Prairie Restoration Shows Visitors How Area Once LookedPublished: October 23, 2012
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Before the settlement of North Texas in the mid 1800's, the area was covered with tall grasses growing out of dark, rich soil. This area, stretching over 11 million acres from north and east of Dallas down to San Antonio, became known as the Blackland Prairie and was quickly discovered by settlers to be some of the best farmland in the country.
Native grasses and wildflowers once covered vast areas of North Texas
Subsequent urban and agricultural development over the years since has left us with less than 1/10 of one percent of the original prairie neither grazed nor tilled. These remnants exist largely on family farms and were only cut for hay to feed livestock, a testament to the quality of the native grasses that still grow there.
Today, conservation groups are working to restore and preserve what remains of the original Blackland Prairie, and one of those efforts can be seen right in our own back yard. On Saturday, October 14, behind the Historical Society Museum at Harry Myers Park, a group of conservation-minded locals dedicated a restored 2-acre patch of native wildflowers and grasses to give an idea of what the area once looked like. Led by Parks and Recreation Board Chairman Marcus Yarbrough, the group worked to remove invasive non-native plant species and bring the land back to its pristine state.
Just a short walk from Harry Myers Park
At the dedication ceremony, interpretive signs were unveiled at the entrance to the parcel, outlining the past, present, and hopeful future of the prairie. A plaque in memory of Mr. Yarbrough's son David, who passed away last year at the age of 22, was also presented and is now mounted in a large stone at the entrance. Donations made in his name over the last year helped to finance the restoration efforts.
The David Yarbrough memorial plaque stands at the entrance to the field
Visitors to Harry Myers Park are invited to take the opportunity to walk through the restored prairie to get a first-hand impression of what our area looked like to the first European settlers arrived. Pause at the entrance sign to get some historical perspective. As you will read, "Try to imagine the sea of grass and wildflowers that once surrounded you and remember what has been lost."
By Bob Lewis ~ Planet Rockwall
Posted Tuesday, October 23, 2012 Bob Lewis