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DENTON County Everything you need to plan your family’s best summer!

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50 ways to enjoy THE GREAT OUTDOORS

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DENTON County

MAY/JUNE Volume 2, Issue 3

Lewisville is home to one of America's top aquatic research facilities

70

FE ATURES

35 

50 Ways to Enjoy the Great Outdoors

Welcome to your ultimate guide to Denton County outdoor life!

Photo by Nick Makarenko

70

Aqua(tic Plant) Man & The Quest for Healthy Water

Learn how Dr. Gary Dick and the rest of the team at the Lewisville Aquatic Ecosystem Research Facility save the day for our waterways and battle nuisance plants.

M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 9 D E N T O N CO U N T Y

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DENTON County

MAY/JUNE 21

28 COUNT Y LINE

DE PA RTME NT S 24 Community Spotlight: Lake Cities

11 Nerves of Steel

28 Dining: Salerno's

12 Nonprofit Spotlight: Hearts for Homes

Lake Dallas, Shady Shores, Hickory Creek and Corinth share more than a scenic shoreline.

A beloved Flower Mound eatery relocates to Highland Village to continue building a family legacy.

32 Shopping: Meador Nursery

32

This family-run business has been making Denton County more beautiful since 1940.

A Justin family business playing a pivitol role in the new Globe Life Field stadium

Helping low-income seniors live in safe, well-maintained homes

14 100 Years in the Making

Equestrian Connie Napier and her horse Troppy's prestigious honor

16 Dream Home: Evers Mansion

An iconic piece of Denton history for sale at $1.725 million

16

18 Tuba Player

A Sanger student who played Carnegie Hall sets his sights on Broadway

20 Time Machine

A look back at UNT's splashy pool

21 Argyle Turkey

Catching up with Argyle's most unlikely local celebrity

IN E V E RY ISSUE 8 About This Issue 72 New in Town 74 See & Do On the cover: Model Roxanna Redfoot frolicks in the wildflowers at The Flower Mound. Photo by Mike Morgan Photography.

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D E N T O N CO U N T Y M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 9

Turkey photo by Billy Jack; top left photo by Ellen Ritscher Sackett; middle photo by Abigail Boatwright; bottom photo courtesy of Dona Robinson

What defines our county today


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©2018 Equal Housing Opportunity


A BOUT THIS ISSUE

Let’s Go Outside!

S

ure, summer can be sweltering and sweaty, but it can also be the very best time of year thanks to fun outdoor activities on the lake and beyond. In this issue, we’re exploring 50 of the best ways to enjoy the great outdoors in Denton County, so dive in on page 35 and start planning your best summer ever! Do you enjoy relaxing activities like fishing, star-gazing and picnicking? How about adventurous options like mountain biking, learning survival skills and zip lining? Perhaps you prefer productive days spent picking your own produce, upgrading your backyard and learning a skill like archery, orienteering or sailing. Whatever your style, you are sure to find something you'll love in our comprehensive guide to all things outdoor. We’ve also got stories about your neighbors across the county: Learn about the family business in Justin that is helping to build the new Globe Life Field stadium. Meet the Sanger teen who has his sights set on Broadway after playing Carnegie Hall. Find out how an Aubrey equestrian won a rare and prestigious award. Chase the Argyle Turkey. Explore the Lake Cities of Lake Dallas, Hickory Creek, Corinth and Shady Shores in our Community Spotlight. As always, you’ll also discover lots of fun local facts that’ll help you impress friends and family members during your next lake day. Which Denton County city was recently named the safest city in Texas? What exactly are they working on at the Lewisville Aquatic Ecosystem Research Facility? How much credit card debt does the average Denton resident have? Why did one of Flower Mound’s favorite restaurants move to Highland Village? It’s all here. As always, we welcome your thoughts, story ideas and letters to the editor. Get in touch at editor@dentoncountymagazine.com. To get the magazine delivered to your mailbox six times a year, subscribe today at dentoncountymagazine.com.

PUBLISHER Bill Patterson

EDITOR Kimberly Turner

M AG A Z I N E CO N S U LTA N T Rich Alfano

EXECUTIVE EDITOR Sean McCrory

A DV E R T I S I N G DI RECTOR Sandra Hammond S A L E S M A N AG E R Shawn Reneau ACCO U N T EXECUTIVES Becci Hendrix Joanne Horst Danielle Thompson Shelly Vannatta MAILING ADDRESS 3555 Duchess Drive Denton, Texas 76205 EDITORIAL 940-566-6879 A DV E R T I S I N G INQUIRIES 940-566-6843

DESIGN DI RECTOR Ben Carpenter DESIGNERS Ashley Gerou Phil Lor CO N T R I B U T I N G W R I T E R S Kristy Alpert, Abigail Boatwright, Annette Nevins, Paula Felps, Lisa Ferguson, Nicole Foster, Rachel Hedstrom, Kylie Ora Lobell, Marshall Reid, Ellen Ritscher Sackett, Donna Stokes, Leslie Thompson, Kimberly Turner CO N T R I B U T I N G PHOTOGRAPH ERS Abigail Boatwright Mike Morgan C R E AT I V E PA R T N E R madison/miles media

SUBSCRIPTIONS Subscribe to Denton County magazine for $25/year. Subscribe online at DentonCountyMagazine.com or mail a check or visit us at 3555 Duchess Drive, Denton, Texas 76205. For subscription questions, call 940-387-3811. S T O RY I D E A S editor@dentoncountymagazine.com LETTERS TO TH E EDITOR Write to editor@dentoncountymagazine.com. Please include your full name, city and phone number. Denton County magazine reserves the right to edit for length and clarity. L I K E U S FAC E B O O K Facebook.com/DentonCountyMagazine FIND US ONLINE DentonCountyMagazine.com

Correction: In our March/April issue, we unintentionally omitted the byline on our Denton Arts & Jazz Festival story. The piece was written by Lisa Ferguson. © Copyright 2019: Denton County magazine is published by Denton Media Company, publishers of the Denton Record-Chronicle. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part of any text, photograph or illustration without written permission from the publisher is strictly prohibited. Editorial content does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the publisher.

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D E N T O N CO U N T Y M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 9


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What defines our county today

INSIDE: uu A piece of Denton history for sale uu Good news and bad news for Flower Mound uu The Sanger teen who played Carnegie Hall

COUNTY LINE LOCALLY MADE

Nerves of Steel A family business in Justin is playing an instrumental role in creating the new Globe Life Field stadium. BY MARSHALL REID

I Photos courtesy of Stephanie Colson/Irwin Steel

t will take a lot of steel to create the new $1.1 billion Globe Life Field for Texas Rangers fans, and family-owned Irwin Steel in Justin will be providing about 16,000 tons of it. (That’s everything except the retractable roof, which is being handled by another fabricator.) An Enormous Undertaking “This is, tonnage-wise, the largest project that we’ve ever fabricated,” says Bryan Irwin, who runs the business with his father, James. “Schedule is always tough, and that’s the toughest part of every project.” At times, Bryan said that about 90 percent of his 170 employees will be working on the massive stadium project. Once completed in March 2020, the 1,700,000-square-foot stadium will hold more than 40,000 fans and sit on a 13-acre site. Irwin Steel’s roughly 250,000-squarefoot fabrication shop in Justin has been working on the project for months, Bryan says. They are churning out steel beams that are, on average, about 48 feet long and 9,200 pounds.

It can take up to a week to build a single steel beam of the size needed for the new Globe Life Field.

Family History Bryan, the 43-year-old vice president of the company, officially joined the family business when he was just 17. He is the grandson of the company’s founder, Lofflin Irwin, who opened the first incarnation of the company in the Lubbock area during the 1950s. “My uncles and my father all joined the business and kind of spread out over Texas,” Bryan says. “We eventually ended up here in DFW.” In the early 1990s, the second generation of the family got involved with Irwin Steel. About four to five years ago, the two operations split — with Bryan’s father, James, taking the fabrication side to Justin and his two uncles, David and Randy, handling the steel-erection side, which is spread across much of Texas with sites in the Lubbock area, as well as in the metroplex.

Irwin Steel's expansive campus in Justin

The family business previously worked on such projects as the UT Southwest Medical Center, AT&T Stadium (formerly Cowboys Stadium), Dallas Love Field, AT&T Stadium and the University of Baylor’s new McLane Stadium. M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 9 D E N T O N CO U N T Y

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COUNT Y LINE

Volunteers donate their time, energy and expertise to help local seniors.

NONPROFIT SPOTLIGHT

HEARTS FOR HOMES

T

he dream of homeownership can turn into a nightmare for low-income senior citizens who lack the funds to keep up with home maintenance and repairs. In 2006, Susan Frank founded Hearts for Homes (H4H) to help with this problem. The nonprofit Christian outreach organization helps keep Denton County seniors’ abodes safe, secure and comfortable by providing free repairs and necessary construction. Changing Lives When it comes to seniors, “Everyone tends to think that they [own] a home, so they’re good to go. The problem is their income is not good to go,” explained Frank, who left her longtime administration, teaching and coaching positions at Argyle’s Liberty Christian School to start H4H using $1,000 in seed money and her own tools. H4H relies heavily on donated dollars and equipment, referrals from local social-service agencies and individuals and the work of dedicated

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volunteers — including more than 1,000 skilled repair professionals, community-service group members and citizens from throughout North Texas. Together, they make all sorts of repairs, from fixing faulty heating and air-conditioning systems and replacing leaky roofs to unclogging toilets, for seniors aged 60 and older who meet the qualifications for assistance. This year alone, 10 roof repairs/ replacements were completed by April. H4H made a difference in more than 80 seniors’ lives in 2018, allowing them to live with dignity in their own well-maintained homes. Ann’s Story Frank says extensive repairs were recently completed for Ann, an 81-year-old Denton resident who still resides in the home where she grew up. After leaking for months, a water heater had fallen through the floor of her mildew-infested house. “The first thing we did was remedy that,” Frank explains.

From painting to plumbing to roof repairs, H4H tackles a wide array of maintenance tasks.

H4H also removed and replaced the kitchen floor and plumbing, all of the home’s floor joists, its crumbling front porch and an interior wall that was “barely standing,” among other items to make the home that her father built safe and livable. After learning that Ann had fallen several times and suffered a concussion while stepping out of the bathtub, volunteers replaced it with a shower for safer access. Even after repairs are complete, H4H maintains contact with its clients and will return to make additional repairs for as long as they live in the home. “It gives them a huge peace of mind. ... They know they can pick up the phone and call us,” Frank says. You Can Help Like most nonprofits, H4H is always in need of additional funds and volunteers to work at homes as well as on special events and marketing efforts at its office on East McKinney Street in Denton. For more information, visit heartsforhomes.org.

Photos courtesy of Hearts for Homes

Low-income seniors in Denton County get a vital helping hand from this nonprofit and its more than 1,000 volunteers. BY LISA FERGUSON


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COUNT Y LINE

Connie and Troppy were named to the Century Club.

HONORS

100 Years in the Making

A

ubrey resident connie Napier’s age made her eligible for an esteemed honor in the equestrian community, but it’s her skill and connection with the horse that make her truly outstanding. Connie and her horse, Conversano Tropina, aka “Troppy,” are horse-andrider team #336 in the Century Club, a distinctive group of riders named by The Dressage Foundation. The rider and horse must pass a test scored by a dressage judge or professional. The team must show excellent connection with one another as they execute a series of commands. Perhaps the hardest test of all? Being eligible in the

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first place. The horse and rider must have a combined age of 100 years or more to be considered for the Century Club. “Thirty [years old] is really old for a horse,” explains Connie Napier, who owns HollyBarry Farm in Aubrey with her husband, Randy. “We have several old horses. I just think that they deserve the best. They give you their all, and just because they can’t do as much anymore, doesn’t mean they don’t deserve everything.” Connie, who is 74 years old, rides five days a week. To prepare for the test, Connie and Troppy worked on their connection, practicing to match their movements and stay in tune with

one another. Troppy had a history as a performer, having spent most of his life traveling the globe with the world-famous Lipizzaner Stallions, before being adopted by Connie and finding a new teammate in her. “I fell in love with dressage because of the training with the horse, developing you and the horse together to be harmonious,” Connie says. Sadly, Troppy recently passed away. While Connie talks about her beloved companion with a catch in her throat, she has decided that when another senior equine comes into her life, she will try again, offering that horse a chance to be part of the elite club.

Main photo courtesy of Connie Napier; Inset by Jake King/DRC

Riding keeps Century Club member Connie Napier young. BY RACHEL HEDSTROM


L AKE CITIES

Communities in UNITY


COUNT Y LINE

DREAM HOME

Happily Evers After

T

he Evers mansion, located at 1035 West Oak Street in Denton, has everything a homebuyer could want: hardwood floors, ample natural light, gourmet kitchen, full wine cellar and media room with drop-down screen. And while those traditional features are certainly selling points, the home’s most incredible asset — 116 years of history — is less tangible. In 1903, the stunning house was built on Silk Stocking Row using lumber that owner Robert Henry Evers purchased

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for $800. Like the home he had built, Evers himself became an important part of Denton history. With his brother, Adolph, Robert opened Evers Hardware, which had an incredible record-setting run of operation from 1885 until 2001. The influential siblings also created the Denton Water, Light and Power Company, which brought electricity to The Square for the first time. Robert was later a city commissioner and member of the volunteer fire department. The mansion, which effortlessly melds early Colonial Revival style with Neoclassical and even Victorian elements,

boasts grand Corinthian columns and Roman oval arch windows on the east and west gables. Now 6,614 square feet, the original 12-room home had a skating rink, basketball court and gymnastics area for the family’s five children on the top level. In 1977, fire destroyed large parts of the house. Fortunately, the people of Denton were not willing to give up such an important piece of history, and it was restored through a community effort in the 1970s and ’80s and named an official Texas Historic Landmark in 2017. The current owner (as of this writing)

Photos courtesy of Dona Robinson

Own an iconic piece of Denton history for $1.725 million. BY KIMBERLY TURNER


A renovated kitchen marries traditional design and modern convenience.

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purchased the Evers Mansion in 2014 for $1 million and has since renovated in a way that adds modern touches while respecting the home’s history. “One of my favorite things is that they’ve really tried to recapture the original style of the home,” says listing agent Dona Robinson of Allie Beth Allman & Associates. “They did this amazing crown molding detail and built-in bench seats in the dining area that are based on original photos of the home. In the front entry, they did this fabulous built-in bench seating and redid the whole staircase to be like the original. I love that. It’s over 100 years old and fabulous!”

