Upcoming HNPAT Events

Save the Date: Saturday, July 17: Moth Night at Lawther – Deer Park Prairie Preserve

As they become available, updated information on this event will be posted on the homepage of HoustonPrairie.org.

Upcoming Chapter Meetings

Wednesday, July 28 via Zoom: Lauren Simpson on Pollinators 

Wednesday, August 25 via Zoom: Jenny McCarthy of SWCA on Sage Grouse Study

Save the Date: Saturday, September 25, 6-9pm: Party for the Prairie

Join us for a fun evening of dinner and fundraiser for the Lawther-Deer Park Prairie Education Program at the Silver Sycamore, 5111 Pine Avenue, Pasadena, TX 77503 (silversycamore.com)

For NPAT Members: Big Houston Museum of Natural Science Discount!

15% off Museum Memberships for Native Prairies Association of Texas* members & friends

Discount Code:    NPATX15
Offer expires:       9/30/2021
Redeem here:      www.hmns.org/joinnow 

* 15% off applies to Dual-level memberships & above [Single? Get with a friend for a dual membership. “You can join with a friend for a dual membership. Each can give their own name and email, but only one physical mailing address.”]
* Memberships start at $65 with offer
(Note: all hyerlinks are in the text below or in the linked pdf version of flyer.)

HMNS flyer exp 9.30.21 - GO NPATX

Text of flyer:

Museum members receive unlimited free admission to the permanent exhibition halls and big discounts on special-ticketed exhibitions, events, Butterfly Center, Planetarium, Summer Camps, Museum Store and more! Members-only perks include priority ticket line and invitations to exclusive events.

Not only will an HMNS membership feed your love of science and the natural world, it supports science education in your community.

Think Native Prairies Assoc. museum meet-ups! An outing to see African and Texas wildlife, dinosaurs, geologic wonders, Imperial treasures and more—in air-conditioned comfort—is easy and free with HMNS membership.

Questions? contact membership@hmns.org

More Info: 

Why membership?
Museum membership opens the door for you to visit again and again! Membership includes HMNS in Hermann Park and HMNS at Sugar Land.

You can’t see the entire museum all in one day. One day you may need a dinosaur fix, then a stroll through ancient Egypt the next. How about a trek through a butterfly-filled rainforest?

The wide-open spaces in the galleries and venues allow your family to distance and explore.

Memberships support science education in the Houston area by immediately contributing to our overhead allowing the lowest possible prices for school field trips.

HMNS, Museum District
5555 Hermann Park Drive
Houston, Texas 77030

HMNS @ Sugar Land
13016 University Blvd.
Sugar Land, Texas 77479


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.

Agenda for ALL Tx Prairie Enthusiasts: Bus to Tx-Cajun Prairie Symposium 9/24-25

Should be fun, join us on the bus:


Link to Agenda *** Link to Registration, Cost, Hotel info *** Link to Sponsorship Letter ***
Scroll down for special offer to NPAT members

Join us on the bus, when Texas prairie enthusiasts travel from Houston (tentatively from Rice University) by bus (where we have a chance to socialize and network with each other) to the USGS’ Wetland and Acquatic Research Center in Lafayette, La. There we will meet with prairie enthusiasts of the Cajun Prairie Habitat Preservation Society and have an afternoon of informative presentations (see agenda).

Following that will be an evening Cajun Party and Fais-do-do!

On Sunday, there will be a tours of the Eunice Cajun Prairie and the Duralde Prairie followed by lunch and the bus ride back to Houston.

Note on hotel rooms in Lafayette: there are rooms with 2 queen size beds, so cost can be shared. Cutoff date for getting the reduced conference room rate is September 3, 2016

Offer: members (or new members) of Native Prairies Association of Texas (NPAT) from outside of Houston are invited to bring a sleeping bag and spend the night of Sept. 23 and/or Sept. 25 at the Deer Park Prairie house (there are some beds and lots of floor space; 1222 E. Purdue Lane 77536) or at Pat Merkord’s (Executive Director of NPAT) house in Conroe. Space limited. Reply to Lan.shen@txgcmn.org to reserve your space.

Register Now!


7/10/16: First NPAT Prairie Mapping Expedition in Harris County

To RSVP for this event: email Pat@Merkord.com or call 1-936-827-7973

NPAT's first prairie mapping expedition in Harris County. Participation in previous mapping classes/talks NOT a requirement.

