Fredericksburg Chapter

$2000 Bill Lindemann Scholarship Awarded to Mercedes Burks

The Fredericksburg Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas (NPSOT) has awarded its $2,000 “Bill Lindemann Scholarship” to Mercedes Burks, a student at Texas A & M University. Burks expects to receive her Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture with a minor in Ecology and Environmental Biology in spring 2026.

“I am so greatly appreciative and honored to receive this scholarship from NPSOT Fredericksburg, and it means so much to my family and me,” Burks said after learning she was the scholarship recipient.
Burk’s vision is to create her own organically grown greenhouse that focuses on Texas native and medicinal plants, and to tell the story of either their native or medicinal uses so that the knowledge can be spread and not lost.

“Our chapter board was impressed with Ms. Burks’ commitment to improve Texas ecosystems,” noted Deborah Simmons, President of the Fredericksburg chapter of NPSOT.

In addition to her studies in ecology and environmental biology, Burks has been trained as a holistic health coach, holistic nutritionist, and a clinical herbalist. She is an intern at a nursery in Round Rock where she promotes native plants, and she has helped plant native trees in Brazos County.

The Fredericksburg chapter of NPSOT established the “Bill Lindemann Scholarship” as an annual scholarship to qualified junior or senior college students who are majoring in biology, botany, horticulture, landscape design or related fields with an emphasis on Texas native plants or their ecosystems and are planning to pursue a career related to Texas native plants and/or the conservation and restoration of native plant habitats in Texas. This is the second Bill Lindemann scholarship awarded. The scholarship applications are screened by the state organization and finalists are forwarded to the chapter.
More information about the chapter and its scholarship is online

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About the Region

New Braunfels, the location of our Fall 2024 Symposium, straddles both the Edwards Plateau Ecoregion and the Blackland Prairie ecoregion. Interstate 35 divides the city of New Braunfels; its path through the city closely parallels the boundary of these two ecoregions, with the Edwards Plateau on the west side and the Blackland Prairies region to the east. The Edwards Plateau area is also called the Hill Country; however, this general term covers a much larger area extending farther north. Spring-fed creeks are found throughout the region; deep limestone canyons, rivers, and lakes (reservoirs) are common. Ashe juniper is perhaps the most common woody species found throughout the region. Additional woody species include various species of oak, with live oak (Quercus fusiformis) being the most common. Sycamores (Platanus occidentalis) and bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) border waterways. This area is well known for its spring wildflower displays, though they may be viewed in spring, late summer, and fall, as well. According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, average annual rainfall in the Edwards Plateau ranges from 15 to 34 inches.

The Blackland Prairie extends from the Red River south to San Antonio, bordered on the west by the Edwards Plateau and the Cross Timbers, and on the east by the Post Oak Savannah. Annual rainfall averages 30 to 40 inches, with higher averages to the east. This region is dominated by prairie species. The most common grass species include little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) and Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans) in the uplands and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) in the riparian areas and drainages. Common herbaceous flowering plants include salvias, penstemons, and silphiums. This area has suffered greatly from overgrazing and agricultural use. Few intact areas remain, though many of the plants can be found along county roadsides throughout the region.

Our four host chapters (New Braunfels, Lindheimer, Guadalupe, and the Hill Country chapters) are located in one or both of the ecoregions above. However, the eastern portion of Guadalupe County also falls within the Post Oak Savanna ecoregion. Annual rainfall averages 35 to 45 inches, with higher averages to the east. A wide variety of hardwood trees are found, including several species of oaks, elms, and in the Bastrop area, loblolly pine (Pinus taeda). Grasses and forbs dominate in the open savannas, with most common grass being little bluestem. Ranching, agriculture, and fire suppression have allowed woody species to encroach on the once-open savannas.

Source: Wildflowers of Texas by Michael Eason