Partner Spotlight with the
Blackland Prairie Raptor Center

by Tiara Chapman

Credit: Sean Fitzgerald

Tag Archive: dallas

  1. Partner Spotlight with the Blackland Prairie Raptor Center

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    Texas is home to more raptors than any other state! Some, like the red-tailed hawk, make Texas their permanent home while others, like the Mississippi Kite, love to hang out in Texas during the summer. During spring and fall migrations, raptor populations can swell by 1 million visitors.

    Eastern Screech Owl with injured wing Credit: BPRC
    Eastern Screech Owl with injured wing Credit: BPRC

    However, not all of these birds of prey receive a warm Texas welcome. Development and population growth have had serious impacts on their habitat, food sources, and overall safety. It’s estimated that 34% of golden eagles along the Texas-Mexico border are electrocuted within their first year of life outside the nest while red-tailed hawks have lost 99% of their original hunting grounds throughout the Blackland Prairie.

    Rehabilitated Barred Owl Release Credit: BPRC
    Rehabilitated Barred Owl Release Credit: BPRC

    Making sure that raptors have room to spread their wings safely is a top priority for our Conservation Partner, the Blackland Prairie Raptor Center. For over two decades, this North Texas nonprofit has provided a haven for thousands of abandoned and injured birds of prey, nurturing them until they’re ready to soar in the wild once again.

    Keep reading to learn more about them and their incredible work!

    Injured Great Horned Owl Credit: BPRC
    Injured Great Horned Owl Credit: BPRC

    Located forty miles north of Dallas, on Lavon Lake, the 66-acre campus of the Blackland Prairie Raptor Center (BPRC) houses 14 avian ambassadors, a diagnostic lab, a veterinary clinic, research offices, and space for you to explore it all!

    The BPRC has educated over 30,000 people about raptors through public outreach and programs like their 1st Saturday Open Houses, Raptor Photo Days, Family Campouts, and more. These events provide a bird’s eye overview of the value of raptors in the ecosystem and give participants an up-close and personal experience with the beauty of these animals. Their mission to advance the environmental preservation of birds of prey and wildlife in their natural habitat extends through these public education events and into restoration and rehabilitation.

    Open Glade in a section of restored prairie with blooming American beauty flower. Credit: BPRC
    Open Glade in a section of restored prairie Credit: BPRC

    BPRC’s namesake comes from the Blackland Prairie ecosystem that once comprised over 23,500 square miles of the Lone Star State and served as the primary habitat for the 39 species of raptors that make their home in Texas. Today less than 1% of the Blackland Prairie ecosystem remains. As raptors lose this space, they must navigate the hazards of neighborhoods, cities, and infrastructure to survive. Many are injured in the process by electrocution, lawn fertilizer burns, maliciousness, collision strikes, and more. The BPRC rehabilitates hundreds of birds of prey every year brought in from across the state, for diagnosis, treatment, and release back into the wild.

    In addition to helping birds of prey recover physically, BPRC also works to restore their habitat. A cadre of volunteers helps clear invasive plants from their 66-acre campus that sits along Lake Lavon. In 2023, their work to clear 800 cedar trees off the property resulted in the return of the native plant species that had been crowded out. With the return of native plant food sources comes the return of prey animals like rabbits, wood mice, squirrels, and other rodents. With the return of prey animals, raptors can better thrive in their natural habitats, soaring safe and sound through Texas skies.

    Red-shouldered hawk in flight. Credit JLK Photography
    Red-shouldered hawk in flight. Credit: JLK Photography

    Texan by Nature’s vision is for every business and every Texan to participate in conservation and for Texas to be a model of collaborative conservation for the world.

    Uplifting the valuable work of our Conservation Partners, like the Blackland Prairie Raptor Center, brings us one step closer to achieving our mission of uniting all Texans in conservation action. Be sure to stop by when you are in town for one of BPRC’s many public education events and stay up to date on their work by following them on Facebook!

  2. Oak Cliff Nature Preserve Monthly Workday – August

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    Oak Cliff Nature Preserve (OCNP) is a 121-acre preserve in the heart of the Oak Cliff neighborhood and well-loved by the people of Dallas, especially the hiking and mountain biking community.

    Please arrive by 7:45am to get registered and bring closed-toed shoes and a water bottle. We’ll have work gloves and all the tools you’ll need, but feel free to bring your own. Children over 12 are welcome, if accompanied by an adult.

    In addition to individuals and families, we encourage you to bring a group from your church or local community organization and help us restore this urban treasure visited by thousands of hikers and bikers year round!

