Thursday, June 30, 2022

Cross Timbers Forest Preschool Wins Texas Recreation & Park Society North Region Excellence in Programming Award

A few weeks into the Fall Semester, Cross Timbers Forest Preschool won the Texas Recreation & Park Society North Region Excellence in Programming Award!

Cross Timbers Forest Preschool is an explorative, hands-on preschool experience focused on connecting students to nature. Hosted at the Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve, the curriculum highlights our local ecosystem and includes hikes, storytime, arts and crafts, imaginative play, and discovery. Forest Preschool allows students to build knowledge of the world around them, develop confidence and self-esteem while inspiring connections with nature. With two 15-week semesters in the fall and spring, students spend more than 80% of their day outside learning through exploration. Cross Timbers Forest Preschool is a community-favorite program that maximizes 700 plus acres of preserve to instill an appreciation for nature and a sense of stewardship in our youngest community members.

Forest Preschool staff is honored to receive this award, especially after working so hard to make Forest Preschool the premier preschool experience in DFW. When we first started operations in 2019, we only held classes three days a week and had about 11 students. Since then, we have added an extra day and have increased our student roster times three! In the last three years, Forest Preschool has become a favorite community recreational program. We often see multiple generations of siblings go through Forest Preschool, and watch our kiddos move to Nature Camp after aging out of preschool. Our classes are consistently full, and the growth we witness in our students fuels us to continue making this the best preschool program around. Our curriculum is unique due to unparalleled access to nature. The skills our students gain prepare them for success in kindergarten and beyond!

“I’m so thrilled about winning this award! My staff and I work hard to make Forest Preschool a world-class program that is safe, fun, and educational. We take a tremendous amount of pride in our work and being recognized for it feels wonderful! We are honored to accept the award and can’t wait to continue growing Forest Preschool!” Hannah Nyquist, Programs Coordinator.

Congratulations to all Cross Timbers Forest Preschool staff for your world-class work! The TRAPS North Region Excellence in Programming Award (Class II) will be presented to the City of Southlake Community Services team on Friday, November 5, 2021, at the TRAPS North Region Conference in Allen.

Bicentennial Park Master Plan Implementation wins Texas Recreation and Park Society North Region Park Design Excellence Award Class II

Community Services staff received a pleasant surprise last Friday when they learned that Bicentennial Park won the TRAPS North Region Park Design Excellence Award!

Bicentennial Park is a community park comprised of the first land ever assembled for park purposes and serves as the heart of Parks and Recreation activities in Southlake. The multi-phase Bicentennial Park Masterplan Implementation project re-invigorated the park through years of careful planning, persistent teamwork, and thoughtful design. Beginning improvements in 2008 and continuing well into 2021, Bicentennial Park epitomizes world-class parks and recreation amenities. Years of collaboration between the City, residents, and Schrickel Rollins, and Associates, resulted in the opening of The Marq Southlake—our community recreation facility, a Miracle Field, all-abilities playground, Tennis Center, and more. Bicentennial Park is the premier recreation destination in Southlake thanks to these improvements and serves as an example of successful park redevelopment state-wide.

According to TRAPS North Region, “The awards committee had many wonderful entries to score, and it was a difficult task. Your nomination stood out above the rest to exemplify commitment and dedication in the field of parks and recreation. We are honored to present this award to you and for your commitment to excellence in all that you do in your daily pursuits.”

Recently, City staff celebrated the completion of Bicentennial Park improvements with video releases of the finished project and a popsicle celebration for all employees involved. It is an absolute honor to be recognized by our parks and recreation peers for the successful implementation of this tremendous project.

But wait, there’s more! Always striving for perfection, Bicentennial Park continues to improve. Throughout the development of the 2035 Parks, Recreation, & Open Space Master Plan adopted in June 2021, Park Board members and residents stated the desire for pickleball courts in the City.

In the fiscal year 2022, staff will begin adding a pickleball complex to Bicentennial Park to meet this community need and further solidify Bicentennial Park as the recreational heart of Southlake.

The City of Southlake Community Services Department will be presented with this award on Friday, November 5, 2021, at the TRAPS North Region Conference in Allen, TX. Congratulations to everyone that helped make Bicentennial Park the gem it is today!