Legacies: Garaldine Watson

This is Passport to Texas

Beginning in the 1960’s Geraldine Watson, a self-trained botanist from Silsbee, Texas, worked tirelessly with the Big Thicket Association to persuade government officials to pass a bill that would create a national park from land in southeast Texas known as The Big Thicket. Her path was fraught with twists, turns and roadblocks – some of which came from preservation proponents.

56—Well, like every other organization, everybody involved had their own ideas about what needed to be done. There was a faction that wanted ten thousand acres in what we call the traditional thicket – which is dense thickety wetland. And then there was another faction that was interested in the ecological Big Thicket. And it was sort of a war that went on between the proponents of the preserve at the time. And we all really wanted to see the bill passed. And we realized that it would never get passed as long as we were fighting one another. We did manage to get together and come to a compromise with something to present to the park service and to congress to where we could all stand together on it. So it came down to a plan of a number of different scattered units amounting to – oh, I forget – seventy-something-thousand acres. But we managed to work together in the end.

The Wildlife and sport fish restoration program supports our series and is celebrating 75 years of funding diverse conservation projects throughout Texas…

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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