The powerful and mysterious Monarch butterfly migration returned to the Fort Worth Prairie Park last week on their way to Mexico, and we could feel the story of the North American continent in their wings. Here are some photos, courtesy of Sundog Photography.
Great Plains Restoration Council has worked for over 7 years to save this platinum prairie in North Texas from destruction. As you know, there is a scramble to save the last platinum prairies in Texas, not only as critical refuge for people and wildlife, but as a bulwark for restoration for the future.
By saving the Fort Worth Prairie Park, which is owned by the State of Texas General Land Office, we not only save the interplay of hundreds of native species, but save the original genetic code of biodiversity and ecosystem function spanning thousands of years.
What must it be like for the Monarch butterflies, or legions of grassland nesting birds crossing the Western Hemisphere, to descend into such a refuge of American original abundance? They come to breed in the Spring, and rest and refuel in the Fall.
After the Monarchs leave the Fort Worth Prairie Park, this area on the southwestern edge of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex — “Where the West Begins” — is pretty much their last major expanse of native tallgrass prairie before traveling hundreds of more miles to Mexico. They have been out here refueling and resting to repletion. and they are fat, glistening and happy.
As evening descends and the moon rises, the Monarchs ascend into fluttering orange and black clusters to overnight in the few prairie trees and the “Monarch Cathedral” down by the creek. So much commotion and life, yet more silent than the wind.
Conservation Status Update: Phase 1, protection of the entire riparian area along Rock Creek, and including some adjacent uplands and archaeological sites, has already been achieved.
While we have been successful for over 7 years in preventing the Texas General Land Office (GLO) from selling this pristine native prairie to developers, the GLO is now inking a contract to sell the unprotected lands to a group of investors. Great Plains Restoration Council has made preservation of the Fort Worth Prairie Park a local and national concern. People from 5 different states have flown out to visit and walk miles in this wild original tallgrass prairie.
Along with our partners at The Nature Conservancy, the Fort Worth City Council, top landscape architects and others, GPRC is looking forward to working diligently with the new owners to hopefully ensure a permanent conservation outcome of the most important and critical biodiversity core. so that all future generations may know how much this Southern tallgrass prairie can live.
Thank you for being part of this ongoing effort.