How Wildlife Survives in the City
It’s not easy to be a wild animal living in the city. Human development creates many challenges for wildlife and they must find a way to adapt in order to persist. In spite of this, our communities are filled with amazing species and breathtaking natural areas that are worthy of celebration and protection. Rachel’s presentation discussed the unique dynamics of urban ecosystems, how the fascinating creatures that live in urban areas manage to survive, and why they are so important.
This year Rachel and the TPWD have created the DFW Urban Wildlife Research project in conjunction with the Urban Wildlife Information Network (urbanwildlifeinfo.org). April 2021 was the first sampling session. Camera traps are setup 4 times a year in Tarrant and nearby counties in order to see what wildlife are present. The first session captured photos of the wildlife you’d expect, such as coyotes, foxes, deer, and raccoons. There were some nice surprises as well – the downtown FW camera captured an eastern spotted skunk and later a ringtail – both unusual sights in north Texas. The next sampling period starts in July. Anyone interested in helping with photo review is welcome to contact Rachel via email: Rachel.email@example.com.
Rachel is an Urban Wildlife Biologist for Texas Parks and Wildlife in DFW. She has a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from Texas A&M and a master’s degree in Wildlife Ecology from Texas State. As an Urban Wildlife Biologist, she focuses on making our communities more wildlife-friendly through educational outreach and providing technical guidance.
Yucca Moth Walk at SW Nature Preserve
Special thank you to John and Grace Darling for a perfect evening at SWNP. The Darlings have an amazingly broad and deep knowledge of everything to do with nature, from frog calls to plant IDs and even a defense of poison ivy. The highlight of the evening was finding the blooming yuccas and their “obligate mutualistic” yucca moths. Male and female moths emerge from their cocoons in the spring, timed with the blossoming of the yucca plant. There is an extraordinary partnership between the yucca moth and the yucca plant. They are so interdependent that one cannot live without the other. Photo credits to Jan Miller, Lynn Healy, Jim Frisinger, Annabelle Corboy.
Reptiles and Amphibians of SW Nature Preserve and Beyond
Presented by Michael Smith…We saw photos and heard stories of the frogs and toads, turtles, lizards and snakes found at the preserve and in the surrounding area. Michael answered questions like, “where can you find them” and “are they harmful or helpful?” He also included some information about venomous snakes, even though they have not been seen at the preserve.
Michael A. Smith is the cofounder and past-president of the Dallas–Fort Worth Herpetological Society and often teaches herpetology to local classes of master naturalists. He is the author of two books on herpetology – Herping Texas – The Quest for Reptiles and Amphibians co-authored with Clint R. King and The Wild Lives of Reptiles and Amphibians – A Young Herpetologist’s Guide
The program was presented via ZOOM. You can see our (slightly amateurish) recording on YouTube – https://youtu.be/xWz491v8mCs
SWNP Programs are back! Since 2018, the city of Kennedale has been working on a plan to highlight and enhance the creek systems that run through the city. The plan is important to the Friends of Southwest Nature Preserve, and includes a proposed wildlife crossing to connect SWNP with Village Creek and Winding Creek wildlife travel corridors. The Friends of SWNP have been represented in the stakeholder meetings by Lynn Healy and Jan Miller. Melissa Dailey, Director of Planning and Economic Development, described the plan and answered questions about how the plans impact the Southwest Nature Preserve.
Before there were cities, there were waterways. The Greenways creek system in Kennedale provides a unique opportunity for the creation of gathering places alongside nature and a citywide network of pathways. Those pathways could connect people by uniting many Kennedale neighborhoods, parks, schools, churches, and local businesses. People have gathered near waterways since the beginning of time. The Greenways creeks are prime to gather the people of Kennedale.
The City of Kennedale has partnered with the National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance program and The University of Texas at Arlington College of Architecture, Planning, and Public Affairs to develop a sustainable plan for pathways, amenities, erosion prevention, and natural conservation for the Kennedale Greenways. Through surveys, public meetings, and conversations with community members, the plan identifies improvements for Village, Kennedale, and Winding Creeks and the surrounding areas.
To see the presentation developed by the City of Kennedale, go to https://www.cityofkennedale.com/780/Greenways-Project
Welcome Friends of Southwest Nature Preserve!
We think SWNP is a special place and and hope that you will too. Wild places like this are hard to find and public opportunities to enjoy them are even more rare. You’ll find information here about our work to preserve this remnant of eastern cross timbers woodlands and grasslands as well as activities to celebrate and experience it through the seasons.
Please join us!