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Tribute Day

Lady Bird Johnson Tribute Day - 2012 Centennial year

The Wildflower Center goes all out Sunday, July 26 to honor our founder, Lady Bird Johnson, and all she has done for our nation's treasured environment. Tribute Day recognizes Mrs. Johnson’s environmental legacy and legislation that she inspired. With her influence, President Johnson’s administration enacted more than 200 environmental laws with lasting national and local impact, including the Highway Beautification Act, also known as Lady Bird's Bill. 

Admission will be FREE for visitors. Enjoy exhibits, children’s activities and more from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Sunday as we pay tribute to the Environmental First Lady.

Lunch, drinks, snacks and ice cream are available in the Wildflower Café.

Schedule of Events

  • Story time - 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the Little House. Hear a story about Lady Bird Johnson and her life growing up in Texas.
  • Make seed paper - All day. Create paper infused with wildflower seeds to plant at home.
  • Discovery cart - All day. Learn what's in bloom on site, all day in the Visitors Gallery. 
  • Behind-the-scenes tour - Time TBD. Join volunteer Marie Bassett on a tour of the Wildflower Center's interior spaces, which feature historic items owned by Lady Bird Johnson.
  • Memorabilia display - All day. See gardening gloves that Mrs. Johnson used during the 1965 beautification effort in Washington D.C. while she was First Lady, and the Norman Rockwell painting of her that was used to model what became her White House portrait. In the McDermott Learning Center where images from teh Wildflower Center's Art Collection are also on display. 
  • Johnson books for sale - All day. Eight books from the Johnson estate, owned by President and Mrs. Johnson, will be available for purchase in the Store. Prices begin at $50. 
  • The Store also offers a large selection of books about Lady Bird Johnson, many signed by the authors.
Lady Bird Johnson in front of the Wildfower Center entrance

More about Lady Bird

Claudia Alta Taylor was born in Karnack, Texas on December 22, 1912. Stories say that she earned her life-long nickname when a nursemaid said she was "as purty as a lady bird." She met the then Congressional secretary Lyndon B. Johnson while he was in Austin on official business and she was studying at the University of Texas. The couple married in November of 1934.

Mrs. Johnson felt close to nature and its beauty throughout her life, from Caddo Lake near her childhood home to the well-manicured lawns of the White House. Known as the "Environmental First Lady," she spent much of her life conserving the country's landscapes.

We honor her this day as July 26, 1968, was when President Johnson presented her with 50 pens he used to sign environmental bills inspired by her work.   Because of her, we have more wildflowers along highways and fewer billboards and junkyards as a result of "Lady Bird's Bill," or The Highway Beautification Act of 1965. This law cut back on roadside advertising and required that junkyards along highways be removed or screened.

Mrs. Johnson also created the First Lady's Committee for a More Beautiful Capital, planting azaleas and trees around the White House and cleaning up and replanting parks and areas all throughout the District of Columbia. She worked to control the rat infestations in the Shaw area, planted flowers in parks all over the city and prompted businesses and citizens to get involved in beautification. 

Lady Bird Johnson's impact on the nation was enormous and continues today in places like the Redwood National Park, the Grand Canyon and here in Austin. Although Mrs. Johnson passed away on July 11, 2007, we continue to remember her life and contributions, because, in her own words, "The environment is where we all meet; where we all have a mutual interest; it is one thing all of us share. It is not only a mirror of ourselves, but a focusing lens on what we can become."

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