Updated 7/13/17: UP (Urban Prairie) Team Events July, 2017

UP (Urban Prairie) Team Events July, 2017

Details of all events (regular and special) are on our calendar tinyurl.com/UPTeamCal

Changed: Friday, July 14, St. Thomas University Prairie, 9:00 am – noon

Join University of St. Thomas students for a workday at their prairie.
Address: 4103 Graustark., Houston, TX 77006
Monday, July 17, Willow Waterhole Demonstration Native Gardens, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
From Hazel Potvin: “We have 8 smallish gardens with concrete walkways around them so people can visit and observe. We are currently trying to get the weeds down in the gardens which were planted in March with plants from the City of Houston Natural Resources Dept. We work from 6-8 in the evenings because of the heat. The address is 5500 block of S. Willow. We drive up into the area but you can park at The Gathering Place at 5310 S. Willow and walk over. ” To RSVP and for more information, contact Hazel Potvin, email: hazelnut856@yahoo.com
May Be Changed. Updates will be posted on calendar next week:  Friday, July 21, Buffalo Bayou Park, Prairie Area Workday, 9:00 am – noon
For detailed information on meeting location and parking, please check the calendar, tinyurl.com/UPTeamCal,  for updates a few days before the event or contact JGonzalez@KatyPrairie.org
Cancelled: Friday, July 28, UH Downtown Pocket Prairie
Reason:  The construction in Johnny Goyen Park, site of the UHD Pocket Prairie, continues and appears unlikely to be completed by July 28th.

Regular monthly UP Team volunteer events are now posted on the calendar: tinyurl.com/UPTeamCal

Check the calendar for details.
  • 1st Saturdays: Hermann Park, Bayou Savannah Workday (near 6520 Almeda)
  • 2nd Wednesday: Deer Park Prairie Workday
  • 2nd Thursdays: Native (and mostly prairie) plant propagation at City of Houston Greenhouse at Memorial Park
  • 2nd Saturdays: Hermann Park, Whistlestop Prairie Workday (near Japanese Garden)
  • 4th Thursdays: Native (and mostly prairie) plant propagation at City of Houston Greenhouse at Memorial Park
  • 4th Saturdays: Deer Park Prairie Workday
  • 4th Saturdays: Hermann Park, Bayou Savannah Workday (near 6520 Almeda)

August Preview:

  • Monday, August 21, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm – Willow Waterhole Demonstration Native Plant Gardens
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.

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.

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 HoustonPrairie.org 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!



Join the Urban Prairie (UP) Team!

Want to volunteer for prairie related activities close to home? Want to visit different urban prairie installations and learn from many prairie experts?

Several parks and schools mostly within Beltway 8 need volunteers to establish and/or maintain urban pocket prairies. Here is your chance to help! Sign up today to receive regular notices about upcoming events. More information in the flyer. Check our UP Team Calendar.


Prairie Booth Volunteer Needed: 10/15/16 – KBR Kids Day on Buffalo Bayou


VOLUNTEERS needed for the PRAIRIE BOOTH on Saturday, October 15, 11:00 am – 3:00 pm. Kids Day on Buffalo Bayou“. We would like to have at least 2 people, so booth attendants can switch off and check out the festivities there. Check out other activities below.

Booth supplies and activities will be provided and can be picked up at the Katy Prairie Conservancy office, 5615 Kirby Dr #867, Houston, TX 77005. Instructions (not much needed) will be given. Gulf Coast Master Naturalists will be given volunteer hours.

If you are interested, please contact Lan (HNPAT@TexasPrairie.org)


More December, 2015 Seed Collecting Trips

Sign up to be on the seed collecting email announcement list – email HNPAT​@TexasPrairie.org


Seed Collecting
Friday, 12/11/15 @ Nash Prairie
Sunday, 12/13/15 @ Deer Park Prairie
Friday, 12/18/15 @ UH Coastal Center in La Marque
Seed Collecting at Nash Prairie, 10-12-15
Seed Collecting at Nash Prairie on 10/12/2015

Hi Seed Collectors,

Please join us for more seed collecting events this month (scroll down for details for each event).

  • Friday, December 11, 2015, 10:00 a.m. – noon or later at Nash Prairie just south of Brazos Bend State Park
  • ​Sunday, December 13, 2015, 1:00 pm to ~4:00 pm​ at Deer Park Prairie​ with Lan
  • Friday, December 18, 2015, 9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. at UH Coastal Center with Jaime​ & Lan

Please RSVP with your cell phone number and indicate which event. You will be given date of event contact number.​ Late deciders are also welcome, but please know that we will not be able to contact you in case of cancellation.

Seed collecting is a leisurely way to enjoy the prairie and learn prairie plants. Walk with a companion in the prairie & run your hands up the appropriate seed head. Seeds that easily fall in your hand are ripe for collection. Or walk with a pair of scissors/pruners to cut off seeds with tough stems.

