Sunday, September 26, 2021

Southlake Sister Cities’ Rocks for Peace Program is Coming to Bob Jones Park

Paint one, take one, share one, leave one. Southlake Sister Cities is introducing their Rocks for Peace Program to Bob Jones Park and needs your help growing their painted rock collection!

What are Rocks for Peace, you ask? Southlake Sister Cities’ new program is one you won’t want to take for granite. In collaboration with the Community Services Department, SSC is forging a trail of painted rocks in Bob Jones Park to bring joy to everyone who sees them.

The goal is to create enough painted rocks to cover a trail, get people to explore a new side of Bob Jones Park, and share positive messages with the community. Southlake Sister Cities’ mission is to promote peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation; one individual, one community at a time. Now it will be one rock at a time as well!

We’re looking to grow our rock collection before placing them on the trail, and we need your help to paint some happy rocks! Southlake Sister Cities is participating in two Nature Center programs to create more painted rocks. Join in on the fun and paint a pebble that will have sedimental value for years to come!

Painting supplies and rocks will be provided. Just bring your creativity!

Paint Rocks for Peace with Southlake Sister Cities.

Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve Open House
Saturday, September 25
9:00 AM- 3:00 PM

Cross Timbers Nature Club
Wednesday, September 29
4:00 PM- 4:30 PM
*Registration required*

We’ll see you at the Nature Center!

Getting Wild at Nature Camp

We are right in the heat of summer, and things are getting wild at our annual Cross Timbers Summer Nature Camp.

Summer camps are an industry staple in Parks and Recreation. Here in Southlake, we are fortunate to offer our young residents various fun and entertaining summer camp options each year. Something that makes our community unique is our proximity to the Cross Timbers and Prairies ecosystem.

Our Cross Timbers Summer Nature Camp is a community favorite and a vital part of Our Park and Recreation Story. This summer, campers get to explore their wild side with fun activities to practice outdoor skills, hike, create arts and crafts, and learn about our local ecosystem.

Here are a few highlights of what Nature Camp has been up to this summer:

  • Campers do a 2-mile hike to Lake Grapevine every week. At the lake, they get to play on the swing and near the water before hiking back. On average, each camper hikes around eight miles per week!
  • Guest presenters are a special treat for Nature Camp. This summer, the kids have learned from the Tarrant Regional Water District, The Blackland Prairie Raptor Center, Creature Teacher, archery, and Mad Science!
  • Each week presents a different theme. Last week, the campers learned about sustainability and made some awesome recycled robots.
  • Campers always make great use of the Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve! Each week, kids spend hours searching for grasshoppers and other critters. They always talk about the history of the land—which includes the Jones Family and the Tucker Family.
  • Every Friday, there is a Field Day Party!

With so many out-of-this-world activities, it’s no wonder Nature Camp is such a crowd favorite! But the summer is not over yet.

Here’s a sneak-peak into what campers can look forward to in the weeks to come:

  • This week, campers are learning about flowers and will be planting around the Nature Center. They will also dye and plant seeds that they can take home.
  • There will be more animal presentations coming! In addition, the Southlake DPS will present a Wilderness First Aid class to campers!
  • The final week will be the “Animal Olympics.” Campers will learn about the extraordinary feats animals can achieve—including the critters found right here in Southlake.

It wouldn’t be a Southlake summer without our summer camps and the incredible staff that make them happen. Part of our Park and Recreation Story is working hard to create life-long memories for our kiddos, and Cross Timbers Nature Camp is the perfect place to get wild!

Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve Offers Virtual Adult Outdoor Education Programs This Summer

The Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve is not just a hub for children to learn about the great outdoors. Did you know that there are multiple opportunities for adults to learn more about nature as well?

The Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve Adult Education classes will teach you easy ways to make a big difference in your life and our ecosystem. Thanks to our partnership with Tarrant Regional Water District and local Master Gardeners, all classes will be virtual this summer. Not only that, but all courses are 100% FREE!

There are multiple fantastic opportunities to learn more about improving your garden while helping our ecosystem this summer.

June is all about Tough Texas Plants. With an often unpredictable climate, it’s crucial to choose the right type of plants to thrive in Texas. This three-part series will teach you about low-maintenance landscape design, tough Texas perennials and annuals, and tough Texas trees, bushes, and vines. Registration for June classes is now open! Learn how to register here.

Things will get prickly in July with cacti and succulents taking center stage. Learn the hottest tips and tricks to maintaining these increasingly popular plants. Registration will be available soon.

Finish out the summer with a month of shade gardening knowledge in August. These classes will teach you what plants grow best in the shadier areas of your yard. Be on the lookout when registration for these classes becomes available.

