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What's in a Name?

Prairie Notes:
April 24, 2009

Many of you know that the late author and environmental crusader, Edward Abbey, is the spiritual godfather of Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area (FOTHNA). Ed is best known for his account of Utah's canyon lands in his 1968 non-fiction classic, Desert Solitaire and his 1975 eco-activist-comic-novel, The Monkey Wrench Gang. Those two works bookend Ed's driving themes of gut-level appreciation and dutiful activism in support of our dwindling wild and special places.

Abbey wrote about many such places around the world including, prairies. In his semi-autobiographical 1988 novel, The Fool's Progress, he describes a road-trip from Tuscon, Arizona to his birthplace in Appalachia. Along the way, while passing through prairie country, he wrote the following:

"Prairie Country - and was there ever so gentle and undulant female and sweet a word as prairie. French derived from the Latin prataria, a meadow."

Undulant meaning here, a rising and falling motion, like waves of windblown grass and, in the case of THNA, the namesake hills. Female, meaning ... well, Ed was a ladies man, but I think he meant the protective and nurturing instincts more commonly associated with the childbearing species. I dare say that Ed would appreciate the undulant characteristics of the Tandy Hills greenbelt and applaud our unyielding efforts to nurture, protect and preserve it and all Texas prairie.

"Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original, is cutting itself off from its origins and betraying the principle of civilization itself." Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire

Please keep the mission of FOTHNA in mind when you visit Prairie Fest this Saturday, April 25th. We want you to have a good time at the fest, and we also need you as a Friend, throughout the year. Please take a moment and watch this video:

Special NOTE:
Dr. Joe Kuban of Nolan Catholic High School in Fort Worth is a long time advocate for the preservation of THNA. He is local example of a hero who cares a great deal about protection of the wild and special. My hat is off to the valiant Dr. Kuban.

Read Joe's compelling story in a recent Fort Worth Star-Telegram report here:

Special NOTE #2:
Read more about Prairie Fest in the current issue of Fort Worth Weekly here:

Come to the meadow April 25th and find the spirit of Ed Abbey and Joe Kuban calling out to you.