In 1971, Scooter Cheatham was about to graduate from the University of Texas when a week of roughing it in the wilderness of DeWitt County changed his life forever. A few days living at the mercy of nature left him inspired to document practical uses for every wild plant that grows in Texas.

A few years later, he gained a research and writing partner named Lynn Marshall, and together they’ve spent decades on the project, called Useful Wild Plants. It’s a massive, interdisciplinary undertaking involving deep research in scientific libraries and fieldwork across Texas and the land around it. But the stakes are high: it’s a project Cheatham and Marshall say could help humanity survive after we’ve exhausted the resources we rely upon today.

On this final episode of the first season of State of Mind, Katy Vine tells the story of Cheatham and Marshall, and their ambitious project that, after fifty years, is just beginning.

Stay tuned for season two of State of Mind, featuring more stories and characters that bring this state to life. You can subscribe to State of Mind on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to your podcasts.