The 2016 BioBlitz at Tandy Hills Natural Area will combine cutting edge technology, biology, land conservation and community engagement in a 36-hour, round-the-clock session April 22-23. The BioBlitz – the first event of its kind at Tandy Hills and one of the first such full-scale events in North Texas - will focus on documenting and preserving one of Fort Worth’s most beautiful, valuable and fragile natural treasures - a one-of-a-kind living prairie museum in the midst of an urban East Fort Worth environment. Volunteers will conduct a systematic biological inventory that will serve as a planning tool for ongoing land management efforts.
The BioBlitz will actually run a full week – April 17-23 - with leading scientists from across the State coming together to systematically find and identify the plants, animals and other organisms at Tandy Hills. The final 36 hours of the BioBlitz event – from Friday, which is Earth Day, at 6 a.m. to Saturday at 6 p.m. - will focus on public participation – with wildflower walks, food trucks and other activities designed for public participation.
Tandy Hills has been the site of the annual Prairie Fest for the past 10 years – and it’s always been held on or around Earth Day – so the BioBlitz represents a new, evolving chapter in that tradition. The event, as well as a short film documenting the BioBlitz, is being supported by a grant from the Conservation License Plate Program of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.
The 160-acre protected natural area features a series of low hills, visible on the south side of I-30, between Oakland Blvd. and Beach Street, adjacent to the communications towers that include the old KXAS – Channel 5 TV site. It’s a remarkable place – renowned for its wide variety of wildflowers – where diverse plant and animal communities survive on the land that remains remarkably intact, saved by its topography, citizen advocates and City representatives who have cared enough to defend it at crucial times. BioBlitz sponsors include the Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area (FOTHNA), Texas Wesleyan University, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Conservation License Plate Program, City of Fort Worth Park and Recreation Department, Texas Nature Trackers and Teaming with Wildlife: True to Texas. Other organizations, including the Audubon Society, and Native Prairies Association of Texas, will provide additional volunteers.
The purpose of the BioBlitz will be to inventory the biological diversity of this unique prairie remnant through collaboration between citizen scientists and the State’s leading biologists and conservation experts. Participants will be using “smart phones” with the iNaturalist program, which allows for a GPS location of any photo taken – and experts will be on-hand for verification of species found.
For more information and ongoing updates about events and how to participate, check the Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area website or Facebook page.