Prairie Time: A Blackland Portrait

Overview

Winner, Carroll Abbott Memorial Award,
presented by the Native Plant Society of Texas

In its prime, the Texas Blackland Prairie formed a twelve-million-acre grassy swath across the state from the San Antonio area north to the Red River. Now, roughly one tenth of one percent of this vast prairie remains in the form of small pockets tucked away here and there, having once served as hay meadows or sprouting from...

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Overview

Winner, Carroll Abbott Memorial Award,
presented by the Native Plant Society of Texas

In its prime, the Texas Blackland Prairie formed a twelve-million-acre grassy swath across the state from the San Antonio area north to the Red River. Now, roughly one tenth of one percent of this vast prairie remains in the form of small pockets tucked away here and there, having once served as hay meadows or sprouting from rock too stony to plow.

As Matt White tracks the ever dwindling parcels of tallgrass prairie in northeast Texas, he develops deep connections with prairie plants and prairie people through unexpected discoveries and inspirational encounters. He stumbles upon fragments of virgin land, and he uncovers remarkable tales of destruction and stewardship.
From explaining what a prairie is to how to appreciate its beauty and importance, White increases our awareness of prairies, past and present, so that we might champion their survival in whatever forms remain.
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"It seems fair that every region, every landscape, every place deserves a champion. The imperiled prairies of northeast Texas certainly have one in Matt White, a native son and an unabashed prairie enthusiast. . . . As such, he offers a credible voice and insight into the blackland prairie, its history, its residents, its architecture, and its natural diversity. His enthusiasm was obviously genuine. It was also infectious and encompassing. At times, I felt like I was right alongside him at the moment of discovery."
-Carter Smith
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department

Matt White is the author of The Birds of Northeast Texas and is a ­regular nature columnist for the Mount Vernon Optic-Herald. He studies and grows prairie plants on his land near Campbell.

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Editorial Reviews

Carter Smith

“It seems fair that every region, every landscape, every place deserves a champion. The imperiled prairies of northeast Texas certainly have one in Matt White, a native son and an unabashed prairie enthusiast. Whether he is writing about mycorrhizal fungi, gilgai topography, rattlesnake master, buffalo wallows, or mima mounds, it is apparent that he lives, breathes, and relishes his subject matter. As such, he offers a credible voice and insight into the blackland prairie, its history, its residents, its architecture, and its natural diversity. His enthusiasm was obviously genuine. It was also infectious and encompassing. At times, I felt like I was right alongside him at the moment of discovery.”--Carter Smith, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
James A. Grimshaw

“ . . . does a powerful job of presenting the evidence that should raise readers’ awareness and give them an appreciation of Nature’s grandeur. His enthusiasm, which his style reflects, is as contagious as one reads. The use of some of the plants by Native Americans, the wild birds that depend on those natural areas, down to the history of the regions—all blend together and make the narrative soar well beyond that of a mere catalog of this and that.” --James A. Grimshaw, Jr., Texas A&M University–Commerce
Scooter Cheatham

“Readers of Prairie Time should prepare themselves. They should prepare themselves to be swept up in a stirring and fascinating blend of prairie origins, prairie settlement, family history, science, and deeply felt forays into the blackland prairies of North Central Texas. Writing in an evocative style that calls to mind dramatists of science such as Bill Bryson (A Walk in the Woods), Michael Poulan (The Botany of Desire), or Lewis Thomas (The Medusa and the Snail) White roams, studies, documents, and savors the remnants of what was once one of the greatest treasures of the continent—the blackland prairies. And thankfully he coaxes us, like ‘best friends,’ into this world with him to marvel at the riches the North Texas prairie still holds for us. This is surely to become a bible for prairie restoration.” --Scooter Cheatham
Lone Star Sierran

“ . . . an incredible tale of both destruction and hope. . .” --Lone Star Sierran
The Bryan/College Station Eagle

“Any Texas naturalist should want this book in his or her library.”--The Bryan/College Station Eagle
Lone Star Sierran
. . . an incredible tale of both destruction and hope . . .
Great Plains Research

Matt White's Prairie Time is a timely and valuable addition to Great Plains studies.

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Product Details

Meet the Author


Matt White is the author of The Birds of Northeast Texas and is a regular nature columnist for the Mount Vernon Optic-Herald. He studies and grows prairie plants on his land near Campbell.
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Table of Contents

Ingredients 13
1 Grass 17
2 Soil 33
3 Fire and rain 41
4 Buffalo 57
Discovering dream land 73
5 A tale of two prairies 77
6 The Garden of Eden 93
7 The lost prairies 107
8 Dancing chickens 119
9 Wide-leaf false aloe 131
10 Living history 143
11 Julian Reverchon's prairie 153
12 Where the pavement ends 165
13 A girl named Daphne 173
14 Manifest destiny 183
15 The bee-loud glade 195
16 Prairie harvest 203
17 The tallgrass capital of Texas 211
18 Survival of the fittest 227
19 Stalking the wild prairie grass 237
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