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The American Prairie Conference occurs every other year. It hasn’t been held in Texas for 30 years!Take advantage of this opportunity to showcase

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HNPAT Program Meeting Wednesday from 6:30pm – 8:30pm “Inspiring Through Education at Lawther Deer Park Prairie”(NPAT photo: a couple walking Lawther…

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2019 TLC CONFERENCE • Conservation Related Policy Issues • Conservation Easements & Private Land Conservation • Opportunities to…

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Prairie Facts

Give a Book

Younger readers:

The Bluebonnet Girl
by Michael Lind and Richard Poe
Illustrations by Kate Kiesler
Henry Holt and Company (BYR), 2003

-A dramatic retelling of a Comanche legend of how Texas became known as the blue bonnet state.” Come every spring the bluebonnets cling to prairies the showers renew.  Come, gather near, settle down, and you’ll hear of how the first bluebonnets grew.” This beautiful Comanche legend of how a young girl sacrifices her most precious possession, even as the bravest men refuse, to save her land and people from a terrible drought, is retold here in dramatic verse and striking full-color paintings.

Living in a Prairie
by Carol Baldwin
Heinemann-Raintree Library, 2003
- Explains how prairies form and describes the rich ecosystems that survive on them, including how prairie plants, animals, and people interact.

Prairie Dogs
by Caroline Arnold & ‎Jean Cassels
New York Scholastic Inc., 1993
-Describes a year in the life of prairie dogs during which they build and repair tunnels, find food, rear young, elude predators and prepare for winter.


Where the Buffalo Roam, Restoring America’s Great Plains, Second Edition
By Anne Mathews
University of Chicago Press, 2002

-In 1987 Frank and Deborah Popper proposed a bold solution to the decline of America’s Great Plains: create a vast nature preserve by returning 139,000 square miles in ten states to prairie and reintroducing the buffalo that once roamed there. 
-The author, Anne Matthews, wrote an account while following Frank and Deborah Popper from Montana to Texas, as they tried to sell their idea called the Buffalo Commons.  We are introduced to the people who love these arid windswept lands. This second edition includes a new Foreword by environmental historian, Donald Worster.  Ms. Matthews wrote a new Afterword describing how, with growing support from Native Americans and private groups like the Nature Conservancy, the Poppers’ dream of a Buffalo Commons is becoming a reality.
“An admirably crafted book, as poignant and entertaining as it is informative.”—Seattle Times
“Matthew’s delightful account of the Poppers, their proposal and the controversy surrounding it does focus new attention on the region and its problems.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer

Horned Lizards
By Jane Manaster
University of Texas Press, 2002

-Popularly known as horny toads, horned lizards hold a special place in Southwestern life and lore.  Images of horned lizards appear on the pottery and petroglyphs of ancient Anasazi and Mimbres Indians.  Today’s Native Americans revere the lizard’s power to change fortunes in health and happiness. 
-Their habitat range lies west from British Columbia to southern Mexico. Texas and Wyoming designated local horned lizard species as their official state’s reptile; a reminder of the lizard’s important ecological role as its numbers dwindle. This book offers an entertaining natural history of horned lizards who have fascinated people by their fierce appearances yet being contradictory in their docile demeanor.  Some myths are dispelled while others are confirmed while readers are encouraged to protect the habitats of these valuable reptiles!
-Jane Manaster covers all aspects of the lizards’ biology, habitat and range, life cycle and behavior, and methods of defense. She traces the long and often checkered relationship of horned lizards and people, from earlier decades when the lizards were routinely sold as curiosities to today’s efforts to restore and preserve their habitat to increase numbers.

Blackland Prairies of the Gulf Coastal Plain: Nature, Culture, and Sustainability
By Evan Peacock and Timothy J. Schauwecker
University of Alabama Press, 2003

-This book is a study of one of the most ecologically rich regions of the Southeast, the blackland prairie, and underscores the relevance of archaeological research in understanding long-term cultural change.  It is intended to reveal how the blackland prairie has always been an important refuge for an array of biological species, including humans.
-The authors’ case studies illustrate how the area changed from the last glacial period to present day and how it was modified by humans (identifying contemporary impacts of industrialization, aquaculture, population growth, land reclamation, and wildlife management).
-The authors explain how the Black Belt and the Great Plains were once contiguous, sharing the same prairie vegetation, insects, and large fauna, such as bison, and including swaths and patches of limestone-based soils.  Their studies focus on the distinct grassland ecosystem, the ‘corridor’ through what is now Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas.  They compare the mega and minute flora and fauna sustained by the land in the past and present; reveal what foods were harvested by early inhabitants, the gathering techniques they followed, and diet changes over the 10,000-year period of native occupancy. 
-Documents of early explorers describe the landform, its use, and the lives of inhabitants at the time of contact, and look at contemporary efforts to halt abuse and reverse damage to this unique and shrinking biome (a large community of plants and animals that occupies a distinct region). 

