Learn about North Texas native prairies on Saturday, May 3, at two free events: Native Plants and Prairies Day in Dallas and Prairie Day in Fort Worth.

Photo courtesy of North Texas Master Naturalists.

April 30, 2014

Whether you live on the east or west side of DFW, make plans to get schooled on all things prairie this Saturday.

In Dallas, the North Texas Master Naturalists will host Native Plants and Prairies Day at White Rock Lake’s Bath House Cultural Center. Meanwhile in Fort Worth, the Botanical Research Institute of Texas will host its third annual Prairie Day on the same day.

Both events are intended to educate the public on the region's native ecosystems and how restoring native plants can benefit homeowners as well as wildlife.


Organizer Jim Folger, a North Texas Master Naturalist who lives near White Rock Lake, says the Dallas event will be bigger and better than the inaugural fest last year.

About 400 attended in 2013 and Folger says they expect to double that number as interest in native plants continues to grow – with good reason.

“Native plants are drought-tolerant, acclimated to Texas weather and conditions and attract insects that feed birds and other animals while foreign plants do not,’ Folger explains. “Native plants are very important to our future in Texas. You don't have to convert your entire yard to native plants, although I would welcome it, just start with a small garden plot.” 

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the Native Plants and Prairies Day will feature booths, demonstrations, a raffle and 30-minute talks on the history of White Rock Prairie and the importance of native plants. There will also be a variety of walks to explore not only the prairie flowers, but also insects and birds.

Folger says too, that at the event they will have things for the kids to do, including making seedballs, treasure/scavenger hunts, nature journals, seed plantings and corn husk dolls.

The Texas Discovery Gardens and Native Plant Society will also have native plants for sale. 

Native Plants and Prairies Day

When: May 3, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Bath House Cultural Center on White Rock Lake in Dallas

Cost: Free

For more information: NTMN.org


Meanwhile, Fort Worth’s Botanical Research Institute of Texas will hold its third annual Prairie Day from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

Tammie Crole, BRIT’s head of membership and the event director, says they hope to double last year’s attendance of 600 this year

“Maintaining and researching native landscapes is part of BRIT’s ongoing conservation effort,” Crole says. 

In addition to a birds of prey show, live music, kid's activities and a Farmers Market, there will be green vendors and organizations on hand, including the Fort Worth Prairie Park and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, to name a few.

“Water is becoming an ever increasing scarce resource. We hope to show the public how a native landscape can be just as beautiful and rewarding as a manicured lawn,” says Crole. “Native plants are better suited to the North Texas environment and can complement any garden or yard. As a matter of fact, we are partnering with the city of Fort Worth and NBC5 for this year’s Ecoscape, residential summer landscape contest, to see which area homeowner can create the most attractive native plant landscape.” 

And while there will be no native plants sold at the BRIT event, Crole says there will be a plethora of resources shared including a landscaper who deals in Texas natives. 

Crole hopes attendees walk away with an appreciation for native plants. 

“Historically, this area would be entirely a mid-to-tall grass prairie with pockets of wildflowers,” said Crole. “BRIT researchers and scientists are restoring that habitat on our prairie behind our building. By increasing the native diversity of plants, BRIT is also encouraging native wildlife like butterflies, birds, and bees to return. All of this, BRIT hopes, will encourage others to use this kind of alternative to landscaping.”

Prairie Day

When: May 3, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Where:  Botanical Research Institute of Texas, 1700 University Drive in the Fort Worth Cultural District

Cost: Free 

For more information: BRIT.org

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