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COUNT Y LINE

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D E N T O N CO U N T Y M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 9

L

ike many 17-year-old boys, Jarrett Rasure isn’t much for small talk. He is brief in conversation and maintains a low profile. But, the soft-spoken high school senior is making a big noise in the town of Sanger after a recent performance at New York City’s famed Carnegie Hall. “When you played something loud, it would resonate [through the auditorium],” recalls Jarrett, who brought his tuba to the Big Apple earlier this year for a once-ina-lifetime orchestra performance. Jarrett was among a select group of students from across the country who were hand-picked for the High School Honors Series and afforded a rare taste of what the future could hold for their musical career. Playing Carnegie Hall one day wasn’t even a pipe dream when he first picked up the tuba in the sixth grade. “They let us try out instruments, so I pretty much went for the biggest one,” admits Jarrett. A growth spurt in his early teens slowed his progress with the mammoth horn, forcing him, literally, to get a fresh handle on it. “I would hold the instrument too far to the left, and the mouthpiece would sit on the wrong side of my face,” he explains. After mastering the proper form, the affable teen became more serious in

his musical studies and was eventually selected for the all-state band. A performance in front of a huge crowd in San Antonio gave him a taste of playing larger venues and helped prepare Jarrett for his Carnegie Hall debut. As part of the honors series application process, he had to submit a biography and letters of recommendation from his teachers, along with an audition tape. Although he was excited to learn he would be heading to Manhattan, he still had one more hurdle to overcome: funding the trip. “It was my mom’s idea,” says the Eagle Scout of the GoFundMe campaign that helped raise money for his travel. The group spent most of their time in New York City rehearsing, although they did get to see a performance of Wicked on Broadway, an experience that inspired the young musician. “I want to be a studio musician, to play movie soundtracks and record Broadway shows,” Jarrett says, his voice perking up with enthusiasm. “On Broadway, they have an orchestra pit below the stage. I want to play in one of those.” The Sanger teen plans to continue with the tuba while pursuing a degree in music performance at the University of North Texas or the University of Texas-Arlington.

Photo courtesy of Michelle Brock

After playing Carnegie Hall, this Sanger high school senior has set his sights on Broadway. BY LESLIE J. THOMPSON


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COUNT Y LINE TIME MACHINE

Ladies splash and relax at the pool in this circa 1960s photo taken at North Texas State College (now UNT). This pool was operational between 1926 and 1986 and was located on the site of today’s Eagle Student Services Center. Artesian spring water was used to fill the pool until a water purification system was installed in 1956. After 60 years of use, the pool closed when expensive repairs and updates were required by the Texas Department of Public Health. The pool was part of the Eagle Park recreational area, which also featured croquet, basketball, volleyball and tennis courts; a mini golf course; a football field; an archery range; and men’s and women’s gymnasiums.

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Photo courtesy of UNT Libraries Special Collections via The Portal to Texas History

Making a Splash


LOCAL CELEBS

TALKING TURKEY

Get to know Argyle’s most famous bird brain. BY RACHEL HEDSTROM

Photos courtesy of Billy Jack

S

ome call him George. Others, The Argyle Turkey. “I call him ‘Tom’ because it’s fitting for who he is and what he’s about,” says Billy Jack, a service advisor with Argyle Auto Care. What is he about? The bio of the gobbler’s Twitter account, @ArgyleTurkey, provides a little insight: “I rule the roost on Highway 377. Likes: corn, running, my boyz, Kierkegaard. Dislikes: fast cars, November holidays.” Citizens keep each other afoot of the fowl on NextDoor and have hatched a plan to lure their community pet away from the busy road with food. That won’t

be easy. From the abandoned truck he hangs out in, to the wheels he chases, to the auto shop where he spends many a day, the Argyle Turkey seems to be a fan of all things automotive. “During the day, he mingles with our customers,” Jack explains. “He also likes to get in the road and cause trouble.” He also makes appearances on the railroad tracks and parking lots. Police have even been called when the trouble-making turkey tries to make Highway 377 his own — a dangerous move for both bird and driver on a street with 55mph speed limits. They simply move the animal off

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of the road because while he may peck a few tires, this goofy gobbler has not been known to cause harm. Best guesstimates put the Argyle Turkey at between 5 and 7 years old. Locals remember him with a group of about 10 others, but his fellow fowl have either gone, or been met with foul play. “He’s the last remaining soul,” says Jack. “He does what he wants, when he wants, and no one can really stop him.” So if you see Tom (or George), the Argyle Turkey, waddling his wattle by, make sure to wave and get a photo... but don’t get in his way.

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COUNT Y LINE RANKINGS

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Good News & Bad News

S

o Flower Mound, do you want the good news or the bad news first? Let’s get the negative stuff out of the way: Flower Mound is among the top 3 percent of cities nationwide with the most credit card debt, according to WalletHub’s research —based on data from TransUnion, the Federal Reserve and the Census Bureau. Residents have an average credit card balance of $4,512 and an expected payoff time of 17 months and 16 days. Denton residents, by contrast, have an average balance of $2,564 with a payoff time of 13 months and 27 days. Now for the good news! According to SafeHome.org’s research, Flower Mound is the safest city (with a population over 50,000) in all of Texas. The study used FBI crime data and census information to rank cities based on the number and type of crimes, the ratio of law enforcement officers to population and whether crime is going up or down. Flower Mound received an impressive 90.42 out of 100, which put it not just at the top of the Texas list but also in the top 5th percentile nationwide. Here are how a few other Texas cities ranked…

City

Ranking

Crime Score

1

90.42

Lewisville

24

80.07

Denton

27

78.99

Dallas

45

70.85

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Kimberly N. Loveland BOARD CERTIFIED

Estate Planning & Probate Law Texas Board of Legal Specialization

The Reecer Law Firm, focused expertise and experience in estate planning and probate. Our business philosophy is to provide our clients with the highest commitment to excellence and integrity in our area of the practice of law. In working with our clients, we are able to provide a comprehensive approach to assessing our clients’ needs and we strive to provide the highest level of care, service and expertise. The Reecer Law Firm counsels clients during some of the most stressful periods of their lives (i.e., losing a loved one). We build trust with our clients by listening to their needs and by communicating in a timely and effective manner.

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COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT

The Lake Cities Shady Shores lives up to its name with scenic tree-lined streets along the lake.

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o geographic boundaries exist among the stands of magnificent trees, open green spaces and sprawling neighborhoods that follow the contours of shoreline in the Lake Cities. Residents hike and bike trails, boats cross common waters and cars travel a network of roads that feed nonstop into the dynamic cities of Hickory Creek, Lake Dallas, Corinth and Shady Shores.

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Moving Forward Together Putting their heads together to plan for the future makes sense for four cities that already share three fire stations, a school system and the great outdoors. More joint projects are on the horizon in this area where big-D bustle meets small-town friendliness. Leaders are banding together in a coalition to meet the challenges of burgeoning growth. The goal? To promote economic development, collaborate on drainage

and street projects and connect parks and trails while maintaining a unique small hometown feeling. “Working together is more important than ever,” says John Cabrales, city manager of Lake Dallas. “It will make everything run more efficiently.” Working together also saves money. Shady Shores depends on Corinth for police services. A $105 million bond election in the shared Lake Dallas school district is calling for classroom updates.

Photo courtesy of the town of Shady Shores

The cities of Lake Dallas, Shady Shores, Hickory Creek and Corinth decided that they are stronger together, and everyone is reaping the benefits. BY ANNETTE NEVINS


Corinth, which doesn’t have an animal shelter, is receiving help from Lake Dallas for animal control. Residents in all four cities can check out books at the Lake Dallas Public Library. “The Lake Cities are in a prime location,” Cabrales says. “And this is a new era of cooperation.” Collaboration among the communities straddling I-35 between Denton and Dallas started in 1972 with the Lake Cities Chamber of Commerce. In the beginning, a few businessmen began gathering at a local bank. Today, as many as 40 businesspeople meet weekly, says Tina Henderson, president of the Lake Cities Chamber of Commerce. A chamber luncheon this year drew about 75 attendees, almost twice as many as recent years. “We’ve got some huge momentum going, and this is really exciting,” Henderson says. City, county, school and utility officials began joining forces in the fall of 2018 just as Phase I construction along I-35 began to wrap up, opening new opportunities.

Top photo courtesy Emily Beck, city of Corinth; bottom courtesy of the city of Lake Dallas

Stay for the Fun Some businesses scared off by road work are coming back — and bringing new business with them. In Hickory

Corinth’s annual Fish N’ Fun event allows kids aged 5 to 13 to experience the joys of fishing. This special catch-and-release day is scheduled for May 4 at Meadowview Park.

Creek, Turbeville and Point Vista roads are being expanded with commercial development around a new movie theatre. The construction of Elm Fort Tap House and Kitchen is underway, and Angelina’s Mexican Restaurant has also secured a

site. Two new subdivisions are planned. The cities hope to entice developers and residents to the area by connecting businesses on both sides of I-35 with pleasing architectural features. They want commuters to see the Lake Cities

Fifth grader Keagin Schweer tells visitors about the Lake Dallas Leaders in Me program, which teaches Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to provide students with tools for success.

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Hickory Creek’s Point Vista Park has good fishing, picnic spots and a boat ramp with plenty of nearby parking. The city will unveil a new master plan for parks this summer.

as a destination. “If they come to eat and shop, maybe they’ll stay for more fun,” Henderson says. And there’s plenty of fun to be had. The Lake Cities love to party. The joint Fourth of July parade and fireworks

celebration attracts thousands each year to Lake Dallas Park. One Fourth of July celebration was so crowded that Lake Dallas officials had to close Willow Grove Park. Officials are looking at adding new parks. Each city also has their own

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Making Connections Connecting walking and equestrian trails between the Lake Cities is a priority for the town of Hickory Creek, which will release a master plan this summer for parks, recreation and open space. “We are excited about our growth,” says John Smith, town manager. With growth, traffic is inevitable. The Lake Cities are working with the North Central Texas Council of Governments on projections for the year 2040. “Roads and bridges are very important to the Lake Cities,” Cabrales says. “Our roads are undersized. Mobility is important for growth.”

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Photo courtesy of the town of Hickory Creek

events, such as the Mardi Gras festival in Lake Dallas and Corinth’s Fish N’ Fun tournament and Pumpkin Palooza. Combined events save money and attract more people, Henderson says. “We want to be that unique place that draws people,” she says. “Together, we are stronger.”


The charming resort community of Lake Dallas, which has more than 7,900 residents, is located in a prime location connected north-south along I-35 with east-west access along U.S. Highway 380. A new bridge links Lake Dallas’ Swisher Road and El Dorado Parkway, allowing motorists to travel from I-35 East to Little Elm and the Dallas North Tollway. Today, the ability to span waters is catching the attention of developers for Lake Dallas, a city that went through a few name changes as the lake filled areas once farmed for timber and crossed by railroad tracks. The cities want developers to notice their new offerings. Corinth is designing a new city logo and website, soliciting faster internet services and assigning ambassadors to market their city, according to Corinth Town Manager Bob Hart. A new rail station would provide easier travel to North Central Texas College and other areas.

“ The Lake Cities are in a prime location, and this is a new era of cooperation.” Small-Town Charm Residents of Shady Shores, on the other hand, would prefer not to get too much attention. They like the small-town friendliness of their town. The quiet, heavily treed community has nary a stop sign or convenience store and is anchored by the Winter Oaks horse riding stable. Still, Shady Shores Town Secretary Wendy Wither says, “We are pleased with

the level of intergovernmental cooperation that we have experienced with the other Lake Cities.” One result of the cooperation is that the town of about 2,800 received approval to raise the South Shady Shores Bridge as part of a joint $15.5 million flood-control project with Lake Dallas and Denton County. The project was started in 2016, when the town’s major thoroughfare was underwater for more than six months. The 2.9-square-mile town, which has origins in wood-shingle fishing camps on the north side of the lake, incorporated in 1960 mostly to escape being annexed by Denton. Up until 2000, when tax collection began, money for road repairs and police and fire protection came from building permit fees, pancake suppers and donations from residents. “By working together, we look forward to providing some cost savings as well as developing some excellent community services,” Withers says.

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DINING Salerno’s, beloved Flower Mound Italian eatery, relocates to Highland Village to continue building a family legacy. BY ELLEN RITSCHER SACKETT

Buon Appetito!

I

t took no time for customers to find the new Salerno’s Restaurant and Bar in Highland Village. After nearly 35 years in its original Flower Mound address, the iconic Italian hotspot moved to its new location off Justin Road in mid-February. Fans followed, and the new location is as popular as ever. During peak times, diners can expect a wait (or try to snag a spot at the bar), but Salerno’s devotees don’t seem to mind. The spacious dining room and cozy bar are abuzz with chatter, clatter and a playlist that favors Ol’ Blue Eyes. Framed photos of the Salerno family through the generations preside over the restaurant, artfully arranged on crimson-red walls. Hungry guests fill tables and black

All in the Famiglia The owners, cousins Morris and Mike Salerno, are nearly always present, greeting guests, many of whom are also friends. “Our dads were brothers. Every holiday, we were always together,” Mike says. While growing up in Dallas, they talked about opening a restaurant. Their venture had family support, including start-up money borrowed from grandparents and a staple of recipes that serve as menu pillars. Sicilian Grandma Salerno is credited for the meatballs, pizza sauce, Italian

sausage, lasagna, chocolate pie, mogia and suga. (Mogia is a savory olive-oil marinade that doubles as dipping sauce. Suga is a rich, slow-simmered marinara that is vegetarian, gluten-free and an essential ingredient for many of Salerno’s dishes.) New creations such as the Italian fried steak and Italian-style pork chop and menu mainstays such as the pecan chicken and Chicken Lillian (named after Morris’ sister) belong solely to Morris. “He has God-given talent,” Mike says, of his cousin’s culinary skills. Both men had plenty of experience when they opened Salerno’s. Mike was a high school coach who always loved the restaurant industry. He gained managerial know-how at the Alamo Café

“When someone walks through the door, our goal is to make them a customer for life.” Photos by Ellen Ritscher Sackett

Salerno’s kitchen staff (left to right): Jose Sanchez, Morris Salerno, Beto Cendijas and Tomas Leonelli

upholstered booths while waiters deliver heaping bowls of pasta, made-to-order entrées, pizza, irresistible desserts and perfectly chilled, keg-tapped wine.

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Standout Dishes

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Pizza

Susan’s Salmon

Chicken Mogia Rotisserie

Mamma mia! What could be more Italian than this menu mainstay? This quintessential Sicilian recipe is straight from Grandma Salerno. Two ginormous meatballs perch atop suga-soused pasta. It’s what dreams are made of.

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, it’s time to order Salerno’s oven-baked version. Dine in or take out — make it special with the housemade Italian sausage — a family recipe à la Grandma. Now that’s amore!

Mike’s sister is the namesake of this menu favorite — a light, flaky salmon fillet from the Bay of Fundy baked with Romano and seated on a bed of angel hair pasta with sautéed mushrooms, spinach and mogia.