NPAT’s first prairie mapping expedition in Harris County. Participation in previous mapping classes/talks NOT a requirement. Email Pat@Merkord.com or call 1-936-827-7973 to RSVP.

Flyer – Southern Plains & Prairie Conference 2015

SouthernPlainsConferenceSouthern Plains & Prairie Conference
(was from 2009-2014 State of the Prairie Conference)
is back in Houston!!!
November 12-14 at Houston Zoo
See www.SouthernPlainsConference.org
Click here to register or
URL: http://tinyurl.com/RegisterSPP2015

To get flyer in pdf, click above picture or here
Check out the Agenda & Workshop under “Programs” tab
Want to be a sponsor? Click the “Sponsor” tab to see levels of sponsorship

This year’s conference will bring together the best minds in prairie conservation from throughout the states of Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and beyond. These experts will provide practical methods to restore, conserve, manage, enjoy, and educate about our valuable and vulnerable prairies. Our conference experience is designed for a broad audience: private landowners, natural resource professionals, governmental agencies, educators, landscape architects, naturalists, volunteers, and others looking for real-world solutions. Each experience and presentation will be rated from novice to expert to assist our guests in choosing the learning experience which best suits their needs.

Blaze and Graze and other upcoming events

NPAT email on October 3, 2014

Fall is a busy time for Texas prairies!
View this email in your browser
Pat Merkord speaks to chapters

Native Prairies Association of Texas

Invites you to…

2nd Annual Blaze and Graze:
A Prairie Celebration

Join us for tours and dinner!

When: Afternoon and evening of Saturday, November 8
Where: Mustang Creek Country Club, Taylor, TX
Cost: $50 per person (children 14 years and under are free)
Come to one or all events – cost covers all plus dinner
Proceeds support NPAT efforts to conserve and restore native prairies.

Prairie Tours:
Tours will run throughout the day at local prairie sites. Choose from birding, grass & forb identification, butterfly and insect surveys, a general prairie tour, local blackland prairie history and more. Check our website for updates and details.

Prairie Celebration Dinner:
Join NPAT at the Mustang Creek Country Club in Taylor for dinner, presentations on local blackland prairies and volunteer appreciation awards. A silent auction will feature prairie photography and other items.



October is Prairie Month!

The Blackland (Dallas) Chapter presents:

The Blackland (Dallas) NPAT chapter will host a presentation by author and prairie expert Matt White.

What: Blacklands NPAT chapter monthly meeting
When: Monday, October 6 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Where: Dallas Academy, 950 Tiffany Way, Dallas, TX (west side of Lake Highlands and Buckner Blvd.) in the Cafeteria/Auditorium

“Our misunderstandings of the prairie is still evident in the way we use language to describe our experience there. When prairie enthusiasts speak to each other about visiting a native prairie we always describe ourselves as being on the prairie. But to know the prairie you have to go into it-the same way you would go into a forest. A healthy native prairie has height and structure and is thus three-dimensional, but to see this requires us to a look a little more carefully— to change our perspective and our way of thinking.” page 19 – Matt White, author of Prairie Time: A Blackland Portrait

Author and Blackland prairie expert, Matt White will speak. Copies of his books Prairie Time: A Blackland Portrait and The Birds of Northeast Texas will be available for purchase. Cash or check accepted.

Osage Moon Field Trip – November 15th, mid-day

Amy Martin and Scooter Smith invite you to explore Osage Moon, an hour northeast of Dallas in Fannin County near Bonham. Three small parcels—a 1930 family homestead, a 22-acre horse farm, and an abandoned parcel of woods—were combined into 75 acres of wildlife habitat reclamation with 6 miles of trails.

For 20 years we’ve fostered prairies and battled invasives such as cedar/juniper, lespedeza and KM bluestem. Sometimes successfully! Sometimes not. We’d enjoy showing you what we’ve learned and hope to learn much from you as well.

Discover how tallgrass prairie resurrection efforts in a former Bermuda pasture compare to prairie in an abandoned pasture taken over by cedar infestation. See how chemical agriculture in a former cotton field impacted prairie resurrection efforts. Learn about the Texas program of converting family farms and ranches to wildlife habitat while retaining the deeply discounted ag tax rate. About 1 mile of hiking.

