5th Anniversary + City Nature Challenge at Deer Park Prairie!

Lawther – Deer Park Prairie Preserve
Celebrating the 5-Year Anniversary
of the purchase and conservation easement
that saved this 52-acre incredible prairie remnant

April 27 – Saturday
SPRING WILDFLOWER DAY
AT THE LAWTHER – DEER PARK PRAIRIE PRESERVE

1222 E Purdue Lane, Deer Park, TX 77536
(Please do not park directly in front of our neighbors’ houses)

Join the Houston Chapter of the Native Prairies Association of Texas for Talks and Tours at the prairie. Wear closed-toe shoes and bring your camera! This is a City Nature Challenge event
(citynaturechallenge.org and previous blog)

7:30 Birding Tour (Prairie open only for bird tour participants)
9:00 Prairie Opens
9:15 iNaturalist Review
9:30 Prairie Plants Talk & Tour
10:30 Insects & Pollinators Talk & Tour
11:30 – 12:30 Complementary Lunch
9:00 AM – 2:00 PM Prairie Open for Visitors

Please register at HoustonPrairie.org, especially if you are planning to lunch with us. (Or register at https://tinyurl.com/DPP190427 ). If convenient, please bring a printed and signed field trip waiver.

9/2018 News: Fall Prairie Day; Fundraiser; Bird List

Scroll down for HNPAT’s September Fundraiser Appeal results

Four hardy souls who came to Fall Prairie Day in spite of the rain!

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This year’s Fall Prairie Day on September 29 was essentially cancelled due to weather. The official events such as lunch, insect tent, etc. were cancelled during mid-week due to predictions of inclement weather.  Some volunteers were still planning to continue with their activities such as Pat Merkord’s transects, Damien Carey’s bird survey, Glenn Merkord’s workday, NPSOTH field trip, and of course the indoor “Prairie Plants for Pollinators in Urban Gardens” talk at the La Porte Library.

For the Bird Survey, Damien Carey had sent the following list of birds observed during the past year: LDPP Bird list 082017-082018

However, on Saturday morning the weather radar and outside weather conditions were so dismal – rain and fog and fronts coming in – that almost all activities were cancelled. The Merkords called and said they were not coming in. Although, in accordance with NPSOTH tradition, Katy Emde and I (Lan Shen) showed up at the Memorial Park meeting place, we had no takers for the field trip.

Since I had to be in La Porte eventually for the talk, I drove from Memorial Park to Deer Park Prairie and arrived about 9:30 am and found Chuck Duplant ready to volunteer for the workday; he left, since that was cancelled.

Also there were four hardy souls eager for a tour! They had rain boots and rain gear. Since it was only lightly raining, we set out. Linda and Steven are experience foragers and wanted to know what prairie plants are edible. That stumped me beyond the common dewberry and  boneset, which is blooming now. Late flowering boneset (Eupatorium serotinum) was used by Native Americans and early settlers as an herbal medicine to relieve the symptoms of dengue fever, an illness that cause such severe muscle spasms that the bones felt like they were breaking.  According to Wikipedia, which I later looked up, the Eupatorium also contains some chemicals toxic to human liver, so should be used with caution.

Linda and Steven, however, were happy to collect seeds. Suzi took pictures and some seeds. Kelly Walker’s friend Tom was comparing plants of DPP with the ones in the natural area that he manages in Dallas. Unfortunately Kelly was feeling ill from allergies – understandably, since the first plants we encountered after stepping onto the prairie were ragweeds in bloom.

Since the ground was so wet, I took the opportunity to easily pull up volunteer swamp sunflowers in the demonstration garden and gave them to Linda and Steven, to high school student Tom at the La Porte Library talk, and to Barbara Willy on Sunday, when NPAT had the state board meeting at the prairie house at DPP. They all received an armful.

Come to Deer Park Prairie on Wednesday, October 10 to help spruce up the demonstration garden and take home the extra plants!

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Results of HNPAT’s September Fundraiser

Thanks to all who donated to HNPAT’s (Houston Chapter – Native Prairies Association of Texas) September Fundraiser! This fundraiser is in lieu of a silent auction fundraiser, which we have had at the past two Prairie Stampedes.

