Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   



Texas Trailblazers

Art and Nature

Nature is often an endless source of inspiration for artists, and that’s certainly the case for Austin’s Juliet Whitsett. Originally from Wisconsin, the Texas transplant embraces the outdoors through gardening, wildscaping and artwork.

“I got my degree in art education but came here to teach gardening with Austin Community Gardens,” Juliet says. “That’s when I started to learn about the Texas landscape and began integrating nature with my artwork.”

Juliet’s Threatened Texas series features bold prints of Texas threatened and endangered species that any nature lover or art enthusiast would enjoy. What makes these expressions of wildlife even more special is that 5 percent of all sales are given back to conservation efforts for these vulnerable species.

“When I first started this project, I knew about the Barton Springs salamander and the golden-cheeked warbler, but I quickly learned that there are roughly 150 threatened species and 75 endangered species in Texas,” Juliet says. “I was doing some painting of animals and saw those numbers and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, why don’t I know about these?’”

Threatened Texas features well-known wildlife like whooping cranes and Texas horned lizards, but Juliet made it a point to also feature invertebrates such as the Texas pimpleback and Guadalupe fatmucket mussels.

“Learning more about aquatic invertebrates has been the biggest surprise for me,” Juliet says. “These are our little freshwater saints. They are cleaning our waters, but we never see them. They are hidden, but they are so essential to our livelihood.”

While mussels may not be the charismatic megafauna we hear about most often, we owe these silent sifters thanks for helping keep our waterways pristine.

Juliet says that it’s time for an all hand-on-deck approach to helping Texas wildlife.

“With some of my very first occupational experiences in the community garden, I saw what happens when people are able to come together over a shared goal,” she says. “I think the advice I would give to someone is to feel empowered and to believe they can make a change. We all have our gifts, and nothing should get in the way of bringing those gifts to a cause to make our world a better place.”   

 Maegan Lanham | TPWD

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