Epic Bus Tour of Central Texas Prairies

BNPAT’s epic bus tour of Northeast Texas prairies was such a success we did it again, this time exploring the prairies of Central Texas. Check out our selection of videos taken on the tour posted at our Facebook page. And our photo album by Stalin SM.

A large bus full of us visited Burleson Prairie  east of Temple, a Blackland Prairie lovingly restored over decades by Mickey and her late husband, Bob Burleson. His gravestone in the midst of the beautiful prairie was deeply moving. We zoomed down to Salado where we enjoyed a private meal at Heart Filled Bakery & Deli thanks to Dolly Kunz Wilson.

The difficulty of Blackland Prairie restoration was on display at Granger Lake Park east of Georgetown. But the eastern gama was strong and other plants were also resurging after the recent drought. Riesel Prairie was small, just five acres, but in very good condition and deeply satisfying. The state equipment it housed to study rainwater catchment in Blackland Prairie native grasses was fascinating.

We ended the day at Simpson Prairie west of Waco, a loving restoration by Marliss and Mike Williams. It was a large swath of Lampasas Cut Plains on a hillside with epic views. It was a perfect conclusion to a compelling sampler of prairies, most normally not open to the public. An exceptional day. Can hardly wait for next year!

Prairies of North Central Texas with Jason Singhurst

Tuesday, May 30, 6:30 pm

The Point and Pavilion at C.C. Young Senior Living

Flag Pole Classroom 4847 W Lawther Dr.
between Mockingbird and E. Northwest Hwy.
Drive to the top of the hill and park. The Point is on the west side of the quadrant (closest to Lawther). See map below.

SPEAKER CHANGE! Jason Singhurst has to go out of town for an important matter and will join us this fall. New speaker/panel/discussion will be announced. 

Jason Singhurst has been a Botanist/Plant Ecologist at Texas Parks & Wildlife Department for over 20 years. He coordinated a 95-county tallgrass prairie mapping project in Texas with a partnership with NPAT.  As a result of this mapping project partnership, Jason joined the NPAT board and has assisted with the Property, Acquisition, and Management (‘PAM’) Team. He has described five plant species new to science that are endemic (restricted) to Texas and co-authored the book Rare Plants of Texas. He has an extensive knowledge of the flora of Tallgrass Prairies. Recently, he developed an Identification of Milkweeds Field Guide in support of the Texas Milkweeds and Monarchs iNaturalist mapping project.

For Additional Information
Contact Leigh Ann Ellis, 214.321.7159

Pat Merkford on Grassland Birds and Wildlife for Audubon 5/18

Grassland Birds and Wildlife for Audubon Dallas

Presented by Pat Merkford

Thursday evening, May 18
Meet and Greet – with light refreshments – 6:30
Audubon Dallas Chapter business meeting – 7:00
Program – 7:15
Half Price Books
5803 Northwest Hwy., Dallas, TX 75231

Pat served the Board of Directors of the Native Prairies Association of Texas as  Secretary and President prior to moving into her current role, Executive Director. She owns a consulting business, Bluestem Environmental Consultants. Her previous business endeavors included wildlife management plans, wildlife and endangered species surveys, plant surveys and watershed evaluations.

A retired high school biology/chemistry teacher, Ms. Merkord earned her master’s degree in Biology with a specialty in Wildlife. She is especially interested in prairie conservation and restoration in Texas and is an an active member of the Maddin Prairie Committee, Maddin Prairie Preserve, in Mitchell County, Texas.

Pat and her husband, Glenn, have been active birders for many years and enjoy restoring their “urban acre” in Conroe with native plants.

2nd Annual Texas Prairies Tour June 3

Blackland Chapter, Native Prairies Association of Texas
2nd Annual Texas Prairies Tour
Saturday, June 3, 2017

Our Northeast Texas prairies tour was so fun last year, we’re doing it again, but this time we’re heading to Central Texas.

Enjoy short excursions in beautiful grasslands, most of which are not generally open to the public. A chance to stand in awe in a native prairie as it was before westward expansion. We’ll also learn about native prairie restoration and management. Become inspired on how to keep native prairies thriving for generations to come.

We’ll zip south to near Temple, which is halfway between Waco and Austin. After lunch in Salado, we’ll drive further south to near Taylor (west of Round Rock). Heading back north, we’ll go to Marlin (SE of Waco), where we’ll visit a series of small Blackland Prairies. Then we’ll travel west of Waco to tour an example of a Grand Prairie. Heading north to home, we’ll stop in West for dinner.

Itinerary

7:00am — Bus leaves from parking lot at Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E Lawther Dr, Dallas, TX 75218.