For woods aficionados, take an optional additional 1.5 mile hike into Osage Moon’s Back Forty: 40 acres abandoned since the late 1800s and overgrown with invasive trees. See how thinning an overgrown cedar elm forest rejuvenated the understory. Understand the stages of cedar/juniper infestation, its devastation of groundcover and understory, and impact on erosion. Visit the Secret Grove, where seeps allow hardwoods to keep cedar at bay. Take the Funky Trunk crossing to the Moonrise Meadow, where removing cedars enabled KM bluestem to gain the upper hand.

Fans of sustainable building will appreciate Osage Moon’s passive solar, high efficiency, concrete home designed by Gary Olp. You are invited to share a potluck lunch before hiking and discuss efforts to turn Fannin County into a nature destination and waterfowl corridor.


The Houston Chapter presents:


Thursday, October 23 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
at Lawther – Deer Park Prairie Preserve

Location: 1222 E. Purdue Lane, Deer Park, TX 77536

Ghosts and Goblins (Friends of NPAT all!) are invited for a night of creepy critter snacks and a view the bone collection! Includes a prairie-themed Halloween costume contest. Come in a costume or dressed as you are. Prizes will be awarded to winners.
A presentation on haunted prairie cemeteries, ghosts, ghost towns and the strange creatures of the prairie will follow with a ghostly night walk across the prairie to the edge of the cemetery and back (hopefully!). Wear walking shoes, bring plenty of insect repellant and a flashlight or headlamp for the walk across the prairie. Parking is available at the church down the street or in front of the house.


Saturday, October 25

Join NPAT and the Houston Sierra Club on a field trip to several prairies and savannahs in the Big Thicket. We will first visit Marysee Prairie, which is the only native prairie in the Big Thicket that has been preserved. We will then visit Hickory Creek Savannah Unit of Big Thicket National Preserve to view a Longleaf Pine – Little Bluestem Savannah. Finally, we will visit the Watson Rare Native Plant Preserve to see a Wetland Pine Savannah.

For more details, go to http://texasprairie.org/index.php/news_and_events/

The Blackland Chapter presents:

, October 6 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

At the Dallas Academy, 950 Tiffany Way, (west side of Lake Highlands and Buckner Blvd.) in the Cafeteria/Auditorium
Author and Blackland prairie expert, Matt White will speak. Copies of his books Prairie Time: A Blackland Portrait and The Birds of Northeast Texas will be available for purchase. Cash or check accepted.

The Fort Worth Chapter presents:


Saturday, October 11 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
at Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT)

1700 University Drive, Fort Worth
Pat Merkord, Executive Director of Native Prairies Association of Texas will show how to acquire skills to recognize native remnant prairies in this hands on workshop that will train you to recognize indicator species, how to use the internet to locate potential prairie sites, how to record data and report it. Identification of major native prairie grasses and indicator forbs will be focused on with lots of specimens to work with. BRIT’s beautiful outdoor landscaping with native prairie plants will provide an outdoor opportunity to see live specimens and we will have lunch on the grounds, so please bring a sack lunch and walking shoes.
Cost of Workshop: $25 Members and $35 Non-Members, $10 Students (must bring student ID to the workshop)


Monday, October 13, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

at the Presbyterian Church at 8700 Chapin Road, Fort Worth, TX 76116
This meeting features a presentation by Don and Debra Young of Tandy Hills Natural Area. This is part of a series of presentations on the prairies of the Fort Worth area.


Saturday October 18th
Tandy Hills Natural Area

Location: 3400 View Street, Fort Worth 76103
Join the Fort Worth chapter for a hike at the 160 acre remnant of Fort Worth prairie. Details coming!

The Fort Worth NPAT Chapter Meeting:

When: August 11, 2014, 6:30 to 8:00 PM
Location: Westside Presbyterian Church,
8700 Chapin Road, Fort Worth, TX 76116

Join us for the second official meeting of the Fort Worth Chapter of Native Prairies Association of Texas.

At this meeting we will be deciding on programs and projects for the upcoming year. This will be a very important meeting to get the organization going.
There will also be a brief presentation on Conservation Easements.

In June, a meeting was held in Fort Worth to determine the desire to form a new Fort Worth NPAT chapter. The response was overwhelming with 45 attending the meeting.
A steering committee was formed to provide an agenda for the meeting and come up with proposals for the coming year.

