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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.

You Must Believe in Spring

Prairie Notes #100
April 1, 2015
01) You Must Believe in Spring
02) Field Report - March
03 Trail Building Report
04) Prairie Fest Sponsors
05) Prairie Fest News Update
06) Facebook Milestone
07) FW Audubon Society Grant
08) Drones Over the Prairie
09) Praire Proverb


01) You Must Believe in Spring

In the waning weeks of March, it was impossible to not notice and feel inspired by the arrival of Spring, especially at Tandy Hills. From the sky above to the prairie itself to the underground world, the chain of life was exploding. Ubiquitous, abounding, sometimes dramatic and never boring. 

Towering, V-shaped patterns of migrating, northbound Canadian Geese and Sandhill Cranes provided a daily show while down on the ground and following the same northward pull, migrations of Earthworms, crossed the street in front of the park, valiantly attempting to scale the curb and get to the prairie where early bird wildflowers burnt by an early spring frost (including snow), are swiftly recovering across the hills, offering up their nectar to butterflies and bees grateful for a more palatable nectar than the Dandelion that had been their mainstay. 

The first two Robins of spring arrived quietly and mysteriously one evening at dusk, feasting on a smorgasbord of insects while our own mailbox (across from Tandy Hills) became a birthing room for a pair of Bewick's Wrens preparing their nest, the female delivering her speckled eggs, one by one for a week, incubating them under a night sky wild with wind-swept clouds illuminated by moon and stars, as father Wren, singing his lungs out, sped back and forth defending the nest against intruders. Inspiring, indeed.

Looking back 99 Prairie Notes ago, I felt similarly inspired in 2004 to defend Tandy Hills. The amazing diversity of Tandy Hills, its very chain of life that has been largely undisturbed by the hand of man was threatened by a powerful intruder.

Like a killing spring frost, the threat came unexpectedly and swiftly. A band of concerned neighbors loosely organized to try and stop the threat to our little corner of the natural world. But we had few tools to fight a giant as big as the one coveting Tandy Hills. 

Words and pictures were about it. Lots of them. And noise. We made noise at city hall, to the media and with Prairie Fest until people started coming to see what the fuss was all about. And they did. And we thank you.

Our 10th anniversary Prairie Fest egg will hatch on April 25. Come help us celebrate and rejoice in our victory.

Read Prairie Notes #1 here:

02) Field Report - March

Winter extended it's icy grip into early March dumping snow on the prairie just as the wildflowers started to emerge. We also had lots of rain. But when the sun came out and the skies cleared you could almost hear the plants growing. There are signs on the ground that a spectacular wildflower season is upon us. 

Here's my photo album of the wild month of March at Tandy Hills.

Texas Blue Star

Wild Plum


Wedge-leaf Draba

Cloth of Gold

Purple Paintbrush

More Purple Paintbrush

Sandhill Cranes or Canadian Geese?

Earthworm in a hurry to the prairie.

Bewick's Wren eggs

A wild sky full of clouds illuminated by moon and stars above Tandy Hills.

03) Trail Building Report

S&S Trails of Austin crew members spent a very productive week in late March creating more new trails and closing old ones. The results are exciting. They had help from a few FOTHNA volunteers organized and led by Fort Worth Nature Center Natural Resource Specialist, MIchelle Villafranca. The trails are help connect to the Outdoor Classrooms in a new more sustainable way. Very user-friendly.

04) Prairie Fest Sponsors

We are blessed to have a diverse group of Prairie Fest Sponsors again this year, including many new ones. Thanks to their support we have reached our fundraising goal earlier than ever. Please take a moment to check out the full list at the website page below and thank them for supporting our critical outdoor education and restoration initiatives.

Mary Kay Hughes of Fort Worth Mortgage Bankers presents Don Young with a $1,000. Sponsorship check.


05) Prairie Fest UPDATE

Prairie Fest Director, Jen Schultes, has a report for you:

Your Prairie Fest team is working hard, just beneath the surface like the wildflowers that are fixin' to spring into bloom, so mark your calendar for Saturday, April 25.  Our 10th anniversary festival will bring North Texans of all ages an opportunity to connect with the natural world through music, art, and ideas. Come frolic through the wildflowers! Pack the blanket and the dogs. Don’t miss the best Prairie Fest yet.

06) Facebook Milestone

The Tandy Hills Facebook page has been getting a lot of new "Likes" lately. In Facebook jargon that basically means "Friends." On March 20th we reached the magic "2000 Likes" when, Bobbie Dunn Wadsworth rang the bell winning a $50. membership and the cool gifts that go with it. Thanks Bobbie! Connect with FOTHNA via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

07) FW Audubon Society Grant

The Fort Worth Audubon Society has just awarded Friends of Tandy Hills a $400. grant for our Kids on the Prairie program that brings thousands of FW ISD students to Tandy Hills for science based field trips. We are grateful!

08) Drones Over the Prairie

In what was undoubtedly a first, Christopher Jenseth of, Skycraft Apv, has sent a drone over Tandy Hills Natural Area in mid-March. My immediate reaction is how beautiful the hills are and how much work is needed to remove more of the trees and invasives that shade out the prairie plant diversity.

A video still from Skycraft APV drone over Tandy Hills.

09) Prairie Proverb

"So in a world of snow

Of things that come and go

Where what you think you know

You can't be certain of

You must believe in spring and love"

-Lyrics from the song, You Must Believe in Spring, from the 1967 film, Les Demoiselles de Rochefort, lyrics by Bergman/Bergman/Demy, music by Michel Legrand. Famously recorded by jazz pianist Bill Evans in 1977. Listen here:

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.