,

as she came swinging into the woods,
truant from everything as usual
except the clear globe of the day, and its
beautiful details.

Then she stopped
where the trout lilies of the year
had sprung from the ground
with their spotted bodies
and their six-antlered bright faces,
and their many red tongues.

If she spoke to them, I don't remember what she said,
and if they kindly answered, it's a gift that can't be broken
by giving it away.
All I know is, there was a light that lingered, for hours,
under her eyelids - that made a difference
when she went back to a difficult house, at the end of the day."

Trout Lilies, a poem by Mary Oliver (from her book, Why I Wake Early, 2004)

"Here at Tandy Hills, where time has stood still, we can see a living example of an ecosystem thousands of years old. A habitat for pollinators, wildlife, birds, plants and trees. The Tandy Hills prairie is unlike anywhere else in the world."

Prairie Fest 2013 keynote speaker, Kathy Cash, Exploratory Learning Investigation Specialist, FWISD Science Department

"The human definition of the natural world is always going to be too small because the world's more diverse and complex than we can ever know. We're not going to comprehend it; it comprehends us."

Wendell Berry, from, Digging In, an interview in The Sun Magazine, 2008

"And this, our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything."

William Shakespeare from, As You Like It, Act II, Scene I, (1599)

"Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original, is cutting itself off from its origins and betraying the principle of civilization itself."

Edward Abbey, from, Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness, 1968

"Help me to be in the world for no purpose at all except for the joy of sunlight and rain. Keep me close to the edge, where everything wild begins"

Tom Hennen, from his poem, What the Plants Say, from the book, Crawling Out the Window, Black Hat Press, 1997. (Also included in, Darkness Sticks to Everything, Collected and New Poems, Copper Canyon Press, 2013)

"If dogs run free, then why not we,
Across the swooping plain?"

Bob Dylan, from the song, If Dogs Run Free, from the 1970 album, New Morning

"Designers want me to dress like Spring, in billowing things. I don't feel like Spring. I feel like a warm red Autumn."

Marilyn Monroe

"The falling leaves drift by the window
The autumn leaves of red and gold
I see your lips, the summer kisses
The sunburned hands I used to hold

Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I'll hear old winter's song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall."

from the song, Autumn Leaves. Lyrics by Johnny Mercer, 1947

3) REmembership

I'll keep this simple and easy. Your financial support is essential to our award-winning and successful programs.

Please go here to renew your Membership:
Please go here to become a Prairie Fest Sponsor:

4) Coming Attractions

January 1, 2014 - Manly Men & Wild Women Hike the Hills
February 1, 2014 - Brush Bash (Rain date, 2/15/14)
March 2, 2014 - Trout Lily Walk with Jim Varnum & Sam Kieschnick
April 26, 2014 - Prairie Fest: Prairie to the People
May 29 - 31, 2014 - Native Prairie Assoc. of Texas, State of the Prairie Conference, Fort Worth (incl. special tour of Tandy Hills)
May 2014 - Kids on the Prairie

5) How Birds Cope

The extreme cold and ice of mid-December 2013 had me wondering how birds survive in such weather. This article from Audubon Magazine answered my question very nicely. There's also good advice on feeding our feathered friends.

6) Prairie Proverb

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud became more panful than the risk it took to blossom."

attributed to, Anais Nin, 1903 - 1977

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

Don Young