The History of the Wildscape
To Educate the community to use native plants to attract wildlife, conserve resources, and connect with nature.
Members of Arlington
Conservation Council and the Arlington
Organic Garden Club founded the Molly
Hollar Wildscape on half an acre in 1994 to trumpet ecosystem preservation
and the benefits of native plants. The organizations did the heavy
lifting — literally, as in boulders — plus helped to
match $3,000 from their meager treasuries with a like amount
from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and the game was
Thirty thousand volunteer hours later, the wildscape has expanded
into a splendid four-acre enhancement of a last lone stretch of
the Eastern Cross Timbers, which runs through central Arlington
but has been devastated by development.
Tucked away in one of the city’s most popular parks, the
wildscape serves as a living lab, the natural elements providing
a backdrop for programs and tours.
It beckons, on many levels,
the tree hugger and the good corporate citizen.
In 2000, Northrop Grumman employees, for the company’s Good
Turn Project, built a pavilion, benches; kiosks, bridges,
boardwalk; and much more.. Other improvements have been made possible through additional funding from U. S. Fish and Wildlife, the local chapter and state Native Plant Society of Texas, Arlington Parks and Recreation Dept., North Texas C.O.G., several local businesses and individuals. Volunteers have rescued many native plants to live out their lives in the Wildscape. The Wildscape attracts all manner of
similar enthusiasts, from Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists,
to Rotarians and Scouts, to young people in (volunteered by) Tarrant
County Juvenile Services, to the occasional passer-by. It
is a designated site for Master Naturalist training field trips and Master Gardener volunteer site.
Volunteers have grown many, many plants, which have either been
planted in the wildscape (more than $20,000 worth) or been sold
at fundraisers ($10,000 proceeds, and counting). . This
human return on investment has extended outreach to volunteers
who are physically challenged or of advanced years, who delight
in gardening but cannot participate in strenuous digging, bending
Then there’s the “Walk on the Wild Side,” where
school students come through in small groups to hear of the Eastern
Cross Timbers and native plants, see butterflies emerging from their
pupae and mosquito larvae swimming in magnified containers, and
learn how to identify bird songs. The Arlington Conservation Council
has celebrated Earth Day at the wildscape with visitors
learning about environmental issues.
Garden clubs, church groups, civic organizations — all may
arrange a tour. Impromptu teaching of visitors frequently interrupts
the weekly workdays. The new wildscape website: http://www.thewildscape.org is
up, and though now in it’s infancy, it will be growing rapidly.
For its advocates and tireless volunteers, the wildscape is a little
piece of heaven.
One they’re happy to share.