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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.

Tandy Hills: Lone Star Legacy Park!

Prairie Notes #123
March 1, 2017

01) Tandy Hills: Lone Star Legacy Park!
02) Your FOTHNA Membership
03) Field Report - February
04) Trout Lily Cult???
05) PrairieSky / StarParty News
06) Meet the Architect
07) Prairie Roots
08) A Bioblitz by any Other Name
09) LLELA Bioblitz
10) Thoreau Bicentennial News
11) Protect Pollinators Forever Stamp
12) Prairie Proverb

01) Tandy Hills: Lone Star Legacy Park

If you were one of the original rabblerousers who helped found, Friends of Tandy Hills, in 2004, you may better appreciate the announcement today by Texas Recreation & Park Society (TRAPS): Tandy Hills Natural Area is now a Lone Star Legacy Park. The designation is rightly awarded to the City of Fort Worth Park & Recreation Department, but the Friends of Tandy Hills helped shepherd the designation after 13 years of raising awareness of and contributing to the releatively brief history of Tandy Hills, a little-known and rarely visited park in 2004.

Make no mistake, over its 57 year history, there were other groups and individuals who loved and helped save the land from being sold off or undermined, leaving it in relatively pristine condition when Friends of Tandy Hills was formed. With renewed public awareness the City of Fort Worth stepped up to work closely with FOTHNA on long term maintenance and restoration goals of our beloved 160-acres.

Needless to say, we are VERY proud to share this honor with Fort Worth. Here's a copy of the TRAPS press release:


F O R   I M M E D I A T E   R E L E A S E

March 1, 2017




Don Young




Tandy Hills Natural Area Receives Lone Star Legacy Designation

Irving, TexasFive Texas parks were honored with designation as a Lone Star Legacy Park by the Texas Recreation and Parks Society (TRAPS) in a ceremony at the association’s annual institute in Irving on March 1, 2017.

    A Lone Star Legacy Park is classified as a park that holds special prominence in the local community and the state of Texas.  To qualify for consideration, the park must have endured the test of time and become iconic to those who have visited, played and rested on its grounds. Nominated parks must be a minimum of 50 years old and had to meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • The property represents distinctive design and/or construction.

  • The park is associated with historic events or sites.

  • The park is associated with events specific to the local community/state.

  • The park is home to unique natural features.

Tandy Hills Natural Area becomes the third Fort Worth park to receive this honor. Fort Worth Botanic Gardens and the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge, are previous recipients of Lone Star Legacy Park designation.

Parks have played an important role in the development of our communities throughout history. Local parks help promote community, natural respite and social interaction as communities were founded, developed and prospered and all parks so designated will be included in a state-wide initiative promoting Heritage Tourism. 

Five parks received the honor in the sixth year of the statewide program. Parks recognized include Parque Zaragoza, Austin; Kiest Park, Dallas; Tandy Hills Natural Area, Fort Worth; Kempner Park, Memorial Park, Houston and Cypress Bend Park, New Braunfels.

TRAPS is a non-profit 501(c)3 professional and educational organization founded 75 years ago with a membership of over 2,000 professionals. TRAPS is committed to advancing the field of parks, recreation and leisure services in Texas, while advocating for enhanced recreation opportunities and the increase of public green space for Texans.




02) Your FOTHNA Membership

See #1 above for a new reason to renew your support for Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area. 

Become a Friend HERE

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

03) Field Report - February

Well, that was a quick month and a quick winter. A walk at Tandy Hills in mid-February revealed signs of Mother Nature waking up from a short winter's nap. The usual earlybirds were present and a couple of unexpected surprises were coming on strong in late Feb. Spring is in the air and on the ground. Come on in and find your legacy!

Despite the drab look from afar, things are popping on the prairie, hidden under last years grass.

Creek Plum blossoms welcome you at the trailhead.

Big Root Cymopterus, is making it's 2017 debut.

Ground Plum, usually the first bright color of spring, is right on schedule.

A lone American Crow, lingering in the twilight, just before bedtime.

In a normal year, Purple Paintbrush, is not even noticeable this early. But I saw this 6" specimen today, not long from blooming.

Voila! Just a few days later the purple bud is about to open.

Also spotted the just opened seed pod of milkweed relative, Two-flower Milkvine (Matelea biflora).

Bird nests are easy to spot in the waning days of winter.

Winter sunset on the prairie.

04) Trout Lily Cult???

East Fort Worth's Meadowbrook neighborhood may be lacking many of the amenities of other neighborhoods, but it DOES have a Lone Star Legacy Park and, an abundance of Trout Lilies. It's almost a cult over here this time of year. The following pics illustrate my point. 

Special thanks to, Sam Kieschnick, for leading the 8th annual Trout Lily Walk on February 18 that attracted 45 "TL" lovers from all over north TX. These irrestible little flowers are still in bloom as of March 1.

Trout Lily magic afoot at Tandy Hills

Inspriation for a nature cult?

Trout Lily Clock, by, Jack Mackie, near Tandy Hills.

The enigmatic TL Food Store on E. Lancaster Avenue, is just 4 blocks from the TL's at Tandy Hills. Coincidence? 

