1st Quarter 2021 * Volume 29, Issue 1
A Quarterly Newsletter Sponsored by the Friends in Support of the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge
Dear Friends,
Happy New Year! I hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday season, despite the challenges we still face during the pandemic. As I have mentioned before, nature has certainly helped my family during this time as we have been able to find hope and peace in the simple pleasures of life.
Thanks to your continued support of the Friends and the Nature Center, we are beginning the new year with plenty to do and celebrate this coming year. Most recently, we received word that an award was given to architect Norman D. Ward from the AIA Fort Worth Chapter for Norman’s renderings of the new Lotus Marsh Pavilion. The 2020 AIA Fort Worth Studio Award noted how the simple structure aims to provide a gathering place at the Nature Center while also complementing the natural setting. Norman generously donated his time to draw the renderings that helped create the vision for this project.
Another person who donated his time and led the project to completion was Friends Board Member Joe Gearheart of Gearheart Construction. Joe volunteered to help with the project back in fall 2018 with a simple, “I’m in!” From there, he called on those he trusted most and asked them for their expertise. Norman Ward was one of them.
Since that first “I’m in,” Joe has worked tirelessly to bring the project to completion, and we are so grateful for his hard work, commitment, and passion for the Friends and the Nature Center. Thanks to Joe and his team, the pavilion will provide a covered space for programming and field trips, connecting more children and families to nature. So, the next time you visit the Nature Center, stop by the Lotus Marsh Pavilion and think of Joe and the other volunteers who work so hard every day to preserve and protect the Nature Center for future generations.
I look forward to what 2021 will bring for us all and am extremely excited where the Friends will go from here.
Thank you for being a Friend when we needed you most.
Please continue to stay safe and healthy,
Haily Summerford, MBA
Executive Director
Behind the Scenes at the Refuge
When you visit our website to search for programs, it may look the same as always, but it is, in fact, different. COVID-19, as in many areas of our lives, has changed how we offer programs at the Nature Center. This can be seen in how many participants can attend a program, how we adhere to health policies, how the public registers, and most importantly, when programs are offered.
Friends News
Friends board member Vernon Rew is an avid hiker, and the Nature Center is one of his favorite places to spend time on the trails. We asked him to share what makes the Nature Center such a great spot for hiking, especially in winter. Keep reading to find out his answer.
Wendy Elias grew up as a child of the 1970s in South Carolina where her mom told her to go outside and play. So, she did, romping in the woods near her childhood home. Her life’s journey brought her to Fort Worth as a young adult, but a busy life as a career woman and single mom kept her away from nature and the outdoors. A few years ago, Wendy realized that she needed a little “me” time, and that led to visiting nearby parks.
Conservation on the Refuge
The yellow, red, and orange leaves that once dangled their stunning colors atop deciduous trees in autumn now lie along the forest floor, providing protective cover for winter. A complex network of organisms just received a welcome supply of organic materials from above. The layers upon layers of leaves shelter, buffer, and insulate the living things seeking refuge from the colder air above.
Volunteer and Staff Spotlight
What a year 2020 has been—one for the record books, and not in a good way. I cannot remember a time that almost an entire year was collectively written off by all mankind. For all the trials and tribulations that 2020 brought, there were many positives that happened at the Nature Center.
Howdy, Friends of the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge! I would like to take a moment for a long-overdue introduction. My name is Dustin McBride. I am the newest staff member at the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge, serving as the Natural Resource Specialist and coordinator of the Restoration Greenhouse Program. I started this position in March 2020, just as the COVID-19 pandemic began to escalate, which ultimately forced us to temporarily shut our gates.
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