Managing our natural resources is a complex job. Not only do we ensure abundant recreational opportunities and the infrastructure that goes along with that; we also apply an array of land management techniques to improve the health of the diverse habitats present on the Refuge; specifically targeting wildlife habitat to ensure connectivity and health of the system. Staff and volunteers of the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge (FWNC&R) lend a helping hand as the designated stewards of the Refuge and the ecosystem services that it provides.
Historically, fire was an important component in ecosystem health of the prairie and Cross Timbers woodlands of North Central Texas. Fire acts as a ‘cleaning agent’ by removing thick thatch build-up and it stimulates new growth. It adds nutrients back into the soil and creates opportunities for even competition. On the Refuge, we use prescribed burning as a tool to manage the prairie and woods.
We manage our herd with three principals in mind: conservation, ecology and exhibit. The primary goal of a Conservation Herd is to maintain the natural genetic diversity of the species. An Ecological Herd is managed to fulfill the bison’s natural role in the ecosystem. An Exhibit Herd is managed primarily to provide viewing opportunities for the general public. Our bison herd has long been an important attraction for visitors and supporters.
Invoking the assistance of the community with projects that benefit the fauna and flora around the FWNC&R is an important component to our work. We are involved with several ongoing projects helping people identify local flora and fauna, identifying bird species frequenting feeders in winter and studying the wildlife that call the FWNC&R home.
If you are interested in learning more about our projects and becoming stewards of the land, please contact the Hardwicke Interpretive Center at (817) 392-7410.