Tags Posts tagged with "Katy Prairie Conservancy"

Katy Prairie Conservancy

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The Katy Prairie Conservancy (KPC) presents Unplugged Adventure: Summer Snakes on Friday, Aug. 7, where you can take a break from the heat and head over to the air-conditioned comfort of the KPC offices for a lively presentation about our slithery reptilian friends.

Summer Snakes is scheduled from 6:30 p.m. – 7:45 p.m. at 3015 Richmond Ave., Houston, 77098 in Upper Kirby, and is recommended for all ages. Snakes have always been eerily fascinating, so join us to learn more about the snakes found in the city and on the Katy Prairie west of Houston, along with general fun facts and figures regarding these serpentine beasts. For example:

  • There are nearly 2900 species of snakes, with 375 of those being venomous or deadly. Venomous snakes inject their prey with venom, while constrictors squeeze their prey.
  • Snakes consume insects, rodents, birds, frogs, small deer and other reptiles. They eat their prey whole and are able to consume prey three times larger than the diameter of their head because their lower jaw can separate from the upper jaw.
  • Snakes hunt mostly at night.

Cost for Summer Snakes is $5 and includes a snack, but guests might want to bring their own light dinners. The event will be led by Jaime González, Conservation Education Director for the Katy Prairie Conservancy, who is known for making his presentations exciting and interactive. Be prepared to meet a few snakes up close and personal, such as the gulf coast ribbon snake, coachwhip snake, and hognose snake. Registration is required.

For those looking for outdoor activities this summer, you can volunteer for KPC’s Prairie Work Days to help maintain our Coastal Prairie Native Seed Nursery, combat invasive species, mulch trails, clear fences of vegetation, and restore prairie habitats. These are every Tuesday from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., and every Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Katy Prairie Conservancy’s Indiangrass Preserve.

Indiangrass Preserve will also be open during those times for visitors to walk the trails and check out the nursery. Additionally, the Matt Cook Wildlife Viewing Platform at Warren Lake is open daily from 7 a.m. through dusk.

The Katy Prairie Conservancy is a nonprofit land trust dedicated to preserving an ecologically vital tallgrass prairie and associated wetlands area on Houston’s far west side for the enjoyment and benefit of all. You can The Katy Prairie Conservancy Presents Unplugged Adventure: Summer Snakes On Aug. 7find us on Facebook and Twitter @katyprairie and on Instagram @savekatyprairie.

katyprairiecons2The Katy Prairie Conservancy (KPC) presents three educational and entertaining

Check out the Katy Prairie Conservancy’s Unplugged Adventure: Monarch Madness on June 6. Photo by Jaime Gonzalez.
Check out the Katy Prairie Conservancy’s Unplugged Adventure: Monarch Madness on June 6. Photo by Jaime Gonzalez.

nature events on the Katy Prairie in June for all age groups: Summer Science Night: Saving Monarchs, Unplugged Adventure: Monarch Madness and Ranger Trek.

Summer Science Nights is a program designed to enrich a child’s understanding of science in the best laboratory of all — the great outdoors. KPC offers Saving Monarchs on June 10 for children ages 5 through 8. The monarch butterfly, which migrates some 3000 miles each winter to Mexico and Southern California, is a species in decline. Texas Master Naturalists will teach about monarch migration, biology, and how you can help monarchs at home or school.

The cost for Saving Monarchs is $7 per child, with the class held from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. at Indiangrass Preserve, 31950 Hebert Road in Waller. Registration is required in advance.

Adults can enjoy one or both of the Saturday events on the Katy Prairie, which will also take place at Indiangrass Preserve. You can register online at katyprairie.org.

