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Heritage Garden Tour of the Ten Natural Regions in Texas

A self-guided educational garden tour - experience the natural diversity of Texas
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 0.2 miles
Duration: Less than 1 hour
Family Friendly

Overview :  Texas encompasses 10 wildly divergent natural areas. The state’s Natural Regions form the basis for this small educational nature... more »

Tips:  The Heritage Nature area is small but packed with information for the whole family. The "trail" is paved with plentiful seating to... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Welcome -TEXAS OUR HERITAGE Garden Entrance and Educational Displays

The Texas Our Heritage garden was created to help our children gain an appreciation of nature, history and the natural diversity available in Texas. The coordinated educational displays are changed monthly by Texas Master Naturalists.

Be sure to look for enhanced displays using augmented reality that make the displays come alive!

2. A Texas Master Naturalist Project

‘TEXAS OUR HERITAGE’ garden was the creation of Belinda Nichols the Principal of Heritage Elementary School. Her science teacher background gave her the wisdom to know that children learn lessons best when they are touching, seeing, smelling and hearing. She gathered her parent volunteers, community businesses, and Denton County Master Gardeners... More

3. Welcome to the Gulf Coast Prairies and Marshes

The Gulf Coast is a narrow sixty miles wide band that stretches for hundreds of miles along the Gulf of Mexico. Cities such as Corpus Christi, Galveston, and Houston are in the Gulf Coast region.

Near the gulf waters you can see marshes, barrier islands, estuaries (where salty sea water and fresh river water meet), and bays. As you travel west,... More

4. Region 2: Gulf Coast Prairies and Marshes

GULF COAST WETLANDS are defined by their mix of salt and fresh water, although sometimes the water is entirely fresh. Coastal wetlands provide habitat for millions of migrating waterfowl and protection from storms that erode the shoreline. Bays and estuaries are nursery and
spawning areas for marine species and habitat for oysters and clams that... More

5. Region 7: Edwards Plateau

The Texas Hill Country, located in Central Texas is rolling to hilly grassland. It sits on the Edwards Plateau. A plateau is high, flat land. Over many millions of years, this plateau has been eroded into a hilly terrain. There are many springs and some steep canyons in this area.

There are also hidden, underground lakes in the Edwards Aquifer. ... More

6. Plants of the Edwards Plateau

Nearly 24 million acres dominated by Ashe juniper, oaks and honey mesquite comprise the beautifully rugged, semi arid region of the Edwards Plateau in central Texas. Average annual rainfall ranges from a meager 15 inches in the west to more than 33 inches in the east. Droughts can be frequent, prolonged and unpredictable though.

More than 100 of ... More

7. Region 5: Cross Timbers

The Cross Timbers region is in north central and central Texas. This area is a transition between the plains of the West Texas Panhandle and the Pineywoods of East Texas. Patches of woodland running in a north and south direction are sprinkled throughout this grassland prairie. The land is gently rolling to hilly. This region is sometimes called “... More

8. Common Cross Timbers Plants

About 17 million acres are represented by this region of alternating bands of wooded habitat scattered throughout a mostly prairie region. Rainfall is highly variable in this region, averaging about 25 inches in the western reaches to 35 inches in the east. Temperatures average about 67 degrees. Grassland species such as little bluestem,... More

9. Region 1: Piney Woods

The East Texas region is primarily a thick forest of pines, hence the name Pineywoods! This woodland is part of a larger forest that extends into Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. The terrain is rolling with lower, wetter bottom-lands that grow hardwood trees such as elm, mesquite and ash. This region is home to a variety of plants and animals... More

10. Common Piney Woods Plants

From Houston to rural Bowie County north of Texarkana runs one of the most beautiful pine forests still standing in North America. Mostly deep, dark and evergreen, it is an extension of the rich pine/hardwood forests of the southeastern United States. Patchworked with evergreen shrub bogs and cypress-tupelo swamps, this area is characterized by... More

11. Wildlife in the Piney Woods

East Texas boasts a rich diversity of wildlife. Fifteen species of Texas breeding birds, including the Pine Warbler, Brown-headed Nuthatch and Red-cockaded Woodpecker nest in this region. Bachman’s Sparrow nests in the longleaf pine uplands, while wintering Bald Eagles roost in undisturbed uplands near rivers and lakes. Mammals in the region... More

12. Freshwater Low land water habitats

Freshwater marshes are nonforested, nontidal wetlands dominated by grasses, sedges, and other freshwater emergent plants. They can occur in low depressional areas in the Gulf Coast region, in shallow water along lakes, rivers, or streams, or can exist as abandoned oxbows. Freshwater marshes are highly productive ecosystems and can sustain a wide... More

13. Pioneer Shelter Area

Early pioneers settled along the Trinity River and its tributaries and on the edge of the frontier as it
moved westward. However, settlers were scarce until the Republic of Texas approved an empresario grant in 1841 with the Texas Emigration and Land Company, based in Louisville, Kentucky. W.S. Peters led the group of 20 investors, and the grant ... More

14. Pioneer Life

Daily Life in this area in the 1870's

Corn, oats, beans, and sweet potatoes were staple crops in North Texas as early as 1850. Until there was effective transportation, families grew only what they could consume or sell locally. Many families planted peaches and pears, and used wild plums, berries, grapes, and nuts.

