Blair Woods is a 10 acre sanctuary of woods, prairie, and wetlands in an urban setting on the east side of Austin. The land was gifted to Travis Audubon by the Last Will and Testament of Dr. Frank Blair in 1985. The land was originally the site of the Ft. Colorado historical marker and was once a dairy farm.
Dr. Blair, a noted zoologist and UT professor, often used his acreage as a learning environment for his UT research students. After many years of collecting essays from his students, he used the essays to build the dam which created the still existing pond. He called the dam the “Dam of Words.”
Dr. Blair is remembered fondly by his neighbors. He would often invite the neighborhood children to play and learn on his property. He had an iguana and other animals which were an endless source of fascination for the neighbor children.
As restoration of Blair Woods continues, Travis Audubon hopes that neighbors will become engaged in learning about this important natural area. It is hoped that Blair Woods will be a “living lab” for future generations.
Over the last 20 – 30 years, Blair Woods became degraded due to the spread of non-native plants and pollution from trash and urban runoff. When non-native plants become invasive they overtake the native vegetation upon which wildlife depends. The creek and pond are also impacted as native plants are displaced by invasive non-natives. The restoration program will re-establish a bio-diverse woodland, prairie and riparian corridor.
Travis Audubon has engaged 728 volunteers at 22 Blair Woods volunteer days to help with restoration. Our volunteers have removed 1,171 cubic yards of non-native invasive plants, planted 705 native plants and mulched 3,155 feet of trail. Our partner, Environmental Survey Consulting, has spearheaded the pond and creek stabilization and clean up. Click here to view our restoration progress.
“Explore and Restore” is a youth education program that combined classroom instruction with hands-on learning at Blair Woods. In 2011, we partnered with Norman Elementary to introduce their students to the wonders of the natural world and gain valuable skills in ornithology, botany, geology and zoology. Click here to learn more about the program.
Funding for past conservation and education at Blair Woods has been received from the Shield Ayres Foundation, David Bamberger, and TogetherGreen (an organization formed by National Audubon and Toyota).