Master Naturalists help preserve original part of Great Plains along Bosque River Trail

Submitted by Peggy Tolboom

Have you ever stopped to wonder what is the meaning of "Cross Timbers"? 

Early European settlers called this part of Texas Cross Timbers because Post Oak forests used to cross strips of the Blackland Prairie. The Blackland Prairie is part of the Great Plains. Only small parts of the Great Plains still exist, having become farmlands and expanding development.

Fortunately, Stephenville has one of these small pieces, and it is wearing its spring beauty now. Located along the Bosque River Trail between Long Street and Washington Street, a prairie restoration is being established. By visiting, it is possible to get a glimpse of what used to cover 11.5 million acres of tall grass prairie where bison traveled through.

Last fall, a grant from Tarleton State University awarded the Wildlife, Sustainability and Eco Science Department to begin the expansion of a bird-viewing area.

The development along the Bosque River Trail is a collaborative effort among TSU,  WSES, Prairie Oaks Master Naturalists and the city of Stephenville. Besides planting native trees and shrubs, bird feeders, bird houses, educational signage and other features are already in place.

In addition, a bird blind and pergola are planned. Volunteers of the POMN installed plants and an irrigation system. Ash, Soapberry, Mulberry, and Elder Berry are among those plants  specifically chosen for the providing food for birds. Nature Fest is planned for Oct. 9, 2021.