Chef Morris’ latest fascination is his new rotisserie! For this dish, a half-chicken is marinated for 12 hours in mogia and served with a house salad, side of pasta and slice of pie for the affordable price of $16.50.

in San Antonio and has handled the business operations at Salerno’s since the beginning. Morris is a celebrated chef with a competitive streak. He’s a two-time winner of Texas Chef Association’s “Dallas Chef of the Year,” a gold-medal winner in the 2014 Expogast Culinary Competition in Luxembourg and one of The Lone Star Chefs of Texas, which provides philanthropic outreach. He launched his culinary career at age 17 at the Tanglewood Resort on Lake Texoma and further developed his skills at the Hilton Atlanta Hotel, Dallas’ Fairmont Hotel and as head of banquets at Lowes Anatole. The Flower Mound Years In 1985, Morris and Mike made good on their plan. Rather than competing with Dallas’ established Italian restaurants, “we wanted to go somewhere and grow,” Morris says. “When we opened up in Flower Mound, there were a little over 3,000 people. We were the only restaurant in town with a bar.” They requested a variance to serve liquor and met with the town councilmen. One of them asked, “Are you sure you want to open a restaurant around here?” Morris laughs. “That was our introduction to Flower Mound.” “When you say Flower Mound, most of the time, people will think ‘Salerno’s,’ since [we’ve] been here since

customer for life,” Morris explains. “And tell 10 other friends about us!” Mike quips. The move demonstrated to them how successful they’d become after years of hard work. “It’s a big following. And then we have all the new people coming in who have never been with us before,” Morris says.

Cousins Morris and Mike Salerno under a portrait of their paternal grandparents

the beginning,” Morris says. The cousins/ business owners became involved with the school district and contributed to many charities, earning a solid community standing. Mike says, “We took care of everybody else first.” “When someone walks through the door, our goal is to make them a

Creating a Legacy The new Salerno’s in Highland Village is just across the street from Bistecca, a fine-dining Italian steakhouse originally called The Grotto, which opened in 1994. It’s part of Salerno Pizza Company, the umbrella corporation that includes Salerno’s. Morris’ son Nick is a manager-in-training at Bistecca, and Mike expects that his son Mike Jr., who is currently a food and beverage manager at the Omni Frisco Hotel, will eventually rejoin the family business. Salerno’s also provides catering and meals to go with plans to sell packaged product someday. Morris reflects, “We’re making it where people can take over when we’re gone, and keep it going and expand. We want to create something that will last for eternity. Forever.” Salerno’s Restaurant and Bar 2250 FM407 Suite 130, Highland Village, salernositalian.com Reservations: 972-539-9534, OpenTable.com Price point: $8 to $25 for entrées M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 9 D E N T O N CO U N T Y

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SHOPPING

power

T

hey say, “Bloom where you’re planted.” The Meador family took that advice and transformed it into a multi-generational business that has helped keep Denton County beautiful for decades. Meador Nursery’s roots stretch back to before the second World War, and the nursery continues to flourish today. The Seed of Something Big In the early 1900s, R.L. Meador arrived on a train from Missouri. By 1940, he had sowed the seeds of success in the form of a new family business. “It was probably before 1940,” R.L.’s grandson, Ted Meador, explains, “but we only have paperwork going back that far, so we say 1940.” The nursery business was very different back then, Ted says. Plants were grown in a field, dug up and immediately transplanted to the buyer’s property. Meador mainly sold trees, shrubs, fruit trees and roses. In June, July and August, the focus would shift entirely. “There was no way to sell during those months back then

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because they didn’t have containers to put the plants in, and they would die just trying to move them when it was hot,” Ted said, “so in the summer, they grew cotton.”

That’s the main thing about business — be honest, pay your bills and give it lots of water.

R.L. built two glass greenhouses and started propagating plants in two-inch terracotta pots that the nursery still uses today. The entrepreneur grew everything himself until the late 1950s, when nurseries started using metal buckets. “A long time ago, there was a vegetable cannery up the street on Fort Worth Drive,” Ted says. “My grandfather would get used — sometimes new — metal containers from them.” Using special metal cutters, Meador Nursery would cut the plants out of the cans for customers. In the 1970s, the nursery started using plastic containers that had become available, and Meador took off. In addition to a thriving business, R.L. also found Annie, the love of his life, in Denton. Their son, Vaughn, bought the family business in the 1960s. Vaughn and his wife, Gene — Denton High School sweethearts — ran Meador Nursery until the 1990s, when their son, Ted, bought it. Green and Growing The unique nature of this family legacy is not lost on Ted, who continues to run the business today. “When I first started working here, I would go to nurseries out

Photos by Abigail Boatwright; historical photo courtesy of the Meador family

flower

Family-run Meador Nursery has been making Denton County a more beautiful place since 1940. BY RACHEL HEDSTROM


ask the experts What is the biggest mistake people make in landscaping? Making their beds too small. After several years, everything grows and looks crammed up against their house. I see that mistake with homeowners and landscapers both. Four feet wide is not big enough to put in an interesting, creative landscape.” How have customer needs changed in the past few decades? Years ago, people would have gone to Dallas to buy everything. Now, they want good quality close to home. They are also more educated and are looking for those new varietals, so we stock those.

Above: Choose from 50,000 square feet of plants, trees and shrubs. Right: R.L. Meador opened the nursery nearly 70 years ago, and his family still runs it today.

of town or out of state, and people would say to me, ‘If you all ever need credit, you’ve got it. Your dad always paid his bills and we appreciate that.’ That’s the main thing about business — be honest, pay your bills and give it lots of water. It’s true for any business,” Ted says. Today, Meador Nursery continues to bloom and grow in new ways. Ted has a degree in landscape and horticulture from Texas A&M University and has used that knowledge to expand the custom-design side of the business while maintaining the dedication to customers for which his family’s business is known. Meador’s landscape design and installation services allow customers to take advantage of the nursery’s expertise with an in-home consultation, evaluation of site conditions and custom design tailored to the property. Ted estimates that Meador Nursery has approximately 50,000 square feet of plants, trees and shrubs. Growing and purchasing a quality plant is important to the nursery’s success, as is the care the plants receive before the customers ever see them. “Plants don’t just sit here and get dry — making sure they are well cared for makes a big difference when you take the plant home. It’s healthy,” he explains. Meador’s reputation for sourcing and selling a wide variety of plants drives

Ted to keep an eye out for new trends. “I go hand-pick the trees and shrubs,” he says. “I order with companies that I trust that have good quality. Also, we have a really big selection of plants, whereas most landscapers only know of a handful of plants. We have more than 400 different perennials we could use on your project. When new varieties come out, we’re the first ones to know. We go to nursery trade shows, read nursery news and are always talking to our suppliers.” Longevity does have its advantages, especially when you’re growing a family business. “We’ve been here for a long time, and we’re not going anywhere,” Ted emphasizes, “so if you have issues, come back and we can take care of them.” The secret to the Meador family success? “It just comes naturally, I guess,” Ted laughs.

If my plants are not thriving, can you help? Yes, we offer a service to help diagnose what’s going on in your garden. Many times, people will bring a leaf of their plant to us so we can help them, whether they bought it here or not. There are all kinds of reasons why plants die; they’re planted too deep or too shallow, they have insects or other diseases, or they are not getting the right sun. Just come talk to us and let us help. What is the best time of year to landscape my lawn? No one thinks about landscaping any time other than in the spring, but we actually plant year-round. We can tell you about the best times to plant and when it’s good to do improvements like patios, retaining walls and more. What is one plant people don’t use enough? Eve’s Necklace. It’s a small, native tree — a Sophora affinis so it’s related to mountain laurel. In the spring, it blooms wisteria-like blooms that are long and black. In the fall, the leaves turn yellow and drop off, and you have a tree that is full of these black “eve’s necklaces.” M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 9 D E N T O N CO U N T Y

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50 Ways to Enjoy the BY ABIGAIL BOATWRIGHT, PAULA FELPS, NICOLE FOSTER, KYLIE ORA LOBELL, ANNETTE NEVINS, DONNA STOKES AND KIMBERLY TURNER

hether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a bold adventurer, a parent who wants to use up some of your kids’ seemingly infinite energy or an indoor type who wouldn’t mind getting a little sunshine now and then, Denton County has the perfect outdoor activity for you. From rugged camping adventures to squeal-filled water parks to soothing butterfly sanctuaries, these activities will make this summer the best one yet.

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Float Above It All Brian Rohr was just 8 years old when he started flying hot air balloons and not quite 10 when he started piloting airplanes, so it’s no surprise that he makes his living in the skies — or that his daughter started showing an interest in ballooning at the tender age of 6. Rohr’s company, Rohr Balloons, does between 200 and 250 flights a year above North Texas, including about 120 proposal/engagement flights and five to 10 weddings (Rohr is ordained, and lovebirds come from across the country to take their vows in the air). The family-owned business flies year round and boasts a perfect safety record during its 47-year history. Shared flights (up to 12 people) start at $249. Private flights start at $750. The launch field location depends on the wind and weather, and adventurous passengers may land in Denton, Prosper, Lewisville or anywhere in between, depending on where the wind takes them. Rohr Balloons, 214-733-9915, rohrballoons.com

Paddleboard Stand-up paddleboarding (aka, SUP) has officially become a thing. While you can do it solo pretty much anywhere you can find a suitable body of water, one of the best places to try it in Denton County is at Little Elm Beach. The City of Little Elm teamed up with DFW Surf to create a paddleboard paradise for novice and pro paddlers alike. From paddleboard fitness classes that incorporate yoga to guided SUP Glow Saturday moonlight tours, there’s no shortage of ways to enjoy your time on a board. 100 Bridgeview Drive, Little Elm, dfwsurf.com

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Pack a Picnic Nothing says summer like a laying on a blanket and enjoying good company and food. There are designated picnic areas in almost all the parks in this issue, but don’t limit yourself. Head to your favorite park or public space and lay your gingham blanket down wherever the grass looks comfy. The courthouse lawn in Denton is always a good choice, and if you want some tunes to go with your picnic, pack your basket for Thursday evenings, when the Denton Main Street Association hosts Twilight Tunes from 6:30 until 8 p.m. (now through June 27). This year’s performers include the UNT Steel Drum Band, Texas Sky, The Dunashay Experience and more.

Stargazing photo courtesy of Singh Kamalpreet

Rent a Cabin/ Lake House

Gaze at the Stars Our proximity to Dallas and our own light pollution means that Denton itself scores a 7 on the Bortle Dark-Sky Scale — a well-accepted measure of light pollution in an area. (The scale goes from 0 to 9, with 0 indicating excellent dark skies and 9 indicating bright, inner-city skies.) The lowest score we can get without leaving the county is a 4 in the vicinity of Ray Roberts Lake. That, not coincidentally, is one of your best bets for observing the night sky in Denton County. Ray Roberts Lake State Park Isle du Bois hosts occasional Stories in the Stars events where rangers help attendees spot constellations and other astronomical features. The ultimate destination for Denton County nightsky enthusiasts is the Rafes Urban Astronomy Center. The site, near the Denton Municipal Airport, serves UNT’s 3,000 astronomy students but is open to the public for “star parties” on the first Saturday of the month, weather permitting. Two large domes house powerful Celestron C14 telescopes and an outdoor amphitheater hosts night-sky talks.

When you want all the advantages of waking up at the lake but you don’t want to rough it by camping, your best bet is to rent a lake house or a cabin. Flower Mound’s Twin Coves Park and Campground offers a variety of cabins on the shores of Lake Grapevine. Accommodating between three and six guests, these cabins feature high-end finishes and fully stocked kitchens, so the only thing you need to worry about is relaxing. Online sources like Airbnb and VRBO also have an abundant (and diverse) supply of lakeside options — from a rustic log cabin for $79/night or a retro 1972 Silver Streak RV with free kayaks and paddleboard use for $65/night to a stunning lakeside art deco home for $249/night or a 10-person Texas-themed vacation getaway for $215/night. Take your pick for your next family reunion, girls’ weekend or family escape. You don’t have to go far to leave your daily life behind.

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Hit the Beach Little Elm Beach: This is the biggest public beach in North Texas with 6 acres of quality beach sand (groomed daily during high season), a dedicated swimming area and 10 sand volleyball courts. It also features amenities such as fire pits and a surf shack where you can rent paddleboards, bicycles and kayaks. “The beach is a great place to relax, get some sun and make family memories,” says Erin Mudie, communications coordinator for the town of Little Elm. 701 W. Eldorado Pkwy., Little Elm Stewart Creek Park: Located on Lake Lewisville, this park in The Colony has a playground just steps away from the beach if the kiddos get restless. 3700 Sparks Road, The Colony Meadowmere Park: When you’re finished swimming and chilling out on the sandy beach at this Lake Grapevine park, enjoy a family picnic on the covered tables or a romp at the playground. Kayak rentals are available if you’re feeling adventurous. 3000 Meadowmere Lane, Grapevine Isle du Bois State Park: This large swimming area on Lake Ray Roberts is sheltered from the wind, and the lake has a soft, sandy bottom. Once you’ve dried off, cook up some hot dogs and burgers on the outdoor grills, challenge your friends on the volleyball court or take a stroll to see some wildlife. “Lake Ray Roberts has a plentiful population of wildlife around,” says Wes Campbell of BendaRod Fishing Guide Service. “I see deer every time I go.” Isle du Bois State Park Road, Pilot Point Lake Park: On the southwest side of Lake Lewisville, this 662-acre park has a shallow beach area. The swimming area is not roped off, so keep your eyes on kids at all times. There are a number of shady spots in this beautiful part of the park as well as picnic tables. 600 Sandy Beach Rd, Lewisville

Stewart Creek Park in The Colony

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Visit Bob Jones Nature Center & Preserve Sitting on more than 700 acres of beautiful land is Bob Jones Nature Center & Preserve in Southlake, which opened in 2008. The educational center offers programs for everyone from toddlers to seniors and draws visitors from across the nation to explore the Cross Timbers ecosystem and hike more than 20 miles of trails. The center can also be used to access the Walnut Grove National Recreation Trail, which is U.S. Army Corps of Engineer land. Within the Cross Timbers habitat, you’ll see trees and prairie land that extend from Kansas and Oklahoma to the Brazos River north of Waco. You’ll find a host of native plants including the bearded iris, American beautyberry, horseherb, daylily, oxalis, red yucca and sunflower goldeneye. You may also see coyotes, wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, bobcats and foxes. Back before the land became inhabited, bison, prairie dogs, mountain lions and black bears also gathered there. The center hosts a preschool that helps kids gain firsthand knowledge of nature with hikes and outdoor story time. Adults and teens can sign up for composting workshops, and people of all ages are welcome on guided hikes. On Saturdays, families can participate in group activities, scavenger hunts, hikes and arts and crafts. 355 Bob Jones Road, Southlake, bjnc.org

Photo courtesy of Blaine Crimmins

Craving a cool-down from the summer heat? The whole family can soak up the sun at these lakeside beaches:


Boost Your Backyard Whether you want expanses of lawn for impromptu soccer games or a fully-functional outdoor kitchen, Mike Beaver, owner of Denton-based Back to Eden Landscapes, has tips on how to take your outdoor space to the next level. Fix the yard first. A beautiful lawn is the most important part of improving your outdoor spaces. “A healthy lawn will go a long way to enhance the value of your home,” Beaver says. “As the homeowner, you should be able to look out your window and see a pretty backyard where you can relax. Make your yard a place where you want to spend time enjoying it.” Start with picking up trash and clutter, weeding and filling in bare patches with sod or seed. Create a sitting area. Consider selecting a spot where people can sit. “It doesn’t have to be elaborate — it can just be a defined area with a table and chairs that suit your style,” Beaver says. You can further define the area with pavers, concrete or gravel. Light it up. Another step could include adding a fire pit, fireplace or a built-in grill, for added interest and even some outdoor cooking. Provide shade. It’s a good idea to create some cover from the sun. That could be as simple as a tent umbrella or as

extravagant as a pergola. “You can go upscale with cedar or aluminum materials, or you can keep it simple with a canvas awning,” Beaver says. Go green. Dense shrubbery can add privacy and beauty without a fence, says Beaver. He suggests working with a landscape professional to plot out the right plants for your space. Plan it out. Sites like Houzz and Pinterest are great ways to gather ideas, says Beaver. Before embarking on a big project, consider consulting with a professional to avoid costly mistakes, especially for “anything with electricity or water” or “things that require permits,” says Beaver. “Check city ordinances. Do some research and ask before you build.”

