2021 was a year of rebounding and rebuilding after 2020 and the start of the pandemic. We were able to provide public open hours, open the children’s play area, and now have opened our nature store. Volunteers are back, visitors are increasing, and there is joy in bringing back programs.
We had our two biggest native plant sales yet in 2021, both spring and fall. We introduced a new education series, Nature in Your Park, which introduces our residents to look beyond just the grass and trees and observe the beauty, uniqueness and even a good diversity of birds in our city parks. We have taken Girl Scouts kayaking, led a full moon hike, had Boy Scouts complete Eagle projects, added a pollinator habitat and best of all, we celebrated our 10th Anniversary. Our kick-off event in October brought in friends, both our original and our new supporters of Dogwood Canyon. We celebrated with food, beer, music and a beautiful stone bench dedication from Reba Collins. That event is just the beginning—in 2022 we will continue the celebration! We are bringing back our ever-popular winter evening event, Stars & S’mores in January. February continues with Trout Lily walks and a Wine and Hike evening event. The celebration culminates with the 10th year of guiding guests to our grove of Flowering Dogwoods in early April. This event will be more than just a guided hike; daytime activities, sunset hike, auction, music and more.
We are honored to have had the opportunity to steward this land, protecting birds, and connecting people to this wild and special place for the last ten years. We look forward to the next ten years in which we bring deeper experiences, joy, and conservation to this peaceful canyon.
Thanks to the hard work and partnership of the American Conservation Coalition San Antonio Branch, the Texas Land & Liberty Coalition, the University of Texas San Antonio Urban Planning Student Association, and International School of the Americas, the Mitchell Lake Audubon Center has a brand new greenhouse. This important addition to our site supports the propagation and growth of Texas native plants throughout the winter for spring planting. The native plant gardens at Mitchell Lake are home to resident birds such as the Northern Cardinal, but also support many migrating bird species, including the Audubon’s Oriole and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.
The Urban Bird Project
In partnership with UTSA, the Mitchell Lake Audubon Center strives to provide equitable opportunities for under resourced students in San Antonio. The Urban Bird Project is an exciting new community science project at UTSA that seeks to strengthen the ability of Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) to attract, retain, and prepare Latinx and other minoritized students for careers in STEAM. Through a cross-disciplinary model, the larger goal of the project is to broaden participation of the Latinx community in ecological and cultural knowledge by actively interweaving Mexican American and Indigenous Studies workshops, wildlife ecology workshops, field trips, and community discussions. The project is funded through a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s HSI program. The Urban Bird Project is being piloted this year by faculty from UTSA and community-based scholars and partners, including the Mitchell Lake Audubon Center. Recently, students and their families went birding, investigated aquatic invertebrate bio indicators, and explored differences in bird skull models as part of the project.
Trinity River Audubon Center
Trinity River Audubon Center and University of Texas - Dallas have teamed up to offer opportunities for students!
Service Learning is an educational approach that combines learning objectives with community service.
The Service Learning program is designed for High School and College students, allowing individuals to positively impact environmental issues while obtaining knowledge and experience in the conservation field. Our program serves as a natural complement the teacher’s curriculum. By participating in our Service Learning program, students have an opportunity to restore a portion of our native landscape. Students will play a vital role in prairie restoration though invasive species removal, plant propagation, and native grass and forb plantings. At the same time, students will further their knowledge of ecology and ecosystem functions.
View this video of the program!