Archive for September 11th, 2009

Texas Outdoor Story–Scooter Cheatham

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Passport to Texas Outdoor stories from Texas parks and Wildlife

When Scooter Cheatham convinced his anthropology professor to let him and a friend conduct an experiment—instead of writing a research paper—he had no idea it would lead to his lifelong passion.

What we proposed was that we go down to my grandmother’s ranch on the Guadalupe river near Concrete, Texas, and take with us replicas of some of these early cultures we’d been studying. We had mostly stone tools, deerskin clothing—we did the whole thing.

Uh, basically we got down there, and uh for about a week we didn’t have much to eat. I think we had a possum and an armadillo—and I didn’t eat all of the possum, it was too greasy for me. But in that time frame, we had an awful lot of time to spend in that setting. And so we began talking a lot about how civilization came to be. Asking ourselves a lot of “what if” questions, like: what if we went back and there was no back—it was all gone, and you had to start over—how would you do it?

And you start looking around and the great diversity, the thing that supplies us all of our organic needs is rooted in the plant kingdom. It just became very obvious to me that this was very important. And I was sure that some group of scientists had already done studies all over the world and that there was a body of information about this. So, I came back to Austin expecting to find that and to tap into it—it didn’t exist.

So, he created it—a 12 volume encyclopedia of Useful Wild Plants of Texas and beyond. Volume three is at the printers now.

That’s our show… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Visit the website Useful Wild Plants,, and see what Scooter’s been up to all these years. [Just copy and paste the URL into your browser]