Fire an Arrow Even if you don’t have aspirations of becoming the next Katniss or Peeta, learning to master a bow is pretty impressive. And at Cinnamon Creek Ranch, you’ll have the chance to test those skills. The 80-acre facility has two outdoor practice ranges to get you warmed up; then it’s time to explore one of the five outdoor courses featuring 3D targets. You might be surprised how much it reminds you of an afternoon on the golf course — only without the golf carts and caddies. One course is designed to resemble a traditional hunting environment complete with

elevated box blinds, a pop-up blind, turtle blind and more. “We get all ages, from 6-yearolds to 64-year-olds, and everything in between,” says Dan Gustafson, a technician at Cinnamon Creek Ranch’s pro shop. “Most people come at it from a hunting perspective, but we get a lot of recreational shooters as well.” Give it your best shot, and may the odds be ever in your favor. 13794 Old Denton Rd., Roanoke, cinnamoncreekranch.com

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Go Camping Summertime means hanging out in the great outdoors with family and friends. Camping is a fun and inexpensive way to do that. Here are some great spots to set up your tent: Little Elm Park provides a basic (read: no electricity or showers) camping site for times when you want to completely disconnect from the world. It’s right on the beach and lake, so you’ll awake to a beautiful view. Cost: $5/night or $15 for the four-night max stay 701 W. Eldorado Pkwy., Little Elm Twin Coves Park and Campground on the north side of Lake Grapevine offers tent, RV and cabin rentals that come with full access to the park’s amenities, including the playground and kayak rentals. Cost: $10 daily usage fee per vehicle to access the park 5001 Wichita Trail, Flower Mound Murrell Park, just around the corner from Twin Coves, has gorgeous views of the lake plus fishing spots, covered picnic tables and hiking and biking trails. Cost: $10/night 880 Simmons Road, Flower Mound Lake Ray Roberts Isle du Bois allows you to bring your horse to the equestrian camp, but don’t leave it alone while you’re there or take your steed off of the designated trails. Campsites are available with or without electricity and most feature grills and picnic tables. Cost: $15/night for primitive campsites, $26/night with electricity, $30/night for group sites for up to 24 Isle du Bois State Park Road, Pilot Point

Plant a Tree The city of Denton alone has 3.5 million trees with a value of $2.06 billion according to the “State of the Denton Urban Forest” report by Preservation Tree Services, Texas Trees Foundation and Plan-It Geo. Those trees provide 52,000 tons of oxygen and store 458,000 tons of carbon a year. Development across our fast-growing county threatens the tree canopy, but you can help by planting a tree. Call 811 to check underground utilities first and consider how large the tree will grow to ensure there will be enough room for it when it is mature. Visit the Denton County Master Gardener Association website at dcmga.com for more tips.

Grab a Cold One When you want to enjoy a refreshing beverage on a hot day, you might as well do it in a garden. Preferably a beer garden. And the best option for that is East Side Bar, Denton’s hotspot for a cold one on The Square. With 90 beers on tap — many of them local — and a pet-friendly patio, there’s really not much reason to leave. If you get hungry, pay a visit to one of the food trucks parked nearby. 117 E. Oak St., Denton, eastsidedenton.com

Camping photo courtesy of Kati Mize

Twin Coves Park

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Visit Clear Creek Natural Heritage Area

Photo courtesy of Clay Thurmond, Texas Master Naturalist

I

f you haven’t yet explored the Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center’s 3.3-mile walking loop, you’re in for two to three hours of adventure, delight and, if you’re lucky, close encounters of the wildlife kind, says Clay Thurmond, a Texas Master Naturalist who leads guided tours in the area. “I joined Master Naturalists in 2016,” Thurmond says. “I went through the class and fell in love with Clear Creek as being a jewel in the rough out here. I was a little surprised how many people don’t know about it.” When Thurmond started, Susan Pohlen, also a Texas Master Naturalist, was already guiding tours through a program called City Nature Hikes. She was also thrilled to find such a “special gem hidden in plain sight.” “Clear Creek has a prairie that is home to many grasses and wildflowers, a wetland that often provides habitat to a variety of ducks, geese and other water-loving species, an old gravel pit that opens a window to the past through fossils and an entire riparian area that sports numerous tree species, many quite old,” she says. “Each of these habitats is home to a wide array of insects, arachnids, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. The confluence of the Elm Fork River and Clear Creek also occurs along the edge of the nature area, a major tributary to our local watershed.”

The center educates visitors about the natural heritage of north central Texas through experiences such as the guided tours that Thurmond and Pohlen participate in, as well as research programs and conservation projects to protect and restore the area’s more than 2,900 acres of bottomland hardwood forest, upland prairie and diverse aquatic habitats.

Guided Hikes Guided tours are informal and usually highlight groups’ specific interests rather than getting too heavily scientific. Spring rains bring flooding, introducing an opportunity to talk about the function of wetlands. It’s also wildflower season, with many lovely varieties including milkweed, coneflower, basketflower, thistle and gayfeather. Also of note are numerous bird species, including some of Thurmond’s personal favorites like great blue herons. As the area is in the Lake Lewisville floodplain, the mud often reveals tracks from raccoons, possum, deer, snakes and other wildlife. Once, while Thurmond was on an unsuccessful mission to get armadillo photos, he came face to face with a bobcat. One of Pohlen’s favorite moments was hearing barred owls calling to one another on a hot, sunny late afternoon, but she says the best part is when people “express surprise in a wondrous sort of way when they learn something new. It’s as

though a little light comes on, and what more could a naturalist want?” Email masternaturalist@dentoncounty.com to request a guided tour.

Going It Alone If you choose not to take a guided walk, Thurmond advises you to stay quiet and “just observe and listen.” He says, “If you’re walking along, chatting the whole time, you’re going to miss things.” His other advice? Come properly prepared to hike with plenty of water, long pants and sleeves to guard against insects and hiking boots you won’t worry about if they happen to get a bit muddy. “Whether you know much about snakes or not, it is best when hiking in a natural area to stay on the trail and be alert,” Pohlen adds. “If you happen upon a snake on the trail, simply give the snake some space and a little time so that it can cross the trail. Don’t try to handle the snake, and please don’t antagonize it. Snakes are usually afraid of humans, and the venomous snakes certainly don’t wish to use their precious reserve of venom on a human since the venom is necessary for them to incapacitate prey when it’s time for them to eat. “Personal preparation is important as well. People should consider having a walking stick to check for things hidden in leaf debris in the event they have to walk through it.” 3310 Collins Road, Denton

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Spend Time in the National Park

Hunt for Treasure If you liked hunting for treasure as a kid, you’ll love geocaching. This modern-day version uses technology such as a GPS or smartphone to help you track down hidden treasure. Log onto geocaching.com, enter the area you want to explore, choose the geocache you want to search for and follow the coordinates. Your prize may contain any small item you can imagine or just a logbook where you can mark off your discovery. Geocaching is a great way to get outside and see parts of Denton County that you might not even have known existed. Visit Geocaching.com to get started.

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All photos on this page courtesy of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

It’s hard to believe you can get this close to nature and still be so close to town. Ray Roberts Lake State Park is the perfect day or weekend getaway when you don’t have time to get away. Its beauty makes it popular for photography and nature watchers. With more than 300 species of plants and animals including gray fox, coyote, armadillo, raccoon, roadrunners and even the occasional bald eagle, you might be surprised to see what wanders across your path. “People love coming here because it’s an oasis of relaxation, away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, but it’s really just a short distance from home,” says Mark Stewart, superintendent of the Isle du Bois Unit of the state park. “They like seeing the animals, and there are lots of trails for everything from hiking and mountain biking to equestrian use.” If you’re looking to get wet, head to one of the many beach areas bordering the lake. Jump in for a swim, BYOB (bring your own boat) or rent an aquatic plaything like a boat, jet ski, kayak or paddleboard. The lake has boat ramps, a fishing pier and even fish-cleaning stations. “Our water recreation opportunities are super popular,” Stewart says. “Whether you want to go boating or swimming or fishing, you can do that here. It’s a real family-friendly way to enjoy the outdoors.” 100 P W 4137, Pilot Point, tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/ ray-roberts-lake


Photos courtesy of Lisa Cole

Send Your Kid to Camp Some of the best childhood memories — and friendships — are made at summer camp. Here are a few to consider for your little (or not quite so little) ones:

on June 24-28, kids can do the usual hiking and nature walks, as well as robotics and other indoor STEAM activities. Ages: Sessions for 7-9 and 10-12

Junior Master Naturalist Day Camp in Denton allows kids to craft, create, explore and journal with certified Elm Fork Master Naturalists. They’ll study local habitats, prairies, ponds, rivers and urban areas. This year, there’s also a live snake presentation from the Backland Prairie Raptures program. Ages: 6-11

Fashionista Camp is ideal for kids who are more interested in the finer things in life, like art and fashion. Held at Denton’s Denia Rec Center, this camp teaches budding designers to make their own accessories and design and sew their dream outfit. The week culminates in a fashion show where they can show off their creations. Ages: 8-13

Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area’s summer camps help kids get up close and personal with nature. Throughout the season, various sessions are available for kids who want to hike, catch insects, learn to kayak and explore the pond. During a special STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art Mathematics) week

The City of Denton Parks & Rec Department hosts a wide range of camps with activities and field trips to suit even the pickiest camper. Dolphins Summer Splash Camp, for example, focuses on swim-team-style events. Zombie Apocalypse Survival Camp teaches survival skills like archery,

fishing, geocaching, outdoor cooking and leave-no-trace principles. There are also camps focused on engineering, languages, gardening, tennis, farm-to-table cooking and more. Ages: Various Kidz Kamp in The Colony has daily activities that include sports and athletics, games, group activities, arts and crafts and more. Campers will also go on weekly field trips. Ages: 6-8 Camp on the Lake is a water-centric camp hosted by YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas. The day camp also includes horseback riding, archery and arts and crafts on Lake Lewisville. Ages: 6-13

LLELA’s camps will thrill nature lovers from age 7 to 12 with a variety of activities.

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Kayak If you’re more advanced, head to the Elm Fork of the Trinity River, which offers 13.2 miles of water that’s great for canoeing and kayaking. “It’s not for beginners,” says Cole. Because the put-in point is near the dam, it can have a strong current and swift waters, so some prowess with the paddle is advised before taking this on. Cole says that regardless of where you go kayaking, it’s important to make sure you know what you’re getting into. “Look at the river, the trail and the weather conditions. Make sure the conditions are right for your experience level before you head out.”

Play Disc Golf Disc golf first found popularity in the 1970s and continues to enjoy a strong following today. Also known as Frisbee golf, it shares the objective of its namesake sport: get the object in the hole in as few attempts as possible. And like traditional golfers, disc golf players get to work around challenges such as changing terrain, trees and shrubs that stand in the way of the goal and occasional interference from Mother Nature. You don’t need a cart, special shoes or green fees for this type of golf though; the right kind of Frisbees and a couple of hours will do the trick. When you’re ready to give it a fling, try these courses: Denton’s North Lake Park and the Wildcats disc golf courses; Lewisville’s Leonard L. Woods Park and Tom “Old Man” McCutcheon Disc Golf Park at Lake Park; Little Elm’s McCord Park; Justin’s Disc Golf Course and Flower Mound’s Wellington Disc Golf Course.

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Party at the Cove Looking for a floating party, complete with music, swimming, (nearly) bare buns and unlimited libations? Pack up your cooler, tie on a bikini and motor over to Westlake Park at Lake Lewisville. Every Friday through Sunday, Party Cove caters to rowdy revelers who don’t shy away from merrymaking. The environment is definitely designed for adults, so if you have the kids in tow, seek out a different cove. Without your own vessel? Rent a boat or party barge from Eagle Point Marina or Hidden Cove Marina and Park to channel your inner Gatsby. 2000 Main St., Hickory Creek

Kayaking photo courtesy of LLELA

Denton County isn’t exactly known for its rapids, but you can still have plenty of adventure (and fun!) in the water. Novice paddlers and those looking for a relaxed day should explore the Texas Parks & Wildlife-sanctioned Beaver Pond Paddling Trail, recommends Lisa Cole, education coordinator at LLELA. “It’s a one-mile loop with a combination of treed areas and open areas and there’s no current. It’s great for wildlife viewing and it also has some curves and floating logs that you have to work your way through.” Monthly tours offered through LLELA can help newbies learn techniques and navigation.


