Our Prairie People – June 22nd
Each Wednesday in June we are sharing a feature about some of our many marvelous members, in celebration of “Our Prairie People.” This is our fourth entry.
Robert and Melinda Creech
Creech Prairie Restoration / The Bee and Clover
NPAT Members since 2018
Melinda grew up in Houston. There were woods at the end of her street she would explore. She has a vivid memory as a young girl of laying in her yard among the flowers, looking up and wondering, “What are your names?”
Robert also grew up in Houston, with woods on his street that he knew well. He was a Boy Scout. He went hunting with his father. He cherishes frequent visits to his grandparent’s farm near Floresville, Texas, walking the grounds and contemplating what he observed.
Robert and Melinda met and raised a family in Houston for fifty years before their paths led them back to the grandparent’s farm. Now it is giving them the opportunity to give back to others who yearn to understand what nature offers, and for them to give thanks to the land that has been so abundantly given to all of us.
They inherited the 88 acres southeast of San Antonio in 2007. It had been in row crop cultivation for decades. Before settling there, Robert and Melinda resided in Waco where Robert taught pastoral ministry at Baylor following 22 years of service as a pastor.
Melinda became fascinated by prairies through the Texas Master Naturalist Program, and both have completed Master Naturalist and Master Gardener training. They discovered the Native Prairies Association of Texas (NPAT) in 2014 and attended an NPAT meeting and prairie site visit in Georgetown, Texas. It was there they met Pat Merkord, our current Board President, who was NPAT’s Executive Director at the time. Pat has converted A LOT of people into prairie enthusiasts!
Robert and Melinda started making prairie restoration plans for their property and soon learned about a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department grant program. The Pastures for Upland Birds (PUB) grant helped with their first planting in the winter of 2019. Now in their fourth summer, they’ve been blessed to have some very good results thus far.
Robert and Melinda’s home is in the middle of the prairie. Four miles of trails have been mown throughout for easy prairie access. The wildlife spotted include Texas spiny lizards and harvester ants (their food), bobwhite quail, painted buntings, raptors, great horned owls, and tons of sparrows. There are also some 250-year-old live oaks. There is also the battle with the usual invasives; mostly huisache and a little Johnsongrass. KR Bluestem is nearby but hasn’t made it across the road yet.
To support their restoration and education efforts, they established the Creech Prairie Restoration nonprofit with Melinda as the Executive Director. Its mission is to restore, people, wildlife, and plants. They are especially concerned about children experiencing nature deficit disorder. To support that mission Robert and Melinda added a three-bedroom guesthouse on the prairie, The Bee and Clover, named after an Emily Dickinson poem, “To Make a Prairie.” From there they host classes, church retreats, and other visitors. And of course, they have a bee hive.
Besides regularly sharing their land with guests, they also invite members from NPAT, the San Antonio Audubon Society, and local master gardeners and master naturalists to come out for bird bioblitzes, prairie restoration projects, or nature studies.
Thank you, Robert and Melinda, for your commitment to caring for creation in Texas! We are grateful to you and all of our members. If you are not yet an NPAT member, learn more about it HERE.