3rd Quarter 2021 * Volume 29, Issue 3
A Quarterly Newsletter Sponsored by the Friends in Support of the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge
Dear Friends,
I hope you have been able to plan an adventurous summer outdoors, soaking up all the goodness of nature. Of course, there’s no need to actually travel. You have a 3,600-acre refuge right in your backyard! The Nature Center has great programs—and summer camp is back! Details can be found on the Nature Center’s website at fwnaturecenter.org.
May was a special month for the Friends. We honored Marty Leonard for her lifelong commitment to her community and the Nature Center. On May 6, friends gathered to celebrate Marty at the Lotus Marsh Boardwalk Pavilion. The evening began with food, drink, and beautiful harp music, with each guest greeting the honoree. Later in the evening, Marty was honored with a tribute video, an original Billy Hassell work of art of a cardinal (one of Marty’s favorite birds), and, last, but certainly not least, an engraved wooden board with the new name of the Nature Center’s boardwalk–the Marty Leonard Lotus Marsh Boardwalk. The board is made from the same wood as the boardwalk.
Laughter, tears, but mostly joy, abounded throughout the evening. As one guest commented, “This feels like a reunion!” It certainly was, and it was a privilege to honor Marty. You will find a link to the video and event photos below. Enjoy!
Finally, you recently received an electronic copy of our 2020 Annual Report. As much of a challenge as the pandemic has been, our many supporters and the entire Friends board made sure the Nature Center had what it needed during this difficult time. Please acknowledge board members when you see them at the Nature Center or around town. In case you missed the report, we have provided a link below.
Thank you for your continued support of our mission. I hope each of you has a wonderful summer full of joy and nature.
Haily Summerford, MBA
Executive Director
Behind the Scenes at the Refuge
Summer isn’t over yet. Throughout July and August, the Nature Center is offering many opportunities for families to get outside and enjoy a variety of educational programs, hikes, and specialty camps that will allow kids and adults alike to learn about and gain an appreciation for the great outdoors.
Friends News
Jaime Dickerson has been visiting the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge for more than 40 years. First as a university student, then as a husband and father, and now as a devoted volunteer.
Recently, the Friends issued its 2020 annual report celebrating the accomplishments our supporters helped make a reality during a difficult year. Even with the challenges presented by the pandemic, many projects were able to be completed and had (and will continue to have) an enduring impact on the Nature Center. In case you missed it, a link to the report is below. We hope you enjoy reading about the growth you helped achieve in 2020, and we look forward to making new memories with you at the Nature Center in 2021.
Conservation on the Refuge
With rising summer temperatures reaching or surpassing 100 degrees, we are not the only life forms seeking a reprieve from the scorching sun. Wildlife must apply different strategies to shed or avoid excess heat, and that may include looking for relief in cool buildings. Our homes become a beckoning oasis, where food, cooler temperatures, and water provide a hospitable alternative to the hot, dry weather outdoors.
Bison Brief
Nature Center Welcomes Four Bison Calves
Spring has been a productive time for the Nature Center's bison herd. Four new calves have made an appearance so far this year. On July 5, the Nature Center will host a Meet & Greet to see the young calves. This family-friendly event allows you to learn about the role bison play at the Nature Center, hear how they are adapted for their environment, and assist staff in feeding them. To check availability for tickets, visit the Nature Center's website at fwnaturecenter.org.

Top photo: These two calves made their appearance in April and May

Bottom photo: The latest arrival
Bluestem Broadcasts
The Friends Honor Marty Leonard
On a beautiful May evening, the Friends gathered at the new Lotus Marsh Pavilion at the Nature Center to honor Marty Leonard for her many years of service to the Nature Center and the community. The Friends prepared a special tribute video for Marty that was played during the event. You can watch it here:
We hope you enjoy some photos from the evening!
Staff and Volunteer Spotlight
What a long year it has been. A year ago, in June 2020, we were just beginning to reopen the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge to the public—and to our volunteers. Volunteers are critical to what we do. With a small staff, hiring freezes, and attrition as staff moved on to other careers, we had to rely on volunteer support more than ever in 2020. Our dedicated group of volunteers consistently showed up every time we needed them—and still do.
A New Face at the Nature Center
There’s a new face at the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge. Jessica Carrillo has joined Nature Center staff as the new customer service supervisor. She has more than 25 years of customer service experience. In the past 10 years, she has served the City of Fort Worth as a customer service representative, with the last five years as a supervisor for the municipal courts department.

Jessica has been married for 29 years, with three beautiful children and six wonderful grandchildren. When not working or spending time with her family, she loves to be outside on her farm. Her husband swears it’s her very own zoo. She enjoys being outdoors and experiencing what nature has to offer. “I look forward to this new adventure and the difference I can make here at the Nature Center,” she says.

Please join us in welcoming Jessica. The next time you are at the Nature Center, be sure to stop by and say hello.
Did You See It?
The Friends Visit REI
Each issue, we will highlight the most-popular post that was featured on social media the previous quarter. Enjoy this look back at what caught our followers' attention. Follow us if you haven't already! Links are below.

From May 22, 2021

In May, Friends Executive Director Haily Summerford visited REI Fort Worth to promote the Friends and the Nature Center. Friends members and guests were invited to stop by to visit, shop, and pick up an HEB Earth Day reusable shopping bag. The shopping bag featured four nonprofit organizations devoted to nature. In an incredible honor, the Friends were one of the featured groups.
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