Prairie: A Natural History
by Candace Sherk Savage, David Suzuki Foundation
Greystone Books, 2004

-Described as thorough, detailed, and scientifically up-to-date, Prairies: A Natural History provides a comprehensive nontechnical guide to the biology and ecology of the prairies, or the Great Plains grasslands of North America, offering a view of the past, a vision for the future, and a clear focus on the present.
-Ms. Savage writes of the vast area, totaling over 3.5 million square kilometers, the PRAIRIES occupy in what is known as the heartland of the continent.  (0.5 million sq km are in Canada and the remainder are in the lower 48 states. This vast windswept plain flows from Alberta south to Texas and from the Rockies east to the Mississippi River.)
-This is big sky country was one of the richest and most magnificent natural grasslands in the world; the largest ecosystem in North America.  Today, however, these prairies are among the most altered environments on our planet.
-This has been reviewed as a comprehensive, nontechnical guide to the biology and ecology of the prairies, or the Great Plains grasslands of North America.  Both an authoritative reference and an easy-to-read guide; a must for anyone who wants to know more about the dazzling natural variety of the prairies.

Texas History

The Good, the Bad, the Butlers: Story of a Texas Pioneer Family
by Charles L. Olmsted
iUniverse, Inc., 2015

-Written by the author at the request of Sue Butler Carter about her family who arrived in Karnes County Texas in 1852.
-Despite his challenges as a deaf-mute, Burnell Butler was one of those who dreamed of a better life in Texas. Lured by all the twenty-eighth state offered, Butler, his wife, twelve children, and seven slaves gambled big in 1852, migrating from Mississippi in covered wagons to the unknown prairies of Texas. It was there that the Butlers would begin a new chapter, fueled by their rugged, hard-working spirit. Charles Olmsted, a former award-winning sports writer, relies on extensive research and anecdotes to chronologically capture the fascinating history of the Butler family. Beginning with a cattle drive during the Civil War, Olmsted details how Burnell’s son, William G. Butler joined in helping build the foundation for the multi-billion dollar beef industry, rode the Chisholm Trail with his family from the 1860s to the 1880s as part of the transformation to cattle cars on railroads, and often settled disputes with gunfights. Included are excerpts from letters, newspapers, and books as well as details from land purchases, proclamations, and real-life accounts. “The Good, the Bad, the Butlers” shares the true story of a pioneer family as they built a new life in Karnes County, Texas, and attempted to survive all the challenges of living in a dangerous and dusty land.

The Images of America Series, Shackelford County
Shackelford County Historical Commission
Arcadia Publishing, 2014

-The Shackelford County Historical Commission, the Old Jail Art Center and Shackelford County citizens brought together this collection of memories and photographs, from the frontier period through the present day.

-Shackelford County lies in a rolling prairie 150 miles west of Dallas (once the predatory domain of the Plains Indians).  Anglo-American settlers began arriving in the 1850s to raise livestock and cultivate their crops near the Clear Fork of the Brazos River.  The US Army established Fort Griffin in 1867 nearby to protect the settlers from the Indians and service soldiers, cattle drovers, and buffalo hunters.  Albany became the county seat in 1874, the Texas Central Railroad in arrived in 1881; then the 1910 oil and gas boom!  Albany and Moran (15 miles to the southeast) both flourished while Fort Griffin folded.  Shackelford County’s current economy is based on cattle ranching, farming, petroleum, and hunting. 

The Images of America Series, Carrollton
Toyia Pointer
Arcadia Publishing, 2012

-Bear and buffalo roamed the prairie, and Wichita Indians camped on the banks of the Elm Fork of the Trinity River in North Texas some 160+ years ago. 
-The ‘Republic of Texas’ was presided over by President Sam Houston who entered into an agreement with the Peters Colony Company to attract settlers to the area with the promise of free land.  Settlers journeyed from Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and even England and Ireland.  The community of Carrollton (likely named by people who’d emigrated from Carrollton, Illinois), grew as a railroad hub then transitioned to a prosperous Dallas suburb.  This publication gives an account of how Carrollton’s museum was restored by volunteers and opened in 1976 in honor of its rural beginnings and courageous settlers.