Top photo courtesy of Lone Star Lodge and Marina; bottom photo courtesy of DFW Adventure Park

Learn Survival Skills If you’ve ever wondered how well you’d fare on the show Naked and Afraid, a visit to Survival School at DFW Adventure Park will help you find that answer. (Fortunately, you get to remain clothed and no camera crew will be present.) Survival School is the perfect way to find out how you’d cope in a you vs. nature scenario. And since it’s in a what is called a “casual wilderness environment,” it’s a much safer way to test your survival skills than, say, spending a night in the woods by yourself. Start with the basic Overnight Course ($189) to learn essentials such as building a fire, sending out a signal, creating shelter, basic navigation skills and knife and axe skills. Once you’ve mastered that, advance to the Next Level Weekend ($179) or sign up for one of the school’s intensive sessions that lets you focus on honing a specific set of skills. 13055 Cleveland Gibbs Road, Northlake, dfwap.com/play/survival-school

Go on a Stay-cation The Lone Star Lodge and Marina, just west of Pilot Point, pairs the advantages of the great outdoors with the comforts of quality accommodation. A rustic theme runs throughout the design of the entire lodge, giving it a kind of Lone Star luxury that could only be found in Texas. “We get a lot of people from the outskirts of Dallas who just want to have a little staycation,” says Lone Star Manager John-Michael Brattlof. “But we also get a lot of out-of-state visitors, particularly from Oklahoma.” It’s also an extremely popular spot for weddings and receptions. The lodge’s perfect location on Ray Roberts Lake is a huge draw, especially given the adjacent marina where you can rent a boat, kayak, pontoon or jet ski. But it also is a hit simply because it offers a unique blend of nature and nurture. “You don’t often get the chance to be surrounded by nature but also have the convenience of a hotel room,” Brattlof says. “You can be in a forest of these beautiful big oak trees but have a nice room just a short walk away. And having it right on the lake is a huge deal, especially in the summer.” “There’s tons to do out here, and it is absolutely beautiful. And in the future, we’re going to give [guests] something that’s even bigger and better,” says Brattlof, referring to the expansion that is currently in progress. When complete, the work will include a marina with 600 boat slips, an RV park and an equestrian center. 2200 FM 1192, Pilot Point, lonestarlodgeresortandmarina.com

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Hang Out With Butterflies

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Take a Boat Out for the Day It’s easy to float your boat in Denton County. Lewisville Lake is a hotspot with five marinas to choose from and a dozen boat ramps. Pick your place and set sail. Ray Roberts Lake is not only a popular spot for boating but also draws land-locked summer fun seekers thanks to the adjacent Ray Roberts Lake State Park. With plenty of camping available, you can boat all day, stay in the park, get up the next morning and do it again. If you don’t have your own boat, join the club: the Nautical Boat Club. This aquatic country club gives members access to a variety of boats — from fishing boats to party pontoons to speedy vessels ideal for water skiing. Insurance, maintenance and dockside valet are included for a one-time membership fee of $995 to $5,995 and monthly dues of $195 to $595. Nautical Boat Club, 801 Lobo Lane, Little Elm, nauticalboatclub.com

Butterfly Photo courtesy of Texas Woman’s University

If you want something to set your heart aflutter, check out the Dr. Bettye Myers Butterfly Garden on the campus of Texas Woman’s University. The garden, created in 2016, is designed to attract monarch butterflies and provide a sanctuary for other butterflies, birds and bees. Named after Dr. Bettye Myers, a Cornaro Professor of Kinesiology who retired in 2015 after 54 years of teaching at TWU, the garden is a tribute to her years of service, as well as a showcase of beautiful plants and wildlife. Everything in the garden is native to Texas, and last year it earned its Monarch Waystation designation, which means it’s essentially a travel stop for migrating monarchs. Waystations make sure the winged travelers have plenty of milkweeds, nectar plants and shelter as they make their annual migration south each fall. (Humans aren’t the only ones trying to escape the cold.) “Given Texas’ unique position along the Monarch migration route, TWU is taking a leadership role in conserving and enhancing habitat for the iconic Monarch butterfly,” says Dr. Camelia Maier, professor of biology and chair of the Pollinator Garden Advisory Committee. “The TWU butterfly gardens promote an improved ‘sense of place’ and community ownership of our Denton campus.” And it’s pretty darn beautiful to boot. On the TWU campus, 304 Administration Dr., twu.edu/ butterfly-garden


Zip Line

Zip line photo courtesy of DFW Adventure Park ; dog park photo courtesy of Chuck Jennings

You don’t need wings to soar above the earth, just a few strings. That’s where the zip lines at DFW Adventure Park come into play. Four towers around the property’s woods provide the frame for an adventure that takes riders through the area in a manner typically reserved for drones and birds. The zip lines are between 250 and 450 feet long and 30 to 40 feet high, with each one giving you more chance to pick up speed. Hold on to your helmet; you can fly through the woods at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour! Whether you’re a novice to zip lining or have strapped on a harness dozens of times, there’s no need to fear. You’ll get a safety briefing and instruction in the nuances of zip lining and a chance to practice on a 50-foot long line just eight feet off the ground before you take to the skies. DFW Adventure Park, 13044 Cleveland Gibbs Road, Northlake, dfwap.com/play/zip-lines

Take Your Pup to the Park Take a tour of great local dog parks with your fuzzy buddy. They’re the perfect places to get in an exciting round of fetch and socialize with other humans and dogs. First, visit Wiggly Field Dog Park (1760 E. Ryan Road, Denton). Wiggly has three areas for large and small pups, a pond and picnic tables. Kali Flewellen, who does marketing and outreach for City of Denton Parks & Rec, says it’s “a great place for dogs to go and get some exercise, socialization and freedom.” Next, head to Hound Mound (1201 S. Garden Ridge Blvd., Flower Mound) where you’ll find five acres of fun for your pooch. There are separate play areas for large and small dogs and an agility station, where dogs can run up ramps, jump over hurdles and weave through poles. The last leg of your dog park tour should be the Lone Star Toyota of Lewisville Railroad Park (1301 S. Railroad St., Lewisville). It spans six acres and has two areas for dogs,

covered seating for humans and wash stations for Sparky to clean up after a good run. Have a doggone good time!

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Ride a Bike You don’t need to enter the Tour de France to get in some scenic group cycling. “There are a lot of routes around here,” says Tyler Davis, service manager at Velo Republic Bicycle Co. & Service Station in Denton. One of the best paved rides in Denton County, he says, is the Denton Katy Trail between Denton and Lake Dallas. Built on the right-of-way of the Denton Branch of the former MKT Railroad, the eight-foot wide concrete trail follows a portion of the Denton County A-Train rail commuter line. “There’s a paved trail for cycling and walking, and you can ride the trail over the lake,” Davis says. “You really need open road to be able to get a good speed, so this trail is great for that.” If you aren’t sure how to find the best places to ride, you’re in luck:

There are a number of group rides that can help. These include 15- to 20-mile group rides on weeknights and more adventurous 60-mile Sunday Funday rides. Velo runs some group rides but also has info on other rides on its website (velorepublicbikes. com, under the “Rides and Trails” section). You can also join the Velo Community Courthouse Rides public Facebook group (facebook.com/groups/courthouserides) for info. For those who want variation in terrain but aren’t ready for the challenges of mountain biking, Davis

says gravel paths are popular — and the farmland in Denton County is the perfect environment. “Gravel is a big thing around here, probably half of our regular riders are into it,” he says. “It gives you varied terrain, but you don’t need a mountain bike to do it — and there’s lots of it to ride on.”

Spend a Day at the Lake With average summer temps dancing around 100 degrees, North Texans have one unified goal: do not become of a puddle of sweat. Moving swiftly like ninjas from one air conditioned space to another is a tried-and-true method to avoid the

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Surface Area

Max Average Depth Depth

Lake Lewisville

29,592 acres

67 feet

Lake Ray Roberts

29,350 acres

Grapevine Lake

7,280 acres

heat. The other? Head to the lakes! Residents of Denton County have access to three major bodies of water, which comes in handy when you can fry an egg on the sidewalk. Here are some quick facts about our lakes...

Type

Marinas

Infrastructure

History

25 feet

Reservoir

5

9 Bridges

Engineered in 1927 at Lake Dallas for flood control and as a water source for DFW.

106 feet

27 feet

Reservoir

2

1 Dam

Named after the Denton congressman who supported its creation in 1980.

65 feet

28 feet

Reservoir

3

1 Dam

Created in 1945 for flood control.

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Stop and Smell the Flowers Texas is known for its wildflowers. Here are four of our favorite ways to enjoy our bountiful flora: Tiptoe through the Texas Tulips at Pilot Point’s most photogenic farm. Entrance is $5. Pick up a basket, wander the rows and pick your own bouquet for $2.50 per stem. How idyllic! 10656 FM2931, Pilot Point, texas-tulips.com uu Wander the Indian Blanket-dotted meadows of The Flower Mound, so named because of the abundant wildflowers that grow on the gently sloping hill. Botanists among us may be able to find more than 400 varieties of plants and flowers. 2540 Flower Mound Road, Flower Mound, theflowermound.com uu Marvel at more than 1,000 types of roses, including more than 600 varieties unique to Denton County, at Jim Herbison’s Gemini Peach and Rose Farm. 1301 Haggard Lane, Denton, geminipeachandrosefarm.com uu Enjoy this year’s larger-than-average crop of wildflowers — which the 2019 Texas Bluebonnet & Wildflower Season Outlook Report by WildflowerHaven. com says may be our best in a decade. North Texas blooms such as Carolina Jessamine, Texas rosebud, Mexican plum, bluebonnets, wild foxglove, prairie groundsel and countless others (Texas boasts more than 5,000 blooming plants) can be enjoyed along roadsides and in meadows and fields throughout the county. Wildflowers peak around May. uu

Bee photo courtesy of Denver Kramer; shooting photo courtesy of DFW Adventure Park

Go Shooting If golf were played with a shotgun instead of a club, it would be called sporting clays. Summon your inner Annie Oakley (or Buffalo Bill) and test your skill with sporting clays at DFW Adventure Park. Visit one of the many scenic outdoor stations, then wait for the release of clay targets. They fly in all directions and could come out one, two or even three at a time. Your mission is to see how many you can take down. The park also offers trapshooting for those with split-second timing and skeet shooting for those who enjoy a little calculation with their shooting. DFW Adventure Park, 13044 Cleveland Gibbs Road, Northlake, dfwap.com/play/trap-skeet-sporting-clays

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Make a Splash Hot Texas days are on the way! Stay cool in the pool at The Colony Aquatic Park (5580 N. Colony Blvd.), Roanoke Community Pool (416 S. Walnut) or the Denton Civic Center Pool (515 N. Bell Ave.). Denton’s Water Works Park is also a great option for a fun day out for the whole family. The park features a hula hut, toddler tubes, cabana rentals, giant slides, a play pool, sand volleyball and lazy rivers. If your child has a summer birthday, you can rent out a cabana and throw a water-themed bash. If you and the kiddos really want to make a splash, take a trip to the Rosemeade Rainforest aquatic complex in Carrollton (1334 E. Rosemeade Pkwy.). The facility — which welcomes between 53,000 and 64,000 patrons each summer — is closed as of this writing for extensive renovations but will be opening this summer. Visit the city of Carrollton’s aquatics department website for up-to-date information. We spoke with Parks Manager Kim Bybee about the renovation. “We had a lot of flat-water pools in our main pool area, and we’re converting to more of an interactive, waterpark-type feel,” she says. “One of them is being turned

into a baby/toddler splashpad with shade structures, so our 0-to-5-year-olds will have a safe, shaded place to play. We’re converting the 50m flat-water pool into a zero-depth entry. It’ll have a cool signature feature and then will stairstep to a 4-foot depth so we can still offer programming and lessons. We’ve put in a wall that divides it from our eight 25m lap lanes to separate the water so it’s more beneficial for those who compete and race.” Outside of the water, Bybee says the restrooms, offices and concession have been completely rebuilt. Restrooms are now enclosed. Offices will now comfortably hold the 24 staff a day (the original office was built for just six). And the new concessionaire will offer a wider variety of food out of a restaurant-style kitchen. Behind the scenes, they are adding a new gutter system and a UV sanitizing system.

Rosemeade Rainforest aquatic complex is finishing a major renovation and upgrade.

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Top photo courtesy of DCMGA; bottom photo courtesy of Darci Crain

Garden With the Kids Gardening is a relaxing hobby, but sharing the experience with your children can add a whole new element of enjoyment. “There is no better way for kids to see the miracle of life than through gardening,” says Liz Moyer, communications director for the Denton County Master Gardener Association (DCMGA). “It’s so important for kids to know where their food comes from, and it’s a great opportunity for families to do things together. It’s also a great way to cut your family grocery bill; I don’t buy greens at the store for four or five months out of the year.” To get little ones started on the path to a green thumb, Barbara Brown and Rhonda Love of the DCMGA have this advice: Start young. Preschool aged kids enjoy digging in the dirt and being outside. Let them use that enthusiasm to plant some seeds. Share the basics. Kids have limited attention spans, so treat it like show and tell, not a lecture. Let them do one or two simple tasks: digging a hole, planting a seed or seedling, watering or just holding tools the right way. Acknowledge progress. Kids love praise, so recognize their accomplishments, and let them know you’re proud of what they’ve learned. Choose fast-growing plants. Something that will come up in a few days, such as radishes, green beans or lettuce, is a great place to start. Quickly being able to see the results of their work is rewarding for kids (and adults!). Grow their knowledge with their skill. As kids get older, you can start to impart more knowledge on them, things such as selecting the best plants for our area, timing planting and good plant management. Make sure gardening is still fun though! Give them their own space. When they’re a bit older, consider giving them a dedicated garden of their own. An area just 2 to 3 feet wide and 6 feet long allows them to reach to weed, water and harvest without stepping on the soil or plants. Make a cute sign to show the space is theirs. Create a plan. When kids are around 6 to 8 years old, they may want to grow their favorite vegetables or create a pizza or taco garden for their favorite foods. Use planning time to talk about the plants’ growing conditions and needs.

Go for a Run It’s been said that we’re all running from something, but some people just want to do it for fun. The Denton Area Running Club is a great place to find fleet-footed friends who have regular weekly social runs as well as longer runs and other special events throughout the year. Whether you’re training for your first 5K or have five marathons under your belt, they’ll help you meet your goals — and meet a bunch of new friends in the process. You can run anywhere, of course — in a park, down the side of the road or pretty much anywhere your feet want to go. But if you’re determined to hit the trails, our area has an abundant supply. For beginners, Elm Fork Trail in Denton, Corinth Community Park in Corinth and the Ray Roberts Greenbelt Trail at Greenbelt Corridor Park near Denton will give you the greenery and scenery that makes running outdoors so rewarding. Ray Roberts Lake State Park and the Bittern Marsh Trail at LLELA Nature Preserve also have several solid options. To find a running spot near you, turn to alltrails.com or use an app like MapMyRun to get details before you hit the road (or trail).

