Stephanie Jennings
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Prothonotary Warbler in the Heard Wetlands There have been over 220 bird species observed at the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary and over 60 have been documented nesting at the Heard, including the Prothonotary Warbler.

When Bessie Heard founded Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary in 1967, the (then) 270 acre property was surrounded by countryside. But she saw how other cities had moved into their natural spaces, leaving little for posterity. Miss Bessie (as children called her) knew this could one day be a possibility for her community and wanted to make sure that future generations could connect with nature in a nature preserve and that wildlife would have a sanctuary.

Today, as you drive out to the Heard, you will see that her foresight was keen and never before more relevant for the future. The rapid development of the DFW Metroplex further demonstrates the value of this resource which will allow future generations to connect with nature.

Protecting this natural resource becomes increasingly more difficult as more of the land is developed upstream. Because portions of the Heard are located on a major flood plain, it is also subject to anything that washes downstream from runoff.

As you may have observed, trash often washes downstream. Less easy to observe are the fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and more that also find their way down waterways. At even a molecular level, these changes can impact an array of flora and fauna. Additionally, seeds and pieces of invasive plant species wash downstream and take root in the wildlife sanctuary. As more of the native plant life, which provides some natural filtration and keeps soil in place, is destroyed upstream, we will continue to see an amplification of these chemical changes and an increase in deposited sediment.

With your help on North Texas Giving Day, we are working to secure funding to help us continue to protect and restore our wetlands, which bear the brunt of many of these negative impacts. We will also work to increase the Heard wetlands’ already significant viability as a habitat and nesting area for many native bird species. The manpower to accomplish these tasks will be considerable and we will continue to need to keep our supplies and tools in working order. We will also need to acquire new tools and supplies. With these resources, the Heard staff and volunteers will be able to remove invasive plants. We will also be able to put in place natural erosion control methods as well as repair damage from previous floods. Much of this project will also include planting new native plant life to restore what has been damaged by both natural and manmade causes.

Last year, during North Texas Giving Day, the Heard raised over $10,000 in one day. If we meet or exceed that amount this year, we will be able to accomplish many of our planned wetland restoration and preservation projects. Thank you for your support and consideration of our project! With your help we will sustain the Heard’s mission to bring nature and people together to discover, enjoy, experience, restore and preserve our priceless environment. Click here to learn more.

About Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary

Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary, a private 501(c)3 organization, 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. 

Marketing & Communications Director at Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary in McKinney, Texas. - Contact Stephanie at  
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