His Favourite Map: Natural Heritage of Texas

Natural Heritage of Texas, 1986. Map, 54.8″×56.4″. Map #10786, Map Collection, Archives and Records Program, Texas General Land Office, Austin, TX.
Natural Heritage of Texas, 1986. Map, 54.8″×56.4″. Map #10786, Map Collection, Archives and Records Program, Texas General Land Office, Austin, TX.

James Harkins of the Texas General Land Office shares his favourite map: the 1986 Natural Heritage of Texas map, which featured endangered and vulnerable Texas wildlife.

I was three years old when this map was released. When I was at Moore Elementary (home of the fighting Armadillos!) in the late 1980s, and early 1990s, I specifically remembered this map because it was huge! The Natural Heritage Map of Texas is 4-feet by 4-feet, and it hung in the school cafeteria, to the left of the stage where so many school assemblies had occurred. The map is colorful, big and filled with animals. To be honest, at the time, the animals are what drew my attention, but the map always stuck in my mind because it was the first large wall map I had ever seen. More than anything, though, there was an ocelot in my face, and in the face of every other elementary student in the building who walked up to look at this map. At the time, I thought an ocelot was kind of like a mix between a house cat and a lion or a tiger, and a lion or tiger was really cool. I was hooked! I would always look at the ocelot, as well as the other animals, and the map, and think about what it all meant.

[Texas Map Society]

Author: Jonathan Crowe

I blog about maps at The Map Room, review books for AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review, and edit a fanzine called Ecdysis.