“North Texans in search of a dose of nature don’t have to look far. North Texas is home to not one, but two Audubon education centers: Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center in Cedar Hill, TX and Trinity River Audubon Center in Dallas, TX. Though less than 20 miles apart, each center offers visitors a unique nature experience, shaped by the surrounding native habitat, and provides a testament to the amazing diversity of species that call North Texas home.
“Located just ten miles south of downtown Dallas, Trinity River Audubon Center is part of the Great Trinity Forest—the largest urban bottomland hardwood forest in the United States. A former illegal dump site, the center is now a reclaimed haven for a vast array of birds and other wildlife in an increasingly urbanized metropolitan area. Just a short distance southwest to Cedar Hill, Texas, Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center sits on the white rock escarpment at the mouth of Dogwood Canyon where plants and animals of east, west and central Texas converge.
“Nowhere else can one find the Black-chinned Hummingbird of west Texas nesting in the flowering dogwood tree of east Texas. Both centers provide family programs and hands-on science education to students from North Texas schools, often introducing many urban-dwelling kids to nature for the very first time.
“Trinity River and Dogwood Canyon Audubon Centers have participated in North Texas Giving Day (NTX Giving Day) for over 10 years as part of Audubon Texas. The valuable funding support that NTX Giving Day generates allows each center to focus their efforts where most needed for their respective communities. Dogwood Canyon Center Director Julie Collins explains, ‘For Dogwood Canyon, NTX Giving Day supports our ability to offer free admission to all visitors. Our mission is to connect all people to nature. By removing fees, all visitors have the opportunity to learn about our local plants, our birds, and build a deeper connection of how we fit in our ecosystems. Connecting people to nature helps build advocacy for the precious habitats that birds, plants and other animals call home. NTX Giving Day means bringing opportunities to many people in our communities that might not otherwise be able to enjoy these experiences.’
“Similarly, Trinity River Center Director Shelly White says, ‘Funding from NTX Giving Day has allowed us to continue our community outreach efforts in significant ways. This year, in conjunction with local partners, we’ve launched a program to provide free programming and transportation for area libraries and organizations. We also offer free public entry through 2023.’
“As part of National Audubon Society, both centers fulfill the mission of protecting birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. When conditions are created for birds to thrive, people and the planet thrive, too. For those wanting to learn more about the outdoors, birds, plants and more, both centers offer many programs. Monthly walks for bird watching, identifying plants, foraging and children’s activities are available for all interested, whether beginner or experienced.”
* Photo credit: Audubon Texas ** Graphic/photo provided by Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center *** Graphic/photo provided by Trinity River Audubon Center In 14 years, Communities Foundation of Texas’ North Texas Giving Day has pumped more than $503 million into the North Texas community. In 2022, more than $62.6 million was raised through 94,385 donors benefiting over 3,210 area nonprofits.