Park and Recreation Month may officially be over, but it’s never too late to celebrate the world-class programming team behind all your favorite community activities.
Let’s get to know them a little better as they share Our Parks and Recreation Story:
Hannah Nyquist, Programs Coordinator
This summer, we hosted our third Cross Timbers Nature Camp at the Bob Jones Nature Center! When I started in 2019, I spent my first day learning the ropes of camp. Two years later and Nature Camp has grown in so many ways. We have a steady following of return campers that we have seen grow over the years and got to know dozens of families. This summer, I was thrilled to have a team of experienced counselors- including our beloved Camp Director, Madeleine Mott. We expanded Nature Camp from a concept to a family, and I am incredibly proud to be a part of that. Together we were able to serve over 200 campers!
Hiking to Grapevine Lake, having weekly presenters teach our campers, and watching staff blossom into remarkable counselors are some of my favorite memories this summer. We also have the pleasure and responsibility to share the importance of stewardship with our campers, along with the Jones Family’s remarkable story.
This summer, we added Forest Preschool classes outside of our fall and spring semesters. I served as Lead Teacher for these classes and taught alongside our incredibly gifted and passionate preschool teachers. Our Friday Forest Preschool days meant hours playing outside, hiking, and exploring with almost 100 preschoolers. We focused on different animals who live at BJNCP, the word “habitat,” and how important it is to respect nature.
Gretchen Morgan, Programs Coordinator
I started as a counselor in 2019. Summer Camp Mania changed my life for the greater good in various ways. I learned to be a listener, role model, creator, achiever, and leader. I got to enhance my skills through special events and programs. In 2020, I applied to become a full-time employee. This year, I received the full-time position of Programs Coordinator. I could not be prouder and more honored to step into this role for the City of Southlake.
This summer, Camp Mania was located at Durham Intermediate School. Games, crafts, and activities filled each day. Some days guests would come to share their talents with our campers. These guests were from the City of Southlake Fire Department, Airbrush Tattoos, Kona Ice, and Martial Arts. On Thursdays, we would explore Bicentennial Park and swim in our Aquatics Center at The Marq. We take each moment we have with each camper to impact them positively.
We also manage our Club Metro program located at Legend’s Hall. Club Metro is an adaptive recreation program that welcomes adults with special needs. These participants come twice a week to socialize, eat, and have fun. Some activities we do are scavenger hunts, basketball tournaments, and crafts. We also meet once a month every Saturday for Sports Saturday. This program gives the participants a chance to learn volleyball, basketball, dodgeball while moving their bodies and learning new skills.
Overall, our programs create a place to learn about a sport, play a game, and socialize. They also provide a safe and fun environment for participants to learn, grow, and become their amazing selves.
Madeleine Mott, Camp Director
I love when people ask me what I do for a living because I get to answer in so many unexpected and fun ways. For example, I hike for a living, am a mad scientist, am an entomologist. I mass-produce future tree huggers, make a lasting difference in children’s lives, and am a snake charmer. I play games all day, am a medic, a forest preschool teacher, a butterfly whisperer. I am an edible plants taster, a steward, an artist. I am a nature camp director.
Working at the Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve, I have the opportunity to wear so many different hats. I love our programs, their participants, and the enthusiastic individuals I get to work with every day. I enjoy how working for the Programs Division allows me to explore this beautiful preserve and teach future generations how to love and take care of it and its inhabitants. At the BJNCP, I truly live out the “Life is Good” motto. “Do what you like, like what you do.”
Emma Blight, Camp Director
The Programs Division creates a space for people of all ages to learn, grow, and connect with our staff and other participants. While working in our programs, I have built relationships and made memories that will last a long time. From programs such as Camp Mania, Club Metro, to Breakfast with Santa, one of my favorite things we do is provide hands-on experiences for everyone involved. Whether that is playing against the Southlake DPS in a game of dodgeball at Camp Mania, or getting to play with a baby kangaroo at Club Metro, the experiences we provide are truly exciting.
Courtney Duplechin, Programs Supervisor
This team never ceases to amaze me. I am so proud of each person who has contributed to the success of the Programs Team! My favorite part of Programs is that each team member is so incredibly passionate about what we do. Whether they are playing games with kids or planning the next big event, this talented team thinks through every detail and how it connects people to nature, friends, family, new hobbies, the community, creativity, and more! Everyone is willing to go the extra mile to give our participants a special moment to remember.
I started working for Southlake Parks and Recreation in 2015 as a Camp Mania counselor. A favorite part of my job is seeing kids who were once campers or volunteers in my group grow up to volunteer or work for the Programs team. It is so special, even though it confirms I’m getting old, to know that we are making an impact in a child’s life and that years later, they want to join the team to do the same for others.
We love what we do, give our all to providing exciting and educational programs, and care deeply for the people we serve.
Thank you to the Programs Team for being so committed to creating life-long memories for the Southlake community!
Embrace the change of season and recharge your fitness goals with the Outdoor Fitness Spring Series!
