2018 Spring Prairie Day & City Nature Challenge Event

Please join us to celebrate Spring Prairie Day on Saturday, April 28 at Deer Park Prairie. Enjoy the spring wildflowers and prairie wildlife along with a bit of history and photography. Because the Deer Park Prairie has never been plowed, the landscape here looks much as it did in 1836, when the soldiers marched to the Battle of San Jacinto, less than 10 miles away. See schedule in the flyer and scroll down for City Nature Challenge information. If you plan to enjoy a complimentary lunch with us, please RSVP, so we can have a food count.

In an effort to help Houston win the City Nature Challenge (https://houstonprairie.org/2017houcnc/ & https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wild/wildlife_diversity/texas_nature_trackers/naturechallenge/), we will be offering a short lesson on use of iNaturalist and will have plant walks and insect sweep netting. Bring your camera or smart phone to take pictures of all the species of plants and animals that you see and post on iNaturalist.org

Events Prairies: March & April

Sundew, Deer Park Prairie by D. Verser, 2/29/2012

Spring has sprung in Houston and it’s time to go out in nature. In greater Houston, that means many events on the prairie are here and upcoming. See summary below and scroll down for details:

  • Tonight (3/8/18): Benigno & Newman of Harris County Flood Control talk on “A Tale of Two Prairies” at Sierra Club meeting
  • Check out all upcoming Urban Prairie events:
  • Saturday, March 17: Bellaire Garden Club plant sale at Nature Discovery Center (7112 Newcastle, Bellaire) has an assortment of native prairie plants. Click here for more information.

***************************************

Tonight from Sierra Club email:

March 8, 2018 – A Tale of Two Prairies

At [Houston Sierra Club’s] March 8, 2018 meeting, we will have a presentation of “A Tale of Two Prairies”, the green version of the Charles Dickens classic. (“It was the best of prairies… etc.”) This is a program for prairie lovers and habitat restoration fans. [The] guest speakers will be Stephen Benigno and Andrew Newman of the Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD), who will update us on their prairie restoration projects.
The event is free and open to the public at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 1805 West Alabama, Houston. Main program starts 7:30 PM. Doors open 7:00 PM.

***********************************

March & Upcoming UP (Urban Prairie) Team Events

As always, keep checking the UP Team calendar (tinyurl.com/UPTeamCal). Events emails are only sent out once per month, but the calendar is kept updated as information comes in. Click on the event and then the “more details” to show all details, including meeting place and parking specifics. Each event has at least one contact person.
If you are planning to attend an event , please RSVP to the contact person shown on the calendar so that person could let you know of any changes.   
**********

March, 2018

For more information, go to tinyurl.com/UPTeamCal
  • Saturday, March 3 (1st Saturdays): Hermann Park, http://tinyurl.com/UPTeamCalBayou Savannah Workday (near 6520 Almeda)
  • Monday, March 5 (1st Mondays): Nature Discovery Center. NO WORKDAY.
  • New!  Wednesday, March 7 (weekly on Wednesdays): HANC/MPC Greenhouse Volunteer Workday for the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center (HANC) and  Memorial Park Conservancy (MPC) joint project to grow prairie plants for savannah restorations at HANC. Project Leader Allen Brymer is also there Thursday and Monday mornings. Anyone who wants to volunteer on these days need to first contact Allen at abrymer@katyprairie.org . 9am – noon
  • Thursday, March 8 (2nd & 4th Thursdays): Native (and mostly prairie) plant propagation at City of Houston Greenhouse in Memorial Park, 9:00am – noon
  • Saturday, March 10 (2nd Saturdays): Hermann Park, Whistlestop Prairie Workday (near entrance to Japanese Garden), 9:00am – noon
  • Wednesday, March 14 (2nd Wednesdays): Deer Park Prairie Workday, 9:00a – noon. Last month’s workdays were cancelled, so help is needed to clean up and cut back the demonstration garden. Free Plants:  Extra plants that we pull out are free to take home. Lots of frogfruit and swamp sunflower among others.
  • Wednesday, March 14 (weekly on Wednesdays): HANC/MPC Greenhouse Volunteer Workday, 9am – noon.
  • NEW! Friday, March 16 (3rd Fridays): 9am – noon. Memorial Park Conservancy, Conservation Crew, Kayak/Canoe Access (Woodway, immediately west of 610), invasive control and working on a recently planted restoration project. 9 am – noon. Contact volunteer@memorialparkconservancy.org for more information, since location differs each month.
  • Wednesday, March 21 (weekly on Wednesdays): HANC/MPC Greenhouse Volunteer Workday, 9am – noon.
  • Thursday, March 22 (2nd & 4th Thursdays): Native (and mostly prairie) plant propagation at City of Houston Greenhouse at Memorial Park, 9:00am – noon
  • Saturday, March 24 (4th Saturdays): Deer Park Prairie Workday. 9:00am -noon. Come and see the early spring wildflowers!  Especially NEEDED: Exxon Mobile employees, retirees, and/or immediately family members to form a team and earn a $500 donation from Exxon Mobile. The effort is led by retiree Allen Potvin and his wife Hazel, board member of Houston Chapter, Native Prairies Association of Texas. For more information or to RSVP: HNPAT@TexasPrairie.org
  • Saturday, March 24 (4th Saturdays): Hermann Park, Bayou Savannah Workday (near 6520 Almeda), 9:00am -noon
  • Wednesday, March 28 (weekly on Wednesdays): HANC/MPC Greenhouse Volunteer Workday, 9am – noon.

