Over a century ago, more than one million Attwater’s prairie chickens adorned the Texas and Louisiana gulf coastal prairie. Each spring, males gathered to perform an elaborate courtship ritual. They inflated their yellow air sacs and emitted a strange, booming sound across a sea of grasses. Today, less than one percent of the original 6 million acres of coastal prairie remains. With so little of its home left, the Attwater’s prairie chicken has come very close to extinction.

Be a Friend

As the Friends of  Attwater Prairie Chicken Wildlife Refuge, our goal is to avoid extinction and prolong the lives of the Attwater’s prairie chicken as well as preserve their habitat, the coastal prairie ecosystem.  We welcome you to join us to assist the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and our many partners in enhancing and promoting the Attwater Prairie Chicken Refuge in Eagle Lake, Texas.  Whether you become a member, volunteer, donor and/or sponsor you can assist us in our efforts to recover the endangered Attwater’s Prairie Chicken and restore the native Texas coastal prairie for the benefit of present and future generations. You can help us celebrate the continued existence of the Attwater’s Prairie Chicken and our efforts to restore its prairie habitat by joining us annually for the Attwater’s Prairie Chicken Festival, Booming and Blooming, held the second weekend in April, except when it falls on Easter weekend, then it will be the weekend prior.  This is one of the few opportunities to observe the outstanding “booming” exhibit of the Attwater’s prairie chicken on its traditional mating grounds, or “leks.”  Guided birding tours, wildflower walks and refuge tours are also offered during this weekend event.

Battling the Red Imported Fire Ant (RIFA)

The Attwater Prairie Chicken (APC) and other birds, like (Northern Bobwhite) quail, depend on insects as a primary food sources for young chicks. Red imported fire ants (RIFA) devastate insect numbers on the prairie and therefore negatively impact young chicks’ ability to feed when they hatch in the spring. Studies show captive-bred APCs can successfully raise their broods in the wild. To ensure chicks have the insects they need to survive, the Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge has been treating for RIFA since 2009. Plans are to expand ant treatments on the refuge and other areas where APCs are located. These treatments will not only help increase the endangered Attwater Prairie Chicken’s survival, but also will benefit other native species like Northern Bobwhite and white-tailed deer. Join the Friends group and make a donation to the “Fire Ant Suppression/Brood Survival Fund” today.

Effects of RIFA on APC Survival

Student Art Contest

The Friends of Attwater Prairie Chicken Refuge strives to provide opportunities that will assist in developing a deeper appreciation for our refuge system, the prairie and all the species that call the prairie “home.” In an effort to bring nature into the classroom and the lives of future generations, The Friends of Attwater Prairie Chicken Refuge and Blisswood Bed and Breakfast are pleased to sponsor the Student Festival Art Contest. The contest is held annually, and is open to students from kindergarten to grade 12 in Brazos, Bellville, Columbus, Rice and Sealy school districts.

The Friends of Attwater Prarie Chicken Refuge and Blisswood Bed and Breakfast encourage parents and teachers to engage our youth with lessons provided on the Kid Zone of our website, www.Attwater.org, or through other sources to further learning and foster an appreciation for the prairie and the wildlife that lives among us. After reviewing subjects/concepts of nature like the Attwater’s prairie chicken, endangered species, prairies, ecology, refuges, etc. with your students, future generations express themselves through art. The Student Art Contest is a perfect avenue to engage the power of art to help youth feel more connected with nature and will prove to be a valuable experience.

The 2017 Art Contest winners were announced at the 23rd Annual “Booming”-N-“Blooming” Festival. Click to view images from the Festival Album, including photos of the winning entries, here.

The 2018 Student Art Contest is now open! For more guidance, including rules and details, please download our packet: 2018 Student Art Contest.