Over a century ago, more than one million Attwater’s Prairie- Chickens adorned the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast prairies. Each spring, males gathered to perform an elaborate courtship ritual. They inflated their yellow air sacs and emitted a deep, 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.

See our award-winning documentary, “The Little Grouse on the Prairie”! Come meet the amazing Attwater’s Prairie-Chicken, discover the tremendous collaborations involved in its recovery, and join us in supporting these efforts!

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”-N-“Blooming”, held the each spring.  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. Stay tuned for 2021 Festival dates.

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. Read more about  the Effects of RIFA on APC Survival

Student Festival Art Contest

The Friends of Attwater Prairie Chicken Refuge strives to provide opportunities that foster an appreciation for our Refuge system, the prairie ecosystem, 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 Annual Student Art Contest. This contest is held annually and is open to students from kindergarten to grade 12 in Brazos, Bellville, Columbus, Rice, Sealy, and Washington school districts. Our winners are typically announced at the Attwater Prairie Chicken “Booming”-N- “Blooming” Festival held at the Refuge each spring.  Congratulations to our 2020 Grand Prize Winner, Elyssa Dillard, a junior at Columbus High School! Pictured here is Elyssa’s winning entry!

Our contest judging and award delivery was cumbersome this year, as were many events across the world because of the COVID pandemic. As we plan for the 2021 Art Contest, we realize that many unknown remains, including whether there will be a Festival to announce and display winners, recognition that many students are receiving instruction remotely and may be unable to physically submit their entries to their teachers, and that our judging process may require modification, as well. To ensure transparency, fairness, and accessibility to all students who may want to participate, we are in the process of revising our standards and guidelines for the contest. As a result, the deadline for the contest will likely be shifted from the traditional date of January 30th to later in the spring. Please check back regularly for more details.

The Friends of Attwater Prairie Chicken Refuge and Blisswood Bed and Breakfast are committed to ensuring this contest is engaging and fun yet still structured by learning objectives aligned with our mission. We encourage parents and teachers and our students to peruse the resources and lessons provided via our Education tab or through other sources to further understanding and appreciation for the prairie and the wildlife that live among us. We hope that after reviewing subjects/concepts of nature like the Attwater’s Prairie-Chicken, endangered species, prairies, ecology, refuges, etc. students, our stewards of future generation, will express the sentiments of what they have learned through art. Our Student Art Contest is a valuable opportunity to empower youth by their unique expression through art to feel more connected with nature.

Keep checking back for guidelines, information, and more for the 2021 Student Festival Art Contest. To contact us, please email artcontest@attwater.org.