When it comes to having the sturdiest yard in Texas, knowledge is power. Take advantage of our free Adult Outdoor Education program and become the envy of the neighborhood!

Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve to Celebrate Earth Day with a Community Hike

Grab your sunscreen and hiking boots for the Earth Day Community Hike!

The Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve is celebrating Earth Day early this year by inviting all nature enthusiasts to join us on an Earth Day Community Hike on Saturday, April 17 at 10 am. Earth Day is celebrated globally on April 22 in honor of working towards a more sustainable future. What better way to connect with the Earth and the creatures that inhabit it than by spending quality time in nature?

Join us for a morning on the Preserve Trails as we make our way to Grapevine Lake. Led by Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve staff, this Community Hike will be all about the plants and animals who call the Preserve home, how we can help them, and the incredible history of the land.

Learn more about the Jones family who lived on this land and their contributions to the City of Southlake as you explore the winding trails. Be on the lookout for tracks and hints of the diverse wildlife that are native to this land. Get in some solid exercise while becoming more knowledgeable about this treasured Southlake spot.

The Earth Day Community Hike is suitable for guests of all ages and hiking levels. Be sure to bring a water bottle, comfortable clothes you can get dirty, and closed-toe shoes. The hike to Grapevine Lake is two miles, and there will be frequent stops.

Registration ends on Thursday, April 14. Don’t delay; register today!

Leaf Your Worries Behind and Take a Hike at the Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve

Spring is almost here, and that means hiking season is upon us!

There’s no better way to connect with nature than to disconnect from the screens and get outside! With the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, it’s easy to forget about the benefits of going outdoors and exploring. Luckily for us in Southlake, the Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve is the perfect spot to leaf all your worries behind and take a hike!

The Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve provides a sanctuary for humans and wildlife to reconnect with nature away from the urban DFW metroplex. The Preserve, which features 758 acres of Cross Timbers ecosystem, is home to about 700 identified species of plants and animals!

The Bob Jones Nature Center provides over 20 miles of hiking trails to explore for those who are looking to escape into nature. Follow the Bluebird Trail surrounding the Nature Center for a short and sweet retreat, or challenge yourself to complete the expansive Walnut Grove National Recreation Trail. Wherever your adventures take you, you’re sure to run into fellow nature-lovers such as birds, squirrels, and maybe even deer!

If you’re new to hiking and not sure where to start, never fear! We’ve compiled a list of hiking tips to make sure your first excursion to the Preserve is a life-long positive memory.

Leave no Trace

One of the most critical tenets of hiking is to leave no trace. Preserving the land and protecting the wildlife that inhabits it is necessary to be a good steward of the land. Staying on designated trails, not disturbing plants and animals, and not littering are all characteristics of a good steward of the land.

Pick the Right Trail

Hiking can be the best adventure, but it’s imperative to pick the adequate trail for your experience level. It can be easy to get lost, so make sure you stick to the path, read signage, and let a friend know where you are going. Better yet, go in a group!

Be Prepared

Make sure to dress in light, moisture-absorbing layers. Long sleeves and pants are best for protecting against the sun and elements. Don’t forget the sunscreen! Make sure to wear comfortable closed-toed shoes to support your feet, and drink plenty of water.

Have fun

Hiking is all about reconnecting with nature and with yourself. The Bob Jones Nature Center hosts a variety of outdoor education programs for all ages if you are interested in learning more about the Cross Timbers natural habitat. Be on the lookout for exciting hiking opportunities coming up next month! See you on the trails!

City of Southlake Community Services Department Shines with Multiple Winners in the Southlake Style Readers’ Choice Awards

The Southlake Style Readers’ Choice results are in, and the Community Services Department boasts numerous winners and finalists!

The annual Readers’ Choice survey closed after approximately 43,000 votes were cast by Southlake community members. Voting was open from February 2 until February 18. Having been nominated in multiple categories, here are the results of this year’s survey:

  • Entertainment Category—Swimming Pool/Water Park—Champions Club at The Marq Southlake—Winner
  • Entertainment Category—Park—Bicentennial Park—Winner
  • Entertainment Category—Event/Wedding Venue—Legends Hall at The Marq Southlake—Finalist
  • Entertainment Category—Park—Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve—Finalist
  • Summer Camp—Camp Mania—Finalist

Make sure to keep up with everything that is going on at these award-winning venues. With Spring Break just around the corner, the possibilities for fun are never-ending!

