Stephanie Jennings
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White-tailed Deer Animal Ambassador at the Heard White-tailed Deer Animal Ambassador at the Heard

This North Texas Giving Day, September 22, please consider helping the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary in McKinney, Texas, replace our Animal Care Cottage! The cottage is an integral part of being able to efficiently and effectively take care of our animal ambassadors on the Animal Encounter Trail. Having an area near the trail for food preparation, storage, and cleaning reduces animal care time by half (compared to what it would be if we did not have an area like that nearby). A better-equipped cottage than what currently exists would further allow our staff and volunteers to save time on these particular daily animal care tasks.

Why is this important? 

By increasing the efficiency of animal care tasks such as food preparation, storage, and cleaning as much as possible, our staff and volunteers will have more time available for further enrichment activities, training, education, and more. Adding additional storage space near the trail would also help tremendously with things like training by making that equipment handier. Moreover, we would be able to store equipment such as kennels, where everything is more easily accessible in an emergency.

Additionally, during the increasingly extreme Texas weather, having a place where staff and volunteers can take breaks with air conditioning and heat has become important for the safety of those taking care of the animal ambassadors. Heard staff and volunteers spend at least six hours per day, 365 days a year, in the current Animal Care Cottage, in every type of weather. 

Project Information

Built in 2008, the current cottage has aged, and the needs of the animals in our care have grown. As a result, the Heard needs a new facility that will provide insulation, heat and air conditioning, wifi, new appliances, and more. This project is estimated to cost approximately $30,000. Please consider contributing today. A gift of just $25 would help us meet our goal to replace the Animal Care Cottage. Gifts made prior to September 22 will be scheduled and processed on that date. 

Thank you for your consideration of this project and your support!

About Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary

Founded in 1967, the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary in McKinney Texas consists of a natural science museum, indoor and outdoor exhibits, over six miles of nature trails, an outdoor amphitheater, and a 289-acre wildlife sanctuary. The Heard hosts more than 100,000 visitors each year, drawing families, educators, researchers, environmentalists, and more. Visitors hike the trails year-round (self-guided or interpreted by Heard volunteers and staff, by reservation) and have the opportunity to encounter many species of flora and fauna. Programs offered by the Heard include exhibits, school field trips, outreach programs, homeschool natural science programs, preschool natural science programs, summer nature camps, birthday parties, scouting initiatives, environmental research programs, team-building initiatives, night hikes, and community events.

Protected for its biological importance and for scientific and educational use, this nature preserve is part of the less than 1% of the Blackland Prairie (the most endangered ecosystem in North America) that remains. The Heard Wildlife Sanctuary is a nature preserve rather than a park because of the special character of this area and the rarity of some of its plants and animals. Preserving these natural resources depends on our collective stewardship. Because the Heard does not receive regular tax funding, improvements to our facility and conservation of these resources are made possible with the support of individuals like you through donations, admissions, and volunteering.

The Heard was founded in 1967 by Bessie Heard at the age of 80. In a time when the rate of expansion of the Metroplex was slower than today, she foresaw the need to preserve a place where future generations could experience nature. The Heard's mission of bringing nature and people together is largely fulfilled through onsite educational programs, which emphasize an appreciation of nature and its conservation and utilize the natural resources available within our 289-acre nature preserve.

The Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary located in McKinney, TX also manages roughly 60 combined acres of Blackland Prairie restoration sites. The Blackland Prairie ecoregion once covered over 19,000 square miles in Texas, which began at the Red River, north of Dallas, and extended south to present-day San Antonio. Now, less than 1% of this ecologically critical ecosystem remains.

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