The monies raised will support us for 2019: for meeting facility, for speakers fees and travel expenses, for special events such as Prairie Days at Deer Park Prairie, moth night, and members’ event. Special thanks to Glenn Merkord and Frank Ohrt and others who reduce our meeting expenses by bring food to the meetings and to Mark and Drea Morgenstern who donate prairie plants for meeting attendees.

According to NPAT (our parent state organization) all chapters must have one fundraiser per year with 25% of the proceeds to be donated to NPAT to support its work throughout the state and its administration expenses. Since two years ago, all established chapters of NPAT must raise their own operating expenses; membership dues to NPAT are no longer shared with the chapters.

Our results: We raised $800 on the email campaign, $550 on Mary Waters’ Birthday Facebook fundraiser, plus another $500 from Mary  Waters’ company’s gift matching program, bringing the grand total to $1850. NPAT’s share will be $462.50; we will add $1,387.50 to our bank account for next year.

Although the official fundraiser is over, we take donations throughout the year! To donate to HNPAT (your Houston Chapter), go to this link, scroll down to the “Make a Donation” box, write in the amount, and then in the “Comment” box write “This donation is for the Houston Chapter – HNPAT“.  Or you may bring your donation check to the meeting and give it to either Hazel Potvin, our treasurer, or Mary Waters, our president. If writing a check, please write “For HNPAT” on the memo line.

Fall 2018 KPC Seed Collecting Schedule

The Katy Prairie Conservancy has organized several seed collecting trips this fall, some to prairies not usually open to the public. All are welcome to participate. Take a look and sign up!

Seed collecting is a leisurely way to enjoy the prairie and learn about prairie grasses. Join friends and family for outdoor fun while gathering seeds ripe for collecting. No experience necessary as we work to support numerous organizations in the region. Make an impact and visit prairies often not open to the public.

Fall 2018 Seed Collecting Schedule

Hi Seed Collectors, 
Fall is the major seed collecting season for our coastal tallgrass prairie. Trips have been scheduled to collect at some of the best local prairies, so join us to enjoy a morning outdoors with fellow conservationists, learn from prairie experts, and help prairie habitats with your volunteerism.
KPC and Gulf Coast Master Naturalist volunteers, led by Theo Ostler, collect seeds at Houston Arboretum (HANC) on August 29, 2018. Emily Manderson, Conservation Director at HANC, dropped by to say hello and said that she was glad the seeds could be used for important restoration projects. Thanks to the volunteers who took seeds home to dry!
You may sign up starting now for any of these trips. Reminders will be sent to registrants the week of the event. We may also schedule some impromptu trips, such as one to the Houston Arboretum, when the purple top grass is ready to collect. To be put on the KPC seed collecting email list, send an email to LShen@katyprairie.org.
 
