Three hundred Flower Mounders turned out on Saturday to help paint the perimeter fence of The Mound and pull invasive weeds from among the lovely wildflowers that blanket this rare remnant of native prairie.
Instigated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the day of service was estimated to be the largest volunteer effort in the history of The Mound.
“This is the first time we’ve had a volunteer group this large. The church came to us and said, ‘How can we help?’ and it has just been wonderful,” said Al Picardi, one of nine directors of The Flower Mound Foundation, an organization devoted to preserving The Mound.
“What is really great is all of the families. We love it that there are people of all ages out painting the fence—especially the children because it gives them a sense of ownership and pride so that in the future they may defend The Mound from those who might seek to do it harm,”
Donning bright yellow vests identifying them as part of the Mormon Helping Hands Program, the church members were joined by the Hitachi Community Action Committee and The Summit Club, Flower Mound’s oldest men’s service organization which provided support by grilling up hundreds of hotdogs to feed the hungry workers.
The event was also supported by the Flower Mound Citizen’s Patrol, providing security as well as physical and medical aid.
Flower Mound resident Stratton Travis, painting a section of fence with his three young daughters, said, “We love to give service, to give back to the community. It’s good for the kids and it’s good for the adults, too.”
“This project couldn’t come at a better time, as we are preparing for a big event on May 11th,” said Alton Bowman, fellow director of The Flower Mound Foundation.
The foundation is sponsoring a wildflower walk on The Flower Mound that day in honor of Mother’s Day and National Wildflower week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Denton County Master Gardeners will be on hand to give guided tours and there will be temporary placards identifying plants covering The Mound for self-guided tours.
“People don’t generally understand what a treasure we have in The Mound. It is owned by the citizens of Flower Mound— not the city. It belongs to all of us,” said Bowman. “But The Mound is fragile and we have to take care of it. It is an isolated rare remnant of less than one half of one percent of all the native prairies that remain. And we have one right here! Not many towns can boast that. These plants have been developing since the last ice age and designed just for this place.
“Many people don’t understand what it takes to preserve this land. We get all kinds of helpful advice, like putting in a sprinkler system. What you see here doesn’t need a sprinkler system and in fact that would do it harm. These plants survive because they are native to this land. They are drought tolerant and grow in specific locations on The Mound according to their own need for drainage. People often suggest planting trees. Trees would kill this prairie. They would choke the life out of all of these native grasses and plants. We spend a lost of time defending The Mound from woody invaders.
“Our mission is educational, historical and scientific. We want to teach people about the ecological factors that threaten this land. If people could understand it, they would certainly join us in our effort to defend it. Look at the great diversity of this place, all of the colorful plants and wildlife that flourish here! But we have to be careful. We used to have a rare patch of purple paint brush but someone picked them all and they have not been back. It’s sad, really.
“We are trying to keep it natural as God made it. We are trying to preserve it and leave it alone.”
The book: The Flower Mound, A History and Field Guide to the Flowers and Grasses by Alton Bowman is available for purchase at The Flower Mound Public Library. All proceeds go to support The Flower Mound.