  • June 6 – Unplugged Adventure: Monarch Madness – 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.: Did you know that the monarch butterfly is the state insect of Texas? Come and learn about these fascinating fliers as you take a butterfly hike on the prairie. Guests can take home some monarch habitat – the milkweed plant. Cost is $5.
  • June 13 – Ranger Trek – 7 p.m. – 8 p.m.: This tour will give an evening look
    The Katy Prairie Conservancy’s Ranger Trek tour will focus on frogs on the Katy Prairie. Photo by Kathy Keifer.
    The Katy Prairie Conservancy’s Ranger Trek tour will focus on frogs on the Katy Prairie. Photo by Kathy Keifer.

    at the Katy Prairie preserves with a special focus on frogs and KPC’s role in amphibian conservation. Treks are led by knowledgeable volunteers who will impart a deeper understanding of this globally important wildlife area. Cost: free.

For all events, KPC staff recommends wearing outdoor clothing and close-toed shoes and bringing water and insect repellent. If you are interested in volunteering for Summer Science Night, contact Jaime Gonzalez at 713-523-6935.

The Katy Prairie Conservancy is a nonprofit land trust dedicated to preserving an ecologically vital tallgrass prairie and associated wetlands area on Houston’s far west side for the enjoyment and benefit of all. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter @katyprairie and on Instagram @savekatyprairie.

katyprairiecons2Unplugged Adventure: Feather Fiesta is set for Saturday, May 9 at Katy Prairie Conservancy’s Indiangrass Preserve, 31950 Hebert Road in Waller, 77484, from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. It’s open to all ages.

Zippy hummingbirds, mighty caracaras, and brilliantly colored buntings all call the Katy Prairie home. However, these world travelers also spend part of their year in Central or South America. Join us for a bird hike and activities that will help you discover fascinating connections between the prairie and Latin America.

Location: Indiangrass Preserve
Cost: $3 per person
Registration: Click here to register.
Volunteers: KPC needs guides to help lead activities. Contact Jaime Gonzalez at jgonzalez@katyprairie.org or call 713-523-6935.

The caracara can be found on the Katy Prairie. Greg Lavaty photo
The caracara can be found on the Katy Prairie. Greg Lavaty photo
  1. The painted bunting can be found on the Katy Prairie. Greg Lavaty photo
    The painted bunting can be found on the Katy Prairie. Greg Lavaty photo

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Jaime Gonzalez from the Katy Prairie Conservancy talks to Frostwood students before they plant the San Jacinto Battleground bee balm in their pocket prairie.

Frostwood Elementary School students today planted a piece of history on the Frostwood Tiger Prairie, the school’s own on-campus pocket prairie, which was developed with the assistance of the Katy Prairie Conservancy’s (KPC) Prairie Builder Schools program. They were joined by faculty and parents in the ceremony commemorating San Jacinto Day.

In 2014, bee balm (a native mint) and Virginia wildrye seeds from the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site were collected and conserved by KPC’s Conservation Education Director Jaime Gonzalez, with permission from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s (TPWD) Natural Resource Coordinator Andrew Sipocz. The Bee Balm was grown with the intent for it to be replanted in April 2015 at a Prairie Builder School, while the Wildrye seeds would be sown at the same time.

These activities were to coincide with the anniversary month of the Battle of San Jacinto, in which Texas won its independence from Mexico. Frostwood Elementary School, which became a Prairie Builder School in 2014, was chosen for this honor. TPWD manages the Battleground site and is in a multi-year effort to restore the battleground back to native coastal prairie conditions that existed in 1836, when it was an open prairie comprised of several species of tall grasses and plants.

Frostwood students, parents, faculty and the neighboring community are committed to conservation and preservation on their campus through the Frostwood Tiger Prairie and other “green” efforts. As these groups tend the prairie, they can observe and study grasses and flowers that provide critical habitat for migratory birds, other wildlife and insects, including pollinators. They now have a unique historical connection to Texas history with the planting and sowing of these San Jacinto Battleground species.

