By: Paul Acosta, Executive Director, Sibley Nature Center
About Sibley Nature Center: The Sibley Nature Center exists to create an understanding and appreciation of the nature and history of the Llano Estacado region through a broad range of educational programs and personal experiences.
How has the Moody Foundation funding been used to support your educational programs?
The gift from the Moody Foundation is being used to fund our youth and adult education programming. Funding has allowed us to provide free year-round educational programs and two festivals. Our programming includes monthly Pre-K programs, quarterly artist receptions, a monthly lecture series, garden programs, seasonal youth camps, K-12 field experiences, fall and spring festivals and TEKS (Texas Educational Knowledge Standards) aligned outreach.
How many people does your program help every month/year? Any volunteers?
In 2021, our community benefited from Moody Foundation’s support. Over 30,000 people hiked our trail system, 600+ families attended our fall festival, and we offered 120 programs to 3,302 participants through in-person, virtual and outreach methods. We also have a volunteer base that offered over 714 hours of service. Our upcoming spring festival has historically hosted 600-700 families and activities include: science projects, a puppet show, games and music, food trucks, crafts, a petting zoo and garden tours. This year, the festival will take place on April 30, 2023.
What can participants expect to gain from the program?
Participants gain a deeper connection and understanding of the Llano Estacado and surrounding regions through flora, fauna and history through experiential programs, festivals, lectures and writings. Programs provide a sense of ownership providing knowledge that encourages stewardship of our area we call home.
How do you measure success for your program?
We measure the success of our program engagement by keeping class sizes small to foster individual attention and personal growth. Ultimately, by connecting individuals with scientific concepts in local eco-systems, we are promoting awareness and stewardship. Unsolicited feedback also helps to shape current and future programming.