Panhandle to host Playa Field Day July 26


Panhandle and Carson County are home to some massive grassland playas, one adjacent to the City of Panhandle, and preserving and taking advantage of these natural features will be the topic of a Playa Field Day presented by Ogallala Commons ( on Tuesday, July 26 from 9:30 a.m-1:15 p.m. in Panhandle at the Carson County War Memorial Building.

Farmers, ranchers, Master Naturalists, agency personnel, educators, and the interested public are invited to attend the field day that will cover information about playa ecosystems as well as playa restoration programs, plus information on a regional initiative to steward the Ogallala aquifer, as well as water education ideas for elementary students. After a catered lunch, a tour will visit a playa on the outskirts of Panhandle.

Doors will open at 9 a.m. at the Carson County War Memorial Building (500 Main Street) with registration and refreshments. 

The opening presentation will be an overview of playa ecosystems and the Texas Playa Conservation Initiative from Heather Johnson, Migratory Game Bird Specialist, Region I, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Littlefield.

Dr. Darryl Birkenfeld of Nazareth, executive director of Ogallala Commons will give an overview of his organization’s regional initiative to steward the Ogallala Aquifer.

The final presentation will be given by Aspen Edgar, Public Relations/Education Director at Panhandle Groundwater Conservation District, White Deer, on “Educating Youth About the High Plains Water Cycle”.

At 11:30 a.m. the group will have a catered lunch before departing for a nearby field trip to visit a playa located on the outskirts of Panhandle.  The program will adjourn at 1:15 p.m.

Playas are shallow, rain-fed wetlands throughout the Great Plains. When containing surface water, playas provide crucial habitat for many wildlife species that depend on water to survive. When dry, playas also support several other Great Plains wildlife species because they are often the only natural lands in a region dominated by agricultural production. Playas also recharge water to the underlying Ogallala aquifer, filter nutrients and chemicals from the surrounding watershed, and add recreational value to the region. 

Registration for the event is $15 per person.   Those interested can register at this link: or register by emailing or calling Darryl Birkenfeld, Ogallala Commons Director ( or 806-945-2255). 

The Field Day is presented by Ogallala Commons and sponsored by Ducks Unlimited and the Panhandle Groundwater Conservation District.