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Trout lilies, Erythronium albidum, a native lily-like plant with mottled leaves (resembling a trout) tend to bloom for a few weeks during this time of year. This week’s winter weather doesn’t seem to have affected them too negatively. They should continue to bloom for another week or two at Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary. They’re annually visible along the Hoot Owl Trail.

Trout lilies are a delightful change from the dormant appearance of winter in North Texas. The delicate beauty of their small, white, down-turned flowers and lovely mottled leaves are an interesting contrast to the surrounding colonnades of oaks and the many fallen leaves that insulated them through the winter. Their subtle charm makes the process of spotting them (pun intended) feel like a treasure hunt.

The Trout lilies are just now beginning to bloom and we encourage you to come out to see them soon. They will only be in bloom a few weeks. Please remember to leave them where they are and enjoy them from the trail (as we always ask) so that future generations may enjoy them.

About Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary

The Heard is a private 501(c)3 nonprofit and was founded in 1967 by Bessie Heard. Miss Heard was 80 years old when she saw the need to preserve a place where future generations could experience nature. Today, the Heard’s mission of bringing nature and people together is carried out through education, particularly of young people, which emphasizes an appreciation of nature and its conservation.  For more information, visit heardmuseum.org.

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Are you working on becoming an Eagle Scout or know someone who is? Those scouts who attend Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary’s two-day Environmental Science Merit Badge Workshop (March 21 & 28) and complete their homework will be able to complete the Environmental Science Merit Badge!

The Environmental Science Merit Badge is one of the options for the 21 required badges that must be earned prior to being awarded the rank of Eagle Scout. While earning the Environmental Science merit badge, Scouts will get a taste of what it is like to be an environmental scientist, making observations and carrying out experiments to investigate the natural world.

Heard scouting workshops are led by currently registered merit badge counselors. Preregistration and prepayment is required. Attendance at both the March 21 and March 28 sessions is mandatory. The workshops will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and are $75 per scout. More information about scouting programs at Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary can be found at heardmuseum.org/scouting

About Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary

The Heard is a private 501(c)3 nonprofit and was founded in 1967 by Bessie Heard. Miss Heard was 80 years old when she saw the need to preserve a place where future generations could experience nature. Today, the Heard's mission of bringing nature and people together is carried out through education, particularly of young people, which emphasizes an appreciation of nature and its conservation.  For more information, visit heardmuseum.org.

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Holiday Trail of Lights is a unique family-fun fundraiser at Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildllife Sanctuary designed to enhance, not overpower, the beautiful nature sanctuary. The warm ambiance of this half-mile walking trail makes this event the most unique holiday light display in North Texas.

On December 13th, 19th & 20th from 6:30-9 P.M., children and the young at heart will enjoy the opportunity to have a professional photo taken with Father Christmas and Mother Nature in a festive setting. Hot beverages and treats will be available for purchase.  Family-friendly entertainment will complement the holiday atmosphere…including appearances by a favorite Ice Queen (and maybe even her sister) each nice of the event. Local musicians, such as Parker Station and Jimmy Barcus, will delight audiences with live holiday music in the Heard outdoor amphitheater. Strolling carolers will sing for guests as they walk through the museum and grounds.

Visitors to this holiday fundraiser will simultaneously support the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary and have fun with the whole family.  Tickets are now available to the public at this link: heardmuseum.ticketbud.com/holiday-trail-of-lights-2014. Tickets at the door are only $9 for adults & seniors and $5 for kids 3-12 (children 2 and under are free). Guests who purchase their tickets online before the event will save $2 per ticket. The public is also welcome to purchase event tickets as gifts. Additional event information is available at www.heardmuseum.org/lights 

About Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary

The Heard is a private 501(c)3 nonprofit and was founded in 1967 by Bessie Heard. Miss Heard was 80 years old when she saw the need to preserve a place where future generations could experience nature. Today, the Heard's mission of bringing nature and people together is carried out through education, particularly of young people, which emphasizes an appreciation of nature and its conservation.  For more information, visit heardmuseum.org.

