Kristi Kerr Leonard – Nature Explorer and North Texas Master Naturalist
An Oak Cliff native, Kristi has had a lifelong love of the natural world and was thrilled to find her tribe in 2014 when she became a Certified North Texas Master Naturalist. A natural explorer, Kristi has led hikes at Spring Creek Preserve, Foxborro Park, and many full moon hikes for her daring and adventurous friends. She thoroughly enjoys assisting in teaching the first Junior Master Naturalist class in the country at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, and her most recent presentation is entitled “Smoke Signals: Reaching our Youth.”
Kristi holds an MBA from Thunderbird, The American Graduate School of International Business as well as an undergraduate degree in Spanish, with a history minor from The University of Texas at Austin. Her breadth of knowledge embraces history, medicinal and edible plants, trees, geology and native American Indians.
Warning to the timid: Kristi does not always follow paths as she often prefers to blaze her own trail! Therefore, hiking with Kristi is sure to be an adventure!
Piedmont Ridge and Comanche Storytelling Place
Location and logistics:
Grover C. Keeton Golf Course
2323 N. Jim Miller Road, Dallas, TX 75227
The educational walk will begin at the field to the north of Grover C. Keeton Golf Course. Park at the lot nearest Jim Miller in front of the soccer fields. Walk across the golf course entrance and the baseball field headed south to the trailhead marker and check in table (see picture below). We will leave one car at Devon Anderson Park for drivers to retrieve their cars and shuttle remaining hikers back to the parking area.
Plan on a three hour hike, approximately 2.8 miles, plus education breaks along the ridge of the great forest which will end at the sacred Comanche Storytelling place.
Moderate with brief strenuous stretches. Poison ivy will be in the beginning stages of growth. The landscape offers a rocky ridge, open fields/prairies and open to thick woods.
Attire/Items to bring:
Wear closed toe shoes, pants, long sleeves, bandanna, bring insect repellant, water, snacks and a trash sack.
Educational Walk Sign Up and Limits:
The class hike is limited to 12 people. Suggested age limit is 12 and up, with parental discretion respected as to child’s interest and physical stamina. Parents are required to accompany kids ages 12-18. Do not suggest dogs on this trail.
Prepare for an adventure with anthropologist and educator, Linda Pelon and Texas Master Naturalist and nature explorer, Kristi Kerr Leonard on Piedmont Ridge Trail. This special trail is one of the two historical “Gateway Trails” – the beginning of The Great Trinity Forest, 6000 acres of the largest urban hardwood forest in America located in the Blackland Prairie ecoregion with habitats within that include bottomland hardwood forest, riparian zones, wetlands, open water ponds, grasslands and the Trinity River itself.
Our breaks will cover history, some native American and pioneer cultural aspects, geology, plants, trees, creeks and spring wildflowers.
This soft surface trail provides one of the highest points in the county and great vistas. It is in a relatively undisturbed section of Dallas’ Trinity River Valley near the confluence of White Rock Creek and the Trinity River is one of the rare and special places where evidence of thousands of years of human occupation is preserved. Cultural resources present here range from sites of early Native Peoples, through historic Indian tribes, to the land grants of Dallas’ first pioneers. Sites associated with Freedmen’s farming communities and some of Dallas’ earliest African American urban neighborhoods were/are also located here and can be generally seen from the ridge trail.
The Comanche Storytelling Place at Devon Anderson Park has been identified by the Comanche Nation as a sacred holy ground and has been identified as a candidate for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. The natural limestone shaped amphitheater was believed to have been used by Native Americans in the area prior to European settlement.
Full Moon Prairie Hike
Saturday, April 28 8:00 – 9:00PM and Sunday, April 29 8:30 – 9:30PM
Norbuck Park, 401 Brookhurst Dr. at Van Dyke. Park on Brookhurst, cross Van Dyke at the banded light pole, look to the right for a trail. We’ll be by the first cedar
Join Amy Martin & Kristi Kerr Leonard on a Full Moon Prairie Hike. In the prairie, the sky is half the landscape, especially on a moonlit night. Come hike the Blackland Prairie of the high slopes of Norbuck Park along Van Dyke as the Full Moon rises in the east. Experience the prairie as Native Americans, trappers and settlers did when hot weather encouraged travel at night. We’ll take a few breaks to commune with the Moon and listen for screech and barred owls. As we walk, we’ll discover that more insects are out at night besides moths.
Wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes and dark-colored clothes. Though we will not use them on our walk, bring a small pocket flashlight just in case you want to look at a bug or plant up close. These apps can be handy for skywatchers: Starwalk, Moon Phase. A mat or towel to sit on can be helpful.
Moonrise is 6:58 pm; twilight ends 8:32 pm.
Hike will start as the Sun sets with the Moon already well above the horizon. Our eyes will be able to adjust to the increasing darkness.
Photo by Scooter Smith