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Calling ALL community scientists. The Dallas Park and Recreation Department’s Urban Biologist needs your help. Spring is here and it looks like we will have a great wildflower season. Part of the Department’s prairie management and pollinator conservation objectives is to monitor the plant species diversity in our prairie units. We have prairie units around White Rock Lake, Harry S. Moss Park, Crawford Memorial Park and Kiest Conservation Area. If you cannot make it to one of these parks, then head to a natural area in a park near your home that has wildflowers. You never know when you may find a potential prairie area we were not aware of, that is the greatness of community scientists.
Helping with this survey effort is incredibly easy. Put the iNaturalist app on your smart phone or tablet and set up an account with iNaturalist (you will need to enter an email address). Make sure you set the location setting on your phone to allow iNaturalist to determine your location. Then walk up to a plant and “add an observation”. Put something of known size next to the plant for a size reference. Shoot a photo of the plant. Try to identify the plant. If you don’t know, iNaturalist has a “what did I see” function and it is getting pretty good at identifying what is in the photo. Then hit the share/check button. Then the magic of iNaturalist happens, nature enthusiasts from around the world will see your photos and help verify the identification. If you would like more training on this, please attend the City Nature Challenge BioBlitz on April 27, 2019 from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon at Gateway Park, 2400 North Jim Miller Rd., Dallas, TX 75227.
While we are interested in any wild flowering plant in the prairie areas, the Urban Biologist has four species of special interest he is looking for at this time. These four species were selected in 2016 by the Prairie Assessment Team as good indicators of prairie health and are part of the “Top 10” species. The four species we are looking for are: Blue Funnel-Lily (Androstephium coeruleum), Foxglove (Penstemon cobaea), New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus), and Camas (Camassia scilloides). For more information on these four species, please visit White Rock Important Prairie Plants.
Blue Funnel - Lily Foxglove New Jersey Tea Camas
(Photo credits: Blue Funnel Lily - Jim Varnum | Foxglove - Kenneth Bader | New Jersey Tea - Patrick Coin | Camas - John B.)