    Please RSVP so we’ll know how many people to expect and can update you with any changes due to inclement weather.

  3. Science Sunday at TRAC

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    Bring the kids every 2nd Sunday of the month for a fun, educational, interactive program! Each program will be $5 for kids and FREE for adults! Join us at Trinity River Audubon Center and learn what we have to offer at our nature center!

  4. Second Saturday Guided Hike at TRAC

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    Join us for a guided hike led by our education team! Learn about our surrounding habitat and our history while you enjoy your hike. Open to all ages.

  5. Native Plant Walk and Bee Box

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    Join us at Trinity River Audubon Center for a series of nature hikes and nature-themed art classes! Perfect for any adult who is looking to explore their creative side! During this session, you can learn about the relationships between plants and pollinators. Then, create a habitat!

  6. Wetland Canoe Trail

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    Experience the amazing diversity in wetland vegetation and wildlife while learning about the history and basics of wetland ecology. After a safety and canoeing introduction, spend about 40 minutes on a guided trail around the Heard wetlands, followed by free paddle time to explore on your own. No experience is necessary for any of the paddle programs. All participants will be given an introduction to canoeing that includes basic strokes, boat safety, and flat-water maneuvers. Member Rate: $32 per person; Non-Member Rate: $42 per person

  7. Zip Line Day

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    During our Zip Line Days, guests climb a 23-ft. tree to our zip platform and then proceed to a 487-ft. zip line. Purchase one ticket ($12 each) for each time you would like to travel down the zip line. Pre-registration is required.

  8. Family Campout

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    Join Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary for The Family Campout, an event that will offer groups an evening of fantastic discovery after hours! Our programs include team-building activities, the opportunity to experience Texas wildlife, s’mores, and more. Experience what it’s like to be a member of the Heard’s nightlife and enjoy a night that your group will never forget! Spots are limited, so be sure to get your ticket now. This program is available to families with kids ages 5 through 12. Each attending group must have at least 1 adult per 4 children to provide supervision. Cost is $24 per child (ages 5-12); $29 per adult (ages 18+)

  9. TxN 20 Highlights — Transportation

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    2022 TxN 20: Texan-led leadership in conservation for a sustainable future in Transportation.

    The Texan by Nature team is excited to present the fourth annual list of Texan by Nature 20 (TxN 20) Honorees. TxN 20 recognizes outstanding work in conservation and sustainability from Texas-based businesses.

    It’s an opportunity to showcase innovation, commitment to conservation, and best practices from the industries that keep Texas running: Agriculture, Architecture, Financial Services, Food, Beverage, & Grocery, Technology, Energy, Healthcare, Municipal Services, Retail, Transportation, and Construction & Manufacturing. 

    Meet the 2022 TxN 20  Honorees leading sustainability in transportation: Cap Metro and DFW Airport.

    12 electric buses purchased in 2021— 2022 Honoree Cap Metro

    Who is Cap Metro?

    Cap Metro is Austin’s regional public transportation provider. CapMetro connects people, jobs and communities by providing quality transportation choices to Central Texas. Created in accordance with Chapter 451 of the Texas Transportation Code, CapMetro was established by a voter referendum on Jan. 19, 1985. The agency is funded in part by a 1 percent sales tax levied by members of its service area.

    How are they setting the standard?

    In the social sector, Cap Metro partnered with H-E-B, Central Texas Food Bank to deploy Help-at-Home kits to elderly and disabled citizens across Austin, dedicating 300-400 service hours a week to the Help-at-Home Kits program. 

    CapMetro used its resources to help provide meals to the hungry in our regions, providing access to basic food necessities without the risks of COVID.

    CapMetro uses 97% renewable energy purchased from Texas wind farms totaling around 8.7 million kilowatt hours of energy. With 12 new electric buses purchased in 2021, CapMetro will increase to 200 electric buses by 2026 to reduce its overall fleet greenhouse gas emissions. 100% of CapMetro’s electricity from Austin Energy is renewable (wind and solar) Green Choice electricity. 

    Powered by 100% renewable electricity from Texas wind farms — 2022 Honoree DFW Airport

    Who is DFW Airport?

    Today, Dallas Fort Worth International (DFW) Airport warmly welcomes more than 73 million customers along their journey every year, elevating DFW to a status as one of the most frequently visited super-hub airports in the world. Centered between its owner cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, DFW Airport also serves as a major economic generator for the North Texas region, producing over $37 billion in economic impact each year by connecting people through business and leisure travel.

    How are they setting the standard?

