This program is facilitated by Education Director Della Barbato and funded in part by a Shell Oil Company grant. To request a Prairie Program for any audience please contact Della at Della_Barbata@TexasPrairie.org
The goals of NPAT’s education align closely with its mission:
“We educate Texans about native prairies, plant communities, grassland birds, wildlife and sustainable land-use practices. We support the important role of grassland habitats in climate stabilization and in water-quality resources and conservation. We promote awareness of the natural and cultural heritage of prairies in Texas. NPAT provides opportunities to learn more about our prairies through workshops, presentations, field trips and volunteer opportunities.
Education and awareness are key to the conservation of our Texas Native Prairie heritage. The education outreach plan is to develop and facilitate student and adult programs for the Houston region in the areas of history of our coastal prairie, the amazing story of the purchase of Lawther Deer Park Prairie Preserve, benefits of a prairie, prairie ecology, water quality and the importance of preserving our native wildlife and native
pollinators.” —Della Barbato
The benefits of a prairie are wide ranging. Native grasslands are more economical, using less fertilizers and water. Native prairies have high plant diversity: one acre can have over 300 species, preserving our native pollinators. Native prairies provide seeds and are models for future restorations. The deep soils and roots of coastal prairies provide many different ecosystem services. Prairie roots, which can grow 9 to 15 feet deep, act like a sponge and absorb 14 times more water than typical lawns in a heavy rain event. Prairies are a source of flood mitigation and can store between 25,000 – 250,000 gallons of rainwater per acre. Prairies are also a source of carbon sequestration and have been shown to store up to 50 tons of carbon per acre. Prairies improve water quality as the roots filter the water.
The aesthetic and health improvement qualities of a prairie are also valuable. As part of their healing process, doctors are writing prescriptions to patients to visit nature, such as the 14-acre pocket prairie at MD Anderson (on the southeast corner of Holcombe and Fannin). Pocket Prairies are also a valuable food source for our native pollinators! No pocket prairie is too small! Click How to Build a Pocket Prairie for more information.