Best Wishes for the Retirement of a True Native Plants Leader

Ricky Linex will retire January 2, 2021 after more than 38 years with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) or its predecessor, the Soil Conservation Service.

Ricky graduated Texas Tech University with a degree in Range Management. As a range conservationist with NRCS he was headquartered in Goldthwaite, Snyder, and Abilene where native grasslands, or rangeland, made up a large part of the working area. Later he worked as a wildlife biologist stationed in Weatherford which also required having a good knowledge of native plants, their identification, and their value for both livestock and wildlife.

Ricky is the author of the highly regarded Range Plants of North Central Texas, one of the best books anyone with land to manage can use for identifying plants and recognizing their value. He previously served as a member of the state board for the Native Plant Society of Texas (NPSOT), and was president of the Cross Timbers Chapter of NPSOT, which meets in Weatherford.

“It has been a privilege to spend time with Ricky weeks out of years of seasons teaching with Kids on the Land and Ricky on several West Texas ranches We celebrated with him the publication of his 7 or more years of work bound in the incredible reference book of Range Plants of North Texas. If 2021 has space and some hidden grace tucked in a field pack, I ‘spect to meet his retired self once again on the rolling plains.” – Susan Lee Pollard, Texas Honeybee Guild

What many of us in the Texas Master Naturalists know Ricky best for however is his great presentations and field trips. Recently I was watching one of his presentations with a fellow master naturalist when he commented on Ricky’s skills: “He starts out so simply with a

Ricky with Barney Lipscomb of BRIT.

country boy demeanor, but in just a few sentences he is deep into the science.”

“Ricky embodies the true meaning of public servant, the kind of person we hope will answer when we reach out with a question. He’s a wonderful, generous mentor to all of us who are fascinated by the study of the natural world and how it works. I’m so relieved to know that he plans to still be available to share his vast knowledge.” – Suzanne Tuttle, Native Prairies Association of Texas, Fort Worth chapter

I asked Ricky what he planned to do after retiring. He assured me that he wasn’t going away. He plans to still be doing presentations for groups interested in native plants. Look for one he has already has one announced just a couple weeks after his retirement.

Ricky on the land, doing what he loves.

 “I turn to Ricky’s book Range Plants of North Texas more often than any of my several other plant reference books. His presentations at meetings of the Cross Timbers Chapter of NPSOT are absolutely captivating, and would make anyone want to be a better steward of our native plants and resources. I hope we get to share even more of his knowledge now that he is transitioning into retirement.” – Caroll Flournoy, Cross Timbers NPSOT

“One of my favorite Ricky Linex sayings goes something like ‘If your rocks are taller than your grass, you need a better plan for rangeland management’.”  – Marsha Stevens, Prairie Oaks Master Naturalists

Message from Ricky:

“It has been a pleasure and joy working with each of you through the years on various projects.  I’m not going to ride off into the sunset and will remain active in conservation education, writing a few plant articles and other stories, and possible consulting work.  I dearly love interacting with folks and have missed the in person meetings this year.  I hope we can get back to those type meetings later this year and will be available to give presentations if desired.  Thanks again for all your do for the land and the people.”

Photos provided by NRCS, Texas Master Naturalists, and Cross Timbers NPSOT.


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