By Linda Beranek
The Fort Worth Chapter of the Native Prairies Association of Texas held their monthly meeting Monday, April 10th. The meeting focused on Collaborative Efforts to Conserve Native Prairies. The panel consisted of Dr. Jean Marie Stiles of Tarrant County College, Northeast; Ms. Pansy Sheffield of Tarrant County College, South; Mr. Marc Villanueva of Tarrant County Southeast; Dr. Greta Bowling of Tarrant County College, Northwest; Ms. Pat Merkord of NPAT; Mr. Nathan Joe Loftice of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad; and Mr. Don Young, Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area.
The discussion centered upon opportunities for the panel members and their organizations to join together and share “best practices”. As everyone agreed, there are many independent efforts in some phase of development; however all felt that joining forces and looking for economies of scale could be beneficial. It was exciting to hear and see the interaction of the panel members and the audience. It was obvious there were many wonderful ideas generated that could be turned into conceptual plans and all involved wanted the interaction to continue!
In May, Pat Merkord will meet with NPAT’s Fort Worth chapter Vice President Linda Beranek to begin discussions with regard to a collaboration conference. Pat has been involved with such a gathering with the NPAT group in Houston. We hope to bring together researchers, practitioners and other interested parties to continue our efforts to collaborate, conserve, observe and appreciate our native prairies!
Much thanks goes to Suzanne Tuttle, NPAT’s Fort Worth chapter Treasurer, who moderated this panel and made so many of the connections with the members of the panel. All of us were thrilled to hear that the Tarrant County College representatives are working with the eco-community at their respective campuses to move forward on this collaborative effort. The Fort Worth chapter has volunteered to serve in any way to assist the campuses in their efforts.