Here is a list of events to look forward to within the Community Services Department:

  • Swimming Pool at Champions Club at The Marq Southlake
    – Preschool Water Play on March 26
  • Camp Mania at Champions Club on March 15
  • Legends Hall at The Marq Southlake
    – Sip and See event on March 7
  • Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve
    – Cross Timbers Forest Preschool Spring Break starting March 15
    – Cross Timbers Spring Break Nature Camp on March 15
    – Nature Center Open House on March 27
    – Adult Outdoor Education on March 30
    – Cross Timbers Nature Club on March 31

Register for these events and more here.

Congratulations to the winners and the teams who make creating world-class experiences for our community possible. Thank you to everyone who voted for us! Serving our community and working towards becoming the premier destination for lifelong memories is what drives us. Keep an eye out for our winners in the April issue of Southlake Style.

Let’s Take a Hike: Explore the Trails at Bob Jones Nature Center

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.

Butterflies released at Monarch Butterfly Festival join the great migration

The Bob Jones Nature Center hosted the City of Southlake’s 2nd annual Monarch Butterfly Festival on the morning of Saturday, September 26. 280 guests of all ages joined in the release of 400 monarch butterflies to celebrate the monarch migration.

The Perennial Garden Society (PGS) sponsored the butterfly purchase with a $1,500 donation. Master Gardeners from the Tarrant and Denton County chapters spent the entire summer working hard to prepare the garden beds around the Nature Center for butterfly and human visitors alike. Their hard work paid off, too, because the grounds are absolutely stunning.

With help from PGS, all 400 butterflies were “tagged” with a small sticker on their outer wing printed with a unique identification number. All butterflies released are registered with Monarch Watch, a University of Kansas research project focusing on the migration and well-being of the monarch population. Any citizen who finds a tagged butterfly can contact Monarch Watch, report the identification number, and assist researchers in tracking this year’s migration.

The monarch migration continues to be one of the most intriguing events in natural history that inspires and amazes scientists, naturalists, and onlookers alike. “Being able to partner with the Perennial Garden Society to be a part of this research project is so important for us,” said Nature Programs Coordinator Hannah Nyquist. “Southlake’s position along the migration path gives residents the opportunity to observe and aid monarchs as they make their journey. Having a combination of nectar plants and milkweed (a host plant for caterpillars) available is incredibly important for the success of the monarch population.”

This year, the COVID-19 outbreak posed a unique challenge for the event’s organizers considering the event has seen hundreds of attendees in years past. However, the Southlake Community Services team was able to successfully recreate the structure of the event in order to keep attendants safe while still hosting a beautiful and educational celebration of the amazing monarch butterfly. “At first we weren’t sure we were going to be able to have the event,” says Special Events Coordinator, Sarah Binion. “But this event is important for the community and we were determined to find a way to make the festival happen. It brings so much joy to the people who come and we didn’t want our residents to miss out. Especially in a year when so much has already been taken away, we wanted to be able to give the community this special day.”

Instead of one large gathering and a scheduled release of all butterflies at once as is typical for the festival, the event was divided into pre-registered sessions to maintain smaller numbers. Each family group was escorted to a private station where they were instructed about how to release their butterflies. This new setup inadvertently created a much more intimate and personalized setting for each group to move at their own pace, making this year’s event a truly unique experience.

For more information on how to help monarchs year-round, please visit monarchwatch.org.

 

New this Spring: After-School Club at Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve

UPDATE: March 26 Event Cancelled.

Join us this spring for our first ever after-school club at Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve, BJNCP Explorers! BJNCP Explorers is perfect for young naturalists and outdoor enthusiasts (ages 5-11). We meet once a month from 4:00-6:00pm to explore the Preserve trails, study local wildlife, and learn how we can become stewards of the land.

Each month we will focus on a different topic as we explore. We will start the year by focusing on the animals who live at the Preserve in the winter, how they survive in the cold, and how we can help them thrive. In February, we will become Ornithologists (biologists who study birds) and investigate the birds migrating through Southlake.

As the Preserve awakens from the winter we will spend March discovering new life at BJNCP as migrating animals return, hibernators come out, and new plants and animals arrive. Finally, in April, we will celebrate Earth Day and discuss how we can make every day Earth Day!

Registration is separate for each monthly class, so you don’t have to commit to the entire session (although we hope you will!). Join us for an adventurous semester of hikes, investigations, experiments, friendships, and more!

For more information visit experiencesouthlaketexas.com/bjncp.

Dates: January 30, February 27, March 26, April 30
Time: 4:00-6:00pm
Location: Bob Jones Nature Center & Preserve, 355 E Bob Jones Rd.
Resident Fee: $13
Non-Resident Fee: $16

Ready to sign up? Click here.