Flo Hannah

Photo by Don Verser

Update: Memorial service: Tuesday, January 16, 11:00 am at Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church, 11612 Memorial Drive, Houston, Texas.  View Flo Hannah’s Obituary and express your condolences

The prairie and conservation community received some extremely sad news yesterday (1/10/18) via Jaime Gonzalez:

Dear Friends,
It is with a very heavy heart that I write to you today. Our friend Flo Hannah lost her battle with cancer this afternoon. She fought until the end.
Flo was a wonderful advocate for nature and and even better friend and mentor. Her spirit, vision, passion, and smile will be sorely missed by all of us. I will await word from the family about funeral arrangements and will let you know as we know more. I also wanted to let each of you know how much you mean to the rest of us and how much your friendship and support mean to one another. In many ways we are like a family and the lost of any of us is deeply felt.
Your Friend, Always,
Jaime González
Community Conservation Director, Katy Prairie Conservancy”
Flo Hannah of Houston Audubon Society (HAS) and Native Plant Society of Texas – Houston (NPSOTH) was a giant in our local prairie, native plant, and conservation community. Directly and indirectly, she was responsible for saving the Deer Park Prairie and the Nash Prairie among many other lands that she helped preserve through her work at Houston Audubon. In one of my earliest encounters with Flo, who was then NPSOTH Field Trip Coordinator, she and Dr. Larry Brown led us to an area in Fort Bend or Brazoria County that HAS had just conserved.
Flo was especially passionate about our native grasses and was an expert in that subject. She knew that these grasses and other native plants provided much needed habitat and food for many birds. She was one of the first, if not the first person in greater Houston to collect seeds of local native grasses, grew them, and started a business in back of her house to sell them commercially, in order to provide a much needed source for local restoration projects.  Then she expanded the effort by creating the Houston Audubon’s Natives Nursery at Edith L. Moore Sanctuary with volunteer labor. Katy Emde reminisced that back in the day, she and Flo talked about gathering local native seeds and growing native plants to sell, but Flo was the one who actually did it.
Flo was not only passionate herself about our local natives and habitats, but she taught and inspired others around her to be passionate too. She led and we followed. When she realized that a rare prairie remnant on Saums Road (near Greenhouse) was to be sold and turned into a flood control detention basin, she – in the middle of August – motivated volunteers from HAS, NPSOTH, and Texas Master Naturalists to rescue (dig up) and replant the native plants from that site to various pocket prairies throughout greater Houston.  Moreover, she convinced Harris County Flood Control to use heavy equipment to move larger sections of that prairie remnant to Harris County Parks and the pocket prairie on Brays Bayou at South Braeswood near Buffalo Speedway. Through the years, Flo motivated volunteers to participate in her pocket prairie workdays, Horseshoe Marsh restoration workdays, rescue of Willow Waterhole plants and many other projects.
Jaime Gonzalez has told the story many times of how from the agony of losing the incomparable Saums Prairie, he and Flo formed the Coastal Prairie Partnership (CPP) to promote our local prairies. Flo was for many years on the board of CPP (as well as that of NPSOTH).
Because of the agony of losing Saums Prairie, Flo was instrumental in the saving of the Lawther – Deer Park Prairie Preserve. Shortly after she and Don Verser first visited the property that is now Deer Park Prairie, many of us prairie enthusiasts were gearing up to rescue plants from that land, which was to be developed. However, Flo said that she wanted to meet the landowner and find out what it would take to preserve that prairie. Without that initial act, the platinum quality Deer Park Prairie would now have been a development with 200 houses. Then, when she found out that the selling price was $4 millon, Flo and Jaime led the first effort to raise the purchase price, despite many people saying that it could not be done.
Without Flo, the Nash Prairie might also not have been conserved. Flo gave many talks about prairie grasses especially in the early days, when perhaps hers were the few on that subject available. Grasses are hard to learn. I remembered the many times I sought out her talks in the hopes that eventually by repetition, I would understand and learn glume, lemma, palea, spiklets, florets… As I remember the story, Susan Conaty also attended one of Flo’s talks where she saw photos of local grasses and forbs and realized that a property of West Columbia’s St. Mary’s Episcopal Church that she and her husband Peter, the pastor, monitored had some of the same plants. She talked to Flo and discovered that some of Flo’s photos were of that exact property. That was the start of Susan and Peter’s passion for the Nash Prairie – a chance encounter with Flo that eventually led to the Conatys’ saving the Nash Prairie.
These are only a few of Flo’s accomplishments which earned her the Coast Prairie Partnership’s 2017 Prairie Excellence Award at last November’s Prairie Stampede. A video of that presentation could be seen on youtube.
These are just some recollections from my encounters with Flo and the people she influenced. Some stories were heard second hand, so if there are any inaccuracies, please let me know and I will correct them.
Lan, an admirer of Flo Hannah, the person she was and all that she accomplished


Prairie Stampede in Two Days!

