Dallas, Volunteer

Duncanville Nature Preserve Restored in 9/11 Day of Service

DUNCANVILLE, Texas — In the midst of a scorching Texas summer, the city of Duncanville witnessed a remarkable transformation that culminated in the creation of the Charles F. Ladd Nature Preserve on July 18, 2023. What began as an undeveloped property donated to the city back in 1992 evolved into a pristine natural sanctuary, thanks to persistent dedication of the community.

The project gained momentum as Duncanville residents rallied around the idea of preserving the 42-acre Blackland prairie along Ten Mile Creek, nestled within a residential neighborhood teeming with schools, churches, and businesses. Home to over a thousand species of flora and fauna, including river otters, beavers, and great blue herons, the property had suffered from litter due to its proximity to traffic.

Jessamin Jensen, a local resident and member of the Duncanville congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, played a pivotal role in raising awareness. She suggested a clean-up effort for the newly designated area as part of the 9/11 National Day of Service organized by her congregation.

Approximately 50 members of Jessamin’s Church of Jesus Christ congregation, alongside a Duncanville City Council member and two representatives from the Conservancy, dedicated two hours to scouring the woods and waterways for debris. Mark Jones led a city crew in retrieving numerous bags filled with litter, some of which proved quite heavy.

The project gained additional momentum when Jeremy Koontz, a City Council member from District 3, became interested in the site during a bike ride and started learning about its history. He became one of the first citizens to advocate for city action and now aims to identify “points of source” to better control litter throughout the city.

Shannon Roberts from the Conservancy also joined the efforts, and Erika Brown, City Hall liaison for the Conservancy, expressed gratitude for the community’s contribution, highlighting the clean-up on their website.

An article by Julie Thibodeaux of GreenSourceDFW provided additional information on this endeavor, including a YouTube video featuring historical insights and photos by Mark Graham, who attended the event. The video opens with an excerpt from Henry David Thoreau’s famous poem “Nature,” narrated by the Conservancy’s mascot, Rippy the River Otter.

This transformational project serves as a testament to the adage, “Think global, act local.” The Charles F. Ladd Nature Preserve exemplifies a community’s commitment to preserving the beauty of creation for present and future generations, honoring those who came before us.