The 1,400-acre Clymer Meadow Preserve contains some of the largest and most diverse remnants of the Blackland Prairie—the Texas version of the tallgrass prairie that once stretched from near the Texas Coast to southern Manitoba. The preserve is part of a larger conservation area that includes land owned by The Nature Conservancy of Texas and other private owners.
Named for pioneer Jim Clymer, who bought the first tracts in the 1850s, Clymer Meadow serves as a center for study of the Blackland Prairie and has been the site of more than a dozen scientific investigations ranging in scope from inventories of prairie invertebrates to noxious weed control. Universities, private research organizations, and public and private primary and secondary schools have used the meadow as a teaching site.
Two globally imperiled prairie plant communities are represented here: little bluestem-Indiangrass and gamagrass-switchgrass community series types. Other important grasses include big bluestem, meadow dropseed, sideoats grama, and Canada wildrye. Wildflowers, such as rough-leaf rosinweed, purple Indian paintbrush, prairie clover and American basketflower are abundant
One of the more unusual features of the preserve is a microtopography called "gilgai" by soil scientists and "hogwallows" by farmers. Normal gilgai are irregular or round, shallow basins, often arranged in a honeycomb-like pattern on level, heavy clay soils. Because they tend to hold water, they influence the composition of the plant communities. Moisture-loving species such as eastern gamagrass and spikerush occupy the frequently inundated microlows, while drier-adapted species such as sideoats grama and little bluestem are common on microridges.
Because of the prairie's rich agricultural soils, more than 99 percent has been cultivated, making the tallgrass the most-endangered large ecosystem in North America.
The prairie provides habitat for a great number of seasonal bird species. Northern harriers are common through the winter months; eastern bluebirds visit the preserve in the spring; and neotropical dicksissels are abundant during the early summer months.
Access is by appointment only.