I've always envied people who live in rugged states like Colorado, Utah, Oregon, Wyoming—wide open spaces where you really get a sense of the great outdoors, and all of the wildlife that comes with it. I've lived in Texas my whole life and have always longed to feel more of a connection with nature. Not that our Dallas neighborhood is completely without wild things—from my kitchen window, I often see cute little green lizards climbing up the bricks of my neighbor's house, which practically sits on top of mine. But I yearn for more.
And with daughters who outgrew princesses by the age of six and are now head-over-heels in love with every animal on the planet (including mosquitoes, though technically an insect), I have been faced with the challenge of seeking out interesting animals that live in our neighborhood. Fortunately, and to my surprise, we do in fact have a decent collection of animal species in our East Dallas neighborhood near White Rock Lake. With 9.5 miles of shoreline and 11 miles of trails circling the lake, White Rock is home to more than 30 types of mammals and 50 varieties of reptiles. I happened upon photographer Sean Fitzgerald's website which beautifully showcases the amazing animals that live within a mile or so of our home: bobcats, coyotes, beavers, rabbits, skunks, and minks, to name a few.
Here are five tips for discovering the unique wildlife in your own neighborhood:
1. Explore area hiking trails whenever you get the chance.
2. Visit a nearby nature center or conservancy.
3. Rent a kayak or canoe and head out into the waters to find out what lives below.
4. Look up, look down, and look all around! Take time to examine your surroundings more thoroughly. You never know what might be lurking under a big rock in your garden or in the hollow of an old tree.
5. Visit your local zoo and visit with staff members about what types of animals are native to your area.
In a few weeks our family will visit Yellowstone National Park for the first time, and we couldn't be more excited. Wolves, bison, and bears...oh my! Plus geysers, waterfalls, and so much more to explore. Consider planning your next vacation in the great outdoors, rather than on a sandy beach. Take a walk on the wild side!
The busy city street where our family lives was once, a mere 120 years ago, a grassy stretch of farmland. Covered as it is now with pavement, town houses, playgrounds and apartment buildings, this is truly an amazing transformation. My youn... read more
As children grow, they start to open their eyes to the larger world beyond their family and school. And when they do, it creates an opportunity for us to see things in a new way, too—to take a moment to think about all of those in our community ... read more