Jo Ann Collins of the Native Prairies Assocation, Fort Worth Chapter mourns the loss of a prairie remnant to be bulldozed for a new elementary school in west Fort Worth, off Hulen Street, behind 4049 Kingsridge Road. Photo by Julie Thibodeaux.

May 20, 2019

A prairie that I love is about to be plowed to build a school. 

I tried to accept the inevitable and hoped a piece could be saved for a monarch way station. A letter to the Fort Worth ISD school board from the Native Prairies Association of Texas, Fort Worth Chapter was followed by several emails and a meeting with the school building team.

All of them were understanding and even appreciative of our efforts. The landscape architect discussed using native grasses and plants and even suggested offering a corner of the lot that could be a prairie! I was so excited until I realized the area they proposed is covered with four-foot high tick-weed. It wasn’t the vibrant prairie that covers most of the land! 

Prairie Plant rescueA milkweed plant is collected for transplant. Photo by Julie Thibodeaux.

So a plant rescue is underway. Calls and visits to the school were made, all in the hopes of finding people at the school who would come save plants, who wanted to do this for the new school. Maybe it will happen. We've had a good turnout of people coming to save plants, some are even saving plants for the school.

Because we wrote that letter, a few plants will be saved, if not the meadow.

I just wish we'd been there earlier in the process when decisions were made on building design. Maybe someday, if this happens again, the school district will see the value in keeping the land that could have told its history to the students and make a building with a smaller footprint! 

Prairie rescueIt stormed today. Afterward, I saw the golden sky through the window, and hopped in my car on a search for a rainbow! I drove and drove trying to find one. Never found a rainbow, but a beautiful storm cloud beckoned me to take its picture, causing me to notice a field of small yellow flowers.

I stopped and got out. It had the semblance of a park between two churches. As I walked closer I saw a drainage creek which might be why this particular patch was missing the telltale lines of a recent mowing that the soccer field behind it showed. 

Seeing these plants - from the buffalo grass to the side oats to the green thread to the rabbit tobacco - made me realize the prairie is still there. It’s trying so hard to survive! Even though this land is mowed to death, the prairie is still there. 

Seeing these plants - from the buffalo grass to the side oats to the green thread to the rabbit tobacco - made me realize the prairie is still there. It’s trying so hard to survive! Even though this land is mowed to death, the prairie is still there. 

The prairie remnant behind 4049 Kingsridge Road in Fort Worth. Photo by Julie Thibodeaux. 

The prairie that we tried to save survived mowing for years. With a new owner, a mower was not used and the prairie breathed! It breathed beautiful yucca, milkweed and hundreds of other plants. But it’s all going away in the next couple of weeks. 

If you look closely around town you can see the prairie trying to take short breaths like the ones I saw tonight. Even though I can rage at humanity about another prairie lost, I choose to see the hope that happens with every prairie plant that finds a small space to breathe.

I’ll keep talking for the plants with no voices. Maybe someday we will figure out what they have been trying to tell us all along.

I’ll keep talking for the plants with no voices. Maybe someday we will figure out what they have been trying to tell us all along. It seems I found my rainbow after all! In the meantime, can you talk for the voiceless prairie whenever you get a chance?

Prairie flower's eye view. Photo by Jo Ann Thomas Collins.

Prairie Plant rescue


Stay up to date on everything green in North Texas, including the latest news and events! Sign up for the weekly Green Source DFW Newsletter! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Main category: