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Posts Tagged ‘Dallas’

After last weekend’s great experience at the Texas Horse Park I was excited about spending my Saturday morning working with Groundwork Dallas again.  This weekend’s task was Operation    A. C. T. (A Clean Trinity) with two different staging locations along the Trinity.  I choose Rochester Park.

It was a very different scene than last weekend.  Not only the location which was a well frequented park that I drive by daily as I travel down 175.  But, also the number of volunteers.  There were at least 20 teenagers gathered at the pavilion ready to work when I showed up at 9:00 am. 

We were all given a T-shirt, gloves, a trash bag and litter sticks (always wanted to operate one of those).  We headed out across the park to gather trash.  I started out super ambitious and stopped about every 8 inches picking up a cigarette butt or a Bud bottle cap.  

You know how somethings in life happen for a reason.  Do you pay attention to Karma?  So just 24 hours before one of my peers who is responsible for the blog at my 9 to 5 job went off on litterbugs.  Publicly on the world-wide web.  And the litter bug happened to be a smoker.  My immediate reaction was come on, smokers can’t get away with anything these days.  24 hours later I am face to face with thousands of cigarette butts and countless litterbugs. 

Okay, okay I am not perfect and I have littered before.  But gracious!  I picked up more beer bottle caps, butts, cigar wrappers, and candy wrappers than I ever expected to encounter.  I am all for live and let be when it comes to anybody’s fun of choice.  But, this experience really brought it home that each individual action can really add up to a bad experience for everyone if people don’t take responsibility for themselves. 

As we continued to clean the landscape began to change and bag after bag began to pile up in the dumpster.  And before I knew it we were packing up and hot dogs were being distributed and happily consumed. 

But this is when the really good part started.  Groundwork Dallas’ leaders gathered all the teenagers and begin to talk about the upcoming summer jobs that are coming available.

The more I heard the more appreciated the opportunity and the teens involved.  All of the teenagers there are able to work with Groundwork Dallas each Saturday from now until the end of the school year on a volunteer basis.  Once school ends the top ten performers will be selected for a paid summer job.   Each day would be split between morning activities building and maintaining the trails and the afternoon “fun” activities, like water sampling at the Trinity River Audubon Center.  But the coolest fun activity was working with D.O.R.B.A. (Dallas Off Road Bicycle Association) in building a mountain bike that each individual will take with them at the end of the summer.

As the details of the summer program were being worked through with the teenagers, and hot dogs disappearing I slipped back to my “real” life.   But, as the week has gone on I have keep up with Groundwork Dallas and marked my calendar with the next opportunity to get involved.  And I realize that preserving the number one reason that I love where I live, the Trinity Forest, is worth being a part of my real life. 

To get involved with the Groundwork Dallas visit, www.groundworkdallas.org

To see the results of last week’s efforts, check out the pictures of Kay Bailey Hutchison’s visit to the Texas Horse Park on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Texas-Horse-Park/264995458881

To learn out more about D.O.R.B.A visit, http://www.dorba2.com/

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I bet very few Dallasites know the Great Trinnity Forest is the largest urban hardwood forest in the nation.  Or, that there are amazing trails that allow you to take a vacation from the concrete jungle out your back door.  But, I am do and consider myself extremely lucky. 

At first I tried to tell people about the trails, but they just stared at me like I had two heads and offered me Mace.  Finally, I stopped talking about it.  As Sissy says “Fine, forgit it.”  I thought if they can’t appreciate that this part of Dallas has something to offer, fine they don’t to need to experience this. 

On Saturday, I realized I was wrong.  I have been trying to do volunteer work for Groundwork Dallas for over a year.  They are an organization that is supported by the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Parks Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Programs.  On Saturday, I finally made it to a trail building.

I rolled out of bed, threw on some clothes (in hindsight the wrong clothes) and headed to the location on my GPS.  It was only miles from my house, but in a land far, far away.  Through a gate, down a dirt road, through another gate, and into nothing but green as far as the eye can see.  This is Dallas people.  Minutes from downtown Dallas.

There was a bit of loitering at first.  Being my first time I didn’t know what to do but sit and wait till they put me to work.  Then, I realized that we were waiting on someone important to show up.  I soon found out that this person was the President and CEO of the Trinity Foundation, Dr. Gail Thomas.  She arrived and off we go on the grand tour of the Texas Horse Park.  I gradually learn that what we are doing here is the final stage of clearing a trail that Dr. Gail Thomas, and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison will be riding next week at the inaugural trail ride. 

Touring with dignitaries was not what I expected, but was very interesting.  I also learned that raising $350,000 by May 15 would ensure that the city funding for the Texas Horse Park and the associated Trinity Forest trails would remain earmarked.  Without that money things would grind to a halt.  Okay, so that puts the day’s activities in perspective.   More importantly, it made me realize how important it was to convince my friends that the trails do exist and that they are worth investing time and money to save and expand.

After the tour, I was antsy to get started.  Seriously, let’s get to work.  Around that time another set of volunteers showed up and we all headed out with clippers, trimmers, and other cutting implements and started to work.  A few hours later the final path had been cleared.  And, I felt great.  A minor player in the quest to save the world. A baby step, but a step none the less.