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Learn to Bird

On getting started: “The best way — really the only way — to get started is to go to the fields with other birders. Learn what they can teach you then start learning on your own.” On education: “There’s a massive amount of information for birders out there. You can go to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website at AllAboutBirds. org to learn about every bird that you would probably be interested in. Cornell also offers a wide variety of reasonably priced classes that you can take online or download.” On skills: “The real skill in birding is not to memorize every bird, it’s to be able to look at a bird and say, ‘It’s in this sort of habitat. It’s this time of year. What are my options?’ An experienced birder goes through that

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in their head so quickly they don’t even think about it much.” On using your ears: “Birdsong and bird calls are extremely difficult to learn. I won’t make any bones about it. But you only see what’s in front of you; you hear what’s all around you. That’s why learning to bird by ear can be very important. Also, there are many species that you don’t see much because they make it their business to stay hidden, but they’ll still make noise, call and sing.” On field guides: “Field guides come in two basic flavors: Those with paintings and those with photographs. It’s a personal choice. People who love photographs say an artist’s drawing, no matter how good, is not an actual picture of the bird. People who like paintings say they show you more variations in the plumage. The best field guide is the one on your phone because it’s in your pocket — Audubon and Sibley are the best and are about $30 each. They can jam as many pictures as they want in there, so you get all of the different plumages, and you’ll get a nice selection of all of the sounds that bird will make as well as up-to-date range maps and migration times and other information.” On binoculars: “The least you can spend to get a good pair of binoculars for birding is about $100 to $150. Buying them isn’t something you should do online. Go to a store so you can pick them up, get comfortable with them and see if you like the feel of them. Even if you buy them on

Amazon, be sure you’ve held them in your hands first. You want extra-low dispersion glass, and you want to see the word ‘waterproof.’ NOT ‘water resistant.’ If they don’t say waterproof, don’t buy them. For magnification and size, most birders use 8 x 42 or 10 x 50. If you’re a serious birder, the best binoculars are the Nikon Monarch 7. They’re about $500.” On where to bird: “Denton County has a lot of great places. North Lake Park is reasonably good birding all year long, but people usually go there to see ducks in the winter. Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center is my stomping ground. Somewhere between 175 and 180 different bird species have been identified on the property. Isle du Bois Unit at Lake Ray Roberts has excellent birding and so does the Johnson Branch Unit on the north side. Hickory Creek Park, Pilot Knoll Park, Lake Park, Third Creek Park, North Shore Trailhead Park, Meryl Park and of course, LLELA — all 2,000 beautiful acres of it. I’ll be leading bird walks this fall at Heritage Park in Flower Mound.” Scott Kiester relaxes.

Bird photo courtesy of Robert Nunnally via Creative Commons

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ome of Audubon Master Birder Scott Kiester’s earliest memories are of his mother pointing out birds and teaching him the names. “I learned to bird at my mother’s side. I was a casual birder until my late 20s or early 30s, then I realized there’s more to it than just identifying the birds.” Now, he says, “I want to be able to talk about when that bird is in town, what it eats, what eats it, what its habits are. I want to know the bird well enough that I can understand how it fits into an ecosystem.” He has been a “serious birder” for at least 35 years and leads bird walks throughout Denton County. We spoke with him about how those who didn’t grow up with the hobby should get started:


Boca 31 photo courtesy of Andres Meraz/Boca 31 ; Denton Community Market photos courtesy of Darya Servatyuk

Dine on a Patio Some days, it’s just too nice to stay inside. Here are three of our favorite spots to enjoy al fresco dining. When you’re in Denton, a visit to Boca 31 (207 S. Bell Avenue) is a must. This Latin American restaurant’s creative take on tacos, empanadas and more is a refreshing change from the ubiquitous Tex-Mex fare found across the Lone Star State. Even better, the restaurant’s outdoor seating is the perfect spot for enjoying an extra serving of sunshine with your meal. A nice cold cerveza or homemade sangria pairs pretty well with the great outdoors too. Roanoke is home to many outdoor dining options, but you can’t go wrong with a visit to The Classic Café at Roanoke (504 Oak St.), where you can enjoy New American fare in a quaint cottage setting. Shun the indoor seating and hang out on the patio under the shade of the pecan trees. To spend a little more time with nature, enjoy the on-site garden, which they call the Chef’s Pantry, and see where your food is grown. If you’re in Flower Mound, take a seat at The Table (3701 Justin Road, #150) for great outdoor dining. This eatery serves up seasonal American food with European flair and a great selection of beer and cocktails. While the modern rustic dining room has a great vibe, the outdoor patio is a great alternative for summer dining.

Boca 31

Shop the Denton Community Market About 6,000 visitors from across the metroplex visit the Denton Community Market every week to shop more than 160 carefully selected vendors, listen to live music and enjoy a sense of community. But it hasn’t always been this way. “We literally had nothing when we started and we’ve grown into this big weekly event eight months of the year,” says Executive Director Vicki Oppenheim, who has been with the market since it started 10 years ago. “I’m very pleased with all the positive things we do in terms of economic development and supporting local farmers, arts and musicians.” Throughout the season, the market will host a special booth to commemorate this milestone. Every month, the booth will feature a new theme and artifacts celebrating the market’s history. One of the things that has helped DCM survive (and thrive!) for a decade is its selective process for vendors. “We are a producer-only market,” says Oppenheim, who explains that all goods and produce offered are made or grown within a 100-mile radius of Denton. “We are probably the strictest in DFW in terms of our standards — certainly our agricultural standards. That helps distinguish us from other markets. Many farmers like the fact that we have these high standards. The visitors certainly do too.” The 501c3 nonprofit market has SNAP and WIC programs so that community members from all income levels can enjoy the weekly market. Visit from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (or 8 a.m. to noon during the Early Bird Summer Hours between Memorial Day and Labor Day) to browse locally produced veggies, fruits, crafts, relish, honey, coffee, cheese, jewelry, art and much more. Denton County Historical Park, 317 W. Mulberry St., Denton, dentoncommunitymarket.com

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Above: Anglers are welcome along the Elm Fork in LLELA. Left: Wes Campbell is a fishing guide at both Lake Lewisville and Lake Ray Roberts.

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Summertime means cookouts, and what could be better than grilling up a fresh catch of the day? Grab your rod and prepare to reel in a big one. According to Wes Campbell, a fishing guide with BendaRod Fishing Guide Service, both Lake Lewisville and Lake Ray Roberts have white and black crappie, blue catfish, channel catfish, flathead catfish, multiple species of brem or perch, largemouth bass, white bass, drum and carp. Lake Lewisville also contains hybrid stripers, which are larger and more sought-after fish. The lake’s average depth of 25 feet make the lake’s title of “Urban Bass Fishing Capital of Texas” possible. At Ray Roberts, Campbell recommends heading to Isle du Bois and Johnson Branch. While Lewisville has several parks, a well-known fishing spot there is known as “The Cut.” “It is a hole that was blown in the old dam on Lake Dallas,” says Campbell. Because the lake is in a state park, you can fish from the pier or shore without a license. Grapevine Lake is another option. Hidden in its 65-foot depths are boulders and drop-offs that make it a perfect spot for hungry largemouth bass. The chances of catching white bass are also excellent thanks to an aeration system. More casual fishing enthusiasts might want to check out the boathouses and flooded timber to see what’s biting. During the springtime, fish are spawning, so Campbell says it’s best to fish at a nearby feeder creek for these lakes or at a bank. In the winter, white bass and hybrid stripers will be deeper and suspended in the water column, and you should downsize your baits. Putting Campbell’s expert tips into action can help you bring home the bass (or crappies, or catfish, or whatever floats your fishing boat). If you’re not catching fish, he says to move to another area. “I see people all the time sitting in one spot for too long [and] not catching anything. Don’t be afraid to go find them.” Of course, if you’re still having trouble reeling in the big catches, hire a fishing guide. Campbell says, “It will give you years of knowledge in one day, and on the water, knowledge is power.”

Top photo courtesy of Owen Richards; bottom photo courtesy of Wes Campbell

Go Fishing


Mountain Bike When you want to get off the beaten path and into the great outdoors, nothing compares to jumping on a mountain bike and tearing up a trail. And, thanks to the varying terrain in Denton County, there’s something for every level of skill — and bravery. “The elevation change for the area is pretty good,” explains Tyler Davis, service manager at Denton’s Velo Republic Bicycle Co. & Service Station. “There are lots of trails we can access around here. It can be tame or it can be difficult, it just depends on the terrain.” For most people, an entry-level mountain bike, helmet and riding gloves are all you need. Once you’re geared up, head to one of these local trails: North Shore Trail: This favorite at Grapevine Lake “is probably the best in DFW,” according to Davis. The 22-mile trail has a varied terrain and draws hundreds of bikers every week and weekend, so you certainly won’t feel alone. “The biggest thing for riders to know is that you need to check on the trails before you

Join the Texas Stream Team

head out there,” Davis advises. “A lot of the mountain biking trails are in flood plains or near the lake, so they’re going to shut down when it gets wet and muddy.” Corinth Mountain Bike Trail: This trail off the Denton Katy Trail in Corinth offers about six miles of well-maintained and varying terrain for beginner to intermediate riders. Isle du Bois: Intermediate and more experienced riders can enjoy up to 11 miles of fun here, with challenges like rock gardens and sand pits to keep them working those pedals. Knob Hills Trail: South of Denton (close to Texas Motor Speedway) at Highway 377, this challenging and varied trail has climbs and drops as well as some flat land for recovery. North Lakes Park Trail: Every skill level is welcome at this 1.5-mile trail, which also is used for hiking, walking and trail running. If you’re the stopand-smell-the-roses type, there are some wildflowers that you can enjoy.

There are 191,000 miles of Texas waterways, and the Texas Stream Team is dedicated to protecting all of them. This collaboration between the Environmental Protection Agency, Texas State University and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality started in 1991. Hundreds of volunteer citizen scientists, academic researchers, students, environmental professionals and members of the community are involved. Volunteers gather water quality data from Texas’ estuaries, bays, bayous, wetlands, rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands. The info is then sent to a database managed by The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University and the Town of Flower Mound. Advanced training sessions teach volunteers to do bacteriological and nutrient monitoring. To get involved, call 972-874-6354.

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Golf

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Fore! Denton County is home to some of the state’s best courses. Here are a few of our favorite publicly available options.

Tribute Golf Links

Timber Links Golf Club

Bring out your bagpipe! This “true links course” is just about as close as you can get to playing the legendary holes of Scotland without booking a flight. That’s because renowned golf architect Tripp Davis modeled it after legendary holes and courses of Scotland, birthplace of golf. Markers at the holes offer information about the famous holes that inspired them from Scottish courses such as Muirfield, Royal Troon and St. Andrews. Par: 72 Length: 7,002 yards 1000 Lebanon Road, The Colony, thetributegc.com

Bring your extra balls! This hilly nine-hole course designed by Lyndy Lindsey is tougher than it may initially seem. Started in 2003, the carefully maintained course features narrow fairways, changes in elevation and side bunkers that force players to thoroughly think out their approach to each hole. This hidden gem in Denton is just as fun as it is challenging, and staff members are friendly and helpful. Par: 35 (9 holes) Length: 3,043 yards 5201 Par Drive, Denton, timberlinksgolfclub.com

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Old American Golf Club Designed by Tripp Davis and 12-time PGA tour winner Justin Leonard, this classic American course alongside Lake Lewisville requires a careful approach. The skill and strategy needed mean that OAGC attracts accomplished golfers as well as novices who want to test themselves with sand bunkers and unique layouts. It is the host site of the Volunteers of America Classic (an LPGA Tour event) for the next three years. “Old American Golf Club pays homage to the ‘Golden Era’ of golf course architecture,” says Kristi Martin, director of sales and marketing. “It really allows you to be transported back in time to experience the game of golf in its purest form.” Old American is a semi-private club. Non-member play is available Monday through Friday and on Saturdays and Sundays after noon. Please contact the staff to book a tee time. Par: 72 Length: 7,127 yards 1000 Lebanon Road, The Colony, oldamericangolfclub.com

Indian Creek Golf Club Avid Golfer magazine named Indian Creek the Best Premium Golf Course in 2017, and there’s a good reason for that. The Creek and Lakes courses offer 36 holes of championship golf with three sets of tees to accommodate any skill level. Tree-lined fairways, tranquil lakes and the Trinity River add to the allure. Flooding shut the club down for two years in 2015. The Creek course has since reopened, but the 80-acre Lakes course is currently undergoing an extensive renovation. “The Lakes Course is one of the most affordable municipal courses in DFW,” says Director of Golf Julie Roberts, who predicts a late summer 2019 reopening of the course. “After $4 million in renovations, it will boast all new greens plus concrete cart paths and a modern irrigation system. Couple those features with new tees and fairways and it will be a true Cinderella story, a truly amazing transformation!” Par: 72 (both courses) Length: 7,235 yards (Creek), 7,000 yards (Lakes) 1650 W. Frankford Rd., Carrollton, indiancreekgolfclub.com

Golf Club at Frisco Lakes

Lake Park Golf Course

“Year after year, this track is a pronounced favorite of DFW golfers,” according to Avid Golfer. The 18-hole champion course designed by Gary Stephenson boasts a diverse array of challenging holes as well as some truly remarkable views of the lake. Multiple tees make it accessible for any golfer. Holes with peninsula-style and island greens add challenge and variety. Par: 72 Length: 7,099 yards 7170 Anthem Dr., Frisco, friscolakesgc.com

Along the shores of Lake Lewisville sits a nine-hole executive course and a scenic 18-hole championship course that was named one of the best places to play in America by Golf Digest. The generous greens, forgiving fairways and multiple tees for each hole make this relaxing golf destination a great choice for novices. The nine-hole course is open late. Hours vary by season, so call ahead at 972-219-5661. Par: 70 (Championship), 29 (Executive) Length: 6,135 yards (Championship), 1,724 yards (Executive) 6 Lake Park Road, Lewisville, lakeparkgc.com

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Take a Walk in the Park You can go for a stroll, play sports, discover beautiful picnic spots and have a picturesque adventure in these magnificent local parks...

