Urban Prairie

Yesterday the NPAT FTW chapter Prairie Seekers class went to an urban prairie. We met at 9am at the Northpark YMCA in Ft. Worth to explore the greenbelt prairie. We were looking for signs of a recovering native ecosystem. And it is always an education when out with nature nerds.

Suzanne start the group with explanation of the area and what the city was trying to accomplish. Then we all headed out to the field.

Jeff spotted the Sleepy Catchfly (Silene antirrhina)! It is a native, but unfortunately it has been introduced to Europe. Jeff posted his 95 observations on iNat. The Sleepy Catchfly was slightly sticky on the stem. However it is not believed to obtain any nutrients from anything it catches.

While looking at another nearby plant I spotted green sharpshooter. It is a type of leafhopper. So it’s most likely either Draeculacephala antica or D. constricta based on its range.
Moving along near the creek this larva was spotted on the Black Willow (Salix nigra). Kate found the possible ID on iNat as a Chrysomela texana. This is a type of leaf beetle. Crazy looking, eh! In fact on BugGuide I found this crazy photo. Apparently we were not a threat as the eversible glands did not pop out. A more familiar eversible gland would be the swallowtail caterpillar’s horns (osmeterium) that pop out when frightened or defending. Certainly I will be watching for that in the future.

Further along the path was a dead Rough Earthsnake (Virginia striatula). 🙁
However this allowed for some closeup photos. So the closeup showed the slightly rough back scales. Hence the common name I reckon. 😉
So another identifying characteristic is the cream color belly. Poor little guy looked like it had been stepped on.
After lunch we headed to a second nearby location at the Arcadia trail and park.
This area is a more of a natural area. There will be a RX burn in the fall. Here some pulled Bastard Cabbage. In fact we hope to go back to see the results of the RX fire. Watch for the event in the chapter calendar!
Here Michelle showed some participants how to gather data. The city has set up transects to start monitoring the location. Your help would be welcome!

Great class!

Kate, Michelle, JoAnn, and Suzanne did a great job organizing the Prairie Seeker training. Thank you!

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Spring 2024 Plant Sales

Keep looking!

The more you know, the more you see and the more you see, the more you know


  1. Suzanne, After our brief discussion about crawdads yesterday, I just had to look up how the crawdads breathe. It seems that they force a liquid (forget what) over their gills while on land. And they can stay out the water for up to a day or two. Pretty incredible nature!

  2. Sorry I had to miss it. Urban prairies are near and dear to my heart, and I’d love to have seen what is happening in Fort Worth.

  3. Neat outing! I have that Silene with the delicate little white flowers down here. Had never seen it down here before we moved here and it is mostly where we had gravel brought in for our road. So we wonder if it got brought in or it has just gotten eaten by the deer or cattle before.

  4. Looks like it was a great day with new adventures and opportunities.
    James thinks how the leaf beetle protects itself is really cool. Asked him what if we could scare off predators by having stinky white balls pop out of us (like our ears)!

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