Monday, October 8th (Columbus Day) at UH Coastal Center in LaMarque
  • Time: 9:00 a.m. – noon
  • Map of meeting location.
  • Please arrive promptly at 9:00 a.m. to enter the locked gate together.
  • If you register, you will be given an event day cell phone number that you can call, should you arrive late.
  • This is a great opportunity to see the UH Coastal Center, normally not open to the public. The Center contains about 300 acres of tallgrass prairie and is one of the earliest high-quality prairies that has been protected and you can view photos in this photo gallery.
Wednesday, October 10th at Deer Park Prairie
  • Time: 9:00 a.m. – noon
  • Meet at 1222 E. Purdue Lane, Deer Park, Texas 77536  (Google map).
  • Please do not park directly in front of neighbors’ houses.
  • Please do bring a signed liability release (NPAT) if you do not have one on file from the past year.
  • Carpool: Reply to this email for carpooling opportunity from the Kroger parking lot at S. Post Oak & W. Bellfort or from a residential area adjacent to S. Main & Buffalo Speedway.
  • The prairie is usually lovely at this time of year, as the gulf muhly should be in bloom, creating a purple pink mist broken by intensely colored blue sage and the bright yellows of the swamp sunflower and silkgrass.
Tuesday, October 16th at Nash Prairie
  • Time: 9:00 a.m. – noon
  • Meet at Nash Prairie. Park on County Rd 255 (Orozimbo Rd.) and walk across the street to the prairie. We will meet at the start of the gravel road – the red marker on this map.
  • Carpool: Reply to this email for carpooling opportunity from the Kroger parking lot at S. Post Oak & W. Bellfort at 7:45 a.m.
Wednesday, November 14th at Deer Park Prairie
  • Time: 9:00 a.m. – noon
  • Meet at 1222 E. Purdue Lane, Deer Park, Texas 77536 (Google map).
  • Please do not park directly in front of neighbors’ houses.
  • Please do bring a signed NPAT liability release if you do not have one on file from the past year.
  • Carpool: Reply to this email for carpooling opportunity from the Kroger parking lot at S. Post Oak & W. Bellfort or from a residential area adjacent to S. Main & Buffalo Speedway.
Saturday, November 17th at Nash Prairie
  • Join us for a weekend seed collecting opportunity.
  • Time: 9:00 a.m. – noon
  • Meet at Nash Prairie. Park on County Rd 255 (Orozimbo Rd.) and walk across the street to the prairie. We will meet at the start of the gravel road – the red marker on this map.
  • Carpool: Reply to this email for carpooling opportunity from the Kroger parking lot at S. Post Oak & W. Bellfort at 7:45 a.m.
Wednesday, December 12th at Deer Park Prairie
  • Time: 9:00 a.m. – noon
  • Meet at 1222 E. Purdue Lane, Deer Park, Texas 77035 (Google map)
  • Please do not park directly in front of neighbors’ houses.
  • Please do bring a signed NPAT liability release.
  • Carpool: Reply to this email for carpooling opportunity from the Kroger parking lot at S. Post Oak & W. Bellfort or from a residential area adjacent to S. Main & Buffalo Speedway.
General Instructions:  
  • Everyone is welcome!
  • At KPC and Deer Park Prairie, you may collect for KPC, for any other non-profit organization, or for your own personal use.
  • If you have them, please bring pruners or scissors, a bucket or a reusable grocery bag, and a pen. Supplies are available if needed.
  • Please wear closed-toe shoes and long pants. We recommend you bring hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, a long-sleeved shirt, and a camera.
  • Water and light snack are usually available.

Deer Park Prairie Fall Prairie Day, September 29, 2018 – Updated 9/20/18

Fall Prairie Day

Saturday, September 29, 2018

9:30 a.m. –  2:00 p.m.

Members, supporters, friends, and neighbors are invited to visit the
Lawther – Deer Park Prairie Preserve
1222 E. Purdue Lane, Deer Park 77536
(Please do not park directly in front of our neighbors’ houses)
houstonprairie.org/deer-park-prairie/

Please join us for our Fall Prairie Day to enjoy the wildflowers and wildlife at Deer Park Prairie. Come and see prairie plants that you can use in your urban garden to attract pollinators. Join us in a seed collecting walk and learn how to collect prairie plant seeds from the wild for your garden. You are encouraged to take some seeds home to grow in your garden.

Update 9/19/2018: The prairie is VERY wet, so depending on the weather during the next week, you may want to bring rubber boots.

Bring also your camera or smart phone to take pictures of the different species of plants and animals that you see to post on the Deer Park Prairie project on iNaturalist.org.

Click here for link to printable flyer in pdf.

Schedule:

  • 7:30 a.m. | Bird survey (Prairie only open to those joining the bird survey)
  • 9:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. | Prairie open to visitors
  • 9:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. | Insect net sweeping – by Chuck DuPlant at the Insect Popup Tent
  • 9:30 a.m. – ~noon | Join the Native Plant Society of Texas – Houston’s Fall Field Trip led by Katy Emde
  • 10:00 a.m. – ~ noon | Plant Survey/Transect led by NPAT’s Pat Merkord.  See how NPAT performs its annual plant survey on lands it conserves.
  • 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. | Seed Collecting Techniques / Prairie History walk. Visitors are welcome to take some seed home.
  • Noon – 1:00 p.m. | Complimentary lunch – registration required, click here
  • 2:00 p.m. | at La Porte Public Library, 600 S Broadway St, La Porte, TX 77571. Talk by HNPAT’s Lan Shen on Prairie Plants for Pollinators in Urban Gardens

Please Register HERE

or at https://tinyurl.com/DPP180929,

especially, if you are planning to

enjoy lunch with us.

