August 2022
Note from the Environmental Education Center

The hot and dry peak-of-summer August weather often leaves nature thirsting for water. Plants and animals are scorched by the sun and struggling to find cooling moisture. However, it provides unique observation opportunities as more wildlife venture out searching for water. At John Paul Landing Park, everything from insects and reptiles to birds and mammals flocks to the lake for a refreshing drink or bath.
The newest section of the lake is receiving its finishing touches, with more native plants recently added along the edges. The area has already seen its first nesting successes. Black-necked stilts fledged their gangly baby birds, and black-bellied whistling ducks swim through the water with their ducklings. The parents are protective of their little ones, and the well-vegetated aquatic habitat provides the perfect place for the young birds to hide.
In addition to sustaining wildlife, the lake offers summer recreation for people as well, including fishing, bird watching, and pleasant breezes for morning walks. The Environmental Education Center also offers indoor programs to take a break from the heat throughout the summer. See the events below or stop by to find out more.

Photo by Megan Ahlgren
August Events at John Paul Landing
Backyard Naturalists –

Saturday, Aug. 20,
10 11 a.m.

Suitable for adults and children 10 and older. Click here for more information.
Discovery Days: An Avian Adventure Live Birds of Prey with Houston Audubon

Wednesday, Aug. 24,
12:30 1:30 p.m.
or 2 3 p.m.

Designed for school-aged children. Registration required. Click here for more information.
Nature Discussion Group:
The Ivory-billed Woodpecker in Texas

Thursday, Aug. 25, 12:30 1:30 p.m.

Suitable for adults and older students with a keen interest in nature.
Click here for more information.

Nature Notes
Fast and Fierce
Although small, tiger beetles are ferocious predators. With bulging eyes and powerful mandibles, they feed on ants, beetles, flies, spiders, and other small arthropods. The larvae ambush their prey, but adults are known for their running speed. Some run so fast that they go temporarily blind and must make brief stops to regain sight. The fastest known tiger beetle species can run 5.6 mph, which is impressive considering its tiny size.

Most tiger beetles are diurnal, meaning they are active during the day, and many are sun lovers. Some species, like the metallic green six-spotted tiger beetle ̶ which is common in our area ̶ frequent woodland paths. Others are found along sandy banks of streams and lakes. At John Paul Landing Park, ocellated tiger beetles are abundant along the edge of the lake in the summer. It takes an observant eye to notice the small beetles running around in the sun, and they flee to the shadows if you get too close. The next time you are in the park, take some time to watch for them as they dart around your feet.

Photos by Megan Ahlgren
Discussion Preview:
The Ivory-billed Woodpecker in Texas
The largest woodpecker ever to have existed in the United States, the ivory-billed woodpecker made a big impression on those who were lucky enough to see it. Never abundant, these birds declined with the loss of bottomland hardwood forest in the southeast. The species has long been thought to be extinct, but many still search in hope of finding one. Join us on Thursday, Aug. 25, from 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. to learn about the history and lore of the ivory-billed woodpecker. This discussion is best suited for adults and older students with a keen interest in nature. We hope you will attend and share your thoughts. 

John James Audubon
Volunteer Spotlight
Eagle Scout candidate Kyle Sparks recently built 10 bee houses to provide nesting places for native solitary bees. The project required careful consideration and planning to ensure the houses would be safe for the bees. Kyle and his team smoothed the nest holes to avoid causing damage to the bees’ wings and composed the inside of the houses with removable slats that can be taken out and cleaned each year, preventing the buildup of disease and mites. We are excited to have projects like this to add to the value of our park. If you are interested in doing a scout or service project, contact us at 
Photos by Brandon Cain (above text) and Barry Sparks (below text)
What is your favorite fish to catch at John Paul Landing Park?
Haven't tried yet
I don't like to fish
Harris County Precinct 4
Commissioner R. Jack Cagle

Thank you for reading this monthly newsletter from the staff at John Paul Landing Park & Environmental Education Center. I hope you learned something new about our services, activities, and programs.

As your county commissioner, I’m proud of the work your Precinct 4 staff and volunteers perform every day to improve access to greenspaces. We pledge to continue this service in the future. 

Please stay tuned for our next issue to learn more about our events, activities, and news!
9950 Katy Hockley Road, Cypress, TX 77443