Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary is a private, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to bringing nature and people together to discover, enjoy, experience, restore and preserve our priceless environment. Your support through financial contributions will help ensure that the Heard, including a 289-acre nature preserve, will be sustained.
Thank you for your consideration of this project and your support!
This Year’s Project: Prairie Restoration
North Texas Giving Day early giving started September 1. This year, we’re working on a campaign to raise $30,000 to help revegetate 10 acres of prairie at the Heard. This might sound like a large amount to reach, but if every one of our followers on Facebook and Instagram gave us just $1 today, we could reach that goal! Donations can be made through www.northtexasgivingday.org/organization/heardmuseum or at our website.
Please consider helping if you can. If you’re not able to help financially, please consider sharing! That is also very helpful.
Why are we trying to reseed/revegetate the prairie? Today, less than 1% of the original 12 million acres remain in their true prairie condition or as restored prairies. This makes the Blackland Prairie part of the most endangered large ecosystem in North America. The Heard is a part of this ecosystem. The Heard Wildlife Sanctuary is now an oasis of preserved and restored Blackland Prairie bordered by subdivisions and commercial development.
Preservation of the Blackland Prairie is vital because native animals and insects lose the food and shelter they depend upon to survive. What habitat remains becomes increasingly fragmented. To continue to preserve native habitats, the Heard faces many challenges on our site.
Invasive plant species often make their way in, crowding out and killing off native plants. Fire and large grazing mammals were essential to keeping out trees and other plants that would change the character of the habitats. These methods are often very limited in densely populated areas.
Additionally, land that was quickly cleared for agriculture was, in turn, easily converted into residential and commercial developments.
In addition to preserving and continually restoring our Blackland Prairie habitats, the Heard’s mission is to bring nature and people together to discover, enjoy, experience, restore and preserve our priceless environment.
We strive to help the public understand the value of these resources we are losing. Moreover, we aim to empower the public to help restore this ecoregion–even if on their home lots one bit of land at a time. Thank you for your support.
More About Us
Founded in 1967, the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary in McKinney Texas consists of a natural science museum, indoor and outdoor exhibits, over six miles of nature trails, an outdoor amphitheater and a 289 acre wildlife sanctuary. The Heard hosts more than 100,000 visitors each year, drawing families, educators, researchers, environmentalists, and more. Visitors hike the trails year round (self-guided or interpreted by Heard volunteers and staff, by reservation) and have the opportunity encounter many species of flora and fauna. Programs offered by the Heard include exhibits, school field trips, outreach programs, homeschool natural science programs, preschool natural science programs, summer nature camps, birthday parties, scouting initiatives, environmental research programs, team-building initiatives, night hikes and community events.
Protected for its biological importance and for scientific and educational use, this nature preserve is part of the less than 1% of the Blackland Prairie (the most endangered ecosystem in North America) that remains. The Heard Wildlife Sanctuary is a nature preserve rather than a park because of the special character of this area and the rarity of some of its plants and animals. Preserving these natural resources depends on our collective stewardship. Because the Heard does not receive regular tax funding, improvements to our facility and conservation of these resources are made possible with the support of individuals like you through donations, admissions and volunteering.
The Heard was founded in 1967 by Bessie Heard at the age of 80. In a time when the rate of expansion of the Metroplex was slower than today, she foresaw the need to preserve a place where future generations could experience nature. The Heard’s mission of bringing nature and people together is largely fulfilled through onsite educational programs, which emphasizes an appreciation of nature and its conservation and utilizes the natural resources available within our 289-acre nature preserve.
The Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary located in McKinney, TX also manages roughly 60 combined acres of Blackland Prairie restoration sites. The Blackland Prairie ecoregion once covered over 19,000 square miles in Texas, which began at the Red River, north of Dallas, and extended south to present-day San Antonio. Now, less than 1% of this ecologically critical ecosystem remains.
Please note: the button labeled “register” below will take you to our North Texas Giving Day donation page.