2018 Seed Collecting Season Starts!

Seed collecting is a leisurely way to enjoy the prairie and learn about prairie grasses. Join friends and family for outdoor fun while gathering seeds ripe for collecting. No experience necessary as we work to support numerous organizations in the region. Make an impact and visit prairies often not open to the public.
The seed collecting trips are Katy Prairie Conservancy volunteer events. To be notified of other future seed collecting trips, please email Lshen@katyprairie.org with your email address and subject: “Place me on the seed collecting list”

2nd Wednesdays June – December at Deer Park Prairie

1st Fridays in July & August on the Katy Prairie

Hi Seed Collectors, 
Another seed collecting season has started. Come and collect seeds and see the prairie in bloom starting this Wednesday, June 13, 2018 at the Deer Park Prairie. From June – December, the Katy Prairie Conservancy and the Houston Chapter – Native Prairies Association of Texas will host Second Wednesdays seed collecting at Deer Park Prairie, 9:00 am – noon.
On first Fridays, July 6 and August 3, seed collectors will have an opportunity to visit Katy Prairie Conservancy properties to either collect seeds and/or plant some prairie plants in the ground in restoration areas.
1.  Second Wednesdays, June – December
  • Time: 9:00 a.m. – noon
  • Meet at 1222 E. Purdue Lane, Deer Park, Texas 77035 (Google map)
  • Please do not park directly in front of our neighbors’ houses
  • Please do bring a signed liability release (NPAT)
  • Carpool: Reply to this email for carpooling opportunity from the Kroger parking lot at S. Post Oak & W. Bellfort or from a residential area adjacent to S. Main & Buffalo Speedway
  • Upcoming seed collecting 2nd Wednesdays at Deer Park Prairie are on
    July 11, August 8, September 12, October 10, November 14, and December 12
2. Friday, July 6, 2018 – Katy Prairie Conservancy – Indiangrass Preserve
General Instructions:  
  • Everyone is welcome!
  • You may collect for KPC, for any other non-profit organization, or for your own personal use
  • If you have them, please bring pruners or scissors, a bucket or a reusable grocery bag, and a pen. Supplies are available if needed.
  • Please wear closed-toe shoes and long pants. We recommend you bring hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, a long-sleeved shirt, and a camera.
  • Water and light snack are usually available.
**********  Equipment of a Serious Seed Collector  *************
Cullen Ondrasek using a self-made seed collecting apparatus that allows him to collect with both hands. He credits the original idea to Tom Solomon.

Upcoming Prairie Events

Check out all the upcoming prairie events
and SAVE THE DATES!

Scroll down for flyers for several of the events listed.

  • 2nd Wednesdays, June – December. HNPAT & Katy Prairie Conservancy sponsor seed collecting mornings at Deer Park Prairie, 1222 E. Purdue Ln, Deer Park, TX. RSVP is required to LShen@katyprairie.org
  • Wednesday, June 20 – Pollinator Workshop at Deer Park Prairie, 6PM – 8PM. An NPAT event. Registration required. Flyer below.
  • Saturday, June 23 – Invasive Plant Species ID and Treatment Workshop at Deer Park Prairie, 9AM – 1PM, taught by Glenn Merkord. Registration required – click here. A HNPAT & CPP event. Flyer below.
  • Saturday, June 30 – Houston Urban Conservation Summit, Sheldon Lake State Park, 9AM – 2PM with site tour option at 8AM. Registration required at this link. A HNPAT & CPP event. Flyer below.
  • Wednesday, July 18 – Prairie 101 Teacher Workshop, Deer Park Prairie, 9AM -3PM. Registration required. Flyer below
  • Tueday, July 24 – Prairie 201 Teacher Workshop (Teachers have attended 101 and have working pocket prairies on campus, with KPC), Deer Park Prairie, 9AM -3PM. Registration required. Flyer below.
  • Wednesday, July 25 & Saturday, July 28 – HNPAT celebrates National Moth Week with Moth Talk at 2700 Southwest Fwy on 7/25 & Moth Night at Deer Park Prairie on 7/28. See our blog here. Flyer below.

