Preserve … Restore … Revive
Take a refreshing walk into the wide-open spaces of a beautiful meadow, rich in floral diversity that is reminiscent of the tallgrass Blackland Prairie that once existed here. The Connemara Meadow Preserve is just such a place. This family land was set aside by Frances Williams and is owned and perpetually maintained by the Connemara Conservancy Foundation.
Members may take advantage of the meadow at any time and non-members are invited to join one of our Open-to-the-Public events that generally take place on weekends (See the Calendar for further information on these open public events). Both Members and guests are asked to abide by our policies.
A number of tri-fold brochures on specific subjects may be dounloaded and printed for your use.
The Meadow is not a park but a preserve, managed so as to preserve and restore the natural biologically diverse ecosystem that is native to the area. It is made available to the public as a place to revive the spirit while teaching the importance of nature and biodiversity in the world where we live. To minimize impact on nature no pets or bikes are allowed.
“’Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher.’
So sayeth Wordsworth, and me thinks he speaks of Connemara.”
— Frances Williams
In the 1970s Frances (Montgomery) Williams worried that open space was rapidly disappearing in the face of development. In 1981, with an initial gift of 72 acres of a meadow area on her family's land, the Connemara Conservancy Foundation was formed. Today Connemara protects thousands of acres in North Texas. From its start, the Connemara Meadow Preserve served as an avenue to connect people with nature. For more than 20 years, outdoor sculpture exhibits and concerts encouraged visitors to venture miles from nearby cities into the countryside. Today, even as development has surrounded the land, the Connemara Meadow Preserve remains a natural oasis for nearby residents and visitors.
For decades, the Connemara Meadow Preserve was used for crops and pasture. Today it is managed to achieve balance between preserving the land "in a state of natural beauty" and creating a place that is "pleasant and agreeable for people."
=Plants provide the habitat for wildlife in the Meadow, and the combination of water, soils, topography and influence of man and animals determines what grows where. In some areas, the Meadow is recovering from decades of farming and is amazingly rich in plant diversity. Other areas will require intervention to remove non-native plants where they have become a monoculture, limiting native diversity. The availability of water and the land management practices of the past have combined to create several distinct habitat types:
The shallow saddle of the Lower Meadow is dominated by plants adapted to saturated soil conditions. These wetlands resulted from very low-permeable soils, gentle topography and the input of water from overflows of Rowlett Creek and Upper Meadow runoff.
Grasses and wildflowers that favor moist soil conditions grow here. This floodplain habitat along with the wetlands supports reptiles, amphibians, aquatic invertebrates and aquatic and emergent vegetation.
The forests on either side of Rowlett Creek favor moist conditions provided by this large perennial stream. This riparian zone is a very biologically diverse habitat and critical as a wildlife corridor.
Fence-row woodlands form a natural buffer around the Meadow in areas of both wet and dry soils and along perimeter and interior fence lines established during the property’s history of agricultural use. This habitat provides important wildlife corridors and connectors between other habitat types on the property.
Upland grasslands are located on the hillside above the Rowlett Creek floodplain. Here grasses and wildflowers thrive despite the drier soil and steeper slopes. Vegetation is less thick than in moist areas, but just as diverse. The past agricultural history of this portion of the Meadow is evidenced by the existing terrace system.
The Meadow has been shaped by natural processes as well as human activity. Two centuries ago tallgrass prairies covered 20 million acres of Texas, including this Meadow. Woody plants were kept under control by natural wildfires, so grasses and other herbaceous plants remained dominant. Within the last century the land was farmed for grain crops or used for pasture. Farm machinery substituted for wildfires in limiting the expansion of forested areas. Restoration activities are now underway to re-establish native prairie plants and replace the introduced and invasive plants that are so well entrenched. Native plants are preferred for their drought tolerance, floral diversity, support of native wildlife and reminder of the plants once at home here.
The Connemara Conservancy Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, is funded entirely by activities, sponsors and gifts from people like you. Join us in our celebration of the land and in our vision that the last crop we reap won't be concrete. Become a member or volunteer today