The 1000-square foot Frostwood Tiger Prairie has more than 30 species of plants, grasses and flowers, including Texas Bluebonnet, Rattlesnake Master, Silkgrass, Indian Paintbrush, Green Milkweed and now Bee Balm. Curriculum will be developed to tie in history, science, art and mathematics for the fall 2015 semester. Today’s event is an opportunity to celebrate Texas history, as well as ecology, on this Spring Branch Independent School District campus.

“We are thrilled to be a part of the Prairie Builder Schools program and to be chosen for the San Jacinto commemorative planting,” says Ellen Green, Frostwood Elementary School Principal. “The Frostwood Tiger Prairie has been a wonderful addition to our campus and provides a hands-on educational tool for our students and parent volunteers, as well as engaging them in the natural environment.”

The idea to return a piece of land to a natural state as a native Texas prairie began during the re-building of Frostwood Elementary in 2012. At the time, the Katy Prairie Conservancy was teaching the Frostwood Green Tigers about the Texas Prairie. They learned that their school sat atop what was once a diverse prairie grassland. After demolition of the building, it was easier to imagine the beautiful grasses, native flowers, butterflies and insects that the now-empty site once attracted. The idea was born to return part of the school’s landscape to its original prairie state; thus planning for the Frostwood Tiger Prairie began.

The Katy Prairie Conservancy is a nonprofit land trust dedicated to preserving an ecologically vital tallgrass prairie and associated wetlands area on Houston’s far west side for the enjoyment and benefit of all.  KPC’s Prairie Builder Schools program now counts 15 schools in four Houston-area school districts, including elementary, middle and high schools. The nonprofit also helps oversee urban pocket prairies, such as those at Buffalo Bayou Park and MD Anderson Cancer Center.

: Katy Prairie Conservancy Prairie Bash 2015 gala co-chairs Chris and Debbie Patton.
: Katy Prairie Conservancy Prairie Bash 2015 gala co-chairs Chris and Debbie Patton.

The Katy Prairie Conservancy’s (KPC) Katy Prairie Bash 2015 – Hardy Perennials on May 14 at 7 p.m. honors The Garden Club of Houston for its 84-year commitment to public green spaces in Houston. The Garden Club of Houston shares a common bond with KPC in improving our city through horticulture and conservation of natural areas.  

“The Garden Club of Houston has been a valued partner of the Katy Prairie Conservancy on many worthwhile projects, including the funding of a special prairie exhibit featured at the 2011 Florescence Show at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston; the creation of urban pocket prairies; and educational programing for local youth,” says Debbie Patton, co-chair of Prairie Bash 2015, along with her husband, Chris Patton. “We proudly salute the leadership of this wonderful organization that protects the environment through education, conservation, and civic improvement. A key example is the maintenance of the gardens at both the Hospice of the Texas Medical Center and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.”

Prairie Bash 2015 – Hardy Perennials will be held on the grounds of the beautiful Memorial-area bayou home of Clayton and Shel Erikson. Party guests will enjoy the music of guitarist Wayne Holt and scrumptious bites from A Fare Extraordinaire. The Garden Club of Houston will be recognized in a brief video presentation citing its philanthropic and conservation efforts.

Funds raised by Prairie Bash 2015 will help KPC protect more land, restore perennial grasslands, and expand outdoor programming on the prairie. Now rooted in more than 20,000 acres of prairie, the Katy Prairie Conservancy employs best horticultural practices to restore tallgrass prairie and nurture native seeds to ensure that this local habitat can thrive.

Underwriting opportunities are available at $25,000 at the Prairie Blazing Star level for a table of 10, down to the Indian Plantain level at $1000 for two tickets. Individual tickets can be purchased at $250 per person and $150 for those under age 40. For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.katyprairie.org or call 713-523-6135.

The Katy Prairie Conservancy is a nonprofit land trust dedicated to preserving an ecologically vital tallgrass prairie and associated wetlands area on Houston’s far west side for the enjoyment and benefit of all. 