 

  • Annual Prairie Month Activities: end of September through mid-November
  • Saturday, September 29 – SAVE THE DATE – Fall Prairie Day at Deer Park Prairie.
  • Wednesday, October 17 – SAVE THE DATE – Houston GREEN Film Series @ Rice Media Center, 6:30PM – 9PM. In lieu of an October HNPAT meeting, HNPAT joins CPP and CEC to present this film event.
  • Wednesday, November 28 – SAVE THE DATE – Prairie Stampede at Houston Zoo. Annual awards presentation and gathering of the coastal prairie community. A HNPAT & CPP event.

 


Click photo below to get flyer in pdf form

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Click photo below to get flyer in pdf form

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To read the blog, click here.

2018 Moth Week

National Moth Week with HNPAT

Join the Houston Chapter – Native Prairies Association of Texas (HNPAT)
for our National Moth Week programs.
(National Moth Week Flyer   —   HNPAT Moth Week Flyer)

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Stuart Marcus, Refuge Manager, Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge presents
Moths of Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge
6:30 p.m. Social; 7:00 p.m. Meeting starts
American Red Cross Building,  2700 Southwest Fwy, Houston, TX 77098
(North side of SW Freeway near Kirby)

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Saturday, July 28, 2018
Moth Night at Deer Park Prairie

8:00 p.m. Doors open – visitors are encouraged to walk and view the prairie in the relative coolness and breeze just before sunset
9:00 p.m. Moth and night insect viewing begins
Moth and insect enthusiasts Katy Emde and John Schneider will set up black (UV) lights and white screen to attract moths and other night insects.
Visitors are welcome to drop by and leave at any time.
Light snacks will be provided in the house.
Read our blog about the 2014 Moth Night: tinyurl.com/dpp140724
We encourage you to post your photos on iNaturalist and add them to the Deer Park Prairie Project.

For more information, contact HNPAT@TexasPrairie.org

Authors Visit Deer Park Prairie

Within eight days at the end of May two authors visited Deer Park Prairie! At our members day on May 19, Joe Liggio (center in photo below), author of Wild Orchids of Texas, talked about orchids in Texas.

Then a week later, Michael Eason, author of Wildflowers of Texas and his dog, Ferdinand von Roemer, visited during our fourth Saturday workday. (Photo: Michael, Roemer, and Kelly Walker, Superwoman Volunteer.)

For those who do not recognize the name, Ferdinand von Roemer was also the German explorer who visited Texas in 1845-1847 and wrote this:

“…Years ago, three live oaks  standing near the center, the only trees on the island, served mariners as a guide to the entrance of Galvestion Bay…The general appearance of the island reminds one of a prairie.  Tall grass covers the flat surface as far as the eye can see…There are no trees found on the island except the three live oaks mentioned previously…”

Michael said that his Roemer has also traveled extensively across Texas.

In the past other authors that have visited Texas include Texas Park and Wildlife Department’s Jason Singhurst, co-author of Rare Plants of Texas and TPWD’s Diana Foss, a co-author of Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife

Photos of CNC at Deer Park Prairie

City Nature Challenge (CNC) ended over a month ago. However, for completeness, we are blogging the result (scroll to the bottom) and showing some photos of CNC at Deer Park Prairie on our Spring Prairie Day. If you think the activities look interesting, SAVE THE DATE and join us on our Fall Prairie Day, September 28, 2018. More information on exact times for the Fall Prairie Days are forthcoming.

Visitors first met Mary Waters, President of HNPAT, at the registration table. Then they had opportunities to join iNaturalist instructions session by Kelly Reierson, a plant walk led by Jane Reierson aided by Wally Ward, and an insect segment by Chuck Duplant, who captured the insect by sweep netting and then put them in the Petri dish for better viewing and identification. Hazel Potvin and Silvia Gederberg provided the food. Thanks to all who helped make this an enjoyable day.

The City Nature Challenge results were summarized by Sarah Flournoy of Houston Audubon who wrote: “Nature Challenge 2018 has drawn to a close, and Houston definitely brought it! Houston came in first for species identified in Texas and in SECOND for the WORLD for number of identified species (barely behind San Francisco Bay, the host of CNC). A special thanks to everyone that participated in observing and IDing our 22,000 observations. It is clear that Houston is home to a dedicated and talented group of naturalists!

More information at

The second link shows that for greater Houston, 3 of the top 6 observers are HNPAT members!