The Native Plant Society’s local chapter is kicking off the new year with a look back -- at the devastating Possum Kingdom wildfire of 2011 -- and a look ahead -- to how the landscape is recovering from the intensive blaze. Wildlife biologist Ricky Linex will present the program at the Jan. 12 meeting of the Cross Timbers Chapter in Weatherford.
The wildfire burned 170,000 acres across all types of terrain in Stephens, Young and Palo Pinto counties. Photos were taken at specific sites after the fire and the sites were revisited in 2016 to document the regrowth of grasses, trees and other plants and to study other effects of the fire such as soil erosion. Linex will report on what is happening to the environment five years after the fire. For example, while the blaze destroyed thousands of acres of potential habitat for one endangered bird species, the golden-cheeked warbler, the regrowth is creating habitat for another endangered bird, the black-capped vireo.
In his work, Linex covers 51 counties in North Central Texas for the Natural Resources Conservation Service office in Weatherford. He is active in the Native Plant Society of Texas locally and statewide and is the author of "Range Plants of North Central Texas," a plant identification book that has drawn praise from NPSOT, The Wildlife Society’ Texas chapter and the Society for Range Management’s Texas section.
The chapter will hold a short business meeting Thursday, Jan. 12, at 6:30 p.m. at Cherry Park Community Center, 313 W. Davis St. in Weatherford. The wildfire program will follow at 7 p.m. The public is always welcome and light refreshments will be available.
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The mission of the Cross Timbers Chapter is to promote the conservation, research and use of native plants and plant habitats in Texas through education, outreach and example. For more information visit http://npsot.org/CrossTimbers.