Congratulations Fort Worth prairie enthusiasts and members on your efforts and support to protect our native prairie heritage!

Copyright © 2014 Native Prairies Association of Texas, All rights reserved.
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July, 2014 HNPAT Announcements – News – Blogs – Photos

Deer Park Prairie - June 28 Wildflower Tour.  140628

Deer Park Prairie – June 28 Wildflower Tour. 140628

Hi all,

Please, scroll down to view the details for each of these items:

  1. ​​***Volunteers needed*** for 3 urgent invasive and non-native species removal workdaysJuly19, 21, & 26. We are trying to removed >2 inch diameter woodies and Chinese tallow before the brush hog treatment in August. RSVP not required. Click link or see attachment for details.
  2. Join a volunteer email list – Although we are eager for you to participate, joining the list does not obligate your participation. It just allows us to keep the general HNPAT emails to 1-3 times per month.
    • For Deer Park Prairie monthly workday (to be established) – please indicate availability
    • For HNPAT – NPSOT-H publicity committee (format email announcements in desired formats and forward as time permits)
    • For planning October Prairie Month
  3. Upcoming Events: (scroll down for details)
    • Thursday, July 17: Field Trip to Memorial Park Prairie: View Native Prairie Plants Growing in Nature & Tips for Using Them in Your Garden:”. Afterwards go to Houston Arboretum (4501 Woodway Dr.) and hear Michael Eckenfels on “Gardening for Bees is Conservation for Everyone” at the NPSOT-H meeting.
    • Saturday, July 19: 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Mainly invasive control at Deer Park Prairie. Come when you can and stay as long as you wish for mainly.  Some inside jobs in A/C also. See attachment.
    • Saturday, July 19: Seed collecting with TPWD intern Sarah Lindell at Marysee Prairie in E. Texas, 8:30 a.m. – Noon. Attached map & flyer.
    • Monday, July 21: 9:00 a.m. – noon. Invaisve control at Deer Park Prairie. See attachment.
    • Thursday, July 24: 6:45 p.m. HNPAT Meeting – Night Flight: Prairie Moths & Other Night Insects by Katy Emde
    • Saturday, July 26: 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Mainly invasive control at Deer Park Prairie. Come when you can and stay as long as you wish for mainly.  Some inside jobs in A/C also. See attachment.
    • Saturday, July 26: 8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.  Night Field trip – Night Flight: Prairie Moths & Other Night Insects, at Deer Park Prairie
  1. Latest HNPAT News & Photos:


***************  1  ****************

Volunteers neededfor 3 urgentinvasive and non-native species removal workdays in July. Click link or see attachment for details. Come when you can and stay as long as you wish during these times.  Indoor (in A/C) volunteer opportunities also available. Food & water provided. Volunteers will be allowed to collect limited amount of selected seeds for personal use. If you know you are coming, please help us plan and RSVP to HNPAT@TexasPrairie.org. Otherwise, just come.

  • Saturday, July 19 – 8:00 am – 6:00pm
  • Monday, July 21 – 9:00am – noon
  • Saturday, July 26 – 8:00am – 7:00pm


***************  2  ****************

Join volunteer list(s): please reply which email list(s) you would like to join. Although we are eager for you to participate, joining the list does not obligate your participation. It just allows us to keep the general HNPAT emails to 1-3 times per month.

  • For Deer Park Prairie – We would like to establish a regular MONTHLY workday at Deer Park Prairie. Anyone interested, please reply and let us know the day of the week (i.e. mornings of all Wed, all Thur except 2nd Thurs, Sat mornings only…) you would be available.  Activities involve invasive control, perhaps transects, seed collecting, updating the house, mowing the lawn by the house, landscaping the front and side yard with prairie plants for an appropriate entrance to the prairie…
  • For HNPAT – NPSOT-H publicity committee right now Jacqueline Smith & sometime I have been sending out publicity emails to CEC, Kathy Huber, community newspapers (when we get a chance), online event calendars (when we get a chance)…. We would like to organize a committee to do this for HNPAT and NPSOT-H events. Someone on the committee will generate a blurb for each event and then whenever a  volunteer has time, he/she will go to a shared google document and initial the venue to which he/she is placing an announcement and then send the announcement via email.  Participants will be able to volunteer as their time allows.
  • Planning October Prairie Month Prairie Month is an opportunity to highlight prairie activities in the Greater Houston area. If we can get some help, we are planning to design a page that participants can print out and receive a stamp at each activity. One or more prizes will be offered to the person or persons who participated in the most number of activities. We need help planning this activity.


