Recently, the UP (Urban Prairie) Team was replanting areas of MD Anderson Prairie that had been under tarp and more for about two months for their 75th anniversary celebration. We were amazed at how much vegetation re-grew from roots or seeds since the tarp was removed at end of December.

Plants added were ones rescued before the tarp came down. Some were kept by Ahlene Shong at her home and  some at the COH Memorial ParkGreenhouse by the Gulf Coast Master Naturalists’ (native) Plant Propagation Program, led by Celeste Mead. We also spread prairie plant seeds – some from years past and some residuals from January’s Seed Cleaning and Packing Pizza Party.

Join UP (Urban Prairie) Team and you can join the fun too! (I want to join)

Click on the photo of Jaime and MD Anderson Facilities Manager Alan Wolfe sitting by the garden wagon, to read that caption.


UP (Urban Prairie) Team @ UH Shasta Prairie + Photos of 3-3-17; UP Team Also at NatureFest on 3-4-17

The Team at the UH Shasta Prairie

The UP (Urban Prairie) Team‘s first activity was a planting and cleanup day on March 3, 2017 at UH Shasta Prairie (next to the Science and Engineering Classroom Building on Cullen Blvd. Click here for map). Many UH students and Katy Prairie Conservancy (KPC) personnel participated. Prairie plants were partly purchased from Flo Hannah and partly supplied by the Katy Prairie Conservancy nursery and by the Gulf Coast Master Naturalists’ (native) Plant Propagation Program.

The following day, UP Team members Wally Ward, board member of KPC, and Kelly Shield, President of HNPAT (Houston Chapter – Native Prairies Association of Texas), volunteered for the prairie booth at Jesse Jones Park and Nature Center’s NatureFest.

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!

April 14-18: City Nature Challenge – Houston


Updated on 3/17/17: for more information and activities, go to and City Nature Challenge Activities

Houston, we have a challenge!

In celebration of National Citizen Science Day, Houston, Austin, and DFW are competing in the City Nature Challenge to see which city can find the most species over a five day period (April 14-18) and number of observations posted on iNaturalist.  We are hearing rumblings that DFW is looking strong, but we are convinced April in the Houston region will be hard to beat. Our area covers the Greater Houston Area Counties: Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, and Waller.

Here is how you can help:

  • Participate!  Make observations during the event on iNaturalist. Sign up for an iNaturalist account now if you have not already
  • Join the FB (Facebook) event and share it.
  • Join as a participating organization, help promote it however you can.
  • Host or lead an event such as a nature walk where you make observations, or a bioblitz.

***Also, if your organization would like to be listed as a PARTNER, we’d appreciate your help promoting the City Nature Challenge and spending time counting–or better yet–offering a count experience for folks during April 14-18. If you want to be listed as partner, simply reply to Richard Gibbons (, Diana Foss (, or me ( to let us know by next week.

Here are some handy links that explain more about the event. Sign up where you can!

Here is a link to flyers/ppts that can be modified:

Here is a link to a flier about the iNat app:

Let the games begin on April 14! Please pass this on to any individuals or organizations that would enjoy being involved. Diana Foss is engaging the local Master Naturalist groups. Any help spreading the word would be appreciated so that Houston has a strong showing. Apparently San Antonio is feeling a bit jilted, so they are self-nominating as a competing Texas city, too!

To print this information page in pdf, go to Houston Nature Challenge page.

Credits. Words (with permission) from Sarah Flournoy’s email (On Fri, Mar 3, 2017 at 8:20 AM, Sarah Flournoy <> wrote:) & photo modified from Houston’s October, 2016 Bioblitz page on iNaturalist

Upcoming UP (Urban Prairie) Team Activities

To UP Team members and everyone else,

Join us for these upcoming Urban Prairie activities! See the UP Team Calendar (at this link) for details of the events. Click on the workday date to get the details. Another way to access the calendar is to go to and click the Calendar tab.

March, 2017, UP Team activities:
  • Friday, March 3: UH Shasta Prairie Planting Day on UH’s main campus from noon – 3:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 4: Volunteer for the Prairie Booth at Nature Fest in Jesse Jones Park & Nature Center, 20634 Kenswick Dr, Humble, TX 77338
  • Wednesday, March 8: Deer Park Prairie Workday in Deer Park, TX 9:00 a.m. – noon
  • Friday, March 10: MD Anderson Prairie Workday, 9:00 a.m. – noon
  • Friday & SaturdayMarch 17 and 18, Volunteer for the Prairie Booth at March Mart at Mercer, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, March 19, Training opportunity. Join the Native Plant Society of Texas – Houston to Willow Waterhole, a prairie remnant in SW Houston that has a population of the endangered prairie dawn plant.
  • Saturday, March 25: Deer Park Prairie Workday in Deer Park, TX 9:00 a.m. – noon
  • Saturday, March 25: Volunteer for the at Houston Zoo, Saving Wildlife Expo

Want to help plant, maintain, and communicate about Urban Prairies? Join us to get monthly emails on Urban Prairies activities that need your help!

Sign Up Now!



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 ( and select the album “by Chuck Duplant”. Enjoy!chuckduplantflickralbum



2/22/17 Saving Planet Houston

The information below & photos were cut and pasted from Coastal Prairie Partnership newsletter issued on 2/18/17. To get the newsletter in your mailbox, email

Last class in the Saving Planet Houston Series: Feb. 22nd

The Saving Planet Houston is a first of its kind course which explores local conservation efforts in a globalized context.


Class participants have been learning from local experts about the historic, current, and projected status of ecosystems and wildlife in the Greater Houston Region. We have been investigating the connections between local ecosystems and Houston’s economic and cultural development, and discussing how local groups are working to safeguard wildlife diversity.


Interested, but haven’t made it out yet? Join us for the last class left in the series!
  • February 22 – Saving Houston’s Wetlands and Saving Houston’s Endangered Species. Instructors: John Jacob, PhD – Galveston Baykeepers and Cassidy Johnson, PhD – HCC, Rice University, and Coastal Prairie Partnership.
Class/Series Information