Announcements from the May 2023 Chapter Meeting

The Announcements

Upcoming Chapter Bylaws vote: note that at the June general meeting we will vote on adopting new bylaws from the state office.

Please view the full set of May announcements by clicking here. Further activities are listed on the chapter calendar. Opportunities and contacts, websites, and other details are available there.

Highlights of the Meeting

Environmental Conservation and Justice: A Community & Conservationist Partnership Story

Many thanks to Sherri Mixon, Executive Director at T.R. Hoover Community Development Center, and our own Kristi Kerr Leonard and Rebecca Posten for an engaging presentation on work in the Ideal+Bonton neighborhoods.

Rebecca and Kristi began with an overview of the area’s ecology and history, emphasizing the role of Ned Fritz in preserving the Trinity River and forest. They discussed the impact of redlining and flooding in Ideal+Bonton’s shift from a thriving neighborhood in the 1950s to one well into decline by the 90s.

In reviewing assistance efforts, they learned that there was often room for improvement in how volunteers approach the community. They also described their 2022 NTMN new class project, how it involved both work on the Buckeye Trail and community outreach. Kristi and Rebecca stressed this significant insight: that change in the neighborhood had been driven by the people in that community.

Sherri also discussed neighborhood decline, showing how continuing flooding drove residents away, leaving much of Ideal+Bonton vacant. Crime, lack of infrastructure and school closures became increasing problems.

Sherri described her mother, Ms. Jackie Mixon, as an organizer who readily engaged others to work together and fight for progress. Their neighborhood group evolved into a crime watch and then a non-profit, working with partners like Habitat for Humanity and Highland Park United Methodist Church. Together they saw over 55 homes and the T.R. Hoover Community Development Center built.

Sherri told about the impact of recent master naturalist community work in Ideal+Bonton. She discussed the importance of the new T.R. Hoover pollinator garden, bringing a bit of nature back to Bexar Street. The panel also covered the value of outreach events, seniors’ lunch and learn sessions and, especially, the contribution of the summer camp nature program led by Shelby Smith. Reaching youth with science education, hands-on in the classroom and on field trips, has had a very positive impact.

Ongoing challenges include continuing the work and involving more of the neighborhood, educating to remove barriers between the community and nature.

Sherri invites us to become more involved with the Ideal+Bonton community. She stressed that, above anything else we can bring, it is most important to give from the heart.

Going Deeper

T.R. Hoover Community Development Center
Bonton+Ideal: A Dallas Neighborhood Stories Film
NedFritz.com
Living with the Trinity Film

Thanks to our guests and members for participating in this month’s chapter meeting. I hope all feel welcome at NTMN.

Take care,
Scott Hudson
President
North Texas Master Naturalist

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