Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Kiwanis Garland: Introduction to today's presentation

(Ad-libbed comments are not included.)

"Thank you for inviting David and me to speak to your organization. We have a lot of information and enthusiasm to share with you, and if you were to allow us free reign we could, and would, go on for hours. But in the interest of time, we will direct you to the handout for background information about who we are, what we do, and why we promote native plants. Therefore, we will jump right in discussing native plants, identifying them and demonstrating ways to use them.

We live on the Blackland Prairie, part of the Great Plains extending from Manitoba south to central Texas. Due to single crop farming, overgrazing, neglect and -- most recently -- development, less than 1% of the Blackland Prairie exists today. We should not resent our agricultural heritage, or the boom of the 1970s that lingers today. But there are ways to reverse the damage we humans have inflicted upon our once-fertile land, and develop in harmony with nature, not against her. We must restore the native vegetation if we are to preserve the Blackland Prairie. If we do not, we are likely the last generation to observe this natural ecoregion. Our mission is to promote native plants because we recognize their intrinsic values. Currently, the most important benefit to us in north central Texas relates to water issues -- conservation and preservation of water resources. Despite the drought and water restrictions imposed by many north Texas municipalities, our projects are thriving on once-per-week, or one-inch-of-water-per-week. Each of us living on the Blackland Prairie has been drawn to this ecoregion by business opportunities or that we are native Texans, and within each of us is the power to reclaim the glory, to take back our state and region's natural beauty, and preserve it for future generations. You have the ability to restore native vegetation to your own little slice of the Blackland Prairie, to micro-restore, if you will.

There are approximately 6,300 species native to Texas, several naturally found right here in the "gumbo."

Natives work well in suburban landscapes, as well as acreage, commercial properties and educational campuses. It's important to remember, however, that just because a plant is native doesn't mean it will work anywhere in your garden. The key to successful gardening is choreography, to create a long-term plan that will allow you to plant deliberately with the right plant in the right place."

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