What is Half-Pint?

Half-Pint is a student led project to establish a model Blackland Prairie on campus.

Blackland Prairie is an ecoregion found only in Texas that is named for its rich, dark soil. Unfortunately, due to its desirability for agriculture, much of it has been converted to farmland. Less than 1% of of the original Blackland Prairie remains. Our hope is that this project can draw attention to the loss of Blackland Prairie, educate about the ecosystem services provided by prairies, and use the prairie to discuss other ecological crises.

Why a prairie?

Austin’s location is unique because it’s an ecotone. In the west we find Edwards Plateau and to the east, our very own blackland prairie. This makes Austin prime real estate for endemic and endangered species. Blackland prairies also provide a number of ecosystem services such as mitigation of the heat island effect, cleaning air, food and habitat for pollinators, prevention of soil erosion and compaction, water filtration, and biological richness. Check out the resources section for a paper about the benefits of green spaces on college campuses.

Meet the team

Credit to Chloe Bertrand of the Daily Texan

Howdy! I’m Jack. I see prairies as a part of our natural history as Texans. When you think of a cowboy out on a cattle drive, odds are they’re traversing prairie. But the rapid conversion of prairie to farmland means that we long ago lost the tall grass prairie that tickled the bellies of buffalo. By establishing a prairie on campus, I hope that we can instill an appreciation of nature for its cultural as well as ecological benefits.

Hello! I’m Mark and I’m a freshman environmental science major. My interest in sustainability stems from my belief that access to fresh food and wide open spaces is an essential part of a happy life. I am excited to watch the Half-Pint project grow and to start a conversation about the current state of prairies in Texas. On weekends, you can find me bouldering, hiking the Greenbelt, or biking to farmers’ markets around Austin.

Half-Pint in the news

Students plant prairie, make campus more sustainable – Daily Texan

Breaking Ground on Blackland Prairie – Office of Sustainability

Contact us

Want to collaborate or just learn more? Send us an email at halfpintprairie@utenvironment.org.

Special thanks to