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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.

Year of Transition

Prairie Notes #108
December 1, 2015

1) Year of Transition
2) Field Report - November
4) New Board on Board
5) KOP Fall Winners Announced
6) No Nature Mystics Here
7) Christmas Wish List
8) Prairie Proverb


01) Year of Transition

"All great changes are preceded by chaos."

After ten wonderful and chaotic years of producing Prairie Fest, Fort Worth's original and bona fide green fest, Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area (FOTHNA) would agree with that quote above. Some of us, however, wonder if a different species of chaos is just around the bend.

With Prairie Fest now a sweet memory, we are in the throes of transition to more science-based events and activities in 2016, most notably, the behemoth known as BioBlitz, coming next April. As itemized below, 2015 was another productive yet whirlwind year of restoring, interpreting and raising awareness of our local prairie. We are counting on your support as we negotiate new territory in 2016.

Here's a snapshot of 2015 highlights:

  • FOTHNA, in partnership with Texas Wesleyan University and Teaming With Wildlife: True to Texas, received a nearly $10,000 grant from Texas Parks & Wildlife Department to fund BioBlitz in April 2016
  • Tandy HIlls Natrual Area now has a project page on
  • Not even a devastating storm the night before could stop Prairie Fest form notching its 10th anniversary
  • Vital support from Prairie Fest Sponsors including, Unity Church FW, FW Mortgage Bankers Assoc., New Belgium Brewing, NBC-5, Texas Wesleyan Univ., Spiral Diner, Whole Foods, Marshall Grain, Dr. Libby Gilmore and Jim Marshall broke all previous records
  • Kids on the Prairie celebrated its 5th anniversary with another successful year
  • A new hiking trail was completed by S&S Trails
  • First drone video over Tandy Hills was made by Skycraft APV
  • Innagural Wild Foods HIke was held
  • A nifty new prairie wildflower bandana design was made available in April
  • Timely donations were received from the FASH Foundation, Fort Worth Audubon Society, Texas Commission on the Arts, First Jefferson Unitarian Universalist ChurchNorth Texas Giving Day, The Great Seed Bomb and anonymous 
  • Tandy Hills became a certified Monarch Waystation
  • FOTHNA was honored with major award from American Institute of Architects - Fort Worth (see #3 below)

The Tandy Hills prairie itself, our raison d'être, had another beautiful year, as well, displaying its bounty of prairie flora and fauna for all of north Texas to behold!



"Without change there can be no new wildflowers." Indian Blanket seed heads backlit by the late November Sun.

02) Field Report - November

As I type this, Fort Worth rain totals for 2015 just surpassed the all-time record and should make for a good wildlfower show next spring. With few wildflowers blooming, I have mostly landscape shots to share with you this time of year. Check out these pics from November and get inspired to visit YOUR local prairie.

A typical scene on the November prairie included clouds.

Voluptuousness, thy name is, Nodding Ladies Tresses Orchid.

We spotted 17 individual plants this season at Tandy Hills.

New sprouts of Texas Bluebell lie hidden underneath the grasses, waiting for late spring 2016 to bloom.

Debora Young has been taking advantage of pleasant fall days to squeeze in some plein air painting time at Tandy Hills.

Urban Prairie, watercolor sketch by Debora Young

Prairie Flameleaf Sumac (Rhus lanceolata) living up to its name on a sunny autumn day.

03) AIA-FW Honors FOTHNA

The American Institute of Architecture-Fort Worth, have bestowed their distinguished, Excellence in Sustainable Development Award, for 2015, to Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area.

Quoting from the AIA-FW announcement letter:

"It is our delightful privilege to inform you of this award intended to honor an individual, business or organization who is leading the way to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also, for future generations."

We are very grateful for this honor which will help us further our mission to build awareness of Tandy HIlls and the importance of protecting, restoring and interpreting the land for recreational and educational for all.

04) New Board on Board

A new Friends of Tandy Hills Board of Directors for 2016 was elected at the annual general meeting on November 21. They are:

  • President: Don Young
  • VP: Greg Hughes
  • Secretary: Julie Hall
  • Treasurer: Jim Marshall
  • Communication Director: Jen Schultes

05) KOP Winners

One of the most rewarding things I do every year is to preside over Awards Day at Meadowbrook Elementary School for graduates of our Kids on the Prairie (KOP) program. Prizes were awarded to best writing, art and poetry from the recent field investigation day at Tandy Hills. Lives were changed today. Anne, Debora, Jen

Congratulations to the winners of the KOP, Art & Writing Contest for Fall 2015. 

  • Best of Show: Dana Aguilar
  • 1st Place Poetry: Mia Cano
  • 1st Place Art: Alexander Jimenez 
  • Honorable Mention Art: Kevin Jimenez
  • 1st Place Writing: Jacob Cortez
  • Honorable Mention Writing: Giannina Rodriguez
  • Eagle Eye Award: Keundra English

1st Place Art winner, Alexander Jimenez

06) No Nature Mystics Here

In an EPIC fail, the Governor of Texas has just appointed, Kelcy Warren, the CEO Energy Transfer Partners (major natural gas pipeline company) to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission. This devastating news should alarm anyone with an interest in what's left of the natural world in Texas, especially in west Texas. Warren will soon be making decisions about your parks. 

According to Defend Big Bend, the Office of the Governor Greg Abbott can be reached at (512) 463-2000. Please let him know that pipeline mogul Kelcy Warren is not fit to serve the Texas Parks and Wildlife mission "to manage and conserve the natural and cultural resources of Texas for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations".


07) Christmas Wish List

Our Christmas wish is the same as last year. Just one little present is all I ask. Who among you will make it so?

Seasons Greetings from Friends of Tandy Hills!

08) Prairie Proverb

"Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall."

- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby


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.