Dogwood CanyonAt Dogwood Canyon we are always ‘wowed’ by the high school juniors at Village Tech School in Duncanville. This admission-free charter school conducts an Odyssey program in which all juniors must complete a two week, full-time internship at a business of their choice, experiencing real world job expectations. This spring, Dogwood Canyon hosted three juniors, all with various talents and interests, but all equally enthusiastic learners.
A Taste of Conservation
Sean, Mackenzie and Aaron showed up each day, ready to tackle the day’s assignment. They did everything from remove invasive plants, care for our reptiles, served as visitor docents, treated fire ant mounds, cleared old woody growth in the prairie, and myriad of organizing and cleaning projects. But their favorite project was hiking 2 miles into the forest to install metal directional arrows to each of our trail posts to help keep visitors on the right path. They did this independently, organizing their supplies and following directions perfectly. Their last day culminated with Dogwood Canyon’s community event, celebrating ten years of connecting people to nature. They helped with set up, checked in visitors, made and served popcorn, and performed animal encounters three times for the guests. The students were a treasure to have at the center, providing needed assistance for Dogwood Canyon while gaining skills and knowledge of environmental conservation. We can’t wait for next year’s interns!
Trinity River Audubon CenterBy definition, Service Learning is an experiential educational approach where learning occurs through instruction, action, and reflection. Trinity River Audubon Center (TRAC) has partnered with University of Texas – Dallas and University of North Texas – Dallas to provide Service Learning opportunities for professors and their students. The partnership has allowed professors to complement their curriculums whereby students gain experience and knowledge in the conservation field. This also allows Trinity River Audubon Center to continue its mission aligned with Audubon’s strategic priorities. Each class period takes place on Trinity River Audubon Center property. Students learn from Jake Poinsett and Marcus Cole to better understand prairie ecology, grassland ecosystem functions, and the unique adaptations prairie plants and animals possess in order to survive and thrive within these imperiled habitats.
Service Learning for Next Generation Stewards
Afterwards, students take action and participate in a variety of restoration activities such as invasive/nuisance species removal, plant propagation, native plant installation, and bird surveys. After our time in the field, professors and their students utilize one of our classrooms to take a deeper dive into various topics of sustainability. Guest lecturers are often incorporated into the class discussion, and have presented topics such as historical accounts of Native Americans in North Texas and their relationships with the landscape.
Our very own Marcus Cole presented on environmental justice, using the history of TRAC as a baseline, and our dedicated volunteer Ted Zobeck also presented on soil types found here in the Blackland Prairie ecoregion. Partnering with universities through Service Learning has brought new levels of community involvement to Trinity River Audubon Center. These students have been instrumental in the crucial restoration of an endangered plant community for birds and other wildlife. And equally important, the students are developing as the next generation of environmental stewards who will protect birds and the places they need for today and tomorrow.
Mitchell Lake Audubon CenterMitchell Lake Audubon Center is excited to bring back Migratory Bird Fest in-person as we celebrate spring migration and World Migratory Bird Day with this three-week event. The celebration begins on Earth Day with our community open house and free entry day on April 23, followed by three weeks of virtual and in-person workshops, guest lectures, bird tours, and raffle. The event concludes on May 14 with a free community festival filled with live birds and animals, games, crafts, vendors, native plant sales, food trucks, pollinator walks and exploration stations.
2022 Migratory Bird Fest Returns
All proceeds from this event support our mission to connect people to nature and protect the places birds - and humans - need, today and tomorrow. For more information, visit our webpage.