These programs (unless otherwise noted) are open to the public and are free with paid general admission or Heard Museum Membership. Preregistration required for set-up purposes.

Many of these programs will have an outside component. Please dress appropriately.

July 18; 9:30 a.m.

America’s Lion – The Mountain Lion in Texas - Register

Regardless of what you call it – mountain lion, cougar, panther or puma – this cat is a Texas native and the largest feline in the state. Come find out about the history of this elusive animal, its importance to the environment, current status, and its future.  Monica Morrison is a volunteer at a big cat sanctuary that has numerous mountain lions.  She has studied mountain lions and other big cats both in captivity and in the wild for fifteen years.

August 15; 9:30 a.m.

Extending the Season – Organic Vegetables All Winter - Register

Longtime veggie gardener and Master Naturalist, Tony Manasseri, will show us how he is able to grow vegetables through the long winter months here in North Texas.  He will cover varieties, starting seeds, soil prep, fertilization and harvest, all without the use of toxic chemicals.

September 19, 2015; 9:30 a.m.

How to Identify Wildflowers - Register

  • Talk led by Jim Varnum, Master Naturalist
  • You can learn a lot about a plant just by looking at its flower! In this talk, you will learn about flower parts and then go outside to identify wildflowers in bloom in the area. Be sure to dress and prepare appropriately for the weather and outdoor conditions. We recommend you wear insect repellent.  

October  17, 2015; 9:30 a.m.

A Visit to Parkhill Prairie - Register

  • Tour led by Randy Moore, Retiree of the USDA’s Natural Resources & Conservation Service
  • Location: Parkhill Prairie in Northeast Collin County (off-site field trip)
  • This fieldtrip will meet at Parkhill Prairie in Northeast Collin County, rather than at the Heard. Parkhill Prairie features a 52-acre relic of the Blackland tallgrass prairie, the most-endangered large ecosystem in North America. This park provides magnificent views of the countryside, much like those viewed by the early Texas settlers more than 100 years ago. During this field trip, you will enjoy a tour of Parkhill Prairie with Randy Moore. This tour will focus on prairie ecology, with an emphasis on the plant life. 
  • Notes: Be prepared to walk through the prairie. We recommend wearing closed-toe walking shoes, insect repellant, and a hat. You may also wish to bring binoculars. Lunch tables will be available on site, so be sure to bring a snack and water. Restrooms may not be available.
  • Directions: Driving directions: From McKinney, go East on US Hwy 380 toward Farmersville. At Farmersville take State Highway 78 North toward Blue Ridge. Near Blue Ridge turn right onto County Road 825 (east). CR825 is asphalt and will bend to the south. Turn left onto County Road 668 (east). Parkhill Prairie entrance will be on the left side approximately two miles.

November 21, 2015: 9:30 a.m. 

Historic Uses of North Texas Plants - Register

  • Talk led by Carol Clark, Blackland Prairie Master Naturalist, Native Plant Society President
  • When settlers of European descent first moved into the North Texas area, there was no such thing as the modern "shopping trip." Stores were few and far between, and weren't guaranteed to have what the settlers needed anyway, so they had to be resourceful. They hunted, grew crops and foraged to fill most of their needs. Learning from the local Native Americans, they discovered how North Texas native plants could be used for food, medicine, shelter, fiber, dyes and more. You'll look at some of our most common local plants in a whole new way after this presentation.  

December 19, 2015; 9:30 a.m.

Winter Tree Identification and Ecology of the Heard - Register
  • Tour led by Dave Powell, Blackland Prairie Master Naturalist & Heard Museum Trail Guide
  • In the winter, when many plants have lost their leaves, it may seem impossible to identify these plants; however, during this hike, you will learn about some of the ways you can identify plants without their foliage. This program is entirely outdoors. Participants in this hike will explore less-frequently visited areas of the Heard’s wildlife sanctuary and see some unusually large trees in the lowland areas. Occasional sightings of some of the wildlife of the area may occur as well!