On March 30, Flower Mound’s Heritage Park celebrated the completion of a nine-year renovation. The updated park offers a wildlife encounter area where you can see statues of bison, deer and turkeys; a splash pad; a disc golf course and a playground. Chuck Jennings, director of parks and recreation for Flower Mound, says that any time the town wants to do something with the parkland, they “go in front of the public and hear what they think.” Size: 82 acres Amenities: Nature trails, athletic facilities, wildlife encounter station, 18-basket disc golf course, dog park, playground, fishing pond, boardwalk, waterfall, grills, picnic tables and performance pavilion 600 Spinks Road, Flower Mound

Sanger Sports Park Get your softball bat and head to Sanger Sports Park, where you can play a game and grill up some hot dogs. Check out the 1.5-mile concrete walking path while you’re there. “[It] gives people the opportunity to spend time and enjoy the outdoors with fresh air, sunshine and exercise,” says Shani Bradshaw, director of economic development for the City of Sanger. Size: 40 acres Amenities: Three-field softball complex, fishing pond with a dock, picnic areas, grills, playground and a concrete walking path 1647-2101 Interstate 35 Frontage Road, Sanger

North Lakes Park North Lakes Park is one of the most expansive parks in Denton with tons of amenities. “It offers a lot, which is why it’s a big draw,” says Kali Flewellen, from the City of Denton Parks & Rec’s marketing and communications department. At North Lakes, you can take tennis lessons, play a round of golf, go for a walk or challenge your friends to a game on the sand volleyball courts. Size: 351 acres Amenities: Two lakes, fishing pier, concrete and soft-surface trails, golf course, playgrounds, grills, sand volleyball courts 2001 W Windsor Drive, Denton

Quakertown Park “Quakerton Park has a really rich history in Denton,” says Flewellen. Just off Denton Square, it not only has the usual picnic tables, grills and playground, it’s also a hub for art, jazz and storytelling festivals. Swing by for some summer fun with the whole family. Size: 32 acres Amenities: Picnic tables, bridges, grills, playground 700 Oakland St, Denton

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Top photo courtesy of Chuck Jennings; second photo courtesy of Shani Bradshaw; third and bottom photos courtesy of Kali Flewellen

Heritage Park of Flower Mound


Photos courtesy of Larry Brennan

Spot Some Wildlife Denton County has a variety of ecosystems in places like LLELA, Clear Creek Natural Heritage Area, Bob Jones Nature Center and Lake Ray Roberts National Park, but you never know what kind of wildlife you might spot in your neighborhood park or very own backyard. One of the world’s most popular nature apps, iNaturalist (a joint initiative by the National Geographic Society and the California Academy of Sciences), allows users to submit photos of flora and fauna in their area. Denton County observers have documented 3,274 species in nearly 72,000 submissions — from frequently spotted creatures such as great blue heron, fox squirrels and common slider turtles to rarely captured wildlife such as giant leaf-footed bugs, barred owls and wild boars. Browse all 3,274 on the map of our area at inaturalist. org. Click on any animal to find out where it has been spotted. Bobcats, for example, are primarily found in LLELA but also gather around Grapevine Lake, according to the data. Use the nature photography tips you learned in this issue and submit your own photos.

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Kylie and Chris Demases

If you love fresh strawberries and fresh-from-the-ground veggies but don’t have the time or energy to tend your own garden, Pecan Creek Strawberry Farm in Pilot Point and Wow U-Pick Farms in Krum can take the hassle out of farming for you.

Pecan Creek Strawberry Farm Last year, fourth-generation farmer Chris Demases and his wife, Kylie, often found 100 or more eager pickers waiting at the gate when they opened the strawberry field at 9 a.m. Their 10,000 plants were often picked out before the crowd thinned for the day. This year, to better meet demand, they have expanded by five times. Chris, who has been growing strawberries for six years and running his popular pick-your-own business for two, advises visitors to check

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Facebook before coming out to the farm to plan their trip. The farm — located on land that has been in Kylie’s family for more than 100 years — is open Wednesday through Saturday, weather permitting. Berries are $5 per pound, and picking buckets (required) are $3 each. The fields reach peak harvest in early May. 12141 Foutch Road, Pilot Point, pecancreekstrawberryfarm.com

Wow U-Pick Farms Farmer Norvel Rohrer learned gardening from his mother and grew up around his grandfather’s seed business. Farming has been “engraved in his heart for generations.” He even met his wife, Eva, in his garden. Impressed by his green thumb, Eva eventually married Norvel and opened Wow U-Pick Farms with him in 2017.

Norvel Rohrer

The hydroponic farm offers pickyour-own options on a wide variety of crops. Norvel says tomatoes, red bell peppers, basil, onions, okra and squash are some of the most popular, but fresh produce seekers can also pick up various types of lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, watermelons, berries, peas, eggplant, jalapenos and more. “We’re going to plant some Israeli melons [aka Galia melons] this year,” says Norvel, “Because I tried one, and it was the best tasting melon I’ve ever had.” Kids are welcome to come learn how their veggies are grown. Hours vary depending on season, but the farm typically opens at 9:30 a.m., Monday through Saturday. Call 940-312-9889 for more information. 7271 Donald Road, Krum, facebook.com/norvelyeva

Main photo courtesy of Janey Cooper Photography; inset photo courtesy of Wow U-Pick Farms

Pick Your Own Food


Learn to Sail Here are a few nautical tips to get you onto the open water... uu Cooler mornings and evenings are the best times for summer sailing. uu Observational skills are important. Use your senses to notice wind direction. Feel the breeze in your hair and face. Listen. Look for patterns in the waves. uu Learn the ropes. To travel in the same direction as the wind, set your sails perpendicular to the wind and let the boat be pushed from behind. The arrow shape of the boat moves it forward. Sails provide lift, much like an airplane wing. The keel and rudder are the wings under the boat. uu Relax and enjoy yourself. “Sailing is a science, a sport and an art,” says Meadows, who also teaches sailing at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Matt Meadows

You can earn basic keelboat certification by the American Sailing Association in about 10 days, whether you want to sail alone or as a team. For the more adventuresome, racing classes are available. For more information, visit SailDallas.com.

Photos courtesy of Sail Dallas

It’s hard to ignore the sparkling waters of Lewisville Lake, especially in the heat of the Texas sun. Heed the beckoning waves and set sail. Don’t know how? That’s okay! In as little as three hours on shore and four hours on the lake, a crew of instructors can teach you to tack into the wind, pull up the sails, control the rudder or jive downwind. “It’s not so much about muscle as it is about paying attention to the wind,” says Matt Meadows, owner and captain of Sail Dallas, which offers classes at Pier 121 Marina. With 233 miles of shoreline, Lewisville Lake (or Lake Lewisville, as locals call it) is a jewel of the Lake Cities region. “It’s one of the few places you can actually see the curvature of the earth,” Meadows says.

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P

eek behind the scenes in Horse Country, USA with these organized Denton County horse farm tours. Our area boasts more than 300 ranches, more than 25,000 horses and some of the top equine athletes in the world. Many of these ranches with horses from the upper echelons of competition are not open to tourists, so you may have a hard time seeing them up close. But have no fear; if you select the right tour, you can enjoy access to several first-class equine facilities… and some excellent food and drink, to boot.

North Texas Horse Country Tour Six times a year, the Denton Convention and Visitor’s Bureau hosts horse farm tours. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. you’ll learn about the area and visit three ranches via luxury motorcoach. There will be at least one demonstration with horses on site, and you’ll be treated to a BBQ lunch from an 1890s chuckwagon.

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“It’s a concentration of horse farms, unlike anywhere else in the world,” Dana Lodge, interim vice president of DCVB, says. “In the North Texas region it’s varied, with a wide variety of different breeds and a wide variety of different disciplines. We have every breed imaginable. And each ranch focuses on a different discipline. So it may be a halter horse ranch, it may be a race horse, it may be reining or cutting. And that’s what makes it different and unique from any other real concentration of horse farms in the world.“ The $40 price tag includes the tour, snacks, lunch and drinks. These tours sell out fast though; the next available tours start in October. Learn more: Visit discoverdenton.com.

Premier Tours Global If you’d like to book a tour for a private party or group separate from the North Texas Horse Country Tours, Premier Tours Global is a great

option. Working in conjunction with the Denton Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, Premier Tours Global offers luxury transportation and thoughtful details for your horse tour. You’ll enjoy commentary from expert tour guides, comfortable vehicles ranging in size from a town car all the way to a motorcoach, a delicious meal from a local eatery like Mom’s on Main in Aubrey, a visit to Western Son Distillery and, of course, behind-thescenes visits with several North Texas ranches, all included in the price of admission. “The horse country tours really are a hidden gem,” Chourtney Guthrie with Premier Tours Global says. “Spring is our favorite season to tour because you see so many foals during this time of year. It is amazing all there is to see just beyond the bustling city when you take a few country roads.” Learn more: Visit premiertoursglobal. com or call 888-407-2772.

Main photo courtesy of Mandy McCutcheon; inset courtesy of Diann Bayes

Take a Horse Country Tour


Swing & Slide After spending the winter inside, the kids are ready to get outside and explore. Pack a snack and visit these playgrounds for a swingin’, slidin’ good time.

Top photo courtesy of Chuck Jennings; second, third and fourth photos courtesy of Kali Flewellen; bottom photo courtesy of Landscape Structures

Fort Wildflower Playground The newly redone Heritage Park features the Fort Wildflower playground, a community-built playground that took weeks and thousands of volunteers to build. The playground has swings, slides, climbing areas and large tents for shade. “It’s been a very popular playground with the kiddos,” said Chuck Jennings, director of Parks and Recreation for the Town of Flower Mound. 600 Spinks Road, Flower Mound

Eureka 2 Playground This community-built playground at South Lakes Park is fully inclusive with ramps for wheelchairs, as well as a wheelchair-accessible zip line and merry-go-round. “Inclusiveness is part of this city’s identity, and it’s great that the playgrounds can reflect that too,” says Chrissy Mallouf, Eureka 2 committee chair. There are also swings, slides, a rock wall and a giant climbing structure. Prior to construction, playground consultants worked with kids to find out what they really look for in a play space. Two separate areas cater to kids 2 to 5 and kids 5 to 12. 556 Hobson Lane, Denton

North Lakes Park Playground The playground at North Lakes Park sits in a shady area with large trees and a lot of space for kids to run around. There are triple slides, monkey bars, swings and climbing structures for children of all ages. 2001 W. Windsor Dr., Denton

Quakertown Park Before checking out a concert or festival in the park during the summer, parents can take their kids to the Quakertown Park playground for a quick run around. There are enclosed and open slides, swing sets, monkey bars and picnic tables. 700 Oakland St., Denton

Kids Kastle Park This playground will make your little one feel like the king or queen of the castle. Kids can climb, swing, slide and crawl around this large castle-themed play area. Once the kids have conquered the castle, families can finish their wonderful day by feeding ducks or geese together at the nearby pond. 2210 Briarhill Blvd., Highland Village

Beard Park Playground This lovely nature-themed playground complements its surroundings on the shores of Lake Lewisville. Little nature lovers can enjoy crawling through a hollowed-out log (or at least what looks like a log) tunnel, mastering their balance on the beam, climbing the “rocks” or netting and enjoying the usual swings, merry-go-rounds and slides. 310 E. Eldorado Pkwy., Little Elm

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“I would suggest to dive right in. The digital cameras that we have today have really opened a lot of doors for people, and any camera will work in a pinch,” says Chris Jackson of DFW Urban Wildlife. “Then I’d just send them off to their local park or duck pond or even their own backyard. Those are great places to start taking pictures.” Jackson himself began taking wildlife photos with his 35mm camera in college and gathering them on his dfwurbanwildlife.com website in 2005. He’s self-taught but sharing his work in Facebook groups and on websites such as iNaturalist helped get him the feedback he needed to improve. Today, his website contains stunning photos of and information about nearly any type of animal found in North Texas. When starting to explore wildlife photography, Jackson recommends

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a bridge camera — “not quite as imposing as the SLR” and “just a little more capable than your average point-and-shoot.” He says, “You’ve got to be patient with yourself and give yourself a chance to learn. This isn’t easy. You’ve got to learn your equipment and understand the wildlife then choose your best opportunities for good results.” He also suggests getting involved with a group of like-minded photographers. “It creates a positive feedback loop that reinforces what you’re doing and helps give you a reason to go do it again and keep challenging yourself to progress. They support you and you support them, and you all build your skill set.” During his 14 years, he has photographed everything from bobcats and beavers to snakes and lizards. “I’ve managed to come across some relatively rare animals here in the

metroplex,” he says. “Some examples would be the roseate spoonbill, a big pink and scarlet colored bird. Maybe two or three dozen of them spend their summers here. A couple of summers ago there were a few whooping cranes that spent most of the summer in the metroplex. That’s a big deal because they are one of the rarest birds in the world. There are only about 400 or so left in the wild. On rare occasion, we’ll have a snowy owl come into the metroplex. This is an arctic own, and they almost never come this far south, but in the right circumstances, a few will migrate further south than they normally do.”

Photos courtesy of Chris Jackson

Take Up Nature Photography


Keep Your City Beautiful Most Denton County cities have local organizations based on the Keep America Beautiful model. These important groups help with community improvement projects, cleanup efforts, tree planting, city beautification and much more. Each city has its own version. Flower Mound has a Lend-a-Hand Community Enhancement Initiative designed to help injured veterans and those in fear of evictions from code-enforcement violations with home improvements and clean-up. Denton has a Yard of the Month award. Argyle has a yard flamingo fundraiser. Your local group may also have a newsletter, regular meetings or special events. Volunteers are always needed for a wide variety of projects. Visit your local group’s website to be matched with a volunteer program that fits your interests and skills.

Try Orienteering Sometimes known as the “thinking sport,” orienteering is a unique blend of map reading, navigating, hiking and racing that can be practiced by people of all ages and athletic levels. Whether you’re a runner who wants to compete in a different type of race, a family that wants to spend a little outdoor time together or a hiker who wants to improve your navigation skills, you can get started in just one day with the help of the North Texas Orienteering Association (NTOA).

Getting Started The group of about 50 active members holds about 10 events each year, between September and May. At each meet — most of which have between 100 and 400 participants from across the state — NTOA offers beginners a training class, a detailed topographical map created by the club and the option to rent a compass. All newbies need to do is show up with clothing appropriate for a walk in the woods (long pants, good shoes and longsleeved shirt) and a willingness to learn. “The novice course is designed so that you can go out and complete it after the training,” says NTOA President Jim Stevens. “If you go out there and get lost, you’re not gonna enjoy it, and you’re never going to come back. We want to train people so that they have a good time and come back.” During the training, you’ll learn how to orient your map as you change direction, how to use “handrails” (features you can follow such as streams, trails, fence lines and ridges), how to use your thumb to keep track of where you are and how to break the course down into manageable legs.

Increasing the Challenge Once you’re hooked, you can practice and graduate to intermediate and advanced courses. Stevens, who has been orienteering for 42 years, says, “I love the challenge of it. It’s like a game. You’re getting out in the woods, figuring out points and trying to pick the best route for you.” Although you do not need to be a member of NTOA to participate in events, Stevens says the camaraderie is also a great part of orienteering. “Having a club is neat because I see people I know at all of the meets. I can say, ‘How did you do? Here’s how I did.’ We’ve got some people in our club who are really good. One guy was on the national team a few years ago and another competed internationally. It’s a great way to stay in shape and just get outside and do something.” Register for an upcoming event at NTOA.com.