Upcoming in April

For more information & RSVP contact, go to tinyurl.com/UPTeamCal
  • Monday, April 2 (1st Mondays): Nature Discovery Center. Monday Morning Gardening, 9:30 am noon.
  • Wednesday, April 4 (weekly on Wednesdays): HANC/MPC Greenhouse Volunteer Workday, 9am – noon.
  • Saturday, April 7 (1st Saturdays): Hermann Park, Bayou Savannah Workday (near 6520 Almeda)
  • Wednesday, April 11 (2nd Wednesdays): Deer Park Prairie Workday, 9:00am – noon
  • Wednesday, April 11 (weekly on Wednesdays): HANC/MPC Greenhouse Volunteer Workday, 9am – noon.
  • Thursday, April 12 (2nd & 4th Thursdays): Native (and mostly prairie) plant propagation at City of Houston Greenhouse in Memorial Park, 9:00am – noon
  • Saturday, April 14 (2nd Saturdays): Hermann Park, Whistlestop Prairie Workday (near entrance to Japanese Garden), 9:00am – noon
  • Wednesday, April 18 (weekly on Wednesdays): HANC/MPC Greenhouse Volunteer Workday, 9am – noon.
  • Friday, April 20 (3rd Fridays): Memorial Park Conservancy, Conservation Crew, Kayak/Canoe Access (Woodway, immediately west of 610), invasive control and working on a recently planted restoration project. 9am – noon.Contact volunteer@memorialparkconservancy.org for more information, since location differs each month.
  • Wednesday, April 25 (weekly on Wednesdays): HANC/MPC Greenhouse Volunteer Workday, 9am – noon
  • Thursday, April 26 (4th Thursdays): Native (and mostly prairie) plant propagation at City of Houston Greenhouse at Memorial Park, 9:00am – noon
  • Saturday, April 28 (4th Saturdays): Deer Park Prairie Workday, 9:00am -noon.**Also Deer Park Prairie Spring Prairie Day & City Nature Challenge!** Program specifics upcoming at Houstonprairie.org or email HNPAT@TexasPrairie.org for more information. Join HNPAT’s Spring Prairie Day and take lots of photos to post on iNATURALIST, since this is during the City Nature Challenge. Come and see the early spring wildflowers! Organized events of the City Nature Challenge can be found at houstonprairie.org/CNCactivities/
  • Saturday, April 28 (4th Saturdays): Hermann Park, Bayou Savannah Workday (near 6520 Almeda), 9:00am -noon
General workday attire/needs: long pants and closed toe shoes. Optional: hat, sunscreen, long-sleeved shirt, insect repellent, water. If you have them bring some garden tools like garden gloves, trowel and/or shovel.

Want to volunteer in your own home? Join the Great Grow Out Program. Katy Prairie Conservancy is seeking volunteers to grow (in the comfort of their own home) plants from wild collected seeds that we will send you. Then return the seedlings to KPC for restoration projects! Don’t forget to keep a few for your garden!

