Houston Audubon, in partnership with Katy Prairie Conservancy and other environmental and government agencies, held native plant rescue events at Saums Road Prairie during the summer of 2008. The goal was to relocate native grasses and wildflowers from the Saums Road Prairie before its destruction for a development project. Plants from the prairie were transported to sites across the City of Houston to create small pocket prairies to demonstrate and educate residents on the value of coastal prairies in our native ecosystem. Houston Audubon has created three beautiful pocket prairies, each becoming wildlife magnets for butterflies, dragonflies, and other insects beneficial to birds. In addition a pocket prairie was created at Russ Pitman Park by staff and volunteers from Russ Pitman Park with help provided by Houston Audubon. The goal of the Pocket Prairie Project is to encourage visitors to these pocket prairie sites to include more native plants in their landscaping projects. Houston Audubon hopes to establish more pocket prairies in the Houston area as opportunities arise.
With Houston's accelerated rate of growth, biodiversity is being lost at a rapid pace. The Nature Conservancy and the Texas Heritage Society have labeled coastal prairies "globally imperiled". The pocket prairies are small, but they can serve as seed banks for future restoration projects. If coastal prairies are not conserved we will lose much of our region's rich natural heritage that we highly value. Individual gardeners can slow the rate of wildlife extinction by planting natives in their yards, creating wildlife corridors throughout the City.
The Brays Bayou Pocket Prairie is on South Braeswood west of Buffalo Speedway in south Houston. Houston Audubon, with donor support, mechanically moved 1000 sq. ft of Saums Road Prairie native plant material to this location on August 15, 2008. This native plant demonstration garden is adjacent to the Brays Bayou Hike and Bike Trail. Hikers and bicyclers stop by the pocket prairie and often ask when this beautiful demonstration garden can be extended further down the Bayou. If you would like to assist Houston Audubon’s Pocket Prairie Management Team (PPMT) in maintaining the site, please contact Flo Hannah at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Houston Audubon plans to continue native plant rescue events and education outreach by creating more urban pocket prairies. Educating and conserving valuable native prairies is central to our mission of conserving bird and wildlife habitat. Pocket prairies have also been created at Houston Audubon's Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary and Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center.
We are collecting seed at coastal prairies in our region to grow native grasses and wildflowers for restoration projects. Volunteers may contact Flo Hannah at email@example.com to join us on seed collecting days.
Jaime Gonzalez of the Katy Prairie Conservancy has produced a video series on the Texas Coastal Prairie which is available on YouTube.
Some of the videos are: