Tags Posts tagged with "Katy Prairie Conservancy"

Katy Prairie Conservancy

0 79

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.

0 27

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. 

KPC_KingRail1_greglavaty
The King Rail can be found on the Katy Prairie. Sign up for Katy Prairie Conservancy’s September Unplugged Adventure “Rails in the Rice” on Sept. 20. Photo by Greg Lavaty.

Help the Katy Prairie Conservancy (KPC) kick off the fall season with its Unplugged Adventure: “Rails in the Rice” on Sept. 20 from 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at Nelson Farms Preserve on the Katy Prairie in far west Houston. KPC’s Unplugged Adventures are designed to get folks outside to explore the prairie.
Rice farms and rangelands are home to thousands of species of wildlife, including the rail, a bird which moves silently through rice paddies, thriving in marshy conditions. During this Unplugged Adventure, you might also spy egrets seeking insects among cow herds and frogs patiently waiting for prey along drainage ditches.
“September holds the promise of cooler weather and a host of fun outdoor activities,” says Mary Anne Piacentini, executive director of the Katy Prairie Conservancy. “Join us for ‘Rails in the Rice’ as we explore rice fields and cattle pastures looking for the colorful, amazing, and secretive lives of the wildlife that thrive in these landscapes. It’s a perfect way to spend a Saturday evening with friends or family soaking up nature not far from the hustle and bustle of downtown Houston.”
Cost for the event is $3 per person. Guests are encouraged to bring water, insect repellent and cameras to capture nature shots. Suggested attire is close-toed shoes and long pants.
Pre-registration is required for “Rails in the Rice.” Go to katyprairie.org and click on the “Visit” tab to find “events.”  Directions to Nelson Farms Preserve can be found on the website. If you are interested in being a volunteer group leader for this event, contact Jaime Gonzalez 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.

GGOAmericanBasketflowerKPCStaffSummer is here, which is the perfect time to help the Katy Prairie Conservancy (KPC) with its Great Grow Out (GGO) program, a citizen conservation project involving scouts, schools, garden clubs, families, and individuals. GGO is expanding its efforts for 2014, and individuals of all ages can participate.
“People may not know that bees and monarch butterflies are rapidly vanishing from our ecosystem,” says Christine Mansfield, conservation education specialist with Katy Prairie Conservancy and coordinator of GGO. “Native grasses, wildflowers and shrubs are critical to the survival of these amazing creatures, along with many other types of wildlife on the prairie, as they provide food, water and shelter.”
With seeds provided by KPC, folks from kindergarteners to retirees can grow and nurture native plants at home that will directly benefit our insect and animal friends. Plants will be used in restoration projects on the Katy Prairie, as well as at local pocket prairies and the Prairie Builder Schools and Parks program.
KPC will be distributing seeds for the Great Grow Out now through September. 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.
Currently, KPC has American Basketflower, Rattlesnake Master, Rosinweed, Silver Bluestem, and Texas Coneflower seeds available for the Great Grow Out. Volunteers provide water, soil, pots, and time during the “grow out” period. “Another benefit of the program is that we encourage our growers to keep some plants for their yard or garden to invite butterflies and other colorful native pollinators to their home habitat,” says Mansfield.
After a few months of growing, the plants are returned to the Katy Prairie Conservancy for future replanting. Volunteers can choose to participate in various planting days on the Katy Prairie or at a public park or a local school.
“What an excellent opportunity for people to become fully invested to help enhance prairie conservation in the entire Houston region,” says Mary Anne Piacentini, executive director of the Katy Prairie Conservancy. “This is a project that can be done at home, requires minimal maintenance but tender care, and yields tangible benefits for our environment. It is also an excellent educational 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.

Registration is Open for Summer Science Nights and Wild West Tour’s “Photographing Wildflowers”

KPC_SSN_CMansfieldAs summer fast approaches, Katy Prairie Conservancy (KPC) offers some fun and creative options for children ages five to 10 during Summer Science Nights, while adults with the photography bug can indulge their passion on the Wild West Tour “Photographing Wildflowers,” all scheduled for June.
Summer Science Nights are a perfect way to enrich a child’s understanding of science in the best laboratory of all — the great outdoors. Each session includes hands-on, brain-stretching activities and a hike on one of KPC’s wildlife-rich preserves. Classes are June 11 (Catching the Sun), June 18 (Rebuilding Earth), and June 25 (The Prairie Games). Sign up for one, two or all three classes, which are held from 6 – 8 p.m. at Indiangrass Preserve, 31950 Hebert Road in Waller.
With the wildflowers in bloom, now is the perfect time to capture the beauty of the Katy Prairie on camera.

