2015 Prairie Month, set for Oct. 3 – Nov. 14, offers a host of fun, educational and hands-on activities and adventures for all ages at state and federal parks and refuges, nature preserves and public green spaces throughout the greater Houston area.
Sponsored by 10 conservation groups, this year’s Prairie Month will include three public prairie plantings, a three-state prairie conference, a big prairie celebration, and seed collecting trips to pristine ecosystems. Many of the events are free.
Houston is known as the Bayou City, but at one time it was also called the Prairie Dynamo because of the coastal prairie ecosystem that blanketed most of Harris and surrounding counties. The coastal prairie is an ancient home to hundreds of species of plants, vegetation, birds, wildlife, and insects. Houston’s prairie also acts as a natural buffer by absorbing water during storm surges, and it is the landscape that forged that classic American and Texan icon – the Cowboy.
“Prairie Month gives Texans a chance to rediscover our prairie roots and learn how the prairie connects us to our Texan heritage” says Jaime González of the Coastal Prairie Partnership, one of the sponsoring organizations. “It also gives the general public a chance to help restore prairies which are much needed by monarch butterflies, birds, and other prairie wildlife.
“We have an exciting lineup this year,” continues González. “Our partners are planning a great prairie celebration in Rosenberg, three huge public prairie plantings across our region, refuge tours, seed-collecting trips to rarely visited preserve, and even a three-day conference for landowners, scientists and anyone else interested in learning more.”
Check out some of the outstanding events during Prairie Month:
- 3 and Nov. 7 – U.S. Fish & Wildlife will host van tours of the wide-open Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge with a biologist as a tour guide.
- 17 – Armand Bayou Nature Center‘s Prairie Pandemonium is the oldest annual prairie planting event in the Houston area.
- 31 – The Not-So-Scary Prairie Trick-or-Treating event on the Katy Prairie is perfect for families.
- 8 – Prairie Heritage Day in Rosenberg is a daylong prairie celebration filled with adventures and activities hosted by the Texas Master Naturalists – Coastal Prairie Chapter.
- 12-14 – The Southern Plains & Prairies Conference at the Houston Zoo and locations throughout Greater Houston welcomes landowners, scientists, educators and other from Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Florida, and beyond.
- 14 – Prairie Plant-a-Thon at Sheldon Lake State Park and Environmental Learning Center is one of the largest restoration days on the Gulf Coast.
- 14 – Putting Down Roots on the Flat Out Wonderful Katy Prairie is a huge volunteer-led planting on a newly restored 55-acre prairie just northwest of Katy.
The 10 Houston-area organizations supporting 2015 Prairie Month are Armand Bayou Nature Center, Coastal Prairie Partnership, Katy Prairie Conservancy, the Native Prairies Association of Texas – Houston Chapter, Nature Conservancy of Texas, Texas Master Naturalists (three chapters), Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Wildlife Habitat Federation, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and Houston Zoo. Go to prairiepartner.org/page/prairiemonth for more information or to register for any and all events.