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Would you like to win 4 tickets to Holiday Trail of Lights at Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary? Participate in our Ugly Sweater Contest! 

To participate, there are just a few rules.

  • First, post a photo* of your “ugliest” sweater in the comment section of the contest’s Facebook photo post at http://on.fb.me/15QVLy1. *To help prove it’s not just something you found on the internet, you must photograph the sweater next to the event webpage (heardmuseum.org/lights).
  • Then, get your friends to like or comment on your photo.
  • The photo that has the most likes and/or comments by 12PM on 12/10/14 will win 4 tickets to Holiday Trail of Lights at Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary.

The winner will be initially contacted through Facebook to give us an email address where we can email the tickets.

If you haven’t heard of Holiday Trail of Lights, you may be wondering why you would want to win tickets to this event. Designed to enhance, not overpower, the beautiful nature sanctuary, the warm ambiance of this half-mile walking trail makes this event the most unique holiday light display in North Texas.

Children and the young at heart will enjoy the opportunity to have a professional photo taken with Father Christmas and Mother Nature in a festive setting. Hot beverages and treats will be available for purchase.  Family-friendly entertainment will complement the holiday atmosphere. Local musicians will delight audiences with live holiday music in the Heard outdoor amphitheater. Strolling carolers will sing for guests as they walk through the museum and grounds.

Visitors to this holiday fundraiser will support the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary and have fun with the whole family.  Tickets are now available to the public at this link: https://heardmuseum.ticketbud.com/holiday-trail-of-lights-2014. Tickets at the door are only $9 for adults & seniors and $5 for kids 3-12 (children 2 and under are free). Guests who purchase their tickets online before the event will save $2 per ticket. The public is also welcome to purchase event tickets as gifts.

About Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary

The Heard is a private 501(c)3 nonprofit and was founded in 1967 by Bessie Heard. Miss Heard was 80 years old when she saw the need to preserve a place where future generations could experience nature. Today, the Heard's mission of bringing nature and people together is carried out through education, particularly of young people, which emphasizes an appreciation of nature and its conservation.  For more information, visit heardmuseum.org.

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On December 13th, 19th & 20th from 6:30-9 P.M., hundreds of families will bundle up and experience the 6th annual Holiday Trail of Lights. Designed to enhance, not overpower, the beautiful nature sanctuary, the warm ambiance of this half-mile walking trail makes this event the most unique holiday light display in North Texas.

Children and the young at heart will enjoy the opportunity to have a professional photo taken with Father Christmas and Mother Nature in a festive setting. Hot beverages and treats will be available for purchase.  Family-friendly entertainment will complement the holiday atmosphere. Local musicians will delight audiences with live holiday music in the Heard outdoor amphitheater. Strolling carolers will sing for guests as they walk through the museum and grounds.

Visitors to this holiday fundraiser will support the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary and have fun with the whole family.  Tickets are now available to the public at this link: https://heardmuseum.ticketbud.com/holiday-trail-of-lights-2014. Tickets at the door are only $9 for adults & seniors and $5 for kids 3-12 (children 2 and under are free). Guests who purchase their tickets online before the event will save $2 per ticket. The public is also welcome to purchase event tickets as gifts.

About Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary

The Heard is a private 501(c)3 nonprofit and was founded in 1967 by Bessie Heard. Miss Heard was 80 years old when she saw the need to preserve a place where future generations could experience nature. Today, the Heard's mission of bringing nature and people together is carried out through education, particularly of young people, which emphasizes an appreciation of nature and its conservation.  For more information, visit heardmuseum.org.

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On December 13th, 19th & 20th from 6:30-9 P.M., hundreds of families will bundle up and experience the 6th annual Holiday Trail of Lights, the most unique holiday lighting display in North Texas. Holiday Trail of Lights brings the beauty of the holiday season into nature. Guests will see thousands of lights and holiday décor along a half mile Heard nature trail. In keeping with the Heard’s role as a nature preserve, this light display is designed to enhance, rather than overpower, the sanctuary’s natural beauty.