Champions Club is all about bringing the best fitness to the Southlake community, and the Outdoor Fitness Spring Series is no exception. Back by popular demand, the Outdoor Fitness Series is open to all community members for free. Registration is not required! Change up your fitness routine while enjoying time in our beautiful parks!
April 19 at 6:00 pm
Start your Monday off on the right foot with High Fitness at the Aria Amphitheater. This hardcore class focuses on interval training through popular music and accessible choreography.
April 28 at 6:00 pm
Join us at Outdoor Turf 2 in Bicentennial Park for Rise ‘N’ Grind! Bring your A-game and prepare to mix strength training with cardio for a workout that is sure to burn some major calories.
May 3 at 6:00 pm
Train like a champion through high-intensity interval training during Strength HIIT at the Outdoor Turf 2 in Bicentennial Park. Push yourself to the limit with this fun yet challenging workout.
May 8 at 9:00 am
Start the weekend off right with a relaxing yoga class at Bob Jones Nature Center! Connect with your soul and nature as you stretch and practice breathing.
May 12 at 6:00 pm
Get ready to dance to the beat at the Aria Amphitheater with Zumba! Explore Latin rhythms and moves as your get your heart rate up with this party-like exercise.
May 15 at 9 am
End the series with a mindful session of Yoga at North Park. Take a moment to be grateful for the chance to exercise outdoors.
Whether you are a Champions Club member or not, there is an outdoor class for you! Don’t miss your chance to find your new workout frenzy and win a door prize at the end of each class! You will be entered into a random drawing at every session. There is also a grand prize for two lucky winners at the end of the series. Those who attend four or more classes could win either a 5-pack of Personal Training sessions or a 3-pack with our Registered Dietician. Drawing winners will be announced on May 17.
See you at the parks!
While you’re out for your hike, incorporating an activity during your journey can add some fun to getting some exercise.
Here are three engaging, educational and fun activities include in your hike:
What better way to enjoy the great outdoors than to go for a hike at the Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve.
It’s a great place for nature lovers to unplug and take in the environment while getting in a good work out.
The park has three different trails, the Walnut Grove National Recreation Trail, the Bluebird Trail and the Grapevine Lake Trail which can be accessed from the Bluebird Trail.
Are you a first-time hiker? No worries! BJNCP offers fun programs, activities and classes for those who would like to learn more.
On November 14, BJNCP is offering a class for young hikers as part of the Bowmen Day Hike Series. This introductory course will cover eco-responsible hiking traditions such as “leave no trace,” trail etiquette, safety measures and other important outdoor skills.
If you prefer to hike solo or consider yourself an expert, the Bluebird Trail is great place to start. The trail features interpretive and interactive signage with information about birds and other local wildlife so you can have fun and learn something new while you’re getting in your steps. So, grab a bottle of water, strap up your boots and head out to BJNCP for a hike!
A downloadable trail map can be found on our website.
For more information about programs and courses at the BJNCP, visit www.ExperienceSouthlake.com.
In Southlake, Bob Jones’s name is on a park, nature center and road, but who was he? An exhibit now open through September 4 at Southlake Town Hall, presented by the Southlake Historical Society, will tell the remarkable story of Bob Jones (1850-1936) and his wife, Almeady Chisum Jones (1857-1949). It’s called “Bob and Almeady Chisum Jones: A true story of resilience, courage and success.”
The exhibit will be displayed in the lobby of Town Hall and in the Southlake Public Library during regular business hours. The exhibit is free and open to the public.
Both Bob Jones and Almeady Chisum Jones, had white fathers and mothers who were slaves and grew up on the Texas frontier. Bob’s father brought him to southern Denton County in about 1860. After the war, Bob drove cattle along the Chisholm Trail and later built a prosperous ranch and farm on the Denton-Tarrant County line. In 1858, Almeady and her mother and sister were given to cattle baron John Chisum as collateral for $814 worth of cattle being driven to California. She thought of Chisum as her father.
Bob and Almeady married in 1875 and had 10 children.
“Bob and Almeady were exceptional people, able to make their way through a diﬃcult world. They earned the trust and respect of all who knew them,” said historical society president Connie Cooley. “They valued God, family and education. They took pride in who they were.”
Today, most of the couple’s 1,000-plus acres are under Lake Grapevine, which was built between 1947-1952. In 1948, their two youngest sons, Jinks and Emory, established Grapevine Auction Sales at the southeast corner of Highway 114 and what was then called White’s Chapel Road. Their wives, Lula and Elnora, ran a cafe that is thought by historians to be the ﬁrst integrated cafe in Texas. For years, the auction barn was the largest business in Southlake.
Bob Jones Road was named in the 1970s. In 1988, the City annexed land up to Lake Grapevine that included former Bob Jones property. Bob Jones Park opened in 1998 and the Nature Center & Preserve opened in 2008. Much of the original Jones homestead that is not under water is part of the nature center.