    2,000 DFW employees work to advance ESG initiatives, forming strategic partnerships with several prominent external entities, including the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Coca-Cola, Nestle, the University of North Texas, Avfuel Corporation, and the Dallas Fort Worth Clean Cities Coalition, to advance innovative approaches to sustainability. Additionally, DFW is powered by 100% renewable electricity from Texas wind farms, directly benefiting local economies. As a result, since 2010, the Texas electric grid (ERCOT) has increased from 8% renewables to over 20%. Waste collected from DFW’s food waste program is transported to local farms and compost facilities, resulting in 9 tons of food waste diverted from landfills since 2021.

    15 concessionaires from two terminals have been onboarded to the composting program, and the Airport anticipates expanding the program to additional concessions locations in the coming months. 

    Why Forward Thinking Leaders in Transportation Matter

    According to the EPA, the Transportation sector contributes more to overall U.S. greenhouse gas emissions than any other sector, producing 27% of global emissions in 2020. Since bringing down emissions and getting from point A to point B are musts in the modern world, innovation in transportation is critical to keep a prosperous economy and protect the environment. Sustainability leaders like CapMetro and DFW Airport are keeping the world connected and protected.   

    How TxN20 Honorees Are Selected Each Year

    To select the 2022 TxN 20 Honorees, the TxN Team evaluated submissions and conducted independent research across 2,000+ of Texas’ publicly traded and private companies in 12 key industry sectors. 

    All companies were evaluated on a 17-point scoring system, from which the top 60 highest-scoring companies moved on to the final round of TxN 20. A selection committee of top industry leaders and experts was then formed to evaluate the top 60 companies and select the final 20 businesses recognized as TxN 20 Honorees.

    Honorable Mentions: Standouts in Sustainability

    In addition to this year’s TxN 20 honorees, here are three industry standouts for best practices in conservation and sustainability coming from companies across the agriculture industry.

    Industry Innovator: Kirby Corporation

    The Houston-based Kirby Corporation operates as the premier tank barge operator in the United States, transporting bulk liquid products throughout all three U.S. Coasts and more. In 2020, they transported 423.4 million barrels of cargo without a spill in the water. Additionally, by 2024, they estimate a 25% reduction of marine CO2 emissions per barrel of capacity. 

    Industry Innovator: Union Pacific

    The Omaha-based Union Pacific delivers integral goods to families and businesses every day with efficiency and reliability. In 2021, they introduced Genset and Green Goat locomotives for service in California, Texas and Chicago, with fuel-savings of more than 20% compared to other diesel locomotives in similar use. Additionally, PSR efforts allowed them to reduce the size of their locomotive fleet, effectively retiring their least-efficient units.

    Industry Innovator: XPO Logistics

    The Greenwich-based XPO Logistics is a top ten global provider of transportation and logistic services. In 2021, they launched a new rail freight service in partnership with Irish Rail to provide a greener, more efficient path to transport goods between Western and Southeast Ireland. Additionally, in European locations, they have installed intelligent LED lighting in 14 more locations, in total covering 55% of their square footage. 

    Get Involved:

    Is your company at the forefront of sustainability in Texas? Share your work with Texan by Nature by submitting Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) data that showcases how your company benefits people, prosperity, and natural resources to

    To be considered for the official TxN 20 list, companies must:

    • Have operations and employees based in Texas;
    • Share a demonstrated commitment to conservation & sustainability;
    • Showcase tangible efforts, impact, and data in conservation;
    • NOT be a conservation-based nonprofit (501c3).
  10. Water Is Alive Presents “Mitigation not Litigation” at a Story Collider Event

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    This event is an evening of scientists telling stories. We will present five stories including a story about how Virginia, the founder of Water Is Alive, was inspired by air pollution to work together with government entities and corporations to improve industrial practices with natural solutions. Water Is Alive is researching and developing the fermentation of agricultural by-products and organic wastes into biostimulants for wastewater treatment and nutrient reduction in waterways, agricultural soil enhancement, and bioremediation solutions to contamination.
  11. 2nd Saturday Bird Walk

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    2nd Saturday Bird Walks are intended to help beginning and intermediate birders with bird spotting and identification techniques. There are also plenty of opportunities provided for participants to ask questions from experienced birders. Prairie, woodland, and wetland habitats are included in these walks. This program is typically offered monthly from September through June annually. These walks begin promptly at 8 AM and last 1.5 hours. This program is included in general admission and is free for Heard Museum members.

  12. Zip Line Day

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    During our Zip Line Days, guests climb a 23-ft. tree to our zip platform and then proceed to a 487-ft. zip line. Purchase one ticket ($12 each) for each time you would like to travel down the zip line. Pre-registration is required.