August HNPAT news; building viewing platform; link to C. Duplant’s DPP insect photos; & more

*** Wednesday, 6/22​, Savannah Salazar, Bayou Land Conservancy’s Educator at Deer Park Prairie, ​spoke on “‘Educating our Future: Outdoor Experiences on the Coastal Prairies”
*** website for Prairie Conference, Nov 12-14, is now online.
*** Deer Park Prairie News in Photos
*** New at meetings: silent auction fundraiser & raffle
*** THIS SATURDAY, 8/29 Seed Collecting trip
Join us or Donate
Due to Southern Prairie & Plains Conference at the Houston Zoo November 12-14, HNPAT’s holiday potluck will be rescheduled from Wednesday, November 11 to a month later on Wednesday, December 9.
Conference information at
HNPAT Meeting – Wednesday, August 26 was on “Educating our Future: Outdoor Experiences on the Coastal Prairie”
by Savannah Salazar
Bayou Land Conservancy’s Educator at Deer Park Prairie
Bring your money f​​or the silent auction & raffle at future meetings – see story below.​

Photo from Bayou Land Conservancy.

The new Educator at Deer Park Prairie (DPP), Savannah Salazar​ spoke at the ​August HNPAT meeting. She is there thanks to a two-year grant by Shell Deer Park Manufacturing Complex to Bayou Land Conservancy. She spoke about her plans at Deer Park Prairie for 7th grade school programs with local ISDs. ​“Outdoor learning experiences stimulate students minds and also gets them excited about learning. Through education, we can influence our future to better protect and restore this critically endangered environment.”

Savannah is a life-long Deer Park resident, graduate of U-H Clear Lake with a specialization in ecology and education. She attended the College Park Elementary school just adjacent to DPP! Savannah will be focusing on middle school science field trips to the Prairie, particularly from the La Porte, Deer Park and Pasadena school districts.

​​​HNPAT meetings are ​​held​ ​​on 4th Wednesdays​

at the new Cherie Flores Pavilion in
McGovern Centennial Gardens @ Hermann Park.
1500 Hermann Drive, Houston 77004
(parking lot entrance is directly across the street from the Health Museum)
Approximate GPS location: (note google maps has not been correctly updated.).
Please join us at 6:30 p.m. for refreshments & meeting at 7:00 p.m.

Deer Park Prairie News in Pictures

Above photo and below (June 21 – August 13): Progress on building the viewing platform with volunteers and materials supplied via a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Grant – thank you both! Glenn Merkord designed this, assembled the materials, built part of it in his driveway, and brought the sections to DPP. Click either photo for link to see more pictures.

Thanks to Katy Emde for putting on Moth Night at Deer Park Prairie on July 24 and to 300bd3e8-fe7b-4228-8a3a-a30fc2ef5dc9.jpginsect expert John Snyder for his explanations. This year, some of us stayed out until almost 11 p.m. After about 10:30 was when we saw the more interesting insects and many fireflies on the prairie. The photo of the cicada was taken under the lights by the garage.

Since the following day started with bird survey at 7:30 a.m., followed by seed collection, and view stand workday, Pat & Glen Merkord and Lan Shen slept over in the house on the prairie. You will be spared photos of them in pajamas!

The seed collection volunteers collected mostly Rosinweed seeds that day. Anyone wishing to join our wonderful volunteers at Deer Park Prairie or interested in seeing prairies while collecting seeds (see below for seed collecting trip to Lake Livingston area this coming Saturday), please email Lan.Shen.
Click either photo or below for information about visits and workdays at Deer Park Prairie.

Chuck Duplant’s photos of dragonflies, damselflies, and insects can be viewed at HNPAT’s flicker page – just click the photo below.


Deer Park Prairie was mowed on August 13. We hit the window just right! The ground had dried out enough during the heat wave to mow. Right after that the rain came again and the prairie now has standing water on it again. Click this link for video of Joe Shepherd (Stormy) mowing Deer Park Prairie. Apparently talking on the cell phone while mowing is OK.

Fundraising: Silent Auction & Raffle​​

Bring your money or checkbook to future meetings! Pat Merkord is bringing prairie photos in frames for silent auctions. She is also starting to sell tickets to raffle off a $100 gift certificate from Native American Seeds. Raffle winner will be drawn at our holiday potluck on December 9. Winner does not need to be present to win.

eaefac24-6636-4f91-a55d-f222b176e57c.jpgThis yellow handmade glass plate titled Swirling Gamagrass, one of four hand-made glass items that Cheryl Sedivec donated for the silent auction at the cancelled spring Prairie Celebration, is now open for bidding. Email your bids (be sure to put your bid, your first and last name, address, and telephone number). Check blog frequently for latest bid. Minimum bid is $35. Bids will end at the September 23 meeting. Highest bidder at that time buys the plate. Winner does not have to be present – we will arrange to meet to exchange money & plate.

Why are we doing this? Check in a few days on a future blog for an explanation.

Photo of Russell Prairie by Pat Merkord

Seed Collection at the Russell Prairie Near Lake Livingston
THIS Saturday, August 29

Join Mercer Society Grower Becky Mills and Mercer Botanist Ellen Strupp and Lan Shen for a seed collecting trip to the rare prairies on the Russell leased Waterwood Parkway right-of-way (near Lake Livingston and Huntsville) on Saturday, August 29. Meet about 8:30 am at Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Gardens (22306 Aldine Westfield Road, Humble, TX 77338-1071) for the ~ 1.25 hour trip from there. The Native Prairies Association of Texas (NPAT) holds a conservation easement on parts of George Russell’s properties in the area. Photos from past trips to the property are at in albums by Pat Merkord and by me during a 10/22/13 field trip.

Participants should wear appropriate outdoor clothing, including closed-toe shoes and long pants. Recommended are long-sleeve shirt, hat, sunscreen, insect repellent. Please bring scissors or clippers and drinking water, plus binoculars and camera, if you wish.

​​Email HNPAT to sign up for emails on future seed collecting tours.

Upcoming Events

A list of prairie & native plant related events has been posted at this link. A few are listed below.

Saturday, August 29, Seed collecting and see rare prairie near Lake Livingston. Carpool from Mercer Arboretum.

Wednesday, September 9, Workday & Open Prairie Day. 9:00 a.m. – noon at Deer Park Prairie: 1222 E. Purdue Lane 77536. Same contact information as below.

Wednesday, September 23, HNPAT meeting at Cherie Flores Pavilion in Hermann Park; 6:30 pm for refreshments; 7:00 pm meeting starts.

Saturday, September 26:
Bird Survey at Deer Park Prairie with Damien Carey, 7:30 a.m.
Workday & Open Prairie Day at Deer Park Prairie 9:00 a.m. to ~noon. The prairie will be open to visitors at that time. Workday activities may include setting up the growout table on semi-permanent loan from Katy Prairie Conservancy with supplies purchased from a Monarch Grant by Native Plant Society of Texas; setting up the Monarch Way Station sign.

All volunteer helpers are very welcome! Contact: Glenn Merkord 1-936-827-7978 or email HNPAT

Please wear closed-toe shoes and long pants. Recommended are long sleeved shirt, hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, water.

Copyright © 2015 Houston Chapter of Native Prairies Association of Texas, All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is:
Houston Chapter of Native Prairies Association of Texasc/o NPAT
415 N. Guadalupe St. PMB 385
San Marcos, TX 78666