Field Trips

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2016 Field Trips:

FEBRUARY

  • Service Outing and Pot Luck Lunch at Katy Prairie Indiangrass Preserve, Saturday, February 27

Join the Houston Sierra Club on a service outing to the beautiful Katy Prairie. We will help the Katy Prairie Conservancy (KPC) by either getting our hands “dirty” doing some nursery work with native grasses and wildflowers or some other fun activity at the Indiangrass Preserve and Field Office. The morning should be cool with spring in the air.

After we finish our project we will have a pot luck lunch (so bring a dish) and enjoy birding, strolling, and relaxing on the Katy Prairie. Bring your daypack, water (at least two quarts), hiking shoes, cameras, bug repellant, sunscreen, field guides, binoculars and clothes to fit the weather. We should be back in Houston about 5 pm.

We will meet at 7:30 a.m. in the parking lot just west of Starbucks (near Becks Prime) in Meyerland Plaza. Starbucks fronts the 4700 block of Beechnut (south side, near the West Loop South). Look for a silver-gray Honda Civic with bumper-stickers. Contact Brandt Mannchen at the Houston Sierra Club Outings Meet-up site, 713-664-5962, or brandtshnfbt@juno.com . If there is a change in plans Brandt will contact you.

For those who want to meet us at the KPC Indian Grass Preserve, the address is 31950 Hebert Rd – directions. Plan to arrive by 9:00 a.m.

MARCH

  • Plant Longleaf Pine Trees in the Big Thicket, Saturday, March 12, 2016

Join the Houston Regional Group of the Sierra Club (Sierra Club), Houston Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas, and the Houston Chapter of the Native Prairies Association of Texas as we help the National Park Service (NPS) celebrate its 100th anniversary by planting Longleaf Pine seedlings to restore 300 acres (called the “Centennial Forest”), surrounded by a rare 100-year old Longleaf Pine Savannah, in the Big Sandy Creek Unit of Big Thicket National Preserve (BTNP).

We need at least 40 “good folks” or more to help us plant 7,500 Longleaf Pine seedlings. Total seedlings planted in the “Centennial Forest” will be 100,000, This is where “New Growth will meet Old Growth”.

But why plant Longleaf Pine trees? The Longleaf Pine Savannah of the Southern United States, from Virginia to Texas, originally covered from 60 to 90 million acres. Today only about 3 million acres (most of which is heavily cut-over or degraded) of Longleaf Pine is left. BTNP has about 15,000 to 20,000 acres of potential Longleaf Pine Savannah habitat. The NPS will restore and maintain this area so that rare species like Texas Trailing Phlox and Louisiana Pine Snake will survive and so that many native prairie grasses and wildflowers will flourish. Volunteers will be given a tour of the 100-year old Longleaf Pine “Old Growth” forest so that you can see what your efforts will achieve over the next century!

Bring a daypack, plenty of water (at least two quarts), lunch, snacks, work gloves, long pants, hat, and comfortable hiking shoes. We will meet to coordinate our carpool/caravan at 7:00 a.m. in the parking lot just west of Starbucks (look for Becks Prime) in Meyerland Plaza. Starbucks fronts the 4700 block of Beechnut (south side of Beechnut, near the West Loop South). Look for a silver-gray Honda Civic with many bumper-stickers on the back.

If you want to meet us at the Big Sandy Creek Unit of BTNP the directions are as follows:

1) In Houston, get on Interstate (I)-10 and drive east.
2) After you cross Cedar Bayou (leaving Harris County and entering Chambers County) take the I-10 Mont Belvieu exit, turn left (north) and drive on State Highway (SH) 146.
3) SH 146 merges (turn right) with U.S. 90 in Dayton. Drive east on SH 146/U.S. 90 through Dayton and into the City of Liberty.
4) In the City of Liberty look for Spur 227 (at the McDonald’s). Turn left (north) onto Spur 227. Spur 227 will wind through the City of Liberty and connect with SH 146 North.
5) Drive SH 146 (north) to Rye and turn right (east) onto FM 787.
6) Drive FM 787 and turn left (north) onto FM 2798 and drive through Votaw to FM 943.
7) Turn right (east) onto FM 943 and drive through Segno until you come to FM 1276. Turn left (north) on FM 1276.
8) Drive on FM 1276 until you come to Dallardsville/Big Sandy.
9) Drive through Dallardsville/Big Sandy and continue north on FM 1276 about 1.5 miles. Turn left (northwest) onto the naturally surfaced Lily Road.
10) Drive straight on Lily Road about one-quarter mile where the road turns left. This is the location of the planting area.