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Join in the Fun – Be a Cowpoke for a Day on Apr. 25

The Rodeo has come and gone, but here’s a chance to meet real cowboys up close and personal at Katy Prairie Conservancy’s (KPC) fourth annual Unplugged Adventure: Ranch Roundup on Apr. 25 at Warren Ranch – Harris County’s largest working cattle ranch. Leave the city life behind for a few hours, and become a cowpoke out on the Katy Prairie.

KPC’s Unplugged Adventures are opportunities to gain some authentic, hands-on experiences in the great outdoors not far from the center of Houston. Ranch Roundup will feature professional cowboys rounding up cattle. Participants will also have a chance to test their lassoing skills, act out a Texas tall tale, snap a photo with a horse, and take part in other fun activities.

“The April Unplugged Adventure promises a fun way to learn about cowboy culture, especially for those who have grown up in an urban environment,” says Mary Anne Piacentini, KPC’s Executive Director. “It surprises people to learn that there is a large working cattle ranch so close to the center of Houston. Besides cattle, Warren Ranch abounds with wildlife and native plants and grasses.”

Piacentini notes that the Warren Ranch, under Warren Ranch Manager Sam Reese, is striving to create an environment where ranching can work in harmony with native plants and wildlife. Using cattle to mimic the roaming bison herds of the past can actually yield healthier cows and a healthier prairie.

Ranch Roundup is scheduled from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., and the cost is $7 per person, which includes a barbecue lunch. Adults and children of all ages are welcome.

Participants must register for Ranch Roundup in advance. Volunteers are needed to lead activities. Contact Jaime Gonzalez, KPC’s Conservation Education Director at 713-523-6135 for more details. You can print out directions to Warren Ranch, 15025 Warren Ranch Road in Hockley, 77447. Information can also be found at katyprairie.org by clicking on the “Visit” tab and then “Events.”

The Katy Prairie Conservancy is a nonprofit land trust dedicated to preserving an ecologically vital tallgrass prairie and associated wetlands area on Houston’s far west side for the enjoyment and benefit of all.  For exciting updates on events and other timely information, look for us on Facebook and Twitter @katyprairie and on Instagram @savekatyprairie. KPC can also be found on Pinterest and YouTube.

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Spring is here, and it is the perfect time to get involved in Katy Prairie Conservancy’s (KPC) Great Grow Out (GGO) program, a citizen conservation project aimed at scouts, schools, garden clubs, families, and individuals interested in growing plants for local pollinators and helping Houston’s local environment.

Anyone from kindergartners to retirees can help our insect and animal friends by growing and nurturing native plants at home with seeds provided by KPC. The plants will be used in restoration projects on the Katy Prairie, as well as at pocket prairies in local schools and parks.

“Native grasses, wildflowers and shrubs are critical to the survival of bees, monarch butterflies, and many other types of wildlife on the prairie, as they provide food, water and shelter,” says Christine Mansfield, Conservation Education Specialist with the Katy Prairie Conservancy and coordinator of the Great Grow Out. “By getting involved with the Great Grow Out, you are doing your part to ensure that these creatures continue to survive and thrive in their natural habitats.”

KPC will distribute seeds for the Great Grow Out from now through October. Currently, KPC has American Basketflower, Purple Lovegrass, Rattlesnake Master, Texas Coneflower, and Yellow Indiangrass seeds, which were all hand-collected on local prairies and are available for the Great Grow Out. Volunteers provide water, soil, pots, and time during the “grow out” period.

“As a bonus, we encourage our growers to keep some plants for their yards or gardens to entice butterflies and other colorful native pollinators,” says Mansfield. You can select which seeds you would like to plant from a list on the GGO web page, where instructions for the project are provided. Contact Mansfield at KPC at cmansfield@katyprairie.org or 713-523-6135 to request seeds.

After a few months of growing, the plants are returned to the Katy Prairie Conservancy for replanting. Volunteers can participate in various planting days on the Katy Prairie or at a public park or a local school. Check our website at katyprairie.org for updates.

