The honor is for Parks and Natural Areas Award in the “Projects under $500,000 Category”
Houston, January 16, 2018 – The MD Anderson Pocket Prairie today was announced the winner of the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s (H-GAC) Parks and Natural Areas Award in the Projects Under $500,000 category. The MD Anderson Pocket Prairie is a successful collaboration between MD Anderson, Asakura Robinson, and Katy Prairie Conservancy (KPC) working together to bring the prairie into the city. The award was given at a luncheon at H-GAC’s headquarters in the Upper Kirby District and accepted by KPC’s Vice President and General Counsel Elisa Donovan.
The 1.7 acre MD Anderson urban pocket prairie is part of Katy Prairie Conservancy’s Prairie Builders Schools & Parks (PBSP) program, designed to empower KPC’s partners to build and use pocket prairies on school campuses and public parks. KPC provides technical guidance in restoration and education, funding, and even interpretive training to partnering institutions. PBSP has helped to bring prairies back to more than 25 school campuses in five school districts, Hermann Park, and Buffalo Bayou Park, in addition to MD Anderson. On any given day, you can see people on the MD Anderson Pocket Prairie simply sitting and taking in their surroundings or walking around the well-groomed trail in this urban oasis.
H-GAC established the Parks and Natural Areas awards program in 2006 to highlight best practices and innovative approaches to parks planning and implementation. The organization honors projects that expand parks and natural areas for improved quality of life, habitat, and water quality. Winning projects exhibit efficiency, effectiveness, and innovation and serve as models to be replicated throughout the region.
According to Jaime González, Katy Prairie Conservancy’s Community Conservation Director, “The MD Anderson Pocket Prairie is a stellar example of the value of an urban pocket prairie, a gem that provides much-needed mental relaxation to physicians, nurses, caregivers, families and patients challenged by cancer care. You can hear the gentle hum of crickets and see migratory birds bounding in and out of the grasses, while spotting monarch butterflies alighting on colorful Texas wildflowers, sipping nectar that will help fuel their journey to México. We appreciate the recognition of H-GAC for our efforts.”
González notes that the prairie is also “thrifty.” It needs but one mowing per year, in contrast with nearby lawns that require up to 42. The pocket prairie does not require extra watering and only needs four maintenance events a year. It is comprised of native tall prairie grasses and a variety of wildflowers. The prairie has also become a hotspot for decking pollinators, like monarch butterflies, colorful migratory birds, and even owls.
For information about Prairie Builder Parks and Schools, visit KPC’s webpage or call 713-523-6135 for details.