At its most peaceful, the Indiangrass Preserve in southeast Texas is hushed and still. Its springtime canvas is lush with prairie grass; monarch butterflies cling to yellow tickseed flowers as eastern bluebirds circle overhead. Come summer, rains will douse its shallow wetlands, where bobcats pause to drink as they prowl for cottontails.
An agrochemical research facility occupied part of the site as recently as 2001. Then the Katy Prairie Conservancy restored the land into a nature preserve.
Since 1992 the conservancy has protected more than 18,000 acres of Texas land that otherwise might have been developed, says Elisa Donovan, its vice president and general counsel. The conservancy has championed tallgrass prairie and wetlands, plentiful species, and rare ones, such as the crawfish frog and the western chicken turtle. Its latest project aims to restore and preserve the natural state of land that will welcome the living—and also the dead.