Lady Bird Johnson, the former first lady, died in her Austin, Texas home this week of natural causes. Lady Bird, or Claudia Alta Taylor Johnson, the wife of former president, Lyndon B. Johnson, is widely respected for her conservation efforts. In particular, she was a tremendous help in enacting the Highway Beautification Act of 1965, which is responsible for the 30,000 pounds of wildflower seed that’s now sowed annually along highways in her home state. The thousands of wildflower species do help ‘beautify’ roadways, but they reduce maintenance costs, too.
1982, with actress Helen Hayes, Lady Bird Johnson founded the National Wildlife Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin, to ‘protect and preserve North America’s native plants and natural landscapes.’ It was later renamed the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Here are two great ways you can honor the environmental stewardship of Lady Bird Johnson:
- The Center’s Native Plant Database is one the greatest services this organization provides. Find appropriate native species to plant in your area with a powerful search that allows you to limit results by state, growth habit, light and soil requirements, bloom characteristics and more.
- Make a contribution to help support the first lady’s efforts to protect the natural world through the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Endowment Fund.
To learn more about Lady Bird’s legacy, check out The First Green First Lady.