Still time to register. From our home page:

HNPAT and the Coastal Prairie Partnership are proud to announce the 2017 Prairie Stampede! We will honor a number of prairie champions from across Texas and coastal Louisiana including Flo Hannah of Houston Audubon.

Join us for a prairie potluck dinner and evening of networking, awards, and celebration of 2017 prairie accomplishments for Greater Houston, Texas, and Louisiana. All prairie enthusiasts, restorationists, and organizations supporting and preserving native prairies in Texas and Louisiana are cordially invited! This is a potluck dinner, so register and bring something tasty!

Click here to register now.

2 for 1 Bargain ~7:01 AM, Tuesday, 11/28


Do what I will be doing around 7:01 AM, Tuesday morning, 11/28:
Taking advantage of a 2 for 1  & donating to Native Prairies Association of TX via Jason Spangler‘s #GivingTuesday fundraiser for NPAT ( ).

Do it early to to get the 2 for 1:
“Up to $2 million in donations to nonprofits will be matched by Facebook and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation starting on Nov 28 at 8 AM ET.” (7 AM CST).

To get the match and donation fee waiver, you must do it at or after 7:00 AM CST tomorrow, 11/28 and before the $2M is reached. (After that, facebook charges a whopping 5+%)

If you only donate a few dollars (choose “other”), your donation will be doubled!

America’s Grassland Conference: United for Conservation

Register now for America’s Grassland Conference: United for Conservation, November 14th – 16th in Fort Worth, Texas.

The America’s Grassland Conference: United for Conservation is almost here! This year CPP and the Native Prairie Association of Texas joined forces with the National Wildlife Federation to help organize NWF’s bi-annual conference in Fort Worth on November 14-16th. Registration is open and the hotel rooms are filling up fast!

Below is a small snippet of what to expect:

Keynote address: Robert Potts, President & CEO of the Dixon Water Foundation.

Perspectives from numerous ranchers and producers, including Jerry Doan, Jerome Scharr, Tracy Rosenberg, and many more.

Presentations and discussions on human dimensions of grassland conservation, grassland-dependent birds and pollinators, challenges and opportunities of grass-based livelihoods, the upcoming 2018 Farm Bill, among many other great topics.

An opening reception at the wonderful Botanical Research Institute of Texas and an outdoor BBQ at the amazing Fort Worth Nature Center.

For more information visit:


Seed Collecting, Early October 2017 dates

Seed collecting days in early October at Katy Prairie Conservancy, Deer Park Prairie, & Nash Prairie

Seed Collecting
Columbus Day, 10/9 @ Katy Prairie Conservancy

Tuesday, 10/10 @ Deer Park Prairie
Saturday, 10/14 @ Nash Prairie


S.gif 4580d275-5611-4529-9f34-5ef0fadc8813.jpg
S.gif October 2016_ seed collecting at Rock Hollow Creek

Hi Seed Collectors,

Announcing three seed collecting opportunities:

1. On Columbus Day (Monday, 10/9), this year, we will be at KPC’s Warren Ranch & Rock Hollow Creek. For those of you who were at the Field Office on Saturday, for the Restoration Roundup, this is an opportunity to see another part of the Katy Prairie Conservancy land.

  • Date/time: Monday, 10/9/17, 9:00 am – 11:30 am
  • Meet at Matt Cook Memorial Wildlife Viewing Platform parking lot (directly across the street from Warren Ranch).
  • After collecting at Warren Ranch, we will drive together down the street to Rock Hollow Creek. Directions:
  • Please bring signed liability release (KPC)

2. This year, for Prairies & Pollinator Month, we will be collecting at Deer Park Prairie
on Tuesday, 10/10. Among others, we will be collecting Florida paspalum, Texas coneflower, Lanceleaf blanketflower (Gaillardia aestivales). Some Liatris maybe ripe enough to pick. Note the usual 2nd Wednesday seed collecting day has been cancelled.

  • Date/time: Tuesday, 10/10/17, 9:00 am – 11:30 am
  • Meet at the prairie house at 1222 E. Purdue Lane, Deer Park 77536. Map: Please do not park directly in front of our neighbors’ houses. You may park on the driveway.
  • If you have not signed a liability release waiver within the past year, please bring a signed liability release (NPAT)
  • In November & December, we will be seed collecting at Deer Park Prairie on second Wednesdays of the month, unless there is a cancellation. Reply to this email for more information.