“The Great Grow Out allows people to have a personal connection to the prairie by teaching them to grow native plants and allowing them to keep some for their own yards,” says Mary Anne Piacentini, Executive Director of the Katy Prairie Conservancy. “It also provides a valuable learning experience for children outside of the classroom.”

The Katy Prairie Conservancy is a nonprofit land trust dedicated to preserving an ecologically vital tallgrass prairie and associated wetlands area on Houston’s far west side for the enjoyment and benefit of all.

mooseumThe Katy Prairie Conservancy (KPC) presents an active and fun-packed weekend of events to kick off spring with its Unplugged Adventure: “Kite Flight!” for the entire family and then the Wild West Tour: “Spring Birding on the Prairie” for adult learners. The following week, KPC teams up with the Katy Contemporary Arts Museum to present “Mooseum” and “Night Sounds at the Museum,” both geared toward younger children.

Pack your kites and bring the kids for a Saturday morning of kite flying from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Mar. 14 under the clear skies of the windy Katy Prairie. One activity is a make-your-own-kite station where folks can construct animal-inspired kites. After flying your kite, be sure to hike around Indiangrass Preserve or enjoy a picnic lunch on the prairie.

On Mar. 15 is “Spring Birding on the Prairie” from 7:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., led by Master Naturalist and birding expert Glenn Olsen. Get into the spirit of spring, and catch winter migrants preparing for their journey home. Guests can also observe our resident feathered friends preparing to raise families on the prairie.

“Who doesn’t enjoy flying a kite in March?” says Mary Anne Piacentini, KPC’s executive director. “The winds on the prairie are especially conducive to keeping kites aloft to the delight of both children and adults. On Sunday, adults from first-timers to experienced birders will find Glenn Olsen’s Wild West Tour entertaining and enlightening as they get to explore parts of the prairie that are usually restricted.”
Advance registration for “Kite Flight!” is required, and the fee is $3 per person to cover the cost of materials. Volunteers are needed as guides to lead activities. Contact Jaime Gonzalez at the Katy Prairie Conservancy at 713-523-6935 for details. Go to katyprairie.org to register and to find directions to Indiangrass Preserve. The fee for the Wild West Tour is $50 per person, with a portion of that going toward KPC educational programs. Please register online soon, as the Wild West Tours fill up quickly.

During spring break week, children ages five through eight can participate in two prairie-related events at KCAM, 805 Avenue B in Katy. “Mooseum” is set for Mar. 17 from 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. to teach children about cows, cowboys, and history. Activities include creating your own “brand,” learning to rope a dogie, and trying your hand at cowboy art with KPC and KCAM staff.

On Mar. 18 from 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m., youngsters will join a wildlife expert to explore the world of night sounds that can be heard in your backyard or on the nearby Katy Prairie during “Night (Sounds) at the Museum.” Cost for both events is $5, and advanced registration is required on katycam.com.

KPC_opossum baby.Tony Wear With youngsters home for the holidays, Katy Prairie Conservancy (KPC) offers a perfect opportunity to get them out of the house and engaged with nature through its upcoming Winter Camp. “Backyard Beasts” takes place at KPC’s Indiangrass Preserve December 29 – 31 from 9 a.m. – noon and promises exciting adventures for children ages five through eight.
Our neighborhoods are home to raccoons, opossums, woodpeckers, squirrels, and even more backyard “beasts.” Winter Camp allows children to learn about the fascinating lives of these animals and discover how they are connected to wildlife on the Katy Prairie, as well as to continents near and far. Activities include playing games, doing crafts, conducting simple experiments, and taking fun-filled hikes to peer into the animals’ secret world.
“Winter Camp is one of our most popular events for children,” says Mary Anne Piacentini, KPC’s executive director. “Parents appreciate getting their children outdoors doing something constructive after the holiday hoopla. In turn, kids love the diverse activities that make learning both stimulating and fun on the Katy Prairie.”
KPC_raccoon.Eric IsseleeChildren may register for one, two or three days. Cost is $7 per student per class. Students should dress appropriately according to the weather, including wearing close-toed shoes and warm layers. It can get cold and windy on the prairie.
To register for Winter Camp, go to katyprairie.org and click on the “Visit” tab to find “events.” If you have a knack for working with children and are interested in volunteering, contact Jaime Gonzalez at 713-523-6135. Indiangrass Preserve is located at 31950 Hebert Road in Waller, just west of Houston. Directions are on our website.
The Katy Prairie Conservancy is a nonprofit land trust dedicated to preserving an ecologically vital tallgrass prairie and associated wetlands area on Houston’s far west side for the enjoyment and benefit of all.

