By Nancy Wilson
Welcome Class of 2021! Despite our Covid-19 limitations, the students of the new class are raring to go! Because class is completely online, we reduced the size of the class to only 35 this go-around. We hope the smaller number of students will help the class gel and will help us get to know them and bring them into the fold.
We are grateful to Chapter Member liaisons who have offered to help shepherd the exciting Class Projects this year. Students will be working on three Projects:
Post Oak Preserve Interpretive Trail Guide – The Post Oak Preserve contains one of the last large stands of Post Oak Savannah in southeast Dallas County. The Dallas Independent School District Environmental Education Center uses the Preserve and its trails as an outdoor classroom for nearly all the 154K students (95% minority) in the District. This project will research and produce a digital and downloadable trail guide, along with updated trail markers, to give the public – especially visiting teachers and students – the tools they need to understand various locations along the trails and interpret the ecological areas of the Post Oak Preserve.
Nature Discovery Trunks Education Videos/Presentations – The Nature Discovery Trunks are portable containers filled with nature and conservation specific items to be displayed for all kinds of events, festivals, scouting groups, classrooms, etc. as outreach and educational tools for the community. As we have moved more and more online recently, the 2021 class will create videos and Power Point presentations to bring our trunks to life virtually.
Kiest Park Preserve Prairie – The Kiest Conservation Area is a 78-acre portion of Kiest Park developed by the WPA in the 1930s with a series of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding. In the 1960s, this part of the park was essentially abandoned. In 2009 work began to reopen overgrown trails and the picnic area. To date, three trails have been restored. A 6-acre native Blackland prairie was discovered within the wooded area with over 156 species of wildflowers and grasses recorded. The aim of this project is to assist in the further restoration of the Conservation Area.
Once again, this new class brings a wealth of talent and a broad range of interests and backgrounds. We are excited to welcome each of them to our Naturalist family!