"To be able to conserve 270 acres of important wildlife habitat in a major metropolitan area is incredible," said Flicker. "Dogwood Canyon will reveal a that world many people in the area rarely see, and provide an unrivaled opportunity for people of all ages and backgrounds to experience, understand, and grow to care for the natural world."
The $7.4 million project is a result of a partnership with the City of Cedar Hill and Audubon Dallas, the local chapter. The Center building, to be located on FM1382, will be named the C.E. Doolin Education & Visitors Center. A spring 2009 opening is anticipated for the Center, expected to serve 40,000 visitors annually.
The site includes the conservation of 270 acres of critical wildlife habitat just 15 miles southwest of downtown Dallas, and will feature a 6,000 square-foot education and visitor's center designed by Cunningham Architects. Plans also include interpretive hiking trails designed by MESA.
Dogwood Canyon is located on the White Rock Escarpment and is named for the flowering dogwoods that are found in the Canyon. The flowering dogwood is common to the Pineywoods and post oak belts of Texas, but is generally absent from shallow clay soils of the limestone regions. Plants and animals from East, West and Central Texas converge here at the outer limits of their ranges, making Dogwood Canyon home to a unique combination of flora and fauna. Most importantly, the Canyon supports mature Ashe Juniper trees, the primary nesting habitat needed for the federally-endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler. Sightings of the Golden-cheeked Warbler in Dogwood Canyon were first recorded in 2001, and this is the only known population found in Dallas County in the past 35 years.
The groundbreaking ceremony will include the planting of a dogwood tree by local schoolchildren to celebrate the conservation of the canyon, and the science education programs that will serve 5,000 schoolchildren at the Center each year.
Audubon Texas, the state program of the National Audubon Society, is working to restore over 3 million acres of grasslands, oversee 13,000 acres of critical coastal habitat, and educate 50,000 students on an annual basis. www.tx.audubon.org
For background and photo of John Flicker see http://audubon.org/news/pressroom/Leaders/Flicker.html