The coastal tallgrass prairie is one of the most critically imperiled habitats in North America. Before 1800, there were over 9 million acres of coastal tallgrass prairie in Texas and Louisiana. Today, less than 90,000 acres remain. At Armand Bayou Nature Center, we manage 900 acres, making a good section of the prairie available for education. We wish to prepare a Prairie Demonstration Garden that can be used to educate the public, our Eco-classes, and local field trips on prairie grass identification and the prairie ecosystem as a whole.
The demonstration garden will be located at the prairie transition zone, near the head of our Prairie Discovery Trail. The garden will contain the 5 dominate species of the coastal tallgrass prairie, big bluestem, eastern gamma grass, switchgrass, yellow indiangrass, and little bluestem. Historically, these species would have made up 80% of the prairie grasses. Each species will have an identification sign/guide. We will use these signs to teach our classes about the prairie grasses and the public and learn to identify the grasses before they embark on the trail. The planting of the grasses and weeding of the current area will mostly be done by community volunteers and our students.