About Us

Pink Siris by K.P. Wilska

A Common
Goal

On June 1, 1974, 40 individuals who shared a common goal of preserving and protecting the natural and cultural resources found at the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge established the Friends of the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge Inc. as a non-profit organization. The Friends have evolved over the years, from hands-on running of Nature Center programs in the early years to our present function as an organization whose sole purpose is to financially support the Nature Center. Friends members and supporters have made several significant benefits possible for the Nature Center in recent years:

Bison nudging her calf while standing in a green field at the Fort Worth Nature Center
American Bison and Calf by Brandon Marling

01

Animal Care

Care for the bison herd and wildlife ambassadors

Intern cutting a broken limb with a chainsaw at the Fort Worth Nature Center
Intern Jennifer Matthews by FWNC&R Staff

02

Internships

Intern positions to supplement Nature Center staff and provide career growth for future conservationists

Staff member installing a trail counter box for the Trail Counter Project at the Fort Worth Nature Center
Trail Counter Project by FWNC&R Staff

03

Investigation

Research studies on trail usage, invasive species, and outdoor education programs that can be customized for schools to improve STAAR science scores

Michael Perez teaching young campers about nature under the cover of the Lotus Marsh Pavilion at the Fort Worth Nature Center
Lotus Marsh Pavilion by Friends Staff

04

Improvements

Major capital projects, including new parking lot, restroom, and trail upgrades at Greer Island and the new Lotus Marsh Pavilion for public, private, and education programs

Visitors purchasing plants from the Fort Worth Nature Center greenhouse
Greenhouse Sale Day by FWNC&R Staff

05

Native Plants

New greenhouse for native plant propagation and education programs

Teenage girl holding up a fish that she caught at the Fort Worth Nature Center
Camp Paddle & Cast by Friends Staff

06

Programs

Camp Paddle & Cast program equipment and supplies

Our Mission

To preserve and protect the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge for future generations

Honey Bee on Redbud by Judy Keown

What We Do

Orange and black American Lady butterfly on pink Redwhisker Clammyweed flowers at the Greer Island Causeway at the Fort Worth Nature Center
American Lady Butterfly on Redwhisker Clammyweed by K.P. Wilska

Supporting the Nature Center

Tax-deductible memberships, donations, and sales at the gift shop allow the Friends to provide critical services, programs, and improvements in partnership with the Nature Center. You can learn more about the Friends, including financial information and ways we support the Nature Center, through our most-recent annual reports here.

We should all take the time and opportunity to revel in the beauties and wonders that the Nature Center offers. Visit often, and each time, you will experience new adventures. It will be good for your body — and your soul.

Marty Leonard, Board Member Emeritus, Friends of the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge

Land Spit by Trinity Arts Photo Club

Leadership

The Friends’ Board of Directors currently has 19 regular members and one emeritus member. The organization is led by a full-time executive director.

Portrait of Friends Executive Director Haily Summerford leaning against a fence post at the Fort Worth Nature Center

It is truly a blessing to have one of the largest urban nature parks in the U.S. right here in this great city.

Haily Summerford, Executive Director, Friends of the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge
Old 1976 of the original Lotus Marsh Boardwalk sign at the Fort Worth Nature Center
1976 Lotus Marsh Boardwalk Sign by FWNC&R Archives
Old 1964 photo of Margaret Parker drinking coffee during an Audubon field trip to Greer Island at the Fort Worth Nature Center
1964 Audubon Field Trip to Greer Island by FWNC&R Archives

Our History

The Friends of the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge officially formed on June 1, 1974, at a meeting of like-minded individuals on Greer Island. Today, the Friends have evolved into an organization whose sole purpose is to financially support the Nature Center, providing more than $3 million in funding since 2017. Visit our history page to learn more about the history of our organization and the founding of the Nature Center.

Need to Get in Touch?

If you have questions or comments, email us at info@naturecenterfriends.org. You can also contact us by phone at 817.932.7335.