Student Research Page
Living Off the Land – Think About It!
Do you live off the land? Where does your food come from? Your clothes? Your home? Because most people shop at stores to get what they need, we often forget that everything that we eat, make and play with starts with raw materials from the earth. Manufacturers use fibers from plants, oil from under the earth, stone, and even chemicals begin with elements from the earth. Before food gets into a can, freezer or restaurant, it starts on a farm or ranch. A good way to see how we rely on the land is to look at how early Native American Indians lived off the land. Pay close attention to how a habitat or place influences how people live.
Early Native American Indians
What was life like for an early Native American Indian kid? It's like asking you how the average day of a kid in Houston compares to a kid living on a ranch in Quitaque, or kid living on the border in Presidio! Your days, and even your meals, are different depending on where you live, what family you come from and your community customs. Take a close look at the magazine article. How are things different today? How are they the same?
What is now Texas was home to many tribes who lived in different regions. Some tribes left or changed and others took their place. To learn more, download your copy of the Learn About Texas Indians Activity Book.
Bison helped supply many of the needs of the people – food, clothing, shelter and tools. Watch the YouTube-TPWD Channel video about Caprock Canyon State Park, home to the official Texas bison herd, direct descendants of the last free range southern plains bison.
Plants provide food, medicine and wonder.
- Look through Keep Texas Wild magazine section and see how many times plants are used to provide food, clothing, shelter or other needs.
- Can you discover a plant? Look around and find a plant that is new to you. Make up a name and story about that plant based on your observations.
- Learn about the some of uses and folklore around wildflowers from the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center!
Wildflowers of Texas Legends and Folklore, Part 1
Wildflowers of Texas Legends and Folklore, Part 2
When you try the Wild Art activity in the magazine, remember that Native American Indians did not use an alphabet to write words in sentences the way we do. To record an event, they used symbols drawn on rocks or on hide. The symbols for animals either resembled the animal's outline or some special feature. In the picture below, see how some pictures were used as symbols to represent something besides that object. If you know what "BFF" and "LOL" means, you already know how to use symbols! Make up a story. Design your own images to tell your story.
is a fun web site by University of Texas that will tell you even more.
is another great how-to web site.
Keeping It Wild
Try making jewelry or other art from natural items you can find. Remember that you may not take items from state parks. You must ask permission to collect items from private property. These booklets offer some ideas for earrings and hair barrettes: Wildcrafting and Wildcrafting II