Guide to Texas Grasses
Robert B. Shaw and Texas A&M University’s Institute of Renewable Natural Resources
Texas A&M University Press, 2011

-A comprehensive treatment of Texas grasses intended to assist students, botanists, ecologists, agronomists, range scientists, naturalists, researchers, extension agents, and others who work with or are interested in these important plants.
-The writers provide a reference to the world’s most economically important plant family: Grasses.  This book begins with a discussion of the impact of grass on our everyday lives as food, biofuels, land restoration, erosion control, and water become ever more urgent issues worldwide.
-It describes the structure of the grass plant; details of the classification and distribution of Texas grasses; brief species accounts; distributional maps; color photographs; plus black-and-white drawings of 670 grass species—native, introduced, and ornamental.  The writers included scientific keys to help identify the grasses to group, genera, and species, and an alphabetized checklist includes information on ORIGIN (native or introduced); LONGEVITY (annual or perennial); GROWTH SEASON (cool or warm season); ENDANGERED STATUS; and OCCURRENCE (by ecological zone).  A glossary, literature citations, and an index to genera round out the book.

Field Guide/Handbooks

Texas Bobwhites – A Guide to Their Foods and Habitat Management
Jon A. Larson, Timothy E. Fulbright, Leonard A. Brennan, Fidel Hernandez, and Fred C. Bryant
Ellen and Edward Randall Endowment, University of Texas Press, 2010

-Northern Bobwhites are one of the most popular game birds in the United States. In Texas alone, nearly 100,000 hunters take to the field each fall and winter to pursue wild bobwhite quail.
-Both field guide and handbook:
A field guide to seeds commonly eaten by northern bobwhites (identifying characteristics of seeds of 91 species of grasses, forbs, woody plants, and succulents).  Hunters can use the information and identify concentrations of plants likely to attract quail. 
A handbook for conserving and improving northern bobwhite habitat by including a close-up, ‘to-scale’ photo of each seed and the plant that produces it.  Landowners and rangeland managers benefit from its guidance for habitat management, recovery and restoration; i.e., improve habitat dominated by invasive, nonnative grasses.


Tales of Texas Cooking: Stories and Recipes from the Trans-Pecos to the Piney Woods and High Plains to the Gulf Prairies
By Frances Brannen Vick
University of North Texas Press, 2015

-Texas is fortunate in having a bountiful supply of ethnic groups influencing its “foodways”. Texas food is the perfect metaphor for the blending of diverse cultures and native resources. Texans tend to do food in a big way.  This latest publication from the Texas Folklore Society contains stories and more than 120 recipes, from long ago and just yesterday, organized by the 10 vegetation regions of the state.
-ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Frances Brannen Vick is retired director of the University of North Texas Press. In retirement, she has co-authored Petra’s Legacy, winner of the Coral Horton Tullis Award for the best book on Texas history and Letters to Alice: Birth of the Kleberg-King Ranch Dynasty; and edited Literary Dallas. She is past president of the Texas Institute of Letters, Texas State Historical Association, The Philosophical Society of Texas, and is a Fellow of the Texas Folklore Society and the Texas State Historical Association. She lives in Dallas.

Legends of Texas Barbecue Cookbook
Rob Walsh
Chronicle Books, 2016

-If barbecue in Texas is a religion, this book is its bible. Originally published only in print in 2002, this revised and updated edition explores all the new and exciting developments from the Lone Star State’s evolving barbecue scene. The 100 recipes include 32 brand-new ones such as Smoke-Braised Beef Ribs and an extremely tender version of Pulled Pork. Profiles on legendary pitmasters like Aaron Franklin are featured alongside archival photography covering more than 100 years of barbecue history. Including the basic tools required to get started, secrets and methods from the state’s masters, and step-by-step directions for barbecuing every cut of meat imaginable, this comprehensive book presents all the info needed to fire up the grill and barbecue Texas-style.

Recipes from Historic Texas – A Restaurant Guide and Cookbook
Linda Bauer, Steve Bauer
Taylor Trade Publishing, 2003

-Two indexes: one to restaurants and the second to recipes.  This book is a travel guide and a cook book!
-Tired of the boring chain restaurant scene? Recipes from Historic Texas will please your palate and nourish your mind. Enjoy a unique bit of Texas history by visiting a wide variety of restaurants located in unusual historic settings-a gritsmill, a Dr. Pepper bottling plant, a church, and a funeral home, to name a few. Two recipes from each establishment are offered to form a well balanced selection of Texas cuisine. A brief history of each of the 70 restaurants is included, followed by basic information such as hours of operation, location, and other important details. The recipes themselves are an eclectic mix of the simple and the exotic, from the Cowboy Omelet at Beaumont’s The Pig Stand to the Jicama Salad at Dallas’s famous Mansion on Turtle Creek. Two indexes, one to restaurants and the other to recipes, make the book equally useful as both a travel guide and a cook book.