DPP Education News

Check out a new section of this website. NPAT’s Education Director Della Barbato will be blogging up-to-date news of the Deer Park Prairie Education Program in our new DPP Education News section.

This section can also be accessed by hovering over the top menu “Shell Funds DPP Education” tab. Then click the DPP Education News in the drop down section.

Improve Wildlife Habitat of a Disturbed Property

Photo from the article

In the May, 2019, Texas Wildlife is an article by Keith Pawelek, Associate Director of Texas Naive Seeds Program titled “Land Disturbance, Problem or Opportunity”. The article gives tips on how to use land disturbance as an opportunity to improve the wildlife habitat of a property and can be found at this link: https://issuu.com/texaswildlifeassociation/docs/2019-05-proof5/44. The emphasis is on seeding with native plants.

Thanks to Alyssa Conn for pointing out this article.

For a size to actually read it, hover the cursor on the page and click the full screen icon that appears (on the lower right). Aside: I hate issuu, however, that is the only format where I found the article. How long the link will be active is unknown, so if you want to save the article, take screen shots and save that way.

5th Anniversary + City Nature Challenge at Deer Park Prairie!

Lawther – Deer Park Prairie Preserve
Celebrating the 5-Year Anniversary
of the purchase and conservation easement
that saved this 52-acre incredible prairie remnant

April 27 – Saturday

1222 E Purdue Lane, Deer Park, TX 77536
(Please do not park directly in front of our neighbors’ houses)

Join the Houston Chapter of the Native Prairies Association of Texas for Talks and Tours at the prairie. Wear closed-toe shoes and bring your camera! This is a City Nature Challenge event
(citynaturechallenge.org and previous blog)

7:30 Birding Tour (Prairie open only for bird tour participants)
9:00 Prairie Opens
9:15 iNaturalist Review
9:30 Prairie Plants Talk & Tour
10:30 Insects & Pollinators Talk & Tour
11:30 – 12:30 Complementary Lunch
9:00 AM – 2:00 PM Prairie Open for Visitors

Please register at HoustonPrairie.org, especially if you are planning to lunch with us. (Or register at https://tinyurl.com/DPP190427 ). If convenient, please bring a printed and signed field trip waiver.

Katy Prairie Conservancy’s City Nature Challenge Event

Learn about living organisms on the coastal prairie by participating in two City Nature Challenge events on Houston Prairies:

  • On Saturday, April 27 at Deer Park Prairie in east Harris County. More information here.
  • On Sunday, April 28 at Katy Prairie Conservancy Preserve in far west Harris County. See below.

From a Katy Prairie Conservancy announcement:

Join us for City Nature Challenge! Let’s help Houston win by participating in KPC’s City Nature Challenge Event!
When: Sunday, April 28th from 9 a.m. to noon
Where: Matt Cook Memorial Wildlife Viewing Platform & Rockhollow Creek on the Katy Prairie Conservancy Preserve
What: The City Nature Challenge is a competition between cities of the world using iNaturalist.org. This international bioblitz-style competition asks individuals to find and document plants and wildlife in cities across the world. Houston will compete against other cities to see which one can make the most observations of nature, find the most species, and engage the greatest number of people.
Sound fun? Meet at the Matt Cook Viewing Platform parking lot (Location: http://www.katyprairie.org/visit or google map) at 9:00 a.m., Sunday, April 28. Please dress for the outdoors (closed toe shoes, long pants, hat); also recommended are sunscreen, bug spray, water. Bring your camera and a signed liability release or sign one when you get there. For more information, email Lshen@katyprairie.org.
Note: no bathroom facilities available at the location.
Can’t come? Sign up for an iNaturalist.org (free) account and post photos or sounds (e.g. bird calls) of living organisms from greater Houston (see this link for map of area) between 12 a.m. CDT April 26 and 11:59 p.m. CDT April 29. You do not have to identify the organism. You can take photos to be posted later, but within the contest time span. In order for your photos to count, be sure to turn your location on when taking the photos OR enter the locations manually on the computer, when uploading the photos. For more information, see our previous blog.

