This was a great week, during which Kim and I attended the North American Prairie Conference in Houston, Texas. The conference was wonderful, and it was great to meet a lot of new people, including a lot of you who were nice enough to come up and tell me how much you enjoy this blog. Thank you for that.
Tuesday was field trip day, and Kim and I got to travel to a couple sites, including The Nature Conservancy’s Roy E. Larsen Sandyland Sanctuary. While there, we wandered through some pine savanna habitats and saw a WHOLE LOT of plants and animals that we don’t get to see in Nebraska. If you’re fortunate enough to live close to this property, I’m jealous – I’d love to explore it on a regular basis. It’s a beautiful site, and very well managed.
I’m sharing just a small sample of the photos I took during the tour, and it was really hard to narrow the selection down. Just about everything I saw was new, and there were quite a few plants that are apparently endemic to a pretty small geographic area around the site. I wish I could share some good natural history stories about each of these, but the best I can do is pass along identifications generously provided by Matt Buckingham, a fantastic ecologist and photographer who has a blog you should all check out. Here are some images from Sandyland Sanctuary:
Fun pics! Love the long leaf pine savanna. There a really nice state park north of Orlando that has a fantastic pine savanna – and a great swimming hole. Wekiwa Springs State Park
Yay Chris! Thanks for taking such great photos of a fun day and sharing them. I’m still dreaming of the white-topped sedge, what a stunner!
Oh, so glad you got to go to Sandylands! I’ve only been once but it is magical. Reminds me so much of portions of Florida and some other habitats of the southeast. And I love Matt’s blog—been following him via Flickr for years.
Chris, did they say where the next one will be held? Two years from now, I understand.
Lincoln in 2022!
I did not realize how many of the plants in my northern Illinois garden live in Texas until I looked through Matt Buckingham’s blog.
Aesculus pavia, Clematis texensis, Cypripedium kentuckiensis, Echinacea paradoxa, Penstemon cobaea, Penstemon murrayanus
And plants in my garden that live in Texas which are also native to my area like Asclepias tuberosa, Calopogon tuberosa, Hibiscus moscheutos, Hypoxis hirsuta, Oxalis violacea, Platanthera cilaris, Sanguinaria canadensis, Trillum recurvatum, Viola pedata, and many others that are in the same genera, but are closely-related distinct species
Thanks so much for sharing these. Reminds me a bit of lowland GA! Neat fact about the baby pines.
My bookcase has been excavated! :)
Gorgeous photos of an ecosystem I was completely unfamiliar with and enjoyed seeing.
Hey Chris I’m glad you got to see our coastal prairies down here! I met you while interning at Valentine NWR a couple summers ago and felt the same way about the grasses and forbs up there as you seem to have felt with ours. I’m glad you added a close up of the beautyberry because I think the common name could just as easily be beautyflower. I made sure to tell everyone I knew that as going to the conference to listen to your talk!
Thanks Andy, great to hear from you. I hope you’re well.
Wonderful photos of a day in a remarkable place. I’m one of those lucky enough to be able to visit on a day trip, and I’ll be taking advantage of the opportunity.