Wild game was... More

15. Hill Country

When the Hill Country was settled by European man in the mid-1800s, it was maintained as a grassland savannah largely by grazing habits of bison and antelope as well as by frequent natural and man-made fires. The land supported a rich diversity of forbs and grasses. Cedar was restricted to overgrazed areas along rivers and streams, and in areas of... More

16. Region 10: Trans Pecos

West Texas has wide-open spaces with rugged plateaus and desert mountains. The plateaus have short grasses and brush. The desert area is part of the great Chihuahuan Desert of Mexico. The only mountains in Texas are found here.

Big Bend Country is a region of extremes. The desert is dry and hot in the day and cool at night. Plants and animals ... More

17. This is Texas - Where are the cacti ?

A modest outdoor cactus garden has been established.
The variety of outdoor cactus will vary based on temperature, humidity, and sun exposure.

There are nearly a hundred species of cacti growing wild in Southwest Texas where the mercury drops below freezing every winter. But many of these same plants will not survive the winter in East Texas... More

18. The spectacular Trans Pecos

Perhaps the most spectacular ecoregion in Texas is the Trans-Pecos, offering both breathtaking landscapes and incredibly biodiversity. West of the Pecos River this 19 million acres of impressive desert grassland, desert scrub, salt basins, sand hills, and rugged plateaus to wooded mountain slopes support an amazing variety of plant and animal life... More

19. Trans Pecos - a land of extremes

Parts of this region are the hottest and driest of the state, with some areas receiving less than 8 inches of annual rainfall. Precipitation tends to rise with elevation, so the more moisture loving plant communities are likely to be in the mountains. Heat is a significant feature of the area, and the average temperature of 64 degrees fails to... More

20. Region 4: Blackland Prairie

This region of gently rolling and level land covers 23,500 square miles. It is named for the rich, deep, fertile black soils that once supported the original tall grass prairie communities.

The area has alkaline soils that were deposited roughly 100 million years ago when a shallow Cretaceous sea covered north central Texas. The rich soils of ... More

21. Blackland Prarie

The fertile dark clay soils of the Blackland Prairies are some of the richest soils in the world. They are found in gently rolling to nearly level regions just west of and, in some cases, surrounded by the Post Oak Savannah of ecoregion 3. Pecan, cedar elm, various oaks and hackberry dot the landscape with some mesquite invading the southern... More

22. Region 9: The High Plains

Part of the southern great plains, it is the largest level plain of it’s kind in the US. Historically short grass and mixed prairie. It was once home to herds of buffalo, pronghorn antelope, grey wolves, grizzly bears and elk. Now it is home to sandhill crane, kit fox and lesser prairie chicken.

Cotton and cattle ranching are the major... More

23. Region 8: Rolling Plains

This region has mostly flat, grassy land or plains. These plains are part of the same flat grassland that extends from the Great Plains of the Central United States. Sometimes this land is also called the Llano Estacado or “Staked Plains.” The land is mostly treeless and is on a high, flat plateau. The eastern part of the Panhandle is not quite as... More

24. Region 3: Post Oak Savannah

Originally, the savannah was a true prairie grassland of perennials, annual grasses and forbs (wildflowers). Many early settlers described it as a vast endless sea of grasses and wildflowers with sparsely scattered trees or mottes of oaks on uplands.

The Blackland prairie and Post Oak Savannah landscapes were formed and maintained by two major ... More

25. Post Oak Savannah

The Post Oak Savannah is punctuated by scattered oaks – mainly post oaks and blackjack oaks. Black hickory may also be locally abundant. Cedar elm, sugarberry, eastern red cedar and common persimmon are also widespread. Historically, wide vistas of tall-grass – little bluestem, Indiangrass, switchgrass and a myriad of wildflowers were broken only ... More

26. Texas Wetlands

Wetlands are more important than you might imagine. They are one of Texas’ most valuable
natural treasures. Wetlands provide flood protection, improve water quality and provide millions of
dollars in economic benefits each year. Yet, Texas has lost more than half of its wetlands in the past
200 years. Texas wetlands have been drained, filled,... More

27. Region 6: South Texas plains

The South Texas plains stretch from the edges of the Hill Country into the subtropical regions of the Lower Rio Grande valley. Much of the area is dry and covered with grasses and thorny brush such as mesquite and prickly pear cacti.

There are some lakes dotting the region, as well as short-lived "resacas." A resaca is a former channel of the... More

28. Meeting Area

This is a common area for meetings as well as relaxation.