Use the Houston Sierra Club Outings Meet-up site to sign-up for March 12th or contact Brandt Mannchen at 713-664-5962 or brandtshnfbt@juno.com. Please, “No pets, no firearms, and no radios”. I will ask folks to silence their cell phones in the forest so we can enjoy the solitude, natural sounds and quiet while we plant trees. We will be back by 5:30 or 6 pm.

You can also contact Ken Hyde, Chief of Resource Management, BTNP, at 409-951-6820 or ken_hyde@nps.gov. Come join us and help “Grow the savannah, prairie grasses, and wildflowers!”

AUGUST

  • Wildflowers on Blackland Prairies in Sam Houston National Forest, Saturday, August 13, 2016

Join the Houston Sierra Club and the Houston Chapter of the Native Prairies Association of Texas as we visit blooming wildflowers on blackland prairies in Sam Houston National Forest (SHNF). The U.S. Forest Service manages these prairies using prescribed burning and other management tools.

Bring your day-pack, hat, three quarts of water, bug repellent, snacks, binoculars, hiking shoes, camera, and field guides. Long pants are highly recommended due to briars and chiggers and a short-sleeved T-shirt. It will be warm so dress cool. Bring enough money for lunch at a local restaurant.

We will meet to carpool/caravan at 7:30 a.m. in the parking lot just west of Starbucks (look for Becks Prime) in Meyerland Plaza. Starbucks fronts the 4700 block of Beechnut (south side of Beechnut, near the West Loop South). Look for a silver Honda Civic with lots of bumper stickers.

If you want to come sign-up on the Houston Sierra Club Meet-Up Site or contact Brandt Mannchen at 713-664-5962 or brandtshnfbt@juno.com.

For those who want to meet us at the SHNF District Ranger Office at 9 am, the directions are as follows:

1) Drive from Houston about 55 miles north on Interstate 45 (I-45), past The Woodlands, Conroe, and Willis, and exit at the New Waverly exit (FM 1375/SH 150/FM 1374).
2) Go through a rotary (round-about), head west across I-45, go through a second rotary, and then continue west on FM 1375.
3) Go west about 2 miles on FM 1375 and on your right you will see a sign for the SHNF District Ranger Office, a driveway, and a parking lot. Turn right into the driveway, park in the parking lot, and walk to the front of the District Ranger Office where we will meet.

SEPTEMBER

  • Visit Coastal and Prairie Ecosystems on Follets Island, Saturday September 24, 2016

Join the Houston Sierra Club and the Houston Chapter of the Native Prairies Association of Texas when we visit an unusual coastal prairie on Follets Island.Follets Island is a barrier island with an average height above sea level of four feet. Here between the dunes, marshes, and shorelines of the Gulf of Mexico and Christmas Bay Preserve lies a “Strand Prairie” that is very different from the inland coastal prairies that we normally see. Our guide will be Mike Lange who works for the Trust for Public Land.

It will be hot!!! Bring your daypack, water (three quarts is recommended), snacks, hiking shoes, cameras, binoculars, bug repellant, sunscreen, field guides, clothes to fit the weather, and enough money for a seafood lunch. Long pants are highly recommended!

We will carpool/caravan at 7:30 am from the parking lot just west of the Starbucks (look for Becks Prime) in Meyerland Plaza. Starbucks fronts the 4700 block of Beechnut (near the West Loop South). Look for a silver Honda Civic with lots of bumper stickers.

This outing is limited to 20 people. Sign-up at the Houston Sierra Club Outings Meet-up site, call 713-664-5962, or email at brandtshnfbt@juno.com and leave your name, phone number, and email.

