by Brenda Catlett, class of 2018
Saturday, May 7th brought good weather and a crowd out for Native Plants and Prairies Day at the Bath House at White Rock Lake. Our chapter was well represented with around 50 volunteers spreading their enthusiasm for our chapter and for conservation of our local prairies.
Volunteers displaying the prairie, pollinator, mammal, and bird trunks provided effective outreach for our chapter to kids and adults alike. Our members who work to restore Unit 2 at White Rock Lake, also known as Bison Hill, were able to sign up new volunteers from the general public who want to help in that restoration and to learn more about our chapter.
Haley Spencer did a great job planning the children’s activities and coordinating volunteers for staffing that area. The children’s area tables were busy all day. Both kids and adults made seed balls and had fun with other hands-on activities.
The day was an opportunity for our chapter members to visit with exhibitors from other local conservation organizations such as Native Plant Society of Texas, Blackland Chapter of the Native Prairies Association of Texas (NPAT) and the Ft. Worth Chapter of NPAT.
Presentations by area experts were well attended. Thanks to Daniel Cunningham, horticulturist, and owner of Rooted In, Becky Rader, local prairie expert, Brett Johnson, Dallas Parks biologist, Ben Sandifer, master birder, naturalist and photographer, and Sean Fitzgerald, professional wildlife photographer.
The prairie tours were popular, especially those scheduled in the morning. Thanks to Randy Johnson, Suzanne Tuttle, Nancy Griswold, Bob Richie, John Snowden, Megan Peoples, Dana Wilson and Carol Garrison. We were so fortunate to have this excellent slate of experts to explain the value of prairies to the public.
Janet D. Smith, Ann Sansone and I were honored to be able to bring this wonderful event back and we are so grateful to all the volunteers, speakers, tour leaders and exhibitors that made this event possible. Special thanks also to our lead volunteers, Mike Gaffney, Haley Spencer, and Dorothy Buechel.
Next year brings an opportunity to incorporate the lessons learned from this year’s event and host the next Native Plants and Prairies Day for an enthusiastic and welcoming public.