Big Thanks to Sam Kieschnick, fro leading the TL Walk this year. Photo by, Greg Hughes

Sam K knows his stuff and the kids eat it up. So do the grown-ups. Photo by, Greg Hughes

Thousdands of Trout Lily leaves mean the future looks bright for future blooms.

05) PrairieSky / StarParty News

After a 2 month winter break, the regular monthly star parties in association with Fort Worth Astronomical Society will restart on March 11. 


A big crowd of more than 50 skygazers showed up for the special lunar eclipse party on February 10. Perfect weather. Lots of telescopes pointed at the darkening moon, Venus, and other celestial objects. Thank you FW Astronomical Society for this fun and educational event. Hey, I learned why Venus is the brightest planet and, just like the moon, has phases when viewed from Earth.





06) Meet the Architect

Paul Dennehy, the winner of the AIA-FW Tandy Hills Natural Area Pavilion Competition, is featured in the current issue of 360 West magazine. He was photographed for the article at the recently cleared Tandy Hills prairie. Check it out here:{"issue_id":385493,"view":"articleBrowser","article_id":"2715482"}

See details of Dennehy's proposal and the second place winner at this LINK:

Paul Dennehy at Tandy Hills Natural Area. Photo by 360 West Magazine

07) Prairie Roots

It's no wonder that prairies survive and thrive despite extreme conditions. Very long roots are part of their secret and may help them survive climate change. A new National Geographic website post titled, Digging Deep Reveals the Intricate World of Roots, highlights the collaboration of agroecologist, Dr. Jerry Glover, and photographer, Jim Richardson, to expose these roots in a new way. Amazing!

Compassplant. photo by Jim Richardson

08) A Bioblitz by any Other Name

Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept. is sponsorong, City Nature Challenge, a kind of, mini-bioblitz, April 14 - 18. It's a friendly competiition between Dallas/Fort Worth and other metro areas around the state and country. From the TP&WD website: 

"Join Texas Parks & Wildlife, the Audubon Society, and others in a fun challenge to see which city can document the most species. It is easy to participate by joining an event, or making observations on your own using the iNaturalist app. With the iNaturalist app, you just take a picture of a plant or animal, and the community will help identify which species it is. Any observation in the greater metropolitan area of each city will count during the five day challenge. You can participate by exploring the life in your backyard, in your local park, or on a field trip with your local naturalist group.

Not only is this a competition between Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin, and Houston, cities across the nation are participating, let’s show them what we got!"

 More info at these LINKS: 


09) LLELA Bioblitz

Speaking of bioblitz'z, Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area (LLELA) is having a major bioblitz on April 1, featuring many of the same experts who helped out at the Tandy Hills BioBlitz in 2016. Read all about it at this LINK:

10) Thoreau Bicentennial News

The grandaddy of nature mystics, Henry David Thoreau, is having his 200th birthday on July 12, 2017. Lots of celebrations and other fun and educational stuff happening this year in honor of the author of Walden Pond, Civil Disobedience and many other influential books. Here's a few of them:

> The Thoreau Society in Concord, Mass, is sponsoring: Thoreau Bicentennial Gathering. LINK:

> Strange But True News:  "The world’s most improbable video game plunges you into a virtual Walden Woods, where you can “live deliberately,” as Thoreau famously put it, replacing drudgery in the pursuit of material comfort with a quest for spiritual fulfillment in harmony with nature. “It’s an attempt to make a game that has a kind of stillness at its core,” says its lead developer, Tracy Fullerton."

Smithsonian article LINK:

Game LINK:

> Thoreau FOREVER Stamp to be issued in 2017. Date TBD. From the USPS website: "With his personal example of simple living, his criticism of materialism and the questions he raised about the place of the individual in society and humanity's role in the natural world, Henry David Thoreau continues to inspire readers. For 26 months, Thoreau lived in a one-room house on a lake just outside his hometown of Concord, Mass., writing prolifically while farming, reading, thinking, taking long walks and observing nature around him. His most famous work is "Walden," the 1854 book he wrote about his experiences. July 12, 2017 is the bicentennial of Thoreau's Birth."

11) Protect Pollinators Forever Stamp

In other postage stamp news... USPS is issuing this cool set of 5 stamps in 2017. From the USPS website:

"This stamp pays tribute to the beauty and importance of pollinators with stamps depicting two of North America's most iconic: the monarch butterfly and the western honeybee, each shown industriously pollinating a variety of plants native to the continent. These particular species exemplify the ecological service provided by all pollinators, which include other insects, birds, and bats. Crop pollination by insects contributes approximately $15 billion of produce to the U.S. economy each year. Trending declines in their populations serve as reminders that pollinators can be helped by planting pollinator gardens with native flowers or heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables."

12) Prairie Proverb

"Thoreau's tremendous force to me as an artist, lies within his ability to boil up the little into the big! To elevate the little into the great is, genius."

- N.C. Wyeth, (artist & illustrator) 1882 - 1945

Walden Pond Revisited, by N.C. Wyeth, 1945 (Brandywine River Museum)


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.