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Take a Hike Twin Coves Park

Twin Coves Park Northshore Trail This dirt trail offers a lake view and gorgeous sunset strolls, Aguirre says. Large rocks and tree roots provide challenge and interest. Hike all the way to the pier across from the Twin Coves Marina. You’ll likely see white egrets, blue herons and other birds, deer and wildflowers. Where: 5001 Wichita Trail, Flower Mound Length: 4.25 miles Difficulty: Moderate

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Murrell Park Northshore Trail at MADD Shelter A beautiful bamboo forest on part of the trail makes you feel as if you are in Vietnam or another country, Aguirre says. It’s a loop, and if you add another quarter mile, you can walk to the Twin Coves Marina and have a delightful meal at Rockin’ S Bar and Grill or just enjoy watching nature, the lake and the sunset. Where: 4542 Green Oaks Drive in Flower Mound Length: 2.75 miles Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Stone Creek Park Purple Coneflower Trail Stone Creek “makes you feel as if you are walking along the Colorado River,” Aguirre says. “When you hear the water gushing and enjoy the greenery all around and even cross the stones, you have a different feel versus being in a neighborhood park.” It’s also a photographers’ heaven. Where: 1400 Fuqua, Flower Mound Length: 4.5 miles Stone Creek Park Difficulty: Easy

Photos courtesy of Doris Aguirre

T

he satisfying crunch of dirt and leaves underfoot, the song of birds and quiet pathways beckon hiking enthusiasts to Denton County’s many delightful trails. “Hiking is a stress reliever,” says Doris Aguirre, aka “Doris the hiker,” who leads the 1,500-member Hiking Friends and Fun Denton, Lewisville, Flower Mound meetup. “It feels great to be in the outdoors.” She’s made fast friends through her six years of weekly hikes and notes the beautiful scenery, interesting wildlife, wildflowers, glorious sunsets and rigorous exercise as incentives to keep exploring. Here’s your guide to a few of Denton County’s most popular and unique trails, starting with Aguirre’s top three. For more options, download the AllTrails app or join a local meetup.


Ray Roberts Greenbelt Trail Highlights include a picturesque red walking bridge, majestic large oaks, fields of wildflowers in the spring and shade for some sections. Alltrails.com reviewers note lots of wildlife including deer, raccoons, wild boars, coyotes and armadillos. Sometimes the trail, notably the southern end, can be closed due to high water. Where: Greenbelt Corridor, Denton Length: 21.3 miles Difficulty: Easy

Top right photo courtesy of Newland Communities; Map courtesy of Adrienne Hamilton at DCTA

Denton County Transportation Authority’s A-train Rail Trail “The A-train Rail Trail provides a safe environment for cyclists and walkers to enjoy the outdoors, with protection from the urban traffic,” says Adrienne Hamilton of the Denton County Transportation Authority. “In addition, the rail trail passes through lovely neighborhoods, green spaces and past quirky shops. It is our hope that more businesses, park areas and services will pop up along the trail as public use increases.” The fully-paved trail crosses over Lake Lewisville with panoramic views and is a key connector between cities such as Denton, Highland Village and Lewisville. It also offers access to parks such as LLELA Nature Preserve, Toyota Railroad Park, Tower Bay Park, Copperas Branch Park, Lakeside Community Park and Arrowhead Park. Where: 604 E. Hickory St., Denton (Downtown Denton Transit Center) Length: 19 miles (final two miles from the Highland Village/ Lewisville Lake station to Old Town Lewisville should be complete this year) Difficulty: Easy

TRAIL MAP

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Canyon Falls

Canyon Falls Canyon Falls is a 1,200-acre master-planned community in Northlake, Flower Mound and Argyle. Julenne Rushing, marketing director, says the area’s rolling terrain, high bluffs, creekside canyon and stands of mature trees create a beautiful environment for exploring the outdoors. Canyon Falls has about 250 acres of open space, most of it in the preserved area along Graham Branch Creek. Its 11 miles (so far) of paved trails are used by walkers, bikers, high school track team runners, running clubs, fitness groups and four-legged residents. The trails are built according to ADA specifications to ensure they can be enjoyed by all, says project manager Jason Wight. Where: 6950 Canyon Falls Drive, Northlake Length: 11 miles Difficulty: Easy

2, 4, NC-N

Pilot Knoll Trail Corinth Community Park

Legend COMPLETED In progress Parks

Hickory Creek Park

Pilot Knoll Park

Lewisville Lake Lakeside Community Park

Arrowhead Park

Lewisville Lake

Copperas Branch Park Tower Bay Park

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Station Station Name Connecting Routes

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LLELA Nature Preserve

Old Town Station 22

This lightly traveled trail with lovely lake views is kid- and dog-friendly, though dogs must be kept on a leash. Hikers and trail runners also share the trail with friendly horseback riders. One reviewer notes, “If you like dragon flies, you’ll love this trail. There are bunches!” A word of warning: On rainy days, the mud in places can be deep and challenging. Where: Pilot Knoll Park in Argyle Length: 7.9 miles Difficulty: Easy

Toyota Railroad Park

Hebron Station 21, 22, LZ

Trinit y Mills Station DART

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M

ost drivers zipping past on Interstate 35 would be shocked to know that just five minutes away, 2,000 acres of diverse ecosystems and wildlife habitats play host to some 360 species of vertebrates, 500 plant species and countless invertebrates. “When you’re walking along the Black Jack or Bittern Marsh Trails, it’s hard to believe that you’re in the heart of the metroplex,” says Stacie Anaya, director of Lewisville Parks & Recreation. It is the Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area (LLELA to friends), where Blackland prairies, forests, aquatic ecosystems and the Trinity River create the perfect recipe for biodiversity — with the help of a whole lot of generous volunteers. LLELA aims to preserve this biodiversity and the native Texas ecosystems that support it while providing opportunities for environmental education, research and public recreation activities such as hiking, birding, kayaking, canoeing, camping, picnicking and guided walks. This is done by removing invasive species, restoring habitats and reintroducing wildlife.

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Habitat Restoration Master Naturalist and LLELA Project Manager Scott Kiester got involved in some of these activities when he moved from Houston six years ago. “I’m currently coordinating the prairie restoration on the west side,” he says. “We’re in the process of getting rid of the woody vegetation that’s starting to invade the little prairie glades and replanting the native species that should be living there.” This type of habitat improvement is necessary because, he says, LLELA is “taking what was largely agricultural land that had sat for a few decades after the dam was built and the land was condemned for flood control purposes and making a fairly concerted effort to restore the native habitats.” He notes that the eastern side of the property has “a few areas of 40 to 50 acres that are starting to look like Blackland prairie again, and that’s very gratifying.”

Welcoming Wildlife Once the habitats have been repaired, Kiester says that animals start to slowly return. “If you build it, they will come, at least to some extent,” he

says. He organizes an annual bioblitz (a brief but intense biological survey of an area to record all living species), and over time, that will help determine the impact of the habitat restorations. Kiester also assists with bird banding, controlled burns and wildlife introduction (he’s currently working on the box turtle recovery program). “We’ve tried to reintroduce quail several times and have yet to be really successful for a variety of reasons, but the attempts are ongoing,” he says. “Previously, the staff successfully reintroduced the Rio Grande turkey to LLELA. We have a nice viable population of turkeys now that was introduced by the staff over the last 10 or 15 years. On a side note, we’ve released several hundred or a thousand baby tarantulas as well in hopes of returning them to the property.”

What You Can Do Visit LLELA seven days a week for just $5 a vehicle. You can also support LLELA by joining Friends of LLELA or volunteering for a wide variety of tasks. Friends of LLELA members not only support LLELA’s mission but also have members-only activities and bimonthly meetings with fascinating speakers. LLELA, 201 E. Jones St., Lewisville, llela.org

Top right photo courtesy of Lynne Richards

Visit LLELA


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r o f t s e u q e and th

y r h e t t l Wa hea rest of the e h t d n a k Dr. Gary Dicton County's Lewisville team at Den Ecosystem Research Aquatic eeping our k e r a ) F R E Facility (LA healthy and waging waterways st nuisance plants. a war again T BY KRISTY ALPER

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THE RESULTS OF LAERF'S EFFORTS CAN BE SEEN ON LAKE LEWISVILLE AND GRAPEVINE LAKE, WHERE THE TEAM HELPS TO RESTORE AQUATIC PLANTS IN PROJECTS ASSOCIATED WITH CORPS LAKES. or the boaters and fishermen of Denton County, the waters of Lake Lewisville and Grapevine Lake provide a welcome respite from the summer heat. They’re places where tree-lined coves offer ideal fishing conditions and wide-open waterways give skiers and tubers ample room to glide over white-capped wakes. For most Denton County residents, the goal is to get on the water to get relief from nuisances like scorching temperatures and everyday stresses, but for Denton County transplant Dr. Gary Dick, the goal is to go beneath the water to better manage and understand the nuisances that may be lurking there. Dr. Dick is a research biologist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Research and Development Center’s Environmental Laboratory. He works from a lab inside the Lewisville Aquatic Ecosystem Research Facility (LAERF), where he specializes in understanding the ecology of native and invasive aquatic plants. He identifies, studies and sometimes helps remove nuisance plants that can hinder a body of water’s ability to maintain optimal health and works to restore beneficial native species. State-of-the-Art Facilities For more than 20 years, the LAERF has been operating on the shores of Lake Lewisville — on the south side behind the Lewisville Dam, on the 2,000-acre property belonging to Lake Lewisville Environmental Learning Area (see “50 Ways to Enjoy the Great Outdoors” in this issue to learn more about LLELA). Yet, despite its location on a popular recreational lake and the importance of its work, the LAERF flies under the

radar for most Denton County residents. In the scientific community, however, it is a different story. For them, the LAERF is among the best-known and most respected aquatic research facilities in the nation. Its 53 earthen ponds, 21 lined ponds, 18 flowing water raceways, three large outdoor mesocosm facilities, multiple research greenhouses and several laboratories make it the ideal place to “bridge the gap between small-scale laboratory studies and large-scale field tests.” This variety of carefully controlled facilities allows researchers to see the effects of aquatic herbicides, low-light conditions, biocontrol insects and other factors. Scientists also have access to equipment that allows them to study photosynthesis, respiration and other physiological processes. An ongoing water-chemistry monitoring program and data collection units ensure accurate results. On any given day, Dick is joined by a team of five federal employees, one contractor and as many as 10 student interns, all of whom are dedicated to improving America’s lakes, reservoirs and wetlands through research and a better understanding of plant biology and ecology. The team also supports Corps of Engineers Districts in related projects. “Understanding ... the relative strengths and weaknesses of nuisance plants and their interactions with the environment, including native plants, is critical to developing sustainable management strategies,” says Dick.

The facility sits on what used to be the “old fish hatchery,” a former project of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. After the hatchery relocated, the facility sat abandoned for years before research biologists and managers working in the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s (ERDC) Aquatic Plant Control Research Program in Mississippi secured the use of the facility in the late 1980s. Dick and a number of other biologists were added to the team in 1989. Today, the LAERF operates as part of the ERDC’s national lab. Local Results The results of LAERF’s efforts can be seen on Lake Lewisville and Grapevine Lake, where the team helps to restore aquatic plants in projects associated with Corps Lakes. If you’re a long-time Denton County resident, you may remember that there was little to no vegetation around the two lakes in the early 1990s. Aside from the aesthetic issues this caused, the lack of vegetation also affected the ecosystem as a whole. Plants naturally oxygenate and purify waters while providing vital cover and food for a variety of wildlife, including invertebrates M AY/J U N E 2 0 1 9 D E N T O N CO U N T Y

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and small fish, which, in turn, provide food for larger wildlife. A lack of appropriate plant life can easily throw the entire ecosystem into disarray. In collaboration with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the team at the LAERF worked to remedy the issue. They added habitat-enhancing plants in shallow areas around Lake Grapevine to serve as the basis for a healthy ecosystem. “An added potential bonus is that by vegetating these areas with desirable, native species, invasions by unwanted plants species is less likely,” says Dick. “When successful, native species diversity increases, ecosystem services are improved, and nuisance species management needs can be reduced.” Even more recently, the LAERF has begun planting native vegetation in the wetlands associated with Lake Lewisville. Native plants like pondweeds, water lilies, water willow, bulrushes, spikerushes, arrowheads, Carex sedges and others have been successfully established in a few areas around the lake. “In Lake Lewisville, we have worked more with wetlands, including, most recently, a Corps of Engineers cost share project with the City of Frisco, that we will finish up planting this year, to restructure and improve Stewart Creek and Hackberry Creek wetlands,” shares Dick. “In addition to aquatic and

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wetland species similar to those planted in Grapevine, we’ve seeded and planted flood-tolerant grassland species like switchgrass, buffalograss and a variety of native wildflowers, as well as trees and shrubs like oaks, pecans, sycamores, willows, persimmons, plums, redbuds and more in areas immediately surrounding the wetlands. Some nuisance species control was needed for Johnsongrass, giant ragweed and bastard cabbage in the higher elevation areas.”  Vital Discoveries LAERF’s work is not limited to Denton County — or even Texas. Dick and his team contribute to the health of waterways across the nation. In one Florida lake, the team worked with the USDA and other organizations to control hydrilla with leaf-mining flies and native plants. They have also worked to manage nuisance plants in areas around Chicago and Buffalo, New York. Closer to home, they contributed to the control of zebra mussel infestations in Texas reservoirs. The LAERF works closely with University of North Texas (UNT) researchers when their interests overlap, acting as a research destination for the school’s top environmental science students. Through the collaboration with the university and a number of other key research partners, the LAERF has helped to develop

management strategies that are used nationwide to control invasive species such as hydrilla, Eurasian watermilfoil, water hyacinth, water chestnut and giant salvinia. “[O]ne of our researchers currently supplies parts of Texas and Louisiana with salvinia weevils to help combat giant salvinia infestations occurring in the southern United States,” Dick explains. Dick and his colleagues have been part of some of the most exciting findings in the industry over the years. Although the LAERF team was not the only one to make the discovery, it was a leader in determining that removing an invasive species without filling the void with something more desirable leaves an area that is destined to be invaded by undesirable species. In other words, you need to manage both invasive species and desirable species for long-term success — a vital principle in aquatic ecosystem management. With a talented team of researchers and industry-leading facilities, LAERF (and Denton County) will continue to have a significant positive impact on America’s lakes, reservoirs and wetlands. Although the facility is not staffed to provide tours to the public on a regular basis, you can learn more about LAERF and the important work done there by visiting bit.ly/theLAERF.

Photos courtesy of Linde L. Dodd

Controlled conditions and a wide variety of facilities allow LAERF’s researchers to better understand and manage aquatic plants.


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NE W IN TOW N

Open for Business

E

xciting businesses are always opening in our growing county. Welcome these new businesses to our community by paying them a visit.

The Iron Den, 1401 Spinks Road, Flower Mound, facebook.com/thedenfm. Described as an “oldschool style personal training and bootcamp facility,” Flower Mound’s newest fitness offering provides programs for every fitness level. The gym will feature 5,000 square feet of training space and specialized equipment from Lou Ferrigno (aka TV’s Incredible Hulk), who will be in attendance at the May 11 grand opening.

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Half-Pint Children’s Boutique, 108 W. Oak St., Suite 102, Denton, halfpintchildrensboutique.com. When Sally and Scott Cotter had their son, they realized that more boutique shopping for parents was needed and set about filling that void. Today, moms and dads can stop in for products such as glow-in-the-dark pacifiers made in Denmark, all-natural baby balms, adorable onesies and mini designer purses.

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RightSize Realty Associates, LLC is located within the Robson Ranch Community. While we don’t only serve Robson Ranch, we do specialize in The Ranch because we live here!


Left