Two Wild West Tours and One Unplugged Adventure All Involve Birds

With the holidays soon upon us, Katy Prairie Conservancy (KPC) offers a varied menu of

1.The LeContes Sparrow and other types of sparrows are the focus of Katy Prairie Conservancy’s Wild West Tour “Wintering Sparrows” on Dec. 7 from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Photos by Greg Lavaty
1. The LeContes Sparrow and other types of sparrows are the focus of Katy Prairie Conservancy’s Wild West Tour “Wintering Sparrows” on Dec. 7 from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Photos by Greg Lavaty

fun and engaging nature events for all ages on the Katy Prairie in December. Winter is one of the most spectacular times to visit the prairie, as there is an abundance of hawks, eagles and other migratory birds; pleasant weather; and vibrant sunsets.

On Dec. 7 from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m., KPC kicks off with its first Wild West Tour, “Wintering Sparrows,” on Indiangrass Preserve, 31950 Hebert Road in Waller, led by Master Naturalist and birding expert Glenn Olsen.  Join Olsen and others interested in birding as they seek out various species of sparrows that call the prairie home in winter.

The second Wild West tour organized by Olsen is “Owl Prowl” on Dec. 12 from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., also at Indiangrass Preserve. After a light dinner, the group will look and listen for elusive owls as these birds of prey hunt for their own dinner. Participants in both Wild West Tours will also explore preserves usually closed to the public.

The cost for each Wild West Tour is $50 per person, and a portion of that fee goes toward funding KPC educational programs.  The events require advance registration. Walking shoes, clothing layers, gloves and a hat are recommended, since the prairie tends to be chillier and windier than an urban setting. Participants are also encouraged to bring water, cameras, and snacks, if desired.

Adults and children are invited to come out to the prairie for the Unplugged Adventure “Gifts for Nature” on Dec. 13 from 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., which is a perfect outing for the entire family.  Cost is $3 per person. The holidays are a time of giving, and this is a way to give back to nature.  Join us for a morning of gift making as participants create feeders and homes for wildlife on the prairie. We will also take a short hike on Indiangrass Preserve to share our gifts with birds, insects, and other animals.

“Birding continues to be incredibly popular, and each of these activities focuses on birds in some way,” says KPC Executive Director Mary Anne Piacentini. “Last year, KPC’s preserves were designated a Global Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society, recognizing how critical our prairie and wetlands are to bird preservation and conservation.”

“The two Wild West Tours and our Unplugged Adventure offer ideal opportunities for people to appreciate the diversity of birds that inhabit the Katy Prairie,” Piacentini continues. “We especially hope that parents will bring their children out for ‘Gifts for Nature,’ which combines education, entertainment and the joy of giving back.”

To register for these KPC activities, go to katyprairie.org and click on the “Visit” tab to find “events.”  If you are interested in volunteering for “Gifts for Nature,” contact Christine Mansfield at 713-523-6135.

The Katy Prairie Conservancy is a nonprofit land trust dedicated to preserving an ecologically vital tallgrass prairie and associated wetlands area on Houston’s far west side for the enjoyment and benefit of all.