If every community, town, or city were a wheel, there would be twelve essential spokes to help it to turn. I have focused on highlighting an area encompassing the panhandle and south plains regions of Texas with each of these twelve key assets that help our communities to thrive and flourish. Below I have listed a few examples for each of these categories for you to check out the next time your fins yourself in the high plains.
Education is the basis for a thoughtful society as well as innovation for tomorrow. Godekey Library is an expansive library open to the public. Godekey can be contacted through the following address located at 5034 Frankford Ave, Lubbock, TX 79424 or through their phone number (806) 775-3362. The Science Spectrum and Omni-Theatre offer hands-on learning experiences fun for the whole family. The Omni-theatre is the only fully engaged surrounding theater experience in west Texas and is used exclusively for academic furtherance purposes. Also includes the only public aquarium in Lubbock TX and the greater panhandle area.
Every community needs a center or two to keep it’s occupants healthy and cared for. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “it is health that is the real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver”. The major centers for health that I have chosen to cover are Covenant Health System and University Medical Health System. Covenant is not only a Lubbock, Texas health care system, but also located in Levelland, Texas and Plainview, Texas as well. University Medical Center of Lubbock is not only interested in patient care but training and educating the next generations of doctors and nurses through Texas Tech University’s Health and Science departments and medical programs.
There are numerous fun activities for people of all ages ranging from tailgating and football games in the Jones stadium to hiking through Palo Duro Canyon. The high plains also offer an assortment of fine, local wineries that hold events, tastings and tours year-round: McPhersons Wine Cellars, Caprock Winery, and Llano Estacado Winery.
Spirituality and religion are very important personal and communal needs to be met by every healthy, thriving society. West Texas offers a wide range of churches, mosques, temples, cathedrals and spiritual meeting grounds for people from all walks of life.
I found a rich history in and around Lubbock, Texas for this specific blog entry. The Silent Wings Museum preserves and informs about the World War II military glider program. The Buddy Holly Center promotes the legacy of Buddy Holly and the music of west Texas as well as providing exhibits on contemporary visual arts and music. The Bayer Museum of Agriculture illustrates the history of farming and the science and technology of modern agriculture. The Museum of Texas Tech University includes several different academic elements: the main building, the Moody Planetarium, the Natural Science Research Laboratory, and the Lubbock Lake Landmark. Each of these components serves a research and educational purpose hoping to better inform as well as aid new discoveries.
SENSE OF PLACE
Ranching and farming truly give a sense of place and history to the residents of west Texas. The National Ranching Heritage Center is a museum and historical park dedicated to preserving the history of ranching, pioneer life, and development of the livestock industry in North America. Visitors can see where we came from and what runs our local economy still to this day.
ARTS & CULTURE
Creativity and expression are important for a community to have an outlet and reveals a little of your culture. The First Friday Art Trail is a free self-guided tour throughout the local art, artists, music, and collections in Lubbock, Texas. The Louise Hopkins Underwood Art Center is a facility dedicated to showcasing visual and performing arts for children and adults.
Water is essential for a community to survive, here on the plains we receive water from three important bodies of water: Ogallala Aquifer, Lake Meredith, and Lake Alan Henry. These are the three bodies of water that keep west Texans well nourished. We are also tasked with sustaining them for the future generations to come. For more information on water conservation and aquifer news visit Stewarding Our Aquifer.
Prarie Dog Town is a park where you can see prairie dogs, small animals that make homes underground, up close. This is a fun activity for an age group and the prairie dogs are generally people friendly and very enthusiastic hosts. Buffalo Springs Lake and Lake Alan Henry are great spots to hang out in the warmer months and take the boat out onto the water. The aforementioned Palo Duro Canyon is always a fun hike with several different hiking routes to take varying in difficulty.
As I said before, farming and ranching are very important to the lifestyle and culture of west Texas. Some of our major farming productions are cotton, corn, grain sorghum, wheat, and an assortment of fresh vegetables varying from season to season.
Local foodshed can best be found at the local farmers markets throughout the high plains. These farmers markets can be found in Canyon, Lubbock, Amarillo, Plainview, and as of recently– Shallowater. Farmers markets are usually held in the spring and summer months. For fall and winter foodshed, check out apple orchards such as Apple Country Orchards, Caprock Pecans, or At’l Do Farms for pumpkins galore.
The major renewable energy source coming out of the high plains is wind energy. Texas actually the leads the United States in wind power production. Huge turbines use the already very prevalent windy nature of west Texas to create energy for it’s residents as well as exported around the country.
All of these places help to make west Texas the community the thriving community that it is and still working to become. Make sure to keep these places in mind when you visit the high plains next!