Good morning! It’s not as warm this morning as it has been. In fact it’s downright cold. Want some hot chai to get you started? It’s my favorite drink, especially in winter. I want to introduce you today to a young man who is truly an inspiration.
There is a young man right here in Fort Worth who has multiple passions that he has combined into a mission which will affect the lives of thousands of young children and adults before he is finished, as well as preserving a piece of land that is extremely vital to our ecological welfare.
His name is Jarid Manos. He started a council called the Great Plains Restoration Council ten years ago. I first met him when he guided a tour of members of our church on a warm (95°) summer day around the Fort Worth Prairie Park. He singlehandedly began the coalition to save part of the Fort Worth area’s original prairie. It is an ecosystem refuge of global significance.
Jarid Manos is an arresting young man. He has chronicled his life in a book called The Ghetto Plainsman. It is emotionally a very difficult book to read, yet the story of his life is completely riveting. He survived early years of his life that would have crushed most others. The book came out a short time ago and is now in its second printing. He lays his soul bare in his telling of what brought him to his current situation.
He and his restoration council have done marvelous work in the few short years since he started his mission. He has saved a plot of land that is a way-station for migrating Monarch butterflies among its varied reasons for being saved. It is a very rare area of original prairie here in Tarrant County. They brought in unusual helpers to maintain the land in the pristine condition it has been in for centuries. They managed to bring back buffalo which have been absent for 150 years. They are being allowed to live on this tallgrass prairie as their ancestors did.
According to Jarid’s newsletter, “these buffalo have reverted back to their ancestral herd culture and behavior, and have gotten to work quickly in managing the native prairie. They’ve created micro-ecosystems through their new wallows, have designed trails and grass openings that are used by other wildlife, used their horns to take down small mesquites, and stationed rubbing posts around the prairie where their wool rubs off, which in turn has help grassland nesting burds as well as the rodent understory pad their nests and increase survival rate.”
The restoration council has made great strides this year. They are now working with Texas Christian University’s botany department. Because of that, they have been able to identify 700 different native species that thrive in this area in addition to providing a valuable living lab for the students. The council now has the backing of Texas Parks and Wildlife to permanently protect this ecosystem refuge. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has endorsed the Prairie Park.
I asked Jarid what his educational background was that prepared him for all he was now doing. I was expecting to hear about graduate studies at some university. He said that he was a drop out and taught himself to read. He is a very well self-educated young man that could put many a PhD to shame. He works with the young to help save them from the path his own life took. He was a graduate of the streets. He has lived in some of the highest crime areas of cities in several parts of the United States. The kids get where he is coming from and listen to him.
The group Plains Youth InterACTION connected to the GPRC has youth leaders which have spoken before senior officials of the president’s administration. They began work on an ongoing native prairie restoration project when the natural gas pipeline was cut through the property. Only locally sourced native seeds were used in this project.
Fort Worth would probably have been enough of a contribution, but he keeps on going. He has also worked the Oglala tribal members to save a 4,600 acre Oglala Prairie Preseve which is adjacent to Badlands National Park in South Dakota. Their goal is to merge the prairie dog/bison/black-footed ferret mixed-grass prairie habitat into the national park. They are saving the land from being bought by a prairie dog killing club. These members relish the fun of killing prairie dogs at 1,000, or 1,300 or 1700 yards. Although 99% of the prairie dogs are gone from the United States, these killers are adament about making the prairie dogs extinct. If they succeed in doing that, many more species who prey on the prairie dogs for food will become endangered also. If you don’t have a strong stomach, I suggest you skip this video. If you get excited by the killing of animals then this is for you. Jarid wrote of his encounters with The Red Mist Club when he visited the South Dakota prairie. It’s called red mist for the spray of blood that happens when the prairie dogs are hit.
In 2009 the GPRC expanded into Houston to become sister-cities for ecological health. Harris County is working to enroll 1,000 temporarily incarcerated individuals and probationers in the Restoration Not Incarceration program. Their goal is to protect a vastly larger amount of endangered native priaire, particularly the almost extinct Coastal Prairie. In addition, the goal of the program is to reduce recidivism and improve life outcomes.
Now that the council has gotten those projects underway, they now plan to expand their programs into the northeastern New Mexico communities to help themselves through helping recover the ancient shortgrass buffalo and prairie dog plains. Their goal, in connection with the Wind River Ranch and the Wildlands Network, is to grow that preserve from its present 5,000 acres to 100,000 acres.
Jarid Manos and GPRC have a motto. Ecological Health: the Interdependent Health of Humans, Animals, and Ecosystems. If you ever have a chance to meet him, I hope you see the spiritual side of him that I see. He was placed on this earth for a reason. Only God knows how much of humanity and Mother Earth he will serve in his lifetime. Namaste. Attic Annie