In gathering information about the Joneses, “We were lucky that amateur historians had interviewed Jones family members over the years,” said Anita Robeson, SHS historian. “This year the Jones family has shared with us memories, pictures, clothing, letters, legal records and other items that give fresh insight into the family’s story.”
“Letters written to Bob by his father, clothing Bob wore at his wedding, a lovely hand-sewn dress worn by one of his daughters, a poll tax receipt and other items will be on display,” she said.
This is the sixth summer exhibit presented by the Southlake Historical Society. Past topics have included old Southlake photos and the stories they tell; private airstrips in Southlake from about 1950-1980; Denton County history through the eyes of a cattle baron, outlaws, lawmen, church ladies and former slaves; How the War “over there” (World War I) impacted now-Southlake and Texas; and the Centennial of Carroll Hill School, the Birthplace of Carroll ISD and the City of Southlake. Each topic is chosen a year in advance.
To read more about the Jones family, see www.southlakehistory.org.
Southlake Library and Bob Jones Nature Center are hosting an autumn festival at the Preserve on Saturday, October 26 from 10 am – 1 pm.
Celebrate the beauty of autumn at Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve. This Saturday, bring your family out for the Hoot & Howl Fall Festival where you can enjoy an easy nature hike with storytellers on the trail. Explore the Inspiration Station with cool animals and artifacts to discover. There will be music, seasonal treats and great places to get that family photo.
The festival runs from 10 am – 1 pm and is open to the public. Handicapped parking and limited regular parking will be available at the Nature Center. Additional parking with shuttle or trail access to the festival will be at the Bob Jones Equestrian Center parking area. Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring the kids’ off-road strollers to enjoy the trails. Perfect for families with young children. Free event.
Bob Jones Nature Center & Preserve
355 Bob Jones Rd, Southlake, TX 76092
Bob Jones Equestrian Center Parking
Corner of White Chapel & Bob Jones Road
Shuttle or trail access to the festival
Turn off your screens and head outside for summer adventures at the Bob Jones Nature Center!
Summer programs at the Bob Jones Nature Center offer exciting and educational nature experiences for kids of all ages.
Join our group of explorers as we learn how insects help our planet. We will learn about pollinators and the job they do to help nature create food for humans. After a fun introduction to entomology (the study of insects), we will create models of winged and terrestrial insects. We will also do observations of nature in the grassy areas. We will not capture insects, and we will respect their habitat.
Date: June 10 – 14
Time: 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Resident Fee: $146
Non-Resident Fee: $183
Ages: 3 – 5
Click here to learn more and register.
Little Wilderness School teaches medicine, science and the importance of health in an entertaining, exciting and fun way. This camp teaches children about some dangers in the wild and how to safely handle a medical situation. For example, students will learn about snake bites and hypothermia as well as how to tie a tourniquet, splint a broken leg, filter dirty water and treat bug bites. Each session is led by a trained Little Medical School instructor. Each child will receive a diploma, disposable lab coat, LMS bandanna, thermal blanket and so much more.
Date: July 15 – 19
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Resident Fee: $385
Non-Resident Fee: $482
Ages: 6– 11
Click here to learn more and register.
Want to enjoy the beautiful outdoors as a family? Come out for Family Fun at the Bob Jones Nature Center! For more information about our nature programs, please contact Southlake Parks and Recreation at (817) 748-8019.
Learn about the Cross Timbers ecosystem while spending time with your family in the beautiful outdoors.
Looking for something fun to do that the whole family will enjoy? Join us at the Bob Jones Nature Center for exciting and educational hikes, arts and crafts, special group activities, scavenger hunts, snacks and so much more. All ages are welcome. Online pre-registration is required (one per family).
Saturday, May 18
9:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Saturday, June 15
9:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Saturday, July 13
9:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Saturday, August 10
9:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Location: Bob Jones Nature Center
Instructor: Outdoor Experience Staff
Resident Fee: $20
Non-Resident Fee: $24
For more information, please contact Southlake Parks and Recreation at (817) 748-8019.
On November 3rd, 2016, Mayor Laura Hill presented a proclamation at Bob Jones Nature Center in recognition of Arbor Day in Southlake.
In 1872, J. Sterling Morton proposed to the Nebraska Board of Agriculture that a special day be set aside for the planting and nurturing of trees, and in 2016, we are celebrating the 144th anniversary of Arbor Day which is now observed throughout the nation and the world; and,
Whereas, this holiday, called Arbor Day, was first observed in Nebraska with the planting of more than a million trees, which can reduce the erosion of our precious topsoil by wind and water, cut heating and cooling costs, moderate the temperature, clean the air, produce life-giving oxygen, and provide a habitat for wildlife; and,
Whereas, trees are a renewable resource giving us paper, wood for our homes, and fuel for our fires. They also beautify our community and are a source of spiritual renewal; now,
Therefore, I, Mayor Laura Hill, on behalf of the City Council, urge all residents to celebrate Arbor Day in November and to support efforts to plant trees, and to recognize all the ways trees enrich our lives and stabilize our environment.