Insects are everywhere in natural prairies.
It takes another buddy to make sure no ticks get a free ride home on clothing, and permethrin spray (on your clothes, not your body) is a great repellent for them. On the flip side, disappearing habitats mean that insects are beginning to have a hard time. As the insects go, so do we.
Hundreds of tiny peeps netted in here!
Prairie 201 Course — Lawther Prairie
One live tick in the ‘tick jar,’
plucked off by a classmate.
(Not from my permethrin-coated clothes!)
The best prairie walks are early in the morning or right at dusk.
Become a crepuscular being, and you’ll see crepuscular beings! Plus, the beautiful sunrises and sunsets are just good for the soul.
Morning Sun Peek
Brazos Bend State Park
Everything bites, some gotta eat (blood).
When outdoors on the Texas Coastal Prairies, always be prepared for the bite-y guys, and for mosquitoes, DEET is the only thing that works. Snakes — who want nothing to do with us, but are what everyone seems to be fearful of — are not what we necessarily stress about. Every living thing is an important part of a healthy ecosystem. Yes, even mosquitoes.
This sign is not kidding.
Loss of apex predators can really disrupt an ecosystem.
Cougar used to roam the prairies, keeping deer and rabbit populations from exploding, but ranchers made sure these beautiful, solitary creatures couldn’t eek a living anywhere near Houston (where the people and cows are). Today, it’s the bobcat and coyote that are threatened, and so urban deer and squirrels and raccoon have become the new ‘wildlife.’
Stuffed (thankfully) big cat, with my head for comparison.
Long Point Ranch
There are no trees native to the Texas Coastal Prairie.
A century and a half ago, Texas boasted nine million acres of native coastal prairie grasses; less than 1% of that remains today. Still, stands of trees squatting what used to be open spaces are now coming down — not to restore the native prairie, but to fund an exploding human development. We may never learn.
Water oak ‘marked’ as a loser to more houses.
Sienna Plantation Development
Our perception is what needs adjusting.
Unkempt native (to the Texas Coastal Prairie) wildflowers and grasses are not only beautiful for the landscape, they mitigate flooding, retain soil moisture during drought, diversify insects and pollinators, and give other wildlife much needed habitat. HOA’s need to arrive at a more sustainable way of planning future neighborhoods. It starts with changing how we view ourselves: within nature, not absent from it.
Pocket Prairie Inspiration
Sabine Woods Park
Hidden Among The ‘Weeds’
White-tailed Deer Fawn
(This one didn’t make it through the summer.)
Gulf Fritillary and Pearl Crescent
Getting a Drink
A pocket computer can be really handy sometimes!
Not just for email and checking in with the kids anymore, iNaturalist has become my way to learn about all the local flora and fauna… and there is a lot of it here! Just use the smartphone (photos, ID, geo-tagging) paired with a community of experts who can weigh in on what you saw. It never felt so good to be wrong sometimes … and with botany and insects, I can be wrong a lot.
NEW! Texas Master Naturalist — Coastal Prairie Chapter
Forever … Student of the Prairie!
Being over blogging is how I move forward.
As a student of nature, just being outside is the best way to increase skill and knowledge, which I will be doing for it seems a very, very long time. Sure, the volunteering part is done, as is the advanced training requirement, but spreading the word with students, and adults and generally just being passionate about the coastal prairie is where my time is best served.
That means regular weekly blogging (for the meantime) will be taking the back-burner once again. Perhaps one day, I will learn how to better juggle WordPress and prairie time, but until then, I choose the prairie.
If you’re in the Houston area, come find me at
Seabourne Nature Fest tomorrow, Nov 2.
It’s our signature project!