Native Plant Society of Texas

Shield Ranch Field Trip Report

What a great day, perfect weather, gorgeous wildflowers, and so many knowledgeable botanists in our group. Bill Carr, a well-known Austin Area botanist, lead us across a lush prairie, along the edges of Oak/Ash forest and down to Barton Creek, pointing out native plants. Our group was a nice mix of people who were new to botany, experienced botanists, and everything in between. Bill did a great job of picking plants that would be interesting to all levels of interest, from the largest Oak tree to the tiniest Rabbit Tobacco. There was so much to see, I’m not sure we even covered a mile.

As quoted on their website “At Shield Ranch, stewarding and protecting the Hill Country ecosystem is our solemn purpose. Located just 18 miles southwest of downtown Austin, we are a 6,400-acre historic district and protected wildland. Today, we are home to a mosaic of habitats, a diverse community of native plants and animals, and over six breathtaking miles of Barton Creek. Through an evolving program of land management, unique nature immersion experiences, and conservation easements with the Nature Conservancy and the City of Austin, Shield Ranch offers something exceptionally rare in our rapidly urbanizing community—a truly wild place. Join us in making sure it stays that way.”

At the end of our walk, those who brought lunches gathered in “The Camp” dining hall. The architecture was as beautiful as the landscape, and completely sustainable. It was nice to have some social time with other native plant enthusiasts and linger a little while longer before going back to our busy urban lives. I felt so fortunate to have the opportunity to visit this beautiful property. Thanks to our Field Trip Coordinator, Jackie OKeefe, for setting this up for us.

Claire Sorenson
President, NPSOT Austin