Prairie #1: Burleson Prairie, Oenaville (east of Temple, Texas):

• Prairie Guide: Mickey Burleson, Owner of Burleson Prairie
Native prairie restored by Mickey and her late husband, Bob Burleson. They spent decades recording prairie data, restoring hundreds of acres of native prairie, and focusing on state wide conservation efforts.

Lunch in Salado with Dolly Kunz Wilson; included in tour fee.

Prairie #2: Granger Lake Prairie, Granger Lake Park, Taylor

• Prairie Guide: Pat Merkord, Executive Director, NPAT
Pat will explain restoration procedures taken on this native tallgrass prairie site, planted in 1994 in a cooperative effort between NPAT, Texas Parks and Wildlife, and the Army Corps of Engineers.

Prairie #3: Riesel Prairie and Prairie #4: Lehmann Prairie, near Marlin

• Prairie Guide: Pat Merkord, Executive Director, NPAT
These two small prairies are about 10 miles apart and are excellent examples of the native tallgrasses that were prevalent in Central Texas area prior to European settlement. The Lehmann Prairie is an 11-acre remnant prairie protected by a conservation easement. The Riesel Prairie is a 5-acre remnant prairie owned by NPAT.

Prairie #5: Simpson Prairie, near Crawford

• Prairie Guides: Marliss and Mike Williams
Remnant of the Grand Prairie (Lampasas Cut Plains of the Cross Timbers and Prairies) on a gently sloping hillside. Mike remembered seeing some native prairie before the area became overgrazed, located and identified it, and restored it with his wife Marliss. Protected by NPAT conservation easement.

Dinner in West; on your own dime

10:30pm — Bus returns parking lot at Bath House Cultural Center

In case of harsh weather for June 3, the tour will be rescheduled.

Wear loose hiking clothes and sturdy shoes for prairie walking. Bring a hat, bug repellant, and sunscreen. Road snacks/beverages and books/etc to pass the time while traveling, plus back-up power for your phone, are good ideas.

Deadline for payment is May 10:

  • Cost for NPAT Members — $75.00
  • Cost for non-NPAT Members — $85.00
  • Notes on the prairie stops and a map will be provided.

Click here to register for this event.

Contact Pat Rinn, NPAT with any questions about registration.

For Additional Information
Contact Leigh Ann Ellis, 214.321.7159

Prescribed Burns for Prairie Health – Chapter Meeting 4/11

Tuesday, April 11th

6:30 pm

The Point and Pavilion at C.C. Young Senior Living
Flag Pole Classroom
4847 W Lawther Dr. between Mockingbird and E. Northwest Hwy.
Drive to the top of the hill and park. The Point is on the west side of the quadrant (closest to Lawther). See map below.
 

Let’s get hot! Our speaker is Stan Graff  of Northeast Texas Prescribed Burn Alliance  and the Great Plains Fire Science Exchange. He will speak on the many ways fire can be used to restore health and manage prairies, including prescribed burns and patch burns. 

For More Info: Leigh Ann Ellis, 214.321.7159

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Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area Restoration at Chapter Meeting 3/14

Tuesday, March 14th

6:30 pm

The Point and Pavilion at C.C. Young Senior Living
Flag Pole Classroom
4847 W Lawther Dr. between Mockingbird and E. Northwest Hwy.
Drive to the top of the hill and park. The Point is on the west side of the quadrant (closest to Lawther). See map below.

 

dr-kenneth-steigman2-smlKenneth Steigman, Ph.D., director of Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area, will speak on prairie restoration efforts conducted there, including their relationship with University of North Texas whose students assist with efforts. Steigman was formerly sanctuary manager at Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary.

For More Info: Leigh Ann Ellis, 214.321.7159

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Grant Bestowed to Renovate Harry Moss Park Prairie

national-fish-and-wildlife-foundationBig news for native prairies in Dallas! National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has bestowed a significant grant to the Dallas Parks & Recreation Department for restoration of the Blackland Prairie at Harry Moss Park  in Lake Highlands.

The department’s Urban Biologist, Brett Johnson, led the effort. It will be headed by Mark Bulloch of Native Restorations. The department stressed that volunteer efforts will be essential to its success, noting the importance of the October 2016 BioBlitz conducted there to the park’s ability to nab the grant. Full press release here.

hm-park-restoration-webLake Highlands Advocate just published an excellent follow-up on the Harry Moss Park Blackland Prairie restoration news. The historical context is fascinating, showing a park prairie that languished when volunteer support unraveled. It endured decades of invasives and woody encroachment before citizen efforts put it on the path of native beauty once again. Good work by Lake Highlands Advocate!

Harry Moss Park photo courtesy Dallas Parks & Recreation Dept.