Reminder: THIS Weekend is Bioblitz at Deer Park Prairie

Join us to catalog and view the flora and fauna of Deer Park Prairie!

Pat Merkord, Executive Director of NPAT, will be leading this event. See flyer on our home page HoustonPrairie.org for the entire weekend’s program on Saturday, 10/22 & Sunday, 10/23.

Upcoming Prairie/Plant Events – compiled 150720

Tues, July 21: MD Anderson Prairie, 8:30 am – 10:30 am.  Workday to prune, to remove a few invasive species, and to treat for fire ants. Carpool from KPC office 3015 Richmond Ave., 77098, front parking lot – entrance on Eastside) at 8:10 am. Please RSVP, if possible, to Lan.shen@txgcmn.org

IMG_0659-smWed, July 22: Wildlife of Deer Park Prairie vs Sheldon Lake State Park’s Restored Prairie by TPWD Intern Pablo Pardo at Houston Chapter, Native Prairies Association of TX Meeting. 6:30 pm for refreshment, 7:00 pm, meeting starts. At the Cheries Flores Pavilion in Hermann Park’s Centennial Garden, 1500 Hermann Dr.. Parking lot is across the street from the Health Museum. More information: https://hnpat.wordpress.com/hnpat-activities/monthly-meetings/

Fri, July 24: National Moth Week Night at Deer Park Prairie. The Prairie will be open to visitors starting at 7:00 pm. for an evening walk. Sunset is at 8:20 pm. Katy Emde, our moth expert, will be setting up lights and screens to observe moths after dark. Event ends at 10:00 pm. 1222 E. Purdue Lane, Deer Park, 77536. Since the following morning is bird survey and workday, anyone wishing to camp in the house or in the back yard is welcome. RSVP to HNPAT@TexasPrairie.org is only necessary, if you wish to camp; campers must RSVP. Read about last year’s blog, “Silver Butt Beetle…” and more information about this event.

Sat, July 25:
Deer Park Prairie Bird Survey. 7:30 am.

Deer Park Prairie Seed Collecting with Jaime Gonzalez. 8:30 am – 10:00 am.  Rough coneflower is ready to collect and some Rosinweed.
Deer Park Prairie Workday. 9:00 am – noon. 
1222 E. Purdue Ln, 77536. Help build a viewing platform or set up a growout table, continued. No experience necessary. Contact: HNPAT@TexasPrairie.org or on workday: Glenn Merkord, 1-936-827-7978. Visitors’ information: https://hnpat.wordpress.com/visit-dpp/

Fri, July 31: NPSOT-H & GCMN Native Plant Garden @ Houston Zoo Workday: Meet at the front gate of the Zoo at 8:30 am. We will try to keep the work time short because of the heat. RSVP to HNPAT@TexasPrairie.org and your email will be forwarded to coordinator, Sally Hilliard, in case of changes

Wed, Aug 5: Environmental Educators’ Exchange meeting at Deer Park Prairie. 6:30-7:00 PM Networking and Refreshments; 7:00-7:45 PM Guided tour of Deer Park Prairie; 7:45-8:30 PM EEE Affairs and EEE Roundtable Forum, meeting ends. Non-members welcome. More information: click here.

Sat, Aug 8: Project Blazing Star.  9:00 am – noon, at Pavilion next to 6520 Almeda.  Plant or weed the pocket prairie at Hermann Park’s Bayou Savannah. http://goo.gl/maps/pLe08. Contact: Lan.shen@txgcmn.org.

Thur, Aug 13: GCMN- (native) Plant Propagation Program. (Gulf Coast Master Naturalist) 9:00 am – noon, at Pavilion next to 6520 Almeda http://goo.gl/maps/pLe08.  No experience necessary; anyone interested in working with/learning about native plants is welcome.  Contact: celestemead@hotmail.com or  Lan.shen@txgcmn.org

To Join the Prairie Seed Collection Team and get email announcements whenever we go collecting seeds, please email Lan.shen@txgcmn.org with words “Add me to the seed collection email list.”

Save the Dates: Both at Houston Zoo – Thank You Houston Zoo!!!

  • Saturday, September 19, Native Plant Society of Tx – Houston’s Wildscapes Workshop
  • Thursday – Saturday, November 12-14, Southern Plants & Prairie Conference sponsored by Native Prairie Association of TX & Coastal Prairie Partnership

“Silver Butt Beetle” to the Uncommon Graceful Grass-Veneer Moth to FIREFLIES! at Deer Park Prairie

Katy in front of the light screen that she had set up to attract the insects.

Katy Emde, HNPAT and GCMN (Gulf Coast Master Naturalist) member, gave a talk on moths at the July 24, HNPAT meeting and then led a moth viewing trip to Deer Park Prairie on July 26, an event registered on NationalMothWeek.org.

The field trip was a leisurely way to spend a summer evening, especially after a marathon volunteer workday for some (blog and photos of workday upcoming shortly). Starting at 8:00 p.m., while still light, Katy took the group to view the prairie, especially the Blazing Stars (Liatris sp.) that will soon be mowed.

Back patio at Deer Park Prairie house.

Back patio at Deer Park Prairie house.

When the group returned, it was almost dark and chairs were brought to the side lawn of the Deer Park Prairie headquarter house.  Visitors sat and talked or stood at the two white sheets with black lights (UV lights) that Katy had set up. Katy talked about the many insects that were attracted to the lights. I loved the name we gave to a cute tiny black beetle – silver butt beetle.

"Silver butt beetle"

“Silver butt beetle” by Lan Shen

Afterwards, Katy posted two of the many nocturnal insects that we saw on bugguide.net and emailed: “ …I just submitted two of the moths that we saw to Bugguide with the comment ‘Came to lights during an HNPAT National Moth Week event’.  I wanted you all to get credit for the evening.  One of the moths is a mystery and might be a special one…

Graceful Grass-Veneer Moth by Katy Emde

Graceful Grass-Veneer Moth by Katy Emde

Later she updated her email, writing that the mystery moth “turned out to be Parapediasia decorella, a Graceful Grass-Veneer Moth (Katy’s post).  That is what I thought it might be and after checking three websites that I know, this appears to be the third posted sighting in Texas.  Of course, there may be other postings, other places, or in collections. This is a first for Harris County and the first one in Texas on Bugguide. Pretty cool.  So even on a slow night we were able to add something to the records.”

Pin-striped Slug Moth by Katy Emde

Pin-striped Slug Moth by Katy Emde

The other moth was a Pin-striped Slug Moth (Monoleuca semifascia). Link for Katy’s post. Check out the caterpillar at this link. Note: the photos in Katy’s posts were taken under magnification.

Toward the end of the evening, looking out at the prairie, we saw FIREFLIES! – first I have seen in years!

Thank you Katy, for a delightful talk and evening.  Let’s celebrate National Moth Week every year on the Deer Park Prairie.

Note: Three members of the Fort Bend Master Gardener’s Entomology Group attended Katy’s moth talk at the July HNPAT.  Hope you all will come back to our future meetings!