City Nature Challenge 2019

Help Houston Win the City Nature Challenge (citynaturechallenge.org), April 26 – April 29!

Cities around the world will be competing to see who can make the most observations of nature, find the most species, and engage the most people in the 2019 City Nature Challenge.

To participate is quite easy:

  • Open a free account on iNaturalist
  • Take photos or record sound (e.g. birds, frogs) of living organisms; record location of this observation. Observations must be made and posted between April 26 – April 29.
  • Post your observations on iNaturalist. Either take the photo with location feature on or enter the location manually later on the computer.
  • You do not need to ID your observations.

Photo from citynaturechallenge.org

For your observation to count for Houston, it must be within the area on the map here: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2019-houston (scroll down).

Organized events for CNC in greater Houston are listed at this link. Learn more about living organisms on the prairie at these two prairie CNC events:

  • Deer Park Prairie’s Spring Wildflower Day on Saturday, April 27. More information at this blog: https://houstonprairie.org/2019/04/24/5yr-dpp-cnc/
  • Katy Prairie Conservancy’s CNC event at Matt Cook Viewing Platform & Rockhollow Creek on Sunday, April 28. More information here.

See below for the CNC ID Party at the Houston Arboretum on May 1.

City Nature Challenge ID Party

Monarch Butterfly Conservation Webinars

The USFWS has partnered with the Monarch Joint Venture to develop a series of webinars on monarch biology, monitoring, and conservation: monarchjointventure.org/resources/monarch-conservation-webinar-series. Use this link to register for upcoming webinars or for links to recorded webinars, if you are like me and forget or do not have time to participate in a live webinar.

Webinars to date for 2019:

  • The first webinar of the 2019 Monarch Conservation Series Webinar Title: Western Monarch Population down by 99%: How you can help. Date/Time: Tuesday, February 26th at 2PM ET (1pm Central, 12pm Mountain, 11am Pacific
  • Monarch Butterfly Population Modeling. Date/Time: Tuesday, March 19th at 2PM EDT (1pm Central, 12pm Mountain, 11am Pacific)
  • Monarchs in a Web of Life: Predators, Parasites, and Disease.  Date/Time: Tuesday, March 26th at 2PM EDT (1pm Central, 12pm Mountain, 11am Pacific)

View recorded webinars at  https://nctc.fws.gov/topic/online-training/webinars/monarch-conservation.html . Click the desired video title under the “video screen”



Fantastic Plant Database by Larry Allain

Many of you might remember years ago, the wonderful CD with Larry Allain’s plant database that was no longer useable after Windows XP expired. Now that data and more is on the web! Location https://warcapps.usgs.gov/PlantID/

Although the database is titled “Plants of Louisiana”, it contains many, many of the plants found in Greater Houston, the plants of the coastal prairie habitat. This database is searchable by scientific name or common name or PLANT CHARACTER. This last would be useful to identify a plant.

Character Search page

Below is the type of data given for the plant Indian plantain

Arnoglossum ovatum

Arnoglossum ovatum p2

Information on individual plants include features that will help identify the plant such as height, leaf shape, leaf margin, bloom time… as well as propagation and cultural information and wildlife usage and so much more.

The only information lacking for us in Texas are the counties where a particular plant occurs. However, that can be found by cross referencing the plant, using preferably the scientific name, on the USDA Plant database (https://plants.sc.egov.usda.gov/java/ ) or BONAP (http://www.bonap.org/)


April HNPAT Meeting:

Wildlife of Maddin Prairie after 20 Years Restoration

by Pat Merkord, President of NPAT Board
Wednesday, April 24, 2019; 6:30 p.m. social / 7:00 p.m. program starts
Red Cross Building, 2700 Southwest Freeway, Houston, TX 77098
For more information and see prairie dog photo, go to our home page: HoustonPrairie.org