by Barbara Baynham
An estimated 150 people, including many children small to large, gathered at the Preserve just as night was falling to see what insects would be attracted to several light-screens set up throughout the parking lot. Sam Kieschnick, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Urban Wildlife Biologist for DFW, brought a team of experts so that every screen had someone to help identify insects and other critters.
Sam started the evening with a wonderful introduction about what might happen during the event. He included many of the children in the discussion. Because he had prepped the group so well, no one was surprised or alarmed to see several snakes, including copperheads, pass through the area on their nightly search for food. Everyone stayed calm and collected and just enjoyed the entire experience. One boy exclaimed, “I saw a copperhead, it was so cool.” There was plenty of supervision to keep the kids and naturalists from doing anything dangerous.
Many folks stayed until nearly midnight, enjoying the wide range of observations. All observations were reported to iNaturalist, the citizen-science App that is run by National Geographic and the California Academy for Sciences. The iNaturalist Report for the evening: 1,386 observations, 357 species. The observation of the Eastern Dobsonfly (Corydalus cornutus) indicates excellent water quality.
The evening wasn’t just about moths, many types of insects were recorded. Plus – a toad that was checking out the smorgasbord, 5 copperheads and one unidentified snake, a rabbit or two, and a loud frog chorus.
To see all of the iNaturalist observations taken at Spring Creek Preserve visit this link. Use the filter to adjust dates or other parameters. Spring Creek Preserve now has over 10,000 observations and nearly 1,400 species recorded.
We hope to do it again next year.
About: Spring Creek Forest Preserve is in Garland, Texas 75044 near the George Bush Tollway. The Preservation Society for Spring Creek Forest works with the Garland Parks and Recreation Department to promote the preservation and protection of Spring Creek Forest as a cultural and natural resource treasure and facilitate scientific and educational pursuits by the public. Equally important to the Society is the relationship with the Texas Master Naturalists. The Preserve has been on the NTMN project list for over 15 years and has offered many opportunities for both volunteer and advanced training hours. Several people on the Society executive board are also Texas Master Naturalists. For more information about the Preserve and the activities of the Society visit https://