Mary Talbot Prairie Description
Mary Talbot Prairie (formerly known as Godley Prairie) is a rare *Silveus’ dropseed prairie that NPAT was able to acquire through the efforts of numerous parties. Jason Singhurst, TPWD botanist and NPAT board member first brought this property to our attention. It had recently been listed for sale and the prospect of losing another example of Texas living history was a major concern.
NPAT did not have the funds to compete with market buyers, but in this case several people worked together to ensure that this particular prairie was saved. The Nature Conservancy of Texas provided a grant for this purchase, and Jason and Lisa Spangler donated significant funds. Jason, past president of NPAT, and Lisa are long time prairie enthusiasts and were delighted to see their funds make this purchase possible. In addition, we also received a grant from the Native Plant Society of Texas. The former owners also made significant contributions; in terms of making this an amicable transaction along with their past stewardship of this property.
David Talbot, Mary’s son represented the family in this transaction, but prairie appreciation is a multi-generational tradition. As a boy, David cut hay for use on the family lands. He was inspired by his maternal grandfather, Lloyd Wilson (past Chairman of the Board of the oldest bank in Texas—The Old First National Bank and the son of Texas Senator, James R. Wilson). David says that Lloyd encouraged him to leave the prairie as it was, as a source of feed for their livestock.
This wonderful example of family wisdom resulted in long-term, sustainable land use which served the Talbot family well during the drought of 2011. And this tradition will be continued, as NPAT signed an memorandum of understanding with the family to continue haying as a management tool. This agreement not only benefits NPAT and the Talbot family, but the community as well through the ensured availability of both local feed and as a seed source for future restorations. And along with the conservation of this plant community, many grassland animal species will benefit from saving this habitat.
*Silveus’ Dropseed Prairies: These prairies are named for the grass that dominates there—Silveus’ or silver dropseed. They are found in the north and east edges of the Blackland Prairie, in areas with higher relative precipitation. A different type of soil helped create this kind of prairie. The sandier, low pH alfisol soils formed mainly on bedrocks higher in sand content and lower in calcium carbonate. These special prairies are an incredible scene to behold in spring and fall with beautiful prairie wildflowers, and make it well worth a visit to northeast Texas.