On June 21, plan to get out early (7 a.m. – 11 a.m.) with our Wild West Tour: “Photographing Wildflowers,” where Master Naturalist and photo enthusiast Glenn Olsen will conduct a lively tour of some rarely visited KPC preserves. He will educate participants about local flora, allowing for some unique photo opportunities. Registrants will meet at the KPC Field Office, also at Indiangrass Preserve.
“We have a wonderful lineup of activities in June to appeal to all ages,” says Mary Anne Piacentini, executive director of Katy Prairie Conservancy. “Summer Science Nights will open up new horizons for many of these children with engaging, interactive experiences. With the Wild West Tour, adults can experience the amazing array of wildflowers on the Katy Prairie that are rarely seen by the public, while also perfecting their nature photography.”
Summer Science Nights has a registration fee of $7 per child for each class. The Wild West Tour, for adult learners only, costs $50 and includes a snack. A portion of the registration fee goes toward supporting KPC educational programs.
Pre-registration is required for both Summer Science Nights and the Wild West Tour. Go to katyprairie.org and click on the “Visit” tab to find “event. Directions to Indiangrass Preserve are available on the website. Call 713-523-6135 for more details.
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.

Caracaras are one of the many birds seen on the Katy Prairie.
Caracaras are one of the many birds seen on the Katy Prairie. Photo by Greg Lavaty

Bird lovers, there is still time to register for Katy Prairie Conservancy’s (KPC) “Unplugged Adventure: Tropical Travelers” at Rock Hollow Creek on Warren Ranch May 10 from 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Participants will hike in search of hummingbirds, caracara, and brightly colored buntings, which all call the Katy Prairie home.
These avian world travelers also spend part of their year in Central America or South America. The hike and related activities will shed light on the fascinating connections between the Katy Prairie and our neighbors to the south.
“Tropical Travelers” is a wonderful way to introduce children and teens to birding,” says Mary Anne Piacentini, KPC executive director. “The event combines hiking, bird watching, and hands-on activities, which is a perfect way to spend a spring day. Our Unplugged Adventures are designed to get people off of the couch, out of the house and onto the prairie.”
Cost for the event is $3 per person. Guests are encouraged to bring water, snacks, and also cameras to capture shots of birds in action.
Pre-registration is required for the Unplugged Adventure. Go to katyprairie.org and click on the “Visit” tab to find “events.” Directions to Warren Ranch can be found on the website. If you are interested in being a volunteer group leader for “Tropical Travelers,” contact Jaime Gonzalez at 713-523-6135.

Bird lovers, there is still time to register for Katy Prairie Conservancy’s (KPC) “Unplugged Adventure:

Hikers will search for the Caracara, among other birds, at Katy Prairie Conservancy's Tropical Travelers event May 10. Photo by Greg Lavaty
Hikers will search for the Caracara, among other birds, at Katy Prairie Conservancy’s Tropical Travelers event May 10.
Photo by Greg Lavaty

Tropical Travelers” at Rock Hollow Creek on Warren Ranch May 10 from 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  Participants will hike in search of hummingbirds, caracara, and brightly colored buntings, which all call the Katy Prairie home.

These avian world travelers also spend part of their year in Central America or South America. The hike and related activities will shed light on the fascinating connections between the Katy Prairie and our neighbors to the south.

“Tropical Travelers” is a wonderful way to introduce children and teens to birding,” says Mary Anne Piacentini, KPC executive director.  “The event combines hiking, bird watching, and hands-on activities, which is a perfect way to spend a spring day.  Our Unplugged Adventures are designed to get people off of the couch, out of the house and onto the prairie.”

Cost for the event is $3 per person. Guests are encouraged to bring water, snacks, and also cameras to capture shots of birds in action.

Pre-registration is required for the Unplugged Adventure. Go to katyprairie.org and click on the “Visit” tab to find “events.”  Directions to Warren Ranch can be found on the website. If you are interested in being a volunteer group leader for “Tropical Travelers,” contact Jaime Gonzalez 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.