As always, wear closed-toe shoes and long pants. Bring clippers if you have them.  Also recommended are long-sleeved shirt, hat, water, insect repellent, sunscreen.

*** Specific Information Below for Each Event ***

Nash Prairie: Friday, December 11, 2015, 10 a.m. – noon or later.  From Susan Conaty, email sent 12/4/15:

Same Place Same Time

Liatris acidota – 10/12/2015

Thank you everyone who came out today to help collect liatris [Liatris acidota] for The Nature Conservancy. Your time and effort are greatly appreciated. It was such a beautiful successful day that we are going to collect again next Friday December 11th at 10:00 A.M.

If you have an electric hedge trimmer please bring it if you can, it will make the work easier.  Otherwise, bring the usual for seed collecting, scissors, paper sacks, gloves.  If you don’t have any of the above I will bring some extra.

You are welcome to hand collect seed for yourself or other project, after we collect for TNC

No facilities on the Nash.
Bring water

Meet at Nash Prairie
24110 County Road 25
(Or 29.254653,-95.60277)
Park on Orozimbo Rd (Cty Rd 255)
Damon, TX 77430
Driving Directions


Deer Park Prairie: Sunday, December 13, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.​
1222 E. Purdue Lane, Deer Park, TX 77536
Please bring a signed liability release: adult or adult+children .  Check out our newly completed viewing platform while you are there.

UH Coastal Center: ​Friday, December 18, 9:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Join Jaime & Lan for seed collecting at UH Coastal Center (usually not open to the public).
Meet in front of the gate in La Marque, TX, google map: https://goo.gl/maps/X3plH .  Please arrive on time, so we can go through the locked gate together.

Reminder: No facilities at UH Coastal Center.

See you on the prairie,


Come and help us collect prairie seeds, experience the prairie, help restoration efforts and also take some seeds home for your own garden.

Please send comments about your seed collecting trips to share with other prairie enthusiasts. Be sure to post photos of seed collecting trips at the CPP website: prairiepartner.org or send the photos to Lan Shen, HNPAT@TexasPrairie.org, and I will post them and credit the photos to you.

Information about this project, the individual teams, the seeds that we are collecting and when they would be ripe are online at http://prairiepartner.org/group/prairie-seed-council-of-texas.

Visit Prairies All Over Texas with NPAT

Visit prairies in Mitchell County, Walker County, Harris County, and Bowie County by joining NPAT staff in plant/wildlife surveys.  For Texas Master Naturalists, ask your local chapter as to whether the hours would count as volunteer hours.
See below for specifics

Field Trip for Volunteers To Maddin Prairie Preserve – May 11th – 17th

Field Trip for Volunteers To Maddin Prairie PreserveMitchell County, Texas near Colorado City
Saturday & Sunday May 16 & 17, 2015 and/or Week of 11-15 May

Join the Native Prairies Association Staff to Survey Breeding Birds, Document Plants, Butterflies & Animals, Assist in Mesquite Control Project, Gate/Sign Installation. Prairie Dog and Horned Lizard Monitoring. Urgent Need for Volunteers!

We are interested in forming carpools from Austin, Fort Worth, Dallas and Houston for the weekend or during the week. Campsites are available and motel/lodging can be found in nearby Colorado City.  We may be able to provide some camping equipment and food will be provided for those that attend. We received grants that provided funds for mesquite control but we need volunteers to help cut and treat mesquite to meet our match. All our spring surveys must also be conducted. If you are interested in volunteering and would like information to coordinate travel and accommodations please let us know. There is no charge from NPAT but gas money would be collected for any drivers..  Our Staff will be doing mesquite control all week and weekend and really need some volunteers to assist..  We desperately need volunteers so please consider and contact Pat or Phillip for more information.  Please pass the on to others that may be interested.

Call 936-827-7973 or email Pat Merkord or Phillip Quast


Sam Houston National Forest Field Trip – May 16th

View Wildflowers on Blackland Prairies in Sam Houston National Forest

On Saturday, May 16, 2015, the Houston Sierra Club and the Native Prairies Association of Texas will visit blackland prairies in Sam Houston National Forest (SHNF).  We will see wildflowers in bloom on prairies that are unique to SHNF and are indicative of the Fayette Prairie found farther west.  The U.S. Forest Service will act as our guide and show us how they manage these prairies using prescribed burning and other management methods.

Bring your day-pack, hat, three quarts of water, snacks, lunch, binoculars, hiking shoes, camera, field guides, and wear long pants a and a short-sleeved shirt.  Long pants are recommended due to briars and chiggers.  It will be warm so we will dress cool.

