2nd Quarter 2021 * Volume 29, Issue 2
A Quarterly Newsletter Sponsored by the Friends in Support of the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge
Dear Friends,
Spring has sprung! And not very long after a record snowstorm hit North Texas. Nowhere but Texas can you go from below zero temperatures to 80 degrees in just a few days. I hope you and your family have recovered from the storm and can now see better days arriving with spring: redbuds blooming, tree leaves peeking out, and birds singing.
It is hard to imagine that a year ago, the city was shut down and we were home not certain what was to come from this new virus. I imagine many of you, along with your friends and family, struggled during this last year on many fronts. I hope you were able to find comfort in nature and at the Nature Center.
We could all use a positive story right now, and I have one to share.
I was recently informed of a project spearheaded by Friends members Jaime Dickerson and Bert Slade. They hike the Canyon Ridge Trail every Sunday morning and have been doing so for quite some time for the exercise and the beauty of the trail. As Jaime puts it, “We hike when it is 95 degrees and when it is 15 degrees, rain or shine!”
During these weekly hikes, Jamie and Bert have noticed something they do not like seeing at the Nature Center—TIRES! Hundreds of them. An enormous pile of discarded auto and truck tires is spilling down the bluff and filling the creek bed about 1/4 mile off the trail. Jaime and Bert have been concerned about the tires for esthetic reasons and the possible impact of decomposing tires and associated pollutants finding their way into Lake Worth.
Jamie and Bert had hoped to organize a tire cleanup day, but with COVID restrictions, that has not been an option. So, they have been working with Nature Center staff to remove what they can when they can. They have since removed more than 150 tires, with around 1,000 tires to go. What an undertaking! I am so inspired by Jaime and Bert’s willingness to tackle these tires! Their support of the Nature Center goes well beyond weekly visits. They are preserving and protecting the Nature Center for future generations. That’s the Friends’ mission, and we are grateful Jaime and Bert wholeheartedly support that mission.
We will be planning a tire cleanup day in the future when restrictions allow! Keep an eye out for that announcement. In the meantime, we will be documenting Jaime and Bert’s efforts to tackle the tires in a future Bluestem News video and podcast.
Thank you so much for being a Friend—and thank you Jaime and Bert for tackling those tires for us all!
Haily Summerford, MBA
Executive Director
Behind the Scenes at the Refuge
Natural habitats rely on natural disturbances to maintain their health and vitality. Without occasional windstorms to topple mature trees, forests will lose diversity and fail to regenerate because life-giving sunshine cannot reach the forest floor. Without occasional lightning strike fires, prairies become overrun by invasive woody brush or smothered by a thick, organic duff layer that covers the soil.
Friends News
Jean Pirmann has lived in Fort Worth since 2008 but didn’t get around to visiting the Fort Worth Nature Center for another decade.

“My brother and his wife travel the country in an RV, and they passed through Fort Worth for a visit in 2018,” she says. “He’s an outdoorsy kind of guy, so I researched places where I could take him during his visit.”
Wetlands have endured a checkered past in our collective history in the U.S. Up to the late 1800s, we viewed wetlands as wastelands to be removed and developed. These systems often occupied valuable land that could be converted into productive agricultural acreage. In the mid-1800s, we had laws that promoted the removal of these systems.
Conservation on the Refuge
Spring is the season in which we begin cultivating our vegetable or flower gardens, allowing these tender plants to flourish before the Texas summer heat scorches them past their wilting points. This period coincides with the emergence of insects that survived winter and now begin to thrive in ideal weather conditions. Therefore, it's to be expected that we will have six- and eight-legged critters visiting our gardens searching for food.
Two common—but often overlooked and underappreciated—birds call the Refuge home. If you look closely, you can usually spot two species of vultures at the Refuge—the turkey vulture (Cathartes aura) and the black vulture (Coragyps atratus).
At the Nature Center
Winter storms are in the rearview mirror, and a transition to normal weather is finally here. The warmer temperatures and changing of seasons remind us it is that time of year to prepare for summer. In order to book that desired experience, you must plan ahead. We at the Nature Center are here to help. This summer, we are planning to resume some activities that were hampered with the onset of COVID-19 last summer. One of those activities is Summer Natural History Adventures.
Spring is here, and, usually, that means school field trips arriving at the Refuge all season. Given the circumstances of the past year, however, that has not been the case this spring. While we haven’t had our usual influx of school groups to keep us busy, we are offering many different environmental education opportunities during the week.
Did You See It?
What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?
Each issue, we will highlight the most-popular post that was featured on social media the previous quarter. Enjoy this look back at what caught our followers' attention. Follow us if you haven't already! Links are below.

From January 29, 2021

What do you want to be when you grow up? A Friends member sent us this adorable photo with a sweet description: "Today at school was 'dress up like what you want to be when you grow up.' My daughter said she wanted to work at the Nature Center and help animals."
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