Instructions in the form of a Grower’s Handbook or in the form of videos are at www.katyprairie.org/ggo. For more information, view the webpage or contact Lshen@katyprairie.org

If you want to get this monthly email and are not an UP (Urban Prairie) Team member, please join our team of volunteers interested in helping at urban pocket prairies and/or to communicate about prairies. See UP Team information and a flyer at this link. Click the button below to get monthly emails on Urban Prairies activities that need your help!

 

See you all on the prairie!

 

UP Team: September 2017. Aug to early Sep photos & Upcoming Activities

Scroll down for upcoming activities
 
Sorry for the late enewsletter. I hope all of you were safe and dry during Hurricane Harvey. My home fortunately did not flood.
.
I hope you all were checking the UP Team calendar (tinyurl.com/UPTeamCal). Even though an UP Team email was not sent out, the events are on the calendar.  Click on the event and then the “more details” to show all details, including meeting place and parking specifics.
.
All events have at least one contact person. If you are planning to attend an event and RSVP’ed to the contact person, that person will let you know of any changes.
**********

UP (Urban Prairie) Team Photos August- mid-September

(Anyone wanting original sizes of these photos, email Lan.shen@txgcmn.org.)
Seed Collecting Day at Deer Park Prairie, August 9, 2017.  Martha Richeson brought her granddaughter, 12 years old Natalie, who discovered a plant that had not been seen before at DPP.  It was not on the Deer Park Prairie plant checklist. Martha took a photo and posted it on iNaturalist. She wrote me, ‘”ID of this plant at DPP with seedpods was Arrowhead Rattlepods Crotalaria sagitallis according to ‘sambiology’ ”  Way to go Natalie!

.

Seed Collecting Day with Memorial Park Conservancy, August 17. Because Memorial Park Conservancy’s Anthony Todd drove us in a Kubota, we saw the entire length of the NE Quadrant of the Memorial Park prairie along the power line. Away from Memorial Drive were areas with Liatris sp.

 

UP Team Workday at Deer Park Prairie, September 13. Seven volunteers came to collect seeds at Deer Park Prairie: Tom Solomon, Rowena McDermid of UH Clear Lake and her graduate student Descis, Kelli Ondracek, TJ Marks, and Cassidy of Houston Park & Recreation Dept.,  and Kelli’s husband Cullen, who works for the City of Pearland. The Liatris pycnostachya were blooming beautifully and we all got to see a just emerged cicada that was hanging on the front door jam of the house.

 

UP Team Workday at MD Anderson Prairie, September 15. The team: Irmy and her mother Hildy, Frances (Jaime’s landlady from before he was married), Craig, and Wally Ward (Katy Prairie Conservancy’s board member) worked on the area of the pocket prairie by the power station. They trimmed back the woodies, dug out Vesey grass, and plant sprigs of eastern gama grass. Wally worked so hard that he literally lost his sole.

