Thursday, March 11, 2010

File Under: After a Long and Troubled Winter, Something Good This Way Comes

Yesterday my Intro Fieldcraft class and I were treated to a tour of the prairie restoration project at Lubbock Lake Landmark by Scott Trevey and Matthew McEwen. Here's a photo of the two of them talking to the group at one of the sun-shelters currently under construction. Scott's in the cowboy hat and Matt is in the red cap:

The sun shelter is part of a new ADA boardwalk that winds through a field recently cleared of mesquite and burned to encourage the return of native grasses and wildflowers. The boardwalk--which consists of, oh, I dunno, maybe sixty-thousand-gazillion individual boards made of recycled something-or-other, each painstakingly screwed into place--had to be installed without disturbing the soil, since LLL is an archeological site of some significance. It was, to put it mildly, quite the little chore for the Landmark workers.

I may do a longer, more involved post about the restoration project at a later date, most of which I have been fortunate to observe over the past decade. It is an amazing story. And certainly, I plan to post about the upcoming service project in which my class and I get to help re-introduce some long-lost native trees along the trail. But in the meantime, in the spirit of starting off a plain old Thursday with some good news, Scott and Matt report that after they began to thin out the exotic and inappropriate Siberian elms growing in Yellow House Draw since 1938 (when they were planted by the Fire Department) some of those long-lost native trees started to make an appearance all on their own. Here's a photo of Scott  standing beside a netleaf hackberry, one of many that have sprung up now that the competition is being throttled back. Just look at that hackberry, such a thin and scraggly little thing, but waiting there all along, for nigh on half a century--enduring, true to its purpose:

Why, I do believe there is metaphor buried in that soil.

By the way, Matt is a graduate of our Natural History and Humanities program, and is just starting his graduate studies in land-use planning management and design, with the intention of continuing on in restoration work. I'm sort of proud of him:

LBB brothers and sisters, with all the moisture we've had this winter, it's going to be a spectacular spring and summer of wildflowers. You know where you can go to find them. See you on the boardwalk.


  1. I'm always so encouraged to read about restoration projects. There seem to be many of them now. I look forward to hearing more about this place. I've got two trips to Texas coming up in a few weeks and am hoping the wildflowers will be outstanding. Can't wait.

  2. Sort of proud? That's what I like about you Dr. T-- you're not really a frequent compliment giver... so even the hint of one from you is sort of a big deal. No compliment inflation. What I'm trying to say is that Matt, Dr. T's really proud of you, so you should pat yourself on the back... for like... the next couple years.

  3. I would love to take a long stroll on that lovely boardwalk. What a wonderful project!

  4. I do hope you revisit this project~I am very interested in seeing how they were able to build the boardwalk...and I want to see the plantings. gail

  5. I would love to hear more about this project, it sounds so interesting!

  6. Isn't it encouraging to see our college students getting involved with restoration and green projects? We're seeing LOTS more interest now (at Clemson University), another fairly traditional school!



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