Naturalist

Growing up in Crow’s Creek, a branch of Oak Cliff’s Five Mile Creek, Kristi Kerr Leonard is at home in nature, and has had a lifelong love of it. In fact, she was thrilled to find her tribe in 2014 when she became a Certified North Texas Master Naturalist. Her breadth of knowledge embraces history, medicinal and edible plants, trees, geology, and native American Indians.

Nature Explorer

Today, Kristi is a guide and teacher, and one of Dallas’ most passionate advocates of its greenspaces. She is dedicated to sharing how much there is to appreciate about them. Kristi truly believes “Once you experience our city’s most coveted greenspaces, you’ll understand just how important they are.”

Kristi Leading Junior class hikes on Pioneer EnglishHistory research for the Episcopal School of Dallas
Leading Junior class hikes on Pioneer English/History research for the Episcopal School of Dallas (ESD).  At ESD’s outdoor ranch, Wolf Run, with Bob Richie and Kristi Kerr Leonard. Students – and leaders – thrilled to find a turtle shell in the prairie.
The Guide

A natural explorer, Kristi has led hikes at historic Piedmont Ridge Trail and the Comanche Storytelling Place, Trinity Park Overlook Trail for Trinity Park ConservancySpring Creek Preserve for the City of Richardson and many full moon hikes for her daring and adventurous friends.

In fact, Kristi has also led educational hikes into The Great Trinity Forest with District 5 City Councilman Rickey D. Callahan and Neighbor Up General Manager Edie Diaz, as well as with Dallas Police Department, Dallas Fire Department employees, City Prosecutors, and Code Compliance through the Great Trinity Forest with co-leader anthropologist, Linda Pelon.

Warning to the timid:  Kristi does not always follow paths as she often prefers to blaze her own trail! Therefore, hiking with Kristi is sure to be an adventure!

Leading Educational Hike at Spring Creek Forest Preserve
Kristi Kerr Leonard, leading an educational hike at Spring Creek Forest Preserve See this interpretive guide if you wish to visit the preserve, interpretive guide.
The Teacher

True to her passion, Kristi thoroughly enjoys teaching 4th graders at the first Junior Master Naturalist class in the country at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

“I fervently believe that people protect what they love. And when they are given the opportunity to actually be ‘in’ the outdoors and ‘present’ to nature, they experience a sense of calm and relaxation. In fact, there are many proven psychological, emotional and spiritual benefits to surrounding oneself in nature’s endless wonders, be it among trees, plants, wildlife, rivers, the oceans and more.  Once we allow those endorphins to kick in, we fall in love and do what we can to protect our earth.”

Educate on the Beauty and the Issues City of Dallas Code Compliance
After an introductory hike through the Great Trinity Forest with Linda Pelon, anthropologist and Kristi Kerr Leonard, to educate on the beauty and the issues of the forest. With City of Dallas code compliance, police, and other officials; Edie Diaz, General Manager for Neighbor Up
Interested in joining?

If you would like to attend one of her nature hikes or schedule your own contact Kristi today.

Upcoming Hikes

Full Moon Prairie Hike

When: Tuesday, October 23, 7 to 9 pm

Where: Harry Moss Park, SE corner of Greenville and Royal, Dallas, TX 75231 (Do not go to address above or where Google maps instructs; wrong part of the park.) Gather at the eastern end of the parking lot past the barricade.

Full Moon Prarie Hike

Join Amy Martin and Kristi Kerr Leonard on a Full Moon Prairie Hike. In the prairie, the sky is half the landscape, especially on a moonlit night. Come hike the Blackland Prairie of the high slopes of Harry Moss Park as the Full Moon rises in the east. Experience the prairie as Native Americans, trappers and settlers did when hot weather encouraged travel at night. Sunset is 6:45 pm; twilight ends 7:10 pm. Moonrise is 6:45 pm.

We’ll take a few breaks to chat about the Moon and commune with the moonlight. As we walk, we’ll listen for owls and discover moths and other insects out at night. Howling at the Moon is guaranteed.

Harry Moss Park, the site of the North Texas Master Naturalists’ Big Chapter Project, features 80 acres of Blackland Prairie restoration.

Dogs on leashes and supervised children welcome.

Trails are dirt and narrow. Wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes and dark-colored clothes. A mat or towel to sit on during breaks can be helpful.

Though we will not use them as we walk, bring a small pocket flashlight just in case you want to look at a bug or plant up close.

These apps can be handy for skywatchers: Starwalk, Moon Phase.

In case of rain or overcast skies, please check the NTMN calendar or Facebook event page for updates.

 


 

Piedmont Ridge & Comanche Storytelling Place Walk

When: Saturday, November 3, 2018 10:00AM – 1:00 PM – TIME MIGHT CHANGE

Where: Grover C. Keeton Gold Course, 2323 N. Jim Miller

Ben Sandifer Path in Field
Photo used with permission by Ben Sandifer

The educational walk will begin at the field to the north of Grover C. Keeton Golf Course. Park in golf course lot furthest north and look for Master Naturalist who will be clearly identifiable. Leaders will have left one car at Devon Anderson Park to take four drivers back to cars at the golf course lot and shuttle remaining hikers back to their cars.

Timing:
Plan on a three hour rugged ridge hike, approximately 2.8 miles, plus education breaks along the ridge of the great forest which will end at the sacred Comanche Storytelling place.

Difficulty:
Moderate with brief strenuous stretches. Poison ivy will be in the beginning stages of growth. The landscape offers a rocky ridge, open fields/prairies and open to thick woods.

Attire/Items to bring:
Wear closed toe shoes, pants, long sleeves, bandana, bring insect repellant, 16 ounces of water, snacks and a trash sack. Plan on bathing after hike if allergic to poison ivy.

Suggested age limit is 12 and up, with parental discretion respected as to child’s interest and physical stamina. Parents are required to accompany kids ages 12-18. While dogs are allowed on this public trail, we do not suggest bringing as some of the houses bordering trail allow their dogs to be loose.

Description:
Prepare for an adventure with anthropologist and educator, Linda Pelon and Texas Master Naturalist and nature explorer, Kristi Kerr Leonard on Piedmont Ridge Trail. This special trail is one of the two historical “Gateway Trails” – the beginning of The Great Trinity Forest, 6000 acres of the largest urban hardwood forest in America located in the Blackland Prairie ecoregion with habitats within that include bottomland hardwood forest, riparian zones, wetlands, open water ponds, prairie remnants, and the Trinity River itself.

Our breaks will cover history, some native American and pioneer cultural aspects, two native prairie remnants, plants, trees, creeks and spring wildflowers.

This soft surface trail provides one of the highest points in the county and great vistas. It is in a relatively undisturbed section of Dallas’ Trinity River Valley near the confluence of White Rock Creek and the Trinity River is one of the rare and special places where evidence of thousands of years of human occupation is preserved. Cultural resources present here range from sites of early Native Peoples, through historic Indian tribes, to the land grants of Dallas’ first pioneers. Sites associated with Freedmen’s farming communities and some of Dallas’ earliest African American urban neighborhood were/are also located here[1] and can be generally seen from the ridge trail.

The Comanche Storytelling Place at Devon Anderson Park has been identified by the Comanche Nation as a sacred holy ground and has been identified as a candidate for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. The natural limestone shaped amphitheater was believed to have been used by Native Americans in the area prior to European settlement.

Walk Leaders:
Kristi Kerr Leonard and Linda Pelon