A Nine Natives Update to Celebrate National Pollinator Week

Download the Nine Natives booklet here!

Click photo of this Nine Natives booklet cover to download a copy

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HNPAT celebrates National Pollinator Week, June 18-24, with this update on the Nine Natives program, first introduced  in 2013. Although this program languished in the intervening years, recent concerns about the steeply declining population of pollinators (bees, butterflies, birds, bats and more) generated renewed effort last year and led to the debut of the Nine Natives booklet this spring. Click here to get the larger size file, suitable for printing.

This booklet resulted from a collaboration of the Native Prairies Association of Texas (NPAT), especially its Houston Chapter (HNPAT), Coastal Prairie Partnership (CPP), Katy Prairie Conservancy (KPC), and Clark Condon Landscape Architecture. Jaime Gonzalez of CPP and Beth Clark of Clark Condon, recently at the Gulf Coast Green Symposium, gave a presentation of the concept. A copy of their presentation is available here.

In recent years, the mantra for gardeners has been, “Plant natives for pollinators and local wildlife because our local native plants have been supporting and co-existing with our pollinators and wildlife for thousands of years.” Local conservationists postulated that, if a multitude of gardens plant at least nine local natives, that would significantly benefit our local pollinators and other wildlife.

However, for gardeners totally new to native plants, how would they start? What plants are local natives? What local native plants are commercially available, either in the form of seed or starter plants? What are the growing conditions these natives require? What combination of native plants would look good together?

These are exactly the questions that the Nine Natives booklet try to address. The booklet recommends nine plants native to the greater Houston region plus four alternatives.  The plants were chosen for their commercial availability, their benefits to local pollinators and wildlife, their aesthetic appeal, and their ease of growth.

The nine native plants can be tucked into established gardens or planted together in a special Nine Natives garden. Clark Condon Landscape Architect provided two designs using these nine natives for the home garden and two designs using them in 16 feet street medians and in 50 feet street medians. In the brochure is also pictorially depicted a prairie planting project by Clark Condon.

A sample page from the Nine Natives booklet

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The criteria, used in recommending the plants are:

  • Native to the geographic area. For us, it was Greater Houston (Harris and surrounding counties). Local native plants are those listed as such in county maps of either USDA Plant Database or BONAP
  • Not a cultivar (Cultivars can be used in the garden, but would not count as one of the Nine Natives.)
  • Commercially available – either the seed or potted plants
  • Be highly beneficial to local wildlife
  • Adapted to average local soil, moisture, sun
  • Have a high chance of persistence
  • Will be compatible in urban or suburban settings

Although the Nine Natives booklet’s recommendations are for the greater Houston area, the concept can be used anywhere. Said Jaime Gonzalez, one of the two who initially conceived Nine Natives, ‘From the beginning the Nine Natives partners all expressed an interest in making Nine Natives an “open source” concept, meaning that other groups and the general public could use the concept as a starting point to innovate around the use of native plantings here in Houston and beyond… So, in my opinion, just like open source software, no one and everyone owns Nine Natives.’

We hope, when others use the Nine Natives concept, they will stay true to the basic premise of recommending only non-cultivar versions of local native plants, for these plants provide the most benefit to local pollinators and wildlife.

 


Other Nine Natives resources: www.katyprairie.org/nine-natives/

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!

Last Day To Take Photos for City Nature Callenge!

Today is the LAST DAY to take photos of living things for City Nature Challenge. However, as long as your photos have today’s time stamp, you have from May 1 – May 3 to upload and identify.

As of 9:00 a.m. April 30, Houston is

  • 4th in number of species
  • 8th in number of people participating (Dallas is 8th overall, we are just about 30 people behind)
  • 9th in number of observations (Dallas is third overall)

Last chance to move Houston up. See citynaturechallenge.org/leaderboard/

By the way, I was told there were several events on City Nature Challenge – Houston Facebook page that was not entered on the Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept CNC events website. Check to see if there are any today.

 

It’s Started: City Nature Challenge!!!

Updates & Progress as of noon 4/27/2018

Hey we need to get some posting. See below for link to Worldwide Leaderboard. Houston is nowhere near the top. It’s early yet – let’s up the game!

Also, scroll to bottom for an email update about problem “joining” the City Nature Challenge-Houston project.

Check https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2018-houston for progress in Houston

Local leaders :

Instructions & Texas Leaderboard: https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wild/wildlife_diversity/texas_nature_trackers/naturechallenge/

Worldwide Leaderboard: http://citynaturechallenge.org/leaderboard/

***   Link for CNC Events in Greater Houston   ***

(Note: I took the TPWD master list and isolated the Greater Houston Events, put them in chronological order.).

Silvia Gederberg had problem joining the CNC-houston project and received this email reply (I did the red highlighting):

From: iNaturalist Support <help@inaturalist.org>
Subject: Re: Problem joining City Nature Challenge 2018 Houston project
Date: April 27, 2018 at 11:15:11 AM CDT
To: SILVIA GEDERBERG
Hi Silvia,
City Nature Challenge projects were converted to our new “collection” style projects (described here). One cannot join a collection project, because one cannot manually submit an observation to the project – if the observation fits the project’s parameters it is automatically shown when the project page is loaded. So it removes the extra step of adding your observation to the project. If your observation is made within the boundaries and time frame of the Houston CNC project, it will show up there automatically.
There is a “follow” option for this type of project, which notifies you if the project creates a new journal post.
It is an oversight that there is a “join” button on the app, which we will hopefully fix soon. I apologize for the confusion
Tony

On Fri, Apr 27, 2018 at 7:42 AM, SILVIA GEDERBERG wrote:

I just tried to join again on my iPhone app and got this error:
the operation couldn’t complete…

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

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Della Barbato, Director of Education

Della Barbato at NPAT booth on April 22, 2018 at Houston’s Earth Day Celebration

Meet Della Barbato, Native Prairies Association of Texas’ (NPAT’s) new Director of Education at the Lawther – Deer Park Prairie Preserve. This position was generously funded by a grant from Shell. Della ” …will develop an educational program: train teachers to teach the prairie and facilitate a partnership with local school districts, businesses and other NGO’s…”

Della, a past board member of the Citizens’ Environmental Coalition, represented NPAT at CEC’s Earth Day Houston -Discovery Green Celebration recently. She drew a steady crowd with her seed ball making activity. Della commented that both young and old like to get their hands dirty.

Della has been involved in environmental education for many years. She has her own company, Earth Voice that conducts interactive group programs about our ecosystems and managing natural resources. She has a B.S. and M.S. from Texas A&M, is a Galveston Bay Area Master Naturalist, has developed curriculum as a middle school science teacher, was Education Director for the Galveston Bay Foundation and other non-profits. Thanks to Shell’s generosity, Della as DPP’s Director of Education will tremendously benefit local area teachers and their students.