Field Trips

NPSOT-FIeld-Trip2

Native Plant Society of Texas- Houston Chapter Field Trips – Spring 2017

They are open and free to the public. Three field trips were held in Spring 2017. Check back for Fall 2017 field trips after they are planned and scheduled.

All three trips are on Sundays and led by Dr. Larry Brown. We will continue to meet in the parking lot (GPS coordinates 29.767315 -95.447826, see notes below about GPS coordinates) of Memorial Park Running Trail Center (east of the Memorial Park Arboretum). Please wear appropriate footwear for walking through wet or dry fields, bring drinking water, bug spray, and a lunch if you like. If the weather is drizzling rain, we proceed, but if it is a gully-washer, we still gather at the parking lot east of the Memorial Park Arboretum and then cancel. We meet at the parking lot east of the Memorial Park Arboretum between 8:00 and 8:30 AM, and depart promptly at 8:30 AM. Please contact Paul Roling for additional inquiries: PRoling@att.net or 281-353-7413.

Sunday, March 19: Willow Waterhole.

Located 9 miles south of the Arboretum at Gasmer and South Post Oak, this 15-acre prairie is a small remnant of the 64-acre plot we looked at in October of 2011. Most of the remaining 49 acres is now a retention pond to reduce flooding in the city of Houston. So far over 300 species of plants have been identified for this area, including two protected plots for Hymenoxys texana (prairie dawn), which will hopefully be blooming on our visit. The top soil of the prairie is a clay loam with a slightly acidic pH of about 5.5-6.5, while about a foot under the surface, and thus along most of the exposed slope of the retention pond, the soil is mostly clay with an alkaline pH of about 8.

A PDF map and list of plants can be found here: https://www.hcfcd.org/media/1729/willowwaterholeprairiemanagementpap.pdf

Parking for this field trip is very limited because the gate to the prairie is in a residential subdivision. So let’s all meet at the Memorial Park Running Trail Center parking lot (GPS coordinates 29.767315 -95.447826) and car pool.

Sunday, April 9: Bear Creek Park

Bear Creek Park on the west side of Houston (approximately 17 miles from the Arboretum) will be our second outing. The park consists of 2,168 acres of floodplains and forests with numerous trails, picnic areas, sports facilities, and more. Prairie dawn has been seen in this park in the past. The soil of this floodplain park is a mixture of a number of soil components, resulting in soil that is a sandy loam with pH values of near neutral to acidic (pH about 6.8 to 5).

A printable map of the park can be found here: http://www.pct3.com/parks/bear%2Dcreek%2Dpark/

For those in the west side of Houston, we will meet you at a parking lot near the park entrance on Bear Creek Drive (east of the golf course at GPS coordinates 29.834770 -95.629714) off of Clay Road between Highway 6 and Eldridge Parkway at about 9:15 AM.

Sunday, April 23: Little Thicket Nature Sanctuary

The Little Thicket Nature Sanctuary is a 655 acre plot of land (GPS coordinates 30.535873 -95.225994) located in San Jacinto county northeast of Cleveland TX, about 69 miles north of our meeting place in Memorial Park. Over 400 plants have been identified in this wooded preserve, with numerous trails, owned by the Outdoor Nature Club based in Houston. The soil of the sanctuary is primarily a loamy sand that is quite acidic (pH about 4.5-5.5).

More information and a PDF maps can be found here: http://www.outdoornatureclub.org/ltns.html

For those in the north side of Houston, we will meet you at the McDonald’s parking lot (441 West Southline Street, Highway 105) in Cleveland TX off Interstate 69 (Highway 59) (exit Majnik Avenue to Southline Street) on Highway 105 (GPS coordinates 30.335893 -95.097238) at about 9:30 AM.

Notes:

1. Soil data can be accessed from http://casoilresource.lawr.ucdavis.edu/soilweb/

2. GPS coordinates can be copied, as is, from above and entered into the Google Earth or Google Maps or the soil web page “search” box to find the places mentioned.

3. If anyone wants to be added to the NPSOT field trip e-mail list, send an e-mail to PRoling@att.net requesting to be added to the list. E-mail reminders are sent out about a week before each trip.