To get involved with the trails, www.groundworkdallas.org

To learn more about the very cool plans for the Texas Horse Park, www.texashorsepark.com

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I’ve made the realization in the last year that I have grown old enough to have  people.  Not beck and call people.  Not peeps.  But a group of people who I like to work with.  That I trust.  That I genuinely like as people, as well as respect as talented professionals. 

Shanda Eppinette is one of those people.  Her massage therapeutic  practice in the back of the Dallas Yoga Center is a wonderful oasis of muted colors, warm blankets and soft music.  Once your settled in Shanda will begins the process of making life a better place.  Somehow she manages to understand exactly what you need and then uses multiple therapeutic techniques to begin the healing process.

There are many place in Dallas to get a massage.  But for me this is the only place.

Dallas Yoga Center

Shanda Eppinette

214-549-9902

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Fort Worth artist Sedrick Huckaby’s Big Mama exhibit opens on Friday at the Valley House Gallery & Sculpture Garden.  The 2008 Guggenheim Fellowship recipient pays tribute to his grandmother’s life.  For more information, visit: http://www.valleyhouse.com

 

Free admission

 

6616 Spring Valley Road

Dallas, TX 75254

972-239-2441

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There were a number of questions that hit me as prior to entering the Trinity River Audubon Center. 

 

Will we get in or will this be a wasted trip?  We had tried to get into the center at 11:00 am this morning and been turned away at the entrance by one of the 20 police officers managing the numerous people trying to get in.  I was really surprised that this many people even knew about the Audubon opening, much less wanting to attend.  Luckily, our second attempt paid off and we were able to get in at 4:00 p.m. with an hour left in opening weekend.

 

How long will it take for this to be the most sought after social scene in Dallas? My first reaction to the building was that it was beautiful, interesting and fit perfectly with its environment.  That’s unusual in Dallas, so my first thought was weddings, receptions, and cocktail hours – a very Dallas way of thinking.  However, the more I read about this building the more I realize that this building encompasses a truly new way of thinking for Dallas.  The 21,000 square-foot center is LEED certified, has a vegetative roof, green concrete, cedar siding.  The overall site has an onsite wastewater treatment center, permeable parking lots, and boardwalks utilizing recycled materials.  It’s very impressive and a noticeable shift in thinking.

 

What makes this trail better than the one behind my house?

Okay, so the actual building is great.  And the hands-on exhibits inside entertains both kids and adults teaching you about the local habitat as well as the impact of a
Trinity River flood.  But I live in the Great Trinity Forest, and the best part (other than the wealth of trees) is the nearby neighborhood trails.  So what makes this trail so great?  Well to start with this site was previously known as the Deepwood Landfill that contained 1.5 million tons of construction debris that had been illegally dumped here.  In an admirable effort to take a bad thing and turn it around the waste was consolidated into hills and planted with prairie grass and hardwood trees.  Wetland mashes and ponds were added creating a wonderful environment for all of species.  And if all that wasn’t enough, here is what made this trail different.  I passed countless families out exploring these trails, showing their children wildlife in its natural habitat.  Even better, I spotted two fathers discussing the effects of water conservation and the use of recycled materials to the families.  This is a place where life lessons are made fun.

 

There were all kinds of different groups at the Trinity River Audubon Center celebrating the opening including the Blackland Prairie Raptor Center, Texas Beekeepers Association, and REI.  This was all very cool.  But, don’t miss out on the really interesting thing, the Trinity River Audubon Center itself.  Welcome to the hood!

 

Hours: Thursday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Third Thursdays of each month 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

 

Admission: $6.00 Adults; $3.00 Children; $4.00 Seniors; Free every third Thursday

 

Trinity River Audubon Center

6500 South Loop 12

Dallas, TX 75217

214-370-9967

www.trinityriveraudubon.org

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There is a lot to be seen at Fuel City; longhorns, Tejano karaoke, and bikini clad beauties by the pool.  However, I try to focus on my specific Fuel City needs, ignoring the Tony Romo jerseys and the line of cars headed though the drive-through beer line.  The first need being competitively priced gas.  Once the gas pump is started, I head straight for the award-winning tacos.  I prefer to head passed the officers keeping the peace in front of the Beer Cave, to the interior window of the taco stand to order.  With the tacos paid for and cooking, I weave through the line of customers cashing their Friday paychecks to the fountain drinks, grabbing a bag of spicy or lime pork rinds along the way.  Then, there is the jockeying for position at the check-out counter – being my only allotted time to take in the varying customers and wonder in amazement at the number of ways to wear a hat or fedora.  Re-focusing on the task at hand, I head out the front door to secure the elotes (corn in a cup) from the vendor in the front.  From there it’s a quick pick-up of the previously ordered tacos at the exterior window and the final task of positioning the vehicle to exit straight to the I-35 South on-ramp.

 

2 barbacoa, 2 beef fajita, 2 picadillo tacos

1 bag of spicy pork rinds

2 fountain drinks

1 corn

$14.00

 

Fuel City

801 S. Industrial Blvd

Dallas, TX 75207

214-426-0011

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