***************  3  ****************

Upcoming Events:

    • Thursday, July 17: 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. “View Native Prairie Plants Growing in Nature & Tips for Using Them in Your Garden: Field Trip to Memorial Park Prairie”. The Native Plant Society of Texas – Houston (NPSOT-H) and the Houston Chapter of the Native Prairies Association of Texas are sponsoring monthly one-hour visits to the high quality prairie remnant adjacent to the railroad track and in the Center Point easement in Memorial Par​k. Many prairie plant​s ​rare ​to our area​ grow here. This month we will visit the NE quadrant​. Meet at 6:00 p.m. at the pedestrian bridge parking lot south of Memorial Drive. Contact HNPAT@TexasPrairie.org for specifics. Free. Afterwards go to Houston Arboretum (4501 Woodway Dr.) and at 7:30 p.m. hear Michael Eckenfels talk about “Gardening for Bees is Conservation for Everyone”at the NPSOT-H meeting.
    • Saturday, July 19: 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. – Come when you can and stay as long as you wish for invasive removal at Deer Park Prairie. See item #1.
    • Saturday, July 19: Seed collecting with TPWD intern, Sarah Lindell ( lindell.sarah@yahoo.com ), at Marysee Prairie in E. Texas. 8:30 a.m. (at Marysee Prairie) to Noon. See attached flyer & map. Location: 220 County Road 2077, Hull, TX 77564 ( http://goo.gl/maps/WzmCg ). For carpooling possibilities, email HNPAT@TexasPrairie.org.
    • Monday, July 21: 9:00 a.m. – noon – invasive removal at Deer Park Prairie. See item #1.
    • Thursday, July 24:  July HNPAT monthly meeting: “Night Flight: Prairie Moths & Other Night Insects”by Katy Emde, Texas Master Naturalist, board member of the Native Plant Society of Texas – Houston, etc.  Katy’s talk on prairie moths, pollinators, and nocturnal insects will be followed two days later by a field trip to see these insects at Deer Park Prairie.  This two-part event is part of the 2014 Prairie Power Series & RSVP is required for the field trip (see below).  Details: 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., presentation at 7:00 p.m.; 3015 Richmond Avenue (parking lot entrance on Eastside), 1st floor conference room. Registered with National Moth Week.
    • Saturday, July 26 – 8:00am – 7:00pm – Come when you can and stay as long as you wish for invasive removal at Deer Park Prairie. See item #1. OR come in late afternoon for invasive removal, join us for dinner (provided by NPAT), and stay for the nighttime field trip.


  • Saturday, July 26:  Nighttime Field trip, 8:00 p.m. – 10 p.m., “Night Flight: Prairie Moths & Other Night Insects at Deer Park Prairie” Katy Emde will lead us to look for nocturnal insects including native moths. Registration required for July 26 field trip – register here or go to http://prairiepartner.org/page/prairie-power-series


For other future events: check out the Calendar at http://HNPAT.wordpress.com


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Latest HNPAT News & Photos:

Follow our blogs at http://HNPAT.wordpress.com to get the latest information directly in your email box as they are posted. Go to the website and click the follow button (left-hand column near top)

Recent News:

Thanks to all who responded by email and came to the open HNPAT board meeting. Attending were Linda Knowles, Mark Morgenstern, Hazel Potvin, Don Verser, Barbara Willy, and Lan Shen.  We had a productive evening discussing goals and how to measure them. General consensus is that we would like to keep our current members happy with desired programs and and yet try new ways and new types of programs to attract the general public. Other ideas were to have more field trips, more plant related programs, maybe a series of programs leading to a project. No conclusions were reached – we need to have more meetings to explore which goals to set and means of measurement.

On June 21, NPAT Board (board of our parent organization) met at Deer Park Prairie.  In regard to HNPAT membership, the NPAT Board did approve a motion that NPAT members with registration address in Harris and its surrounding counties () would automatically become HNPAT members; 20% of their dues would be available for local use. Currently, NPAT is organizing chapters in Fort Worth, Dallas, and Austin and using HNPAT as a model. Read more NPAT news at www.TexasPrairie.org.

