Volunteers Refurbish Urban Nature Center

As it does at least once a year, the Audubon Society has opened one of its Urban Nature Centers to volunteers from a large Houston energy company, who spent their Columbus Day refurbishing a small nature park in southeast Houston. Houston Public Radio's Jim Bell reports.

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The Audubon Society's Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center is in the Park Place neighborhood just north of the Gulf Freeway outside the Loop 610. It's actually a former private home on about an acre of wooded property on the banks of Sims Bayou. Society Education Coordinator Mary Anne Weber says it's not a public park, but it is open to the public.

"The public can come. We have school groups come all the time, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts. We do all kinds of workshops, summer camp, teacher workshops, family days."

Today, more than a hundred volunteers from Dominion Exploration put on their work clothes and gloves and spent the day generally fixing up everything that needed fixing and making the park more accessible.

"So the trails have been redone. The docks and the decking and the boardwalks are all being redone so that folks who are handicapped can have full access all the way down to the bayou."

Dominion Senior Vice President Tim Parker says they take on public service projects like this because it's important, and someone needs to do it.

"We're here for two reasons. One, because this is a great way for us to spend the day. But the other thing is, Houston is our home. And this is a way that we can help make Houston a better place we think."

Tom Auld is one of the volunteers, and he was there because he likes working with wood.

"(Hi what ya building?) Oh we're building a wheelchair accessible ramp and a deck to overlook the pond here. (Why are you out here today?) I like to get out of the office and I love to do carpentry. (haha)"

There's more information on the Audubon Society Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center and its programs on our website KUHF dot Org. Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.