What is Half-Pint?

The blackland prairie is a rich and beautiful ecoregion found only in Texas. Its name stems from its black, fertile soils that farmers love to plant crops in. Unfortunately, this has caused blackland prairies to become all but extinct. Today only 1% remains. Half-Pint seeks to restore a small portion of this ecoregion with the support of staff, faculty, and students like you.

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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 


Jack Rouse

Hello! I’m Jack. I’m a sophomore accounting major. 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 transversing prairie. But the rapid conversion of prairie to farmland means that we are quickly losing that part of our culture. By placing a prairie on campus, I hope that we can instill an appreciation of nature for its cultural as well as ecological benefits.

mark degraff

Mark DeGraff

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.



Contact Us

Shoot us an email at halfpintprairie@utenvironment.org, and we’ll get right back to you!

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