Pauline Singleton (June), Kelly Walker, and Kelly’s friend Carlton (July) rode with Pat Merkord, NPAT Executive Director, to NPAT’s Maddin Prairie in Mitchell County and volunteered and had a great time on the prairie.  Kelly also went with Pat to Talbot Prairie. See a list of NPAT prairies at http://texasprairie.org/index.php/npat_prairies/. Whenever NPAT staff or board go to these prairies, they welcome people wishing to join them – another way, HNPAT members can join prairie field/work trips.

In August, NPAT has hired a hayer to come to Deer Park Prairie with a brush hog to cut down everything under two inches diameter, hence the workdays in July to remove species that need to be removed before the brush hog comes through.  For example, the Chinese tallow need to be treated with herbicide as soon as it is cut, so needs removal, as do some of the larger diameter woodies that is not part of an established motte.  Pat has called a meeting to update the DPP management plan for morning of July 22.  Anyone with a background in prairie management and is interested in the process, please reply and your email will be forwarded to Pat Merkord.


June, July 2014 Prairie Activities in Photos Click the link to see selected photos of recent HNPAT and other prairie activities and see more photos at our Flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/hnpat. To view list of albums, go to https://www.flickr.com/photos/hnpat/sets/. Below is just a screen shot of some of the photos.

June July activities gallery screen shot 140715

Other Blogs on the website:


Lan Shen

President, Houston Chapter, Native Prairies Association of Texas

ANYONE may subscribe to the HNPAT email list by replying (or request to HNPAT@texasprairie.org) with subject “Subscribe to HNPAT”.  Your email will only be passed on to NPAT, our parent organization, and no other, and you may unsubscribe from either email list at any time.

NPAT website: www.TexasPrairie.org

Coastal Prairie Partnership http://prairiepartner.org/
Prairie Seed Council  http://www.prairieseedco.org

NPAT’s Maddin Property

Highway 71

On the way: Hwy 71 between Llano and Brady is particularly stunning right now.

At the beginning of June, Kirsti Harms, President of Native Prairies Association of Texas (NPAT) & Austin resident, took a quick trip to NPAT’s  Maddin Prairie, a 1100 acre prairie in Mitchell County owned and managed by NPAT.   This was her report dated June 8, 2014:

“One of our neighbors is interested in leasing [Maddin Prairie] for short term grazing. I wanted to check out our fences. I’d like to discuss this option. It would help us fulfill our CRP  terms for 2014–we need to burn, mow or graze. [Note: CRP stands for Conservation Reserve Program. It’s a federal program that pays landowners to keep former cropland out of production, but it also requires some management practices. We need to burn, mow or graze some of our pastures this year. http://www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/webapp?area=home&subject=copr&topic=crp]
I thought it was supposed to be a sunny weekend in west Texas, but yesterday evening I noticed some dark looking clouds on the horizon.

Maddin Sky

Maddin Sky

By 4 a.m. the storm arrived with a second round at dawn. A weather radio or weather app would be very handy out there. It is so hard to get a reliable weather report for this area and these spring storms can get a bit scary. But I did get some really good sky shots and the temps were nice and cool…


Morning Sky at Maddin Prairie

Morning Sky at Maddin Prairie

Otherwise, they’ve recently had rain and it shows.Things are about as green as it gets out west. The creek is up a bit, but they’ll need a lot more rain to get it running again. Still lots of bird activity. Northern bobwhite quail were everywhere–running around wondering why I’m driving on their roads. Heard several scaled quail calling in the vicinity of the trailer.

I counted 30 prairie dogs when I approached the colony on foot. That’s the most I’ve been able to see at one time. They tend to run and hide when I get too close. A couple even stayed out and “barked” at me as I did a walk around the town.
On my way home, on Hwy 208 to San Angelo, a badger lumbered across the road! That’s my first badger sighting.”
NPAT’s Pat Merkord from Conroe plus Kirsti Harms and Phillip Quast from Austin make frequent trips to Maddin Prairie.  Anyone wishing to visit this prairie or help maintain this prairie (especially Mitchell County residents or Texas Master Naturalists), please contact info@texasprairie.org.