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The Thundering Herd- May 2021

While most people would connect the color green with envy or jealousy, Panhandlers equate it with the utmost sense of positivity and happiness. Yes, we’re quite green with happiness here at Caprock Canyons State Park you might say! A little bit of rain, warm temperatures, and new life certainly did the trick!

We have a new supporter of the park who will be here through May. Park host Randal Coe has already hit the ground running and is lending a valuable and much appreciated hand in the maintenance of the park. If you see him, please give him a warm welcome!

Bison calves are still being born as we speak though there are now so many of these new little ones that we can hardly count them! And you best believe we do “try” to count our many blessings every day! Though, what greater way to say that you’ve got it good than to say that you can “try” to count your many blessings but there’s often too many to count!?!!

Not only are the prairies full of small thundering hooves, there’s also been some talk going on in the Honey Flat prairie dog town. Despite the extreme cold temperatures of winter storm Uri, some prairie dog pups apparently demonstrated their strong will to survive and surprised us with this resiliency by making their appearance for the first time last month! It was definitely a surprise as we surmised that most if not all the prairie dog pups didn’t survive the storm. During that time, prairie dogs had just begun birthing their pups so it’s indeed a pleasant sight to see these healthy pups showing off in the town! (Pictures to come!!!)

Easter was wonderful to see so many people coming out to the park to enjoy the great outdoors. More and more, we are seeing an influx of new users to the park and often we do book up for both camping and even day use especially on weekends so if you’re counting on coming to see us, we strongly encourage making reservations!

Toward the end of last month, some old friends returned… The cliff swallows! But, they really couldn’t stop much for a long visit. They’re super busy right now rebuilding their mud homes and soon we’ll be seeing some cliff swallow chicks happily calling out for food.

Programs & Events

We’ve started back with in person interpretive programs! We aren’t offering enclosed vehicle tours just yet but we’re excited to be offering outdoor programming once again! Here’s a look at what’s in store for this month’s programs and events!

Saturday, May 1st:

  • “Native American Games”, 2:00 p.m., Visitor’s Center Pavilion
  • “Music in the Park featuring The Dirt Storm Drifters Band”, 6:00 p.m., Visitor’s Center Pavilion
  • “The Texas State Bison Herd”, 8:45 p.m., Interpretive Amphitheater

Saturday, May 8th:

  • “Goin’ Batty”, 2:00 p.m., Visitor’s Center Pavilion. (Program is designed for children 12 and under but all ages are welcome)
  • “Prairie Dogs: Talk of the Town”, 5:00 p.m., Meet at the Honey Flat Restrooms
  • “Bats of the Texas Panhandle”, 8:30 p.m., Interpretive Amphitheater

Saturday, May 15th:

  • “Native American Games”, 2:00 p.m., Visitor’s Center Pavilion (Program is designed for children 12 and under but all ages are welcome)
  • “Music in the Park featuring pianist John Walker”, 7:00 p.m., Visitor’s Center Pavilion
  • “Star Party”, 9:00 p.m., North Prong Parking Lot (Please bring a lawn chair)

Saturday, May 22nd:

  • “Birding with a Ranger”, 8:30 a.m., Meet at the Wildlife Viewing Blind (Please bring some binoculars if you have them)
  • “Goin’ Batty”, 2:00 p.m., Visitor’s Center Pavilion (Program is designed for children 12 and under but all ages are welcome)
  • “Prairie Dogs: Talk of the Town”, 4:00 p.m., Meet at the Honey Flat Restrooms

Friday, May 28th:

  • “The Texas State Bison Herd”, 8:45 p.m., Interpretive Amphitheater

Saturday, May 29th:

  • “Goin’ Batty”, 2:00 p.m., Visitor’s Center Pavilion (Program is designed for children 12 and under but all ages are welcome)
  • “Prairie Dogs: Talk of the Town”, 5:00 p.m., Meet at the Honey Flat Restrooms
  • “Music in the Park featuring musical couple Joel and Sharon Brownlee”, 7:00 p.m., Visitor’s Center Pavilion

Remember you can always check out a detailed program schedule of park programs and events by visiting our events website at https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/caprock-canyons/park_events

(It is strongly encouraged to maintain a 6-foot distance from anyone not in your group and to wear a mask when a safe social distance cannot be maintained when attending any park programs or events.)

Quote of the Month:

“Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.” ~Pedro Calderon de la Barca

Interpreter’s Corner:

Mutual Respect: Lessons learned from nature

What does it mean to have a mutual respect for something or someone? Both stand to gain something from the relationship right? From the many, many lessons I’ve gained from nature right here in my office, I see this time and again, and “respect” is the best word I can use to describe it. I see the prairie dogs calmly (and without animosity) watch as the bison wallow on their burrows, eat their food, and forcefully walk through their carefully constructed town. I see the burrowing owls benefit from a free and often newly constructed prairie dog home. I see the dung beetle feverishly working to clean up the piles of manure from every patch of prairie where the bison have roamed. From the outside looking in, it might appear as if the prairie dog and the dung beetle have gotten the raw end of the deal. However, each of these species have an essential and very important job where in the end, respect for each other wins. You see, the bison help diversify the plant life in the prairie (and especially in the prairie dog town) by wallowing and transferring prairie seeds. Their manure, large bodies, and heavy hoof prints, help fertilize and aerate the soil. The burrowing owls often line the prairie dog burrows with bison manure to attract the insects they feed upon and help alert the prairie dogs of predator danger. The bison’s manure provide an important food source for the dung beetle and a great “bed and breakfast” for developing dung beetle eggs. The word “respect” may not be uttered between these many species, but I guarantee it’s inherently there. As humans, we have a very important job to our fellow man and to our environment. I encourage you to take a lesson, once again from nature. Seek out the many ways that you can model respect for others and nature today and in the future! We’re all connected so let’s not let the circle be unbroken and let’s pay it forward!

I’ll see you down the trail!

Le’Ann