What does a manmade wetland, American bald eagles and alligators have in common? Water conservation! The John Bunker Sands Wetland Center provides education and research opportunities related to water conservation and wetlands in the middle of the 2,000-acre East Fork Wetland Project. The Wetland Center is the focus of a one-of-a-kind manmade wetland that recycles millions of gallons of water each day to supplement the municipal water supply for 1.7 million people in North Texas. This project was formed by a unique public/private partnership between the North Texas Municipal Water District and the Rosewood Corporation to provide a long-term sustainable solution for water supply while providing diverse wetland habitat for more than 257 species of birds, dozens of mammals, reptiles and other wildlife. Protection and conservation in the headwaters of the upper Trinity River have a lasting effect downstream. Come and experience the realities of our most precious resource, water, and discover how stewardship can be integrated into our everyday lives.
John DeFillipo, director of the John Bunker Sands Wetland Center, is an engaging naturalist with more than 20 years of experience blending ecological concepts with business insights. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1992 from the Mississippi University for Women, he pursued a naturalist career with two nature centers in the southeastern United States; Camp McDowell Environmental Education Center in Alabama and Crow’s Neck Environmental Education Center in Mississippi. In 2002, John refined his focus as an outreach educator with the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, where he presented endangered species programs, including live alligators. While living in Mississippi, John served as the president of the Mississippi Environmental Education Alliance and was the recipient of the 2008 Environmental Educator of the Year Award. John moved to Dallas in late 2008 to accept the lead natural science educator position with the Perot Museum of Nature and Science before becoming the director of the Wetland Center in March 2010. In August 2015, John received the New Outstanding Leader Award from the Association of Nature Administrators (ANCA) where he serves as VP of development.
Learn details on the developing plans to convert the Great Trinity Forest into a nationally recognized conservation and recreation area, possibly with the National Park’s “Recreation Area” designation. This area is less than 5 miles and less than a 10-minute drive from Cedar Valley College. Included in the presentation are (1) a map showing the nature-oriented activities that are available to do right now, (2) plans to create a wide range of hiking, biking, canoeing and camping activities within the area, and (3) how individuals and organizations can become part of the movement to create this wonderful local nature area. The presentation will include amazing photography taken in the Great Trinity Forest and the invitation to participate in field trips that hike and bike deep into the forest.
Stephen S. Smith is a dedicated naturalist who happens to be a businessman. He has two businesses: Smith Group Asset Management, with a staff of 20 managing more than $3 billion of other people’s money, and EverGreen Land Co., which focuses on nature. Steve’s background includes being an Eagle Scout and having spent five summers of his teen years living in a tent while working at a Boy Scout camp. His recent past and current activities include oriented land development, having trademarked the slogan “Connecting people with nature.” He has served on the board of Texas Businesses for Clean Air and was a founding board member of Groundwork Dallas, a National Park Service-sponsored nonprofit that began work in 2005 to help clean up the Great Trinity Forest. He serves on the board of Audubon Texas and as board chair of the nonprofit Trinity Recreation Conservancy.
Raccoons, coyotes, bobcats, squirrels and other native species are thriving in urban areas. Learn the value of these “city critters.” Discover the do’s and don’ts of sharing your habitat with wild neighbors!
Bonnie Bradshaw is a Texas Master Naturalist and president of 911 Wildlife. The city of Dallas contracts with 911 Wildlife to provide wildlife education services to individuals and neighborhood associations.