Children and the young at heart will enjoy the opportunity to have a professional photo taken with Father Christmas and Mother Nature in a festive setting. Hot beverages and treats will be available for purchase.  Family-friendly entertainment will complement the holiday atmosphere. Local musicians will delight audiences with live holiday music in the Heard outdoor amphitheater. Strolling carolers will entertain guests as they walk through the museum and grounds.

Visitors to Holiday Trail of Lights will get to support the Heard and have fun with the whole family at this holiday fundraiser.  Tickets are now available at www.heardmuseum.ticketbud.com/holiday-trail-of-lights-2014. Tickets at the door are only $9 for adults & seniors and $5 for kids 3-12 (children 2 and under are free). Guests who purchase their tickets online before the event will save $2 per ticket! The public is also welcome to purchase event tickets as gifts. More information about this event available at www.heardmuseum.org/lights

About Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary

The Heard is a private 501(c)3 nonprofit and was founded in 1967 by Bessie Heard. Miss Heard was 80 years old when she saw the need to preserve a place where future generations could experience nature. Today, the Heard's mission of bringing nature and people together is carried out through education, particularly of young people, which emphasizes an appreciation of nature and its conservation.  For more information, visit heardmuseum.org.

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Halloween at the Heard, an annual fundraiser for Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary for eight years, has sold out ten days early this year. Because of attendee constraints on this event, the Heard will not be able to admit additional guests at the door. Friends of the Heard that missed their chance to purchase tickets to this year’s event are encouraged to mark their calendar for next year’s fun event or watch heardmuseum.org for information about the Heard’s next special event—Holiday Trail of Lights.

Halloween at the Heard will be held on October 18th. Families that have purchased tickets in advance will enjoy an evening full of fun activities including trick-or-treating along the Dinosaurs Live! Live-Size Animatronic Dinosaurs trail and a presentation of a movie on the Heard's outdoor amphitheater stage. The Heard recommends that guests bring insect repellant, flashlights, water-resistant blankets and/or stadium seats for use during the movie.

Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary would like to thank its sponsors for helping to make this event a success. Halloween at the Heard is sponsored in part by NBC5, Whole Foods, ClifKiD, Springfree Trampolines, Target, and Texas Roadhouse. Proceeds from this event benefit Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary, a private 501(c)3 organization.

The Heard was founded in 1967 by Bessie Heard.  Miss Heard was 80 years old when she saw the need to preserve a place where future generations could experience nature. Today, the Heard’s mission of bringing nature and people together is carried out through education, particularly of young people, which emphasizes an appreciation of nature and its conservation. More information about the heard is available at heardmuseum.org. 

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If you’ve ever been on a hike and the sun set before you finished, you know that experiencing a trail at night can be a completely different experience from hiking during the day. Landmarks change, as can your sense of direction. Even if you’ve hiked a trail several times, it can feel completely unfamiliar.

Explore the thrilling sights, smells, and sounds of night with Heard Trail Guides. Night hikers will be encouraged to sharpen their senses to be able to spot signs of animal life and learn more about the inhabitants of the Heard.

Preregistration is required for all night hikes and spots are limited. All night hikes depart from the main building. Participants will be outdoors for at least an hour and closed toed shoes, long pants, and bug spray are recommended. Participants should bring a flashlight with a red lens on it to protect night vision while looking for nocturnal animals. Children ages 18 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Hikes are at least an hour long and include varied terrain and may not be suitable for children under 5 years. Admission for toddlers and infants 2 years and under is free, but they must be in a carrier or backpack. Strollers are prohibited. More information and registration at www.heardmuseum.org/nighthikes.

Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary is a private 501(c)3 organization, which was founded in 1967 by Bessie Heard.  Miss Heard was 80 years old when she saw the need to preserve a place where future generations could experience nature. Today, the Heard’s mission of bringing nature and people together is carried out through education, particularly of young people, which emphasizes an appreciation of nature and its conservation.

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Companies looking for a fun way to gain good public relations, advertise and also give back to the community will find a natural fit in participating as a Candy Crew at the 8th Annual Halloween at the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary. 

