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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.

Vote OUR Planet

Prairie Notes #119
November 1, 2016

1) Vote OUR Planet
2) Field Report - October
3) BioBlitz: Read The Book & See The Movie
4) AIA-FW Pavilion Competition Update
5) Native Star Award Goes To...
6) FASH Foundation Grant
7) REI'd On!
8) PrairieSky / Star Party - November SURPRISE!
9) La Bomba
10) Prairie Proverb

1) Vote OUR Planet

In September, Patagonia, the greenest and most ethical company on the planet, launched a $1M major, non-partisan environmental campaign urging Americans to elect officials and support referendums that will defend our planet's air, water and soil and protect the health and well-being of American families. They call it, Vote Our Planet.

As a Texan, it's easy to be cynical about such a proposal. Our state and many local governments have not exactly made defending the planet a top priority. If the planet is important to you, finding a candidate worthy of your vote can be tough. But, put your ear to the ground and you may hear "buffalo on the horizon."

In my role as chief cheerleader of Tandy Hills Natural Area, I have observed over the past few years a growing interest in the natural world, prairies in particular. Here's how Rob DenkhausDirector of the FW Nature Center & Refuge, summed it up in the new Tandy Hills BioBlitz video (see #3 below):

"There's been a wave of conservation going through north Texas. There's a myriad of organizations with a lot of expertise, motivation and commitment to push conservation forward."

This new "wave of conservation" is, perhaps, a logical result of what happens when state politics moves too sharply to the right and becomes too enmeshed with corporate interests. Conservation had been mostly dormant in Texas since the ealry 70's when apathy and greed began to thrive. The natural world including it's human population suffered. But people need the natural world even if they don't know it. Passionate voices for "saving what's left" are multiplying and starting to be heard. I have hope.

As for the Presidential election, the choice is pretty clear. But if you are in doubt, I urge you to take a leisurley hike through the fall grasses at Tandy Hills to contemplate who you think would be best defend our planet for the next four to eight years.

Learn more at the Patagonia, Vote OUR Planet, campaign at their website:


Illustration by, Kevin Mcgeen, for Creative Action Network.

2) Field Report - October

Indian Summer prevailed during the month of October. Nine out of ten doctors recommend a hike at Tandy Hills to help you de-stress from the presidential election shenaniganigans. Here's a few things I saw in October. Come on in.

At least 3 varieties of Aster are now blooming at Tandy Hills. These Sky Drop Asters are the loveliest.

Fall colors are creeping across the Tandy Hills.

The full, Hunter's Moon, aka: Dying Grass Moon, glorified the October sky.

The best showing in years of Nodding Ladies Tresses Orchids, are filling the fall air with their fragrance.

Marsh Wren, a bird species not previously reported at Tandy Hills was spotted in October.

This abandoned Bumble Bee nest was uncovered while clearing brush at the Prairie Posse in October.

The first and only example found of Grooved Nipple Cactus (Coryphantha sulcata) at Tandy Hills. Very uncommon in this area.

During the Texas Pollinator Bioblitz, I spotted this Ceranus Blue butterlfy at Tandy Hills.

Here's the same Ceranus Blue with its wings open, showing where its name comes from.

Living up to its name, this Leafwing Butterfly fooled me at first. See all these and more HERE:

3) BioBlitz: Read The Book & See The Movie

> The BOOK: The long-awaited Tandy Hills BioBlitz Handbook including the Biological Diversity Inventory, is now available.

This document is the culmination of the work of dozens of scientists, citizen scientists and volunteers who participated in the most comprehensive bioblitz in Texas last April 22-23, 2016.

Bruce Benz of Texas Wesleyan University is the author of the text with photos by Don Young and graphic design by Jen Schultes (tiNG-tiNG design). You can find it at this link on the left column along with other pertinent documents:

> The MOVIE: After many months of preparation, we are VERY proud to present the Tandy Hills BioBlitz video, directed by, John Tandy, with a grant from Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and with generous funding from Friends of Tandy Hills and their supporters. I think you will like this:

Bird bander, Jim Bednarz, University of North Texas, in a still from the BioBlitz video. (photo by John Tandy)

4) AIA-FW Pavilion Competition Update

AIA-Fort Worth sent out the call for entries in the Tandy Hills Pavilion Competition in October. They have created a FAQ page on their website for architects aspiring to enter. Check it out HERE:

5) Native Star Award Goes to...

I'm proud to announce that Friends of Tandy Hills have won the 2016, Native Star Award, from the Native Plant Society of Texas. The award recognizes our work at hosting, co-organizing and co-sponsoring the Tandy Hills BioBlitz from last April. We are honored and grateful.

We also won the first Native Star Award in 2014 for our Kids on the Prairie outdoor education program. I'm beginning to think we are doing something right.

6) FASH Foundation Grant

Friends of Tandy Hills seem to be on a roll. For the 6th year in a row we have received a generous grant of $2,000. from the FASH Foundation in support of our outdoor education program, Kids on the Prairie. We are humbled and grateful and look forward to another season of field trips in 2017.

7) REI'd On!

Thanks to a group of hale and hearty volunteers from REI, a picturesque prairie meadow at Tandy Hills was cleared of woody species on October 29. They were joined by Prairie Posse volunteers Joseph Lippert, Anne Alderfer, Debora & Don Young.

The view is now uninterrupted by trees and bushes that would normally be controlled by natural fire. Next spring the wildflowers that adorn this mesa will have more room to spread out. It's a beautiful thing. Thank you REI!

Prairie Posse heroes one and all. (photo by Debora Young)

8) PrairieSky / StarParty - November SURPRISE

In addition to the telescopic view of the heavens presented by the FW Astronomical Society, you never know what surprises await at the monthly PrairieSky / Star Party. Some months it's Urban Biologist Sam Kieschnick doing his Mothing 'til Midnight. Last month we had the Texas Parks & Wildlife Pollinator Bioblitz.

For Novermber we have a very special treat you will not want to miss. Twice Upon a Time Storytellers will enthral you with their amazing tales. Gene & Peggy Helmick-Richardson will astound you with tlaes of the visible consteallations. What you may think is a casual conversation between you and them becomes the story itself and you are swept up in their magic before you know what happened. Highly recommended for all ages.

The tales of Gene & Peggy Helmick-Richardson are guaranteed to astound you.

The prairie sky constellations will come to life in tales of magic in November.

9) La Bomba is Back

"The Great Seed Bomb is a bike ride benefitting bees, monarchss and other pollinators. During the ride, seed balls are launched from bikes and in the spring wildflowers and milkweed will bloom, providing natural habitats and food sources for our pollinators."

On Saturday, November 5, THE Great Seed Bomb will bee back for Year 2. You can ride or support the event or make a donation. Check out the Tandy Hills booth while you are there. Learn more about, La Bomba, HERE:

10) Prairie Proverb

"It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment."

-Ansel Adams

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 otherwis