3. Saturday, October 14 at Nash Prairie – a seed collecting day on a Saturday for those who work. We will be collecting Texas coneflower, rattlesnake master, Florida paspalum among others.

  • Date/time: Saturday, 10/14/17, 9:00 am – 11:30 am
  • 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 the map:

General Instructions:

To sign up:
Fill out this google form: or you may leave a message at 713-714-6763. (This number is NOT the event day contact number. When you RSVP, you will get an email with the event day contact number.) Everyone welcome and welcome to collect for any non-profit organization or for your own personal use.

I will have paper bags for the seeds. If you have these, please bring pruners or scissors, a bucket or a recycleable grocery bag that you can hang on your arm and in which you can put the paper bags, and a pen. I will also have a limited amount of these available for your use also.

Please wear closed-toe shoes and long pants. As usual, we recommend water, hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, long-sleeve shirt, and maybe a camera.


Volunteers (no experience necessary) work to collect seeds which support numerous conservation programs in southeast Texas. This is your way to have a big impact and see prairies not often open to the public.

Seed collecting is a leisurely way to enjoy the prairie and learn prairie grasses. Walk with a companion in the prairie & run your hand up the appropriate seed head. Seeds that easily fall in your hand are ripe for collection.

See you in the Prairie,
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The Katy Prairie Conservancy, 5615 Kirby Drive, Suite 867, Houston, TX 77005
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2017 Prairies & Pollinator Month Flyers & Agendas

Prairie Restoration Workshop Flyer & Agenda on Thursday, October 5 at Katy Prairie Conservancy Field Office – sign up now! Click picture below for printable form of flyer & agenda.


Join us for the many other Prairies & Pollinator Month activities listed at or click this link for a 2-page printable list.


Later this month is Katy Prairie Conservancy’s Conservation Easement Workshop on Friday, October 20. Sign up now! Click picture below for printable form of flyer and agenda:


Not local, but a FREE Native Prairies of Texas event near San Antonio: Wildlife and Grasslands Restoration Workshop at the Kirchoff Family Farm Prairie Restoration area in Wilson County. Saturday, October 28. Sign up now!


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 ( 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
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  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 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.

Father Peter Conaty

111204 IMG_4961  by Lan Shen

Susan an Peter Conaty supporting Deer Park Prairie

Another prairie hero has left us: Father Peter Conaty. Peter and Susan Conaty were instrumental in saving the Nash Prairie and supported efforts to save Deer Park Prairie.

From David Bezanson of The Nature Conservancy:

Peter was rector at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in West Columbia, Texas, and it’s due to the vision and leadership of Peter and Susan, his wife, that TNC was able to acquire Nash Prairie Preserve from the church and hospital district in 2011.

The article below is a reminder of Peter’s eloquence and commitment to conservation:

Peter lived an extraordinarily full and interesting life, which was documented in the local newspaper when he retired from St. Mary’s earlier this year:

Kunda Wicce, NPAT Founding Member

From Kirsti Harms, NPAT board member:

“I see from the Facebook posts that our former president and founding member, Kunda Lee Wicce (Lee Stone) passed away on Saturday August 12. … She was a passionate advocate for prairies….

I found one of the last items Kunda wrote as president in the Fall 2008 [NPAT] Newsletter. It gives a sense of our history. Here’s a photo of her at Daphne Prairie holding grasses, something she always seemed to [be] doing!”

By Kunda Wicce, 2008:

This message makes a good marker for the end of an era of sorts. We were founded in 1985, after eccentric, multi-degreed, prairie-conservation-minded, retired British physician Geoffrey Stanford turned to Dallas kindred spirits Madge Lindsay and Arnold Davis at a special touring tallgrass prairie exhibit—which they had themselves put together—and said something brief like “is there an association in Texas for conserving prairies?” Upon hearing the answer in the negative, Stanford continued with “then we must found one.” And we were. Geoff had something like this in mind when he attended the 1984 North American Prairie Conference—which is put together biennially by whoever is willing to do it—and at the post-meeting stood and asked for approval for Texas volunteers to organize the 1986 NAPC! And they did. We still have proceedings from that conference which focused on Texas prairies—it is an excellent series of papers by our best prairie minds.

I was recruited to the Board of Directors in 1987 by Arnold Davis—another wonderful prairie person who cut his prairie teeth with the Soil Conservation Service during the large-scale replanting and soil stabilization work in the Dust Bowl states. Arnold happily mentored all of us in the ways of restoration, drove all over the state, and wore his love of prairies on his sleeve for all of us to see. R.C. “Rollie” Mauldin was another delightful SCS elder who appeared at almost every field trip and meeting. He exhorted us new prairie people to pay close attention to the native legumes, and to remember that a good restoration needed multiple legume species as some species would be most palatability at different times. So, every time I think of Rollie and mention his name, I pass on his message.