Candy Crews, consisting of two to four company representatives, provide candy for children at Halloween at the Heard (October 18, 6-10 p.m.) on our Dinosaur Trail of Treats, while dressed to represent your company—with a touch of Halloween flair. You can even distribute small goodies or promo items in the bags! There are no fees for Candy Crew Sponsorships; participating companies need only to provide the candy required for a trick-or-treat station. 

This event is attended by approximately 800 persons each year. Any companies interested in having an even greater presence at this event can purchase a vendor booth or event sponsorship. Vendors and sponsors will be able to hand out larger items, host a game/activity, sell merchandise, and even gather potential customers.

Proceeds from this Halloween at the Heard benefit Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary, a private 501(c)3 organization consisting of a 289 acre wildlife sanctuary and natural science museum. The Heard was founded in 1967 by Bessie Heard.  Miss Heard was 80 years old when she saw the need to preserve a place where future generations could experience nature. Today, the Heard’s mission of bringing nature and people together is carried out through education, particularly of young people, which emphasizes an appreciation of nature and its conservation.

For more information about all of the opportunities available at this annual fundraising event, please contact Mandy Carrasco, Heard Special Events Coordinator, at mcarrasco@heardmuseum.org.  

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In 2008, an amateur fossil hunter by the name of Deniz Oktay walked along Duck Creek in Garland, Texas and saw something fossil hunters love to see: bones! Erosion in the creek revealed 85 million-year-old bones of a Mosasaur, an ancient marine lizard that lived in the Earth’s oceans concurrently to when some species of dinosaurs walked the land.

Several species of Mosasaurs lived during the Late Cretaceous period. The species found in Duck Creek in Garland in 2008 was a Tylosaurus—one of the largest and most vicious of all the Mosasaurs growing up to 40 feet and weighing up to 8 tons. With an extra row of palatal teeth in the roof of its mouth to hold prey in place and move it down the throat, this Mosasaur was one of the reasons that the oceans of the time were a very dangerous place. 

After the bones were identified, the land owner, Charles Amyx, donated the bones to the Heard Museum. The Dallas Paleontological Society was notified of the find and organized a team to excavate the bones for the Heard Museum. The Society’s dig crew was led by Rocky Manning. 

The excavation of the bones from the creek took over 700 hours during two and a half years. Limestone blocks containing the bones were painstakingly cut and then taken to the Heard Museum to be prepped. The exaction was done under difficult conditions such as flooding at the site and working in 100-degree heat. 

Preparing the bones at the Heard also presented a large obstacle; there was not a prep lab at the Museum. The Dallas Paleo Society went to work to create a lab and prep the bones. Darlene Sumerfelt, a member of the excavation team, became the director and lead preparator at the lab, recruiting volunteers and using hand-me-down equipment to release the bones from the rock. Compressors were used to power airscribes that would slowly chip away at the rock to expose the fragile bones.  

The team members were the first humans to ever see these newly-exposed bones. With an all-volunteer team, over 4,000 hours were put into the preparation of the bones. The team worked year after year carefully removing all the surrounding rock.

When the prep was complete, the team then began next step in the process of taking fossilized bones from the ground to the museum floor—the exhibit display. Darlene and the prep team, including volunteers Richard and Joan Sheppard and Russell Sublette, then created all the mounts for the bones with only a very small budget to work with.  Many hours were spent in the lab brainstorming how to put these bones on display with a budget of $400. Many more hours were then spent creating the display mounts by hand. All cabinetry and informational panels were also done by the prep team. 

Darlene has now been with the project for 6 six years. She experienced a great sense of pride and achievement when she and the team moved the bones from the lab to the museum floor. She describes this project as being one of the most phenomenal volunteer projects ever completed. Hundreds of people were willing to give their time and talents to make this happen.   

Now it’s almost time for the debut! The exhibit will open to the public on Saturday, October 4th at the Heard Museum in McKinney, Texas. Activities start with a presentation on the Mosasaur Project at 1:30 p.m., with the grand opening immediately after.