For those who want to meet us at 9:30 am at Stahlman Park (2211 Bluewater Highway, Surfside, Beach, Texas 77541) the directions are:

1) From Houston, go south on State Highway (SH) 288 to Lake Jackson, Texas.
2) In Lake Jackson take State Highway 332 south, through Clute, Oyster Creek, Freeport, and across the Intracoastal Waterway where it deadends into the Buewater Highway at Surfside Beach.
3) Turn left onto the Bluewater Highway (County Road 257) and drive about 2 miles to Stahlman Park, which is between Nesmith Place on the south and County Road 257J (Seacoast Drive/Bay Avenue) on the north. Swan Lake is on the left-hand side and the Gulf of Mexico is on the right-hand side.

NOVEMBER

  • Visit Deer Park Prairie, Saturday November 12, 2016

Join the Houston Sierra Club and the Houston Chapter of the Native Prairies Association of Texas in a celebration of the fall wildflower blooming season with an outing to Lawther Deer Park Prairie (LDPP). LDPP is a coastal prairie dominated by wildflowers and tall grasses like Eastern Gama Grass, Little Bluestem, and Switchgrass. Over 300 different plants have been found at LDPP!

Bring your camera, daypack, water, snacks, hiking shoes, binoculars, bug repellant, sunscreen, field guides, and clothes to suit the weather. Long pants are highly recommended! Bring some spending money and after our prairie tour we will eat lunch at a local restaurant.

We will meet to carpool/caravan at 8:00 am in the parking lot just west of the Starbucks (look for Becks Prime) in Meyerland Plaza. Starbucks fronts the 4700 block of Beechnut, near the Interstate (I)-610 West Loop South. Look for a silver Honda Civic with lots of bumper stickers.

Sign-up at the Houston Sierra Club Outings Meet-up site, call 713-664-5962, or email brandtshnfbt@juno.com

For those who will drive directly to the LDPP and meet us at 9:00 am the directions are:

1) Go east on I-610, South Loop, to I-45.
2) After you cross I-45, I-610 becomes the East Loop. Get into the second lane from the right (before the Houston Ship Channel Bridge) and take State Highway (SH) 225 East.
3) Go on SH 225 East about 9 miles until you come to the Center Street exit in Deer Park, exit SH 225 and drive on the feeder street, turn right onto Center Street, and go about 2.5 miles until you come to Pasadena Blvd.
4) Turn left onto Pasadena Blvd and go about 3/4’s of a mile and turn right at the traffic light onto Luella Avenue.
5) Go about ½ mile on Luella and turn left onto Purdue Street (next to College Park Elementary School).
6) Go one block and as Purdue veers right make a U-turn and park your car on the school side of Purdue. LDPP is directly to the east between the school fence and a grassy area that is part of the house/yard in front of you.

DECEMBER

  • Wildlife and Prairie in Virginia Point Preserve, Saturday, December 10, 2016

Join the Houston Sierra Club in conjunction with the Coastal Prairie Partnership to visit Scenic Galveston’s Virginia Point Preserve to view wildlife and see the prairies, marshes, ponds, and brush-lands of this coastal gem. Virginia Point and the adjacent preserve at Reitan Point are important resident and migratory bird habitat and provides homes for other wildlife that are found on prairies and the nearby coastal marshes and open waters of Galveston Bay.

Bring your daypack, at least two quarts of water, snacks, hiking shoes, cameras, binoculars, bug repellant, sunscreen, field guides, clothes to fit the weather, and enough money for lunch. Long pants are highly recommended!

We will meet to carpool/caravan at 7:30 am in the parking lot just west of Starbucks (look for Becks Prime) in Meyerland Plaza. Starbucks fronts the 4700 block of Beechnut (near the West Loop South). Look for a silver Honda Civic with lots of bumper stickers.

Sign-up at the Houston Sierra Club Outings Meet-up site or contact Brandt Mannchen at 713-664-5962 brandtshnfbt@juno.com.

For those who want to meet us at Reitan Point at 8:30 am the directions are:

1) Take Interstate Highway (IH) 45 south toward Galveston.
2) You will pass League City, Clear Creek, Dickinson, Texas City, and La Marque (FM 519).
3) After passing FM 519 in La Marque you will come to Hitchcock and the State Highway (SH) 6/SH 146 exits.
4) At Exit 6, turn right and leave IH-45, get into the right hand lane of the feeder road that goes to Bayou Vista, and in about ¼ mile turn right into the gated parking lot for Scenic Galveston’s Reitan Point. You will see a wooden pavilion and a small building.