Dallas City of Learning Partners: Trinity River Audubon Center

Established: 2008 in Dallas.

About: Trinity River Audubon Center, located just 10 miles south of downtown Dallas, is your gateway to explore the amazing resources of the 6,000-acre Great Trinity Forest. As the largest urban hardwood forest in the United States, TRAC supports a diverse community of plant and animal species and contains a unique mixture of bottomland hardwoods, wetlands and grasslands. A part of the City of Dallas-Trinity River Corridor Project, the center’s 120 acres sit on a former illegal dumpsite, now a reclaimed haven for a vast array of birds and other wildlife in an increasingly urbanized metropolitan area. Five miles of trails lead visitors through hardwood forests, pond, wetland, and prairie ecosystems, and along the Trinity River.

Why is Summer Learning so Important?

“For numerous children, there is no communal place to go during the summer months for recreation activities,” says Kayleigh Medeiros, Education Manager, Trinity River Audubon Center. “Many children are confined to the indoors and do not have an opportunity to immerse themselves in the outside world. Our goal is to provide a safe space for children to come and explore their natural world. We facilitate lessons using nature to expand their horizons and break through any misconceptions they might have.”

Why Partner with Dallas City of Learning?

“We strive to provide children in our surrounding communities with outdoor education opportunities,” says Medeiros, “and by partnering with Dallas City of Learning, we have access to a majority of those students. This partnership allows us to reach all of those children and their families that we otherwise would have a difficult time communicating with.”

How Does Your Participation in Dallas City of Learning Benefit Trinity River Audubon Center Kids?

“Our mission at the Trinity River Audubon Center is to give everyone the opportunity to connect to nature and experience the outdoors,” says Medeiros. “By participating in this partnership, we’re hoping to reach communities that haven’t been out to visit us. We’re constantly looking to positively influence the people that call Dallas home, and Dallas City of Learning allows us to share our passions with others.”

What Is Your Vision And Passion For The Future Of Education?

“My vision for education is to be able to get each child outside to experience the power of nature first hand,” says Medeiros. “I want them to use the outdoors as a classroom with real world examples of curriculum like food webs, decomposition, pollution, and the scientific method. Not only would children become familiar with these topics, but we would encourage and empower students to creatively problem solve issues like pollution and habitat fragmentation.”

– Mario Tarradell

Photo by Can Turkyilmaz @turk_studio