Texan by Nature (TxN) is proud to partner with 100+ conservation organizations working to positively benefit Texas’ natural resources and communities through innovative approaches. TxN accelerates conservation by bringing conservation organizations and business together through programs that connect and convene diverse stakeholders and catalyze science-based conservation efforts and projects to accelerate impact.
Learn more about TxN Conservation Partner, Texas Botanical Gardens & Native American Interpretive Center and how their sustainably designed facility and grounds featuring native habitat, gives Texans’ of all ages an educational look back at history.
Q: Tell us about the Texas Botanical Gardens & Native American Interpretive Center and its mission.
A: The Texas Botanical Gardens & Native American Interpretive Center was established as a nonprofit organization in 2004 to develop and operate a community cultural and educational facility. In the gardens you will find a complete ecosystem much like you would see thousands of years ago along the Colorado River in Mills County, Texas. The Native American Interpretive Center, exhibits indigenous Texans’ use of local plants and waterways and the impact the natural environment had on their social, spiritual, and cultural lives. Our mission is to provide a dynamic, interactive, life-long learning experience while identifying and preserving the prehistoric and environmental aspects of this rural region of Texas.
Q: What is the history of Texas Botanical Gardens & Native American Interpretive Center?
A: Janice L. Fischer began the Goldthwaite main street beautification and revitalization project, Legacy Plaza, in 2004. The Texas Botanical Gardens & Native American Interpretive Center is the anchor of Legacy Plaza. Thanks to the collaboration of many partners, ground was broken on the Gardens in 2013 and opened to the public in 2014. The Goldthwaite Welcome Center opened in 2015 and the Pavilion followed in 2016.
The Texas Botanical Gardens & Native American Interpretive Center was one of the first Texan by Nature Conservation Wranglers in 2014.
Q: How do you work to achieve your mission and who is your audience?
A: A primary goal of the Center is to display the lifestyles of Native Americans in an integrated and interactive manner, rather than in isolated exhibits. The Texas Botanical Gardens also operates as a showcase of sustainable design. The Garden uses local materials in construction, conserves water, preserves natural resources, and promotes appropriate land use. We also offer a variety of on and off-site educational programming for children and adults through field trips, presentations, and interactive experiences.
Q: What are examples of the Texas Botanical Gardens & Native American Interpretive Center projects or programs?
A: Our botanical garden models effective conservation practices by utilizing native plants and grasses in our landscape. Currently we are building an outdoor classroom equipped with a rainfall simulator and root viewer as well as rainwater collection and composting features. We also created and continue to maintain butterfly gardens at the Goldthwaite Independent School District’s Elementary and Middle Schools. The Botanical Garden also holds classes on effective soil and water practices, the use of native plants, and pollinators to groups of all ages.
“Isn’t the Garden beautiful!? I think it is like an enchanted forest,” an 8 year old camper, at the end of a STEM summer camp.
Q: What are the ecological and economic benefits of the projects?
A: The members of the board of the Texas Botanical Gardens & Native American Interpretive Center partnered with the City of Goldthwaite, the Goldthwaite Economic Development Corporation, and the County of Mills to construct an Outdoor Pavilion which will be located in the southwest corner of the Legacy Plaza block. The Pavilion benefits the area by preserving the community character of Goldthwaite, beautifying three bare lots, and increasing sales tax revenues. It is also a destination point for group events, and promotes ecotourism in the area.
Q: Tell us about the future of your organization. Do you have any upcoming initiatives, exciting events, or even challenges ahead?
A: The Garden’s staff has been creating educational videos to share on our YouTube account. We recently posted a ladybug release and other informational videos:
Q: Is there anything else that you would like to share?
A: The Gardens will host our 12th Annual Fundraiser, The Prairie Experience, on October 2, 2021. This year’s theme will focus on the German and Comanche Heritage of the Texas Hill Country. Tickets are available on our website.
Q: How can individuals and organizations get involved and learn more?
A: Legacy Plaza offers guided tours of the Texas Botanical Gardens for visitors. Each year, hundreds of youth and adults attend our educational programs, which cover a vast number of topics related to native landscapes and the archaeology of Mills County. These programs and tours are conducted by our staff and a dedicated group of volunteers.
Contributions from supporters ensure the growth sustainability of these programs, and help improve our gardens and facilities. To learn more about our programs and how to donate, visit www.legacyplaza.org
Texan by Nature is proud to partner with 100+ conservation organizations across Texas. Through our Conservation Partner network, we connect conservation organizations with the resources and relationships they need to extend their initiatives’ impact. Partner benefits include on-going features on social media, monthly media round-up, quarterly meetings, aggregated resources on fundraising, marketing/social media, and more.