*****Upcoming Activities*****

Events mid-September, October 2017

Details of all events are on our calendar  tinyurl.com/UPTeamCal.  Check the calendar for location, time, contact information, and other details.
  • Thursday, September 21 (3rd Thursdays): Seed Collecting with Memorial Park Conservancy)
  • Saturday, September 23 (4th Saturdays): Deer Park Prairie Workday
  • Saturday, September 23 (4th Saturdays): Hermann Park, Bayou Savannah Workday (near 6520 Almeda)
  • Thursday, September 28 (4th Thursdays): Native (and mostly prairie) plant propagation at City of Houston Greenhouse in Memorial Park
  • Saturday, September 30: Houston – Native Prairies Association of Texas’ Fall Prairie Day and Bioblitz at Deer Park Prairie (new). Information and registration link at HoustonPrairie.org. Please register, if you would like to join for lunch. Volunteers are needed to participate in the bioblitz and/or to man stations for visitors. 9:00 to 2:00 pm with bird survey at 7:30 am.
Save these future dates:
  • Thursday, October 5 (1st Thursdays): Memorial Park Conservancy Greenhouse Workday (new)
  • Wednesday, October 11 (2nd Wednesdays): Deer Park Prairie Workday & Seed Collecting Day
  • Thursday, October 12 (2nd Thursdays): Native (and mostly prairie) plant propagation at City of Houston Greenhouse in Memorial Park
  • Saturday, October 14: HPARD’s Natural Resources Management Program – Hobart Taylor Park Prairie Planting Event (new), 8100 Kenton St., 9:00 am to 12:00 pm
  • Saturday, October 14 (2nd Saturdays): Hermann Park, Whistlestop Prairie Workday (near Japanese Garden)
  • Monday, October 16, 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm – Willow Waterhole Demonstration Native Plant Gardens
  • Thursday, October 19 (3rd Thursdays): Memorial Park Conservancy Greenhouse Workday
  • Saturday, October 21, HPARD’s Natural Resources Management Program – Stuart Park Prairie Planting Event (new), 7270 Bellfort St., 9:00 am to 12:00 pm
  • Thursday, October 26 (4th Thursdays): Native (and mostly prairie) plant propagation at City of Houston Greenhouse at Memorial Park
  • Saturday, October 28, HPARD’s Natural Resources Management Program – Clinton Park Prairie Planting Event (new), 200 Mississippi St., 9:00 am to 12:00 pm
  • Saturday, October 28 (4th Saturdays): Deer Park Prairie Workday
  • Saturday, October 28 (4th Saturdays): Hermann Park, Bayou Savannah Workday (near 6520 Almeda)
General workday attire/needs: long pants and closed toe shoes. Optional: hat, sunscreen, long-sleeved shirt, insect repellent, water. If you have them bring some garden tools like garden gloves, trowel and/or shovel.

Reminder: Invasive Species ID + Field Application (Sat, 6/24) & Butterfly ID Class (corrected – Thur 6/29)

Just a few more spaces left for this Saturday’s (6/24) Invasive Species ID Class and Field Application (9:00 am – noon) to be taught at Deer Park Prairie (DPP) by Glenn Merkord, essentially DPP’s volunteer “Land Manager”. This workshop will be a great primer on invasive species of the coastal prairie and will provide hands-on demonstrations of how to control these noxious weeds. $15 class fee includes materials and lunch. Class rated for novices. Click here for more information and registration.

Come and see the wildflowers in bloom at Deer Park Prairie and how non-native invasives are being controlled to ensure continued abundance of our native prairie wildflowers.

        

More spaces are also open for next Thursday’s Prairie Butterfly ID Class (6/29, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm) . Wally Ward, member of Butterfly Enthusiasts of Southeast Texas (B.E.S.T.), as well as Katy Prairie Conservancy Board Member and President of Native Plant Society of Texas – Houston will give an overview of local prairie butterflies and their identification at Trini Mendenhall Community Center in Spring Branch. Class rated for novices.  Click here for more information and registration.

Class participants are encouraged to practice their new knowledge and join Wally on a local butterfly field trip on Saturday, July 8th, 10 a.m. – noon at Katy Prairie Conservancy’s Indian Grass Preserve. For more information and registration for the field trip, Click here.  Note: due to unexpected problems, previous offer for a field trip on July 1st has been cancelled.

ExxonMobil Team Grant @ Deer Park Prairie Workday 1-28-17

ExxonMobil Team (l-r) Bruce Senior (spouse), Lauren Blanton (retired), Lynne Hoefer (retired), Allen Potvin (retired), Hazel Potvin (spouse)

These five retired ExxonMobil employees and ExxonMobil spouses volunteered at least four hours each at the Lawther – Deer Park Prairie Preserve (DPP) on January 28, 2017 to earned a $500 ExxonMobil Team grant for HNPAT.  Hazel Potvin with HNPAT board’s approval will use the money to purchase much needed tools for DPP workdays.

That day, a total of fourteen volunteers continued removing branches and smaller diameter woody shrubs and tallows that had been cut recently by a professional crew and left on the prairie for us to clear away. The excessive woody plants and rains last year had prevented mowing / haying of the prairie. (See  previous blog for explanation). Also volunteering, in addition to the ExxonMobil team, were our workday leader Glenn Merkord and regular volunteers: Ian and Barbara Kress, major donors to DPP, Chuck Duplant, Charlie Lindquist on the mower, Frank Orht, Kelly Shield, and Lan Shen plus Becky Martinez, of Bayou Land Conservancy, and her two daughters. (Continued below the photos.)