We will meet to carpool/caravan at 7:30 a.m. in the parking lot just west of Starbucks (look for Becks Prime) in Meyerland Plaza.  Starbucks fronts the 4700 block of Beechnut (south side of Beechnut, near the West Loop South).  Look for a silver Honda Civic with lots of bumper stickers.

If you would like to come you can sign-up on the Houston Sierra Club Meet-Up Site or contact Brandt Mannchen at 713-664-5962 or email Branndt Mannchen.  For those who want to meet us at the District Ranger Office at 9 am, the directions are as follows:

1) Drive from Houston about 55 miles north on Interstate 45 (I-45), past The Woodlands, Conroe, and Willis, and exit at New Waverly exit (FM 1375/SH 150/FM 1374).

2) Follow the detour signs on the north I-45 feeder road (east side of I-45) to FM 1374, turn left onto FM 1374, cross over I-45, and turn left onto the south I-45 feeder and follow it until you come to FM 1375.  Turn right onto FM 1375.

3) Go west about 2 miles on FM 1375 and on your right you will see a sign for the SHNF District Ranger Office, a driveway, and a parking lot.  Turn right into the driveway, park in the parking lot, and walk to the front of the District Ranger Office where we will meet.

For Directions from other parts of Texas email Brandt Mannchen or call 713-664-5962 (Brandt Mannchen).


Deer Park Prairie – Bird Survey and/or Workday, May 23


Saturday, May 23
Bird Survey at Deer Park Prairie

Bird survey, led by Pat Merkord or Damien Carey, 7:30 a.m.
(Rubber boots extremely advisable for walking on this wet prairie)
Workday At Deer Park Prairie
Workday, led by Glenn Merkord 9:00 a.m. to noon
Please RSVP to HNPAT@TexasPrairie.org with your cell phone number


Talbot Prairie Field Trip – June 6th

Visit Rare Native Prairie!

Where: Talbot Prairie, Bowie County, near New Boston, TX
When: Saturday June 6, 8:00 – 12:00 AM

Join the Native Prairies Association Staff for its Annual Survey of Talbot Prairie – Help Identify Plants On A Rare 114 Acre Silveus’ Dropseed Prairie!

Field Trip Schedule

• 7:30 – 8:00 AM Meet at McDonalds in New Boston; 702 N McCoy Blvd, New Boston, Texas (CLICK FOR MAP)

• 8:00-12:00 AM Explore & Survey the Prairie

• 12:00-1:00 Lunch in New Boston/or at Prairie Site

Explore and identify native prairie plants
Help us survey this extraordinary prairie
This is a premier remnant prairie
Don’t Miss It!
(25$/person $5/child – pay at site, includes lunch)

To Register Contact Pat Merkord at 936-827-7973 or email Pat Merkord or Phillip Quast


Thank You!


We owe a HUGE thanks to Ian & Barbara Kress, but that will be in a separate blog.

IMG_00003489CrWe do not thank Glenn Merkord enough for all he does. Because Glenn is the husband of Pat Merkord, NPAT’s Executive Director, we forget that Glenn is a volunteer, but that is exactly what he is – the hardest working HNPAT volunteer. He was the person responsible for getting the house on the prairie fixed, for purchasing Deer Park Prairie equipment, for all activities involved in maintaining DPP, for giving a great talk on seed collecting at our September meeting, for bringing a tremendous amount of seeds for the September & November meetings, and much more.  On workdays, Glenn was always the first person there and the last to leave. Deer Park Prairie is fortunate that Glenn retired from his paying job late last year!


IMG_00003236 - CopyMany thanks to Judy Thomas for volunteering to be the House on the Prairie Landscape Chair. From the very beginning, Judy was instrumental in getting the House on the Prairie cleaned and in shape to be used. She has now taken on the landscape around the house. Judy saw our needs, so she and her husband Randy just jumped in and took care of them. Plans are in the works to grow out seeds from Deer Park Prairie to get plants to landscape the yard.

Judy is also the Booth Chair for HNPAT.  We always need volunteers for the information booths.  If you would like to work with Judy on either of these projects, please contact her at jrthomas01@aol.com.



Charlie Lundquist (left) deserves special thanks for all the hard work he has put in at Deer Park Prairie, chainsawing trees and shrub, herbiciding them, working on the fenceline and he can get so much done during a workday!



Thank you to Brandt Mannchen for leading the trip to E. Texas Prairies and Savannah and for coming to Deer Park Prairie with David Boyd to work on the NW fenceline!

Thank you to Janis Terry for bringing the first Eagle Scout Project to Deer Park Prairie. Read about it at  Mark Oldham – First Eagle Scout Project at Deer Park Prairie

Thank you to Barbara Willy for agreeing to organize the 2015 Prairie Celebration next spring and for joining the board of NPAT.


Stamped Thank You_lo