I was very very lucky indeed in those earlier NPAT days to have known our inspiring prairie elders, including Edith Hoyt, and Dr. Paul and Virginia Mezynski. Geoff, Arnold, and R.C. have been gone now for a while. Edith passed away last week. It has been with some sorrow now that I’ve realized I’m the last one on the Board who knew them, which makes me an elder of sorts. They would all be cheering to see we are entering a new era of prairie conservation in Texas!

We are focused and we are increasingly more effective. After laying groundwork—and with Jason Spangler’s business acumen—we have received important grants from the Houston Endowment, the Meadows Foundation, Texas Parks and Wildlife, and the Dixon Water Founda­tion to support professional staff, and—for the next two years—to employ prairie-wise contractors, to actively scour each historic tallgrass prairie county to catalog the remnant fields of tallgrass in this state.

This galvanizing survey across 94 Texas tallgrass counties has already added a few hundred prairie owners to our database. We are finding more tallgrass than was previously guessed and it is our intention to reach out to all these owners, offering praise and celebration of what they and their predecessors have been stewarding since settlement times. We also desire to support a network among all prairie owners, and to share information on management and economic opportunities.

I have now served on the NPAT Board of Directors for 22 years. I am standing for re-election to the board to serve for one more term, to be of whatever assistance I can be during this exhilarating transition time, yet this is my last time to serve as an officer. It has been my honor and my great pleasure to serve in various roles with NPAT over these years, always with eyes on the prize of native grassland conservation. My attention is turning towards international grassland conservation and I want to see in what ways I can be helpful. If I’m blessed and persistent, perhaps someday I’ll be emailing reports to this Journal from a Himalayan grassland plateau!

Prairiely yours,
Kunda Wicce (fna Lee Stone)

Let’s Help NPAT Save The Paul Mathews Prairie!


NPAT has an exciting opportunity to conserve a vibrant prairie in North Texas. The Paul Mathews Prairie is a rare and pristine 100-acre remnant of the Blackland Prairie near Floyd, TX in Hunt County, not far from the well-known Clymer Meadow. For an incredible price of $50,000, NPAT can become the owner of this unique prairie! We believe this is the chance of a lifetime and one that we should not pass up. NPAT only has a limited time to raise the funds to buy this beautiful prairie. We hope you will help us purchase the prairie, cover the land transaction fees, and create an endowment fund for its stewardship & protection. Those of you familiar with the Deer Park Prairie, will know how expensive it is to maintain a prairie and defend it against pressures such as invasive plants, trees and shrubs, etc. without the traditional tools such as fire and bison. We need to raise $50,000 to cover the entire project.

Although the land is already under conservation easement with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), purchasing the property will ensure that NPAT with its vast prairie expertise will be able to manage the preservation of this extremely rare remnant of what was once a dominant habitat in North American and today is one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world.

Hey, Houston Prairie People: if we could do the Deer Park Prairie (~50 acres for ~$4 million), we should be able to do this easy! People from all over the world helped us save the Deer Park Prairie, let’s return the favor! Please donate and pass the word onto your friends & relatives in the DFW area.

Donate now online at this link or by mail (use this form) to Native Prairies Association of Texas, 415 N. Guadalupe St. PMB 385, San Marcos, TX 78666 (please write Mathews Prairie in the memo line of your check if you want to direct your donation specifically to the Mathews Prairie.)

History of the Mathews prairie:  Paul Mathews played in this prairie as a boy in the early 1900s and wanted to preserve it. He finally bought the land in 1969, put it under conservation easement with TNC in the 1980s, and managed it by haying until about 1996. He had received the Lone Star Land Steward award and died at age 101 in 2005. The current owner is Dr. Jim Conrad, a history professor in Commerce, who wants to sell the land and is happy to sell it to NPAT.

Former TNC manager Jim Eidson considers the Mathews Prairie as one of the best representatives of a gamagrass/switchgrass/indiangrass vertisolic (gumbo clay) prairie in Texas. It has very deep gilgai formations.

This prairie has some rare species as well, including a crawfish that was thought to be rare, but now is considered more common than originally thought. Other wildlife information about this prairie can be found at the links below:

Check out the information about the Paul Mathews Prairie at the NPAT website’s home page:


Photo credits. Top: Jason Singhurst. Bottom: Kirsti Harms.