The branches were moved to the NW corner of the property, where they form a nice brush pile for wildlife. As shown in the above photo, Chuck is in the process of turning our gazebo into a greenhouse around the growout table on long-term loan from Katy Prairie Conservancy.

At noon, we had chili and fixings for lunch provided by Hazel Potvin.  Thank you Hazel!

Earlier that day, Damien Carey and his wife Caroline did the monthly bird survey. When asked what less common birds they saw, Damien replied that they saw grasshopper and LeConte sparrows, other unidentified Ammodramuses, and woodcock (near tree motts). These birds are indicators of a healthy ecosystem.

Deer Park Prairie Workday Photos – 2-25-17

Thanks San Jacinto College Students and Student Engagement and Activities Specialists, Jill Johnson and Samantha De La Rosa!

A group of 10 from San Jacinto College, south and Central Campuses, joined 8 HNPAT volunteers on the prairie for the February 25, 2017 workday. The weather was perfect – sunny and mild.

The largest group worked with Glenn to cut the woody plants on the fenceline and then hauled the trimmings with Glenn’s trailer to the NW corner of the property. There a brush pile has been created for wildlife.

A smaller group cut back plants and thatch in the demonstration bed to about 8 inches tall, a task that needs to be done annually in lieu of fire or grazing. They also weeded. (Continued below the photos.)

Chuck and Kelly Shield were converting the gazebo into a greenhouse. Chuck had taken off the opaque composition roof during the last workday. They were now putting on clear plastic corrugated sheets for the roof. For the sides, they were using chicken wire to keep out the squirrels and other animals.

At noon, Hazel provided a wonderful hot dog and beans and potato salad lunch. Thank you Hazel.

Everyone had a great time!

By the way, ExxonMobil approved  Allen Potvin’s submission for a $500 ExxonMobil Team Grant that he, Hazel, Bruce Senior, Lynne Hoefer, and Lauren Blanton earned on the January 28th workday. The Potvins donated the money to HNPAT and Hazel, with the HNPAT board’s approval, used that money to buy needed tools for Deer Park Prairie. Thanks to all of you!

Insect List @ Deer Park Prairie by Chuck Duplant

The insect list for Deer Park Prairie compiled by Chuck Duplant is online now: 170228-l-dpp-insect-list-2_2017.

Check out Chuck’s wonderful photos of insects and wildflowers at Deer Park Prairie. Go to the album section of HNPAT’s Flickr photos (www.flickr.com/photos/hnpat/albums) and select the album “by Chuck Duplant”. Enjoy!chuckduplantflickralbum

 

 

Reminder: THIS Weekend is Bioblitz at Deer Park Prairie

Join us to catalog and view the flora and fauna of Deer Park Prairie!

Pat Merkord, Executive Director of NPAT, will be leading this event. See flyer on our home page HoustonPrairie.org for the entire weekend’s program on Saturday, 10/22 & Sunday, 10/23.

7/10/16: First NPAT Prairie Mapping Expedition in Harris County

To RSVP for this event: email Pat@Merkord.com or call 1-936-827-7973

NPAT's first prairie mapping expedition in Harris County. Participation in previous mapping classes/talks NOT a requirement.

NPAT’s first prairie mapping expedition in Harris County. Participation in previous mapping classes/talks NOT a requirement. Email Pat@Merkord.com or call 1-936-827-7973 to RSVP.

Insect Checklist by Chuck Duplant

RambursForktail-maleChuckDuplant-150627

Rambur’s Forktail male; photo by Chuck Duplant, 6/27/15

New!

Just posted  –  an insect checklist by Chuck Duplant who wrote: “…Most of the insects are from what I have seen at the prairie and from photos from [Deer Park Prairie] Flicker site. My veting process is to ID them in guides and credited web sites such as OdonataCentral, BugGuide etc.

Some of the insects I have not been able to determine species due to several factors which is not uncommon…” 

Check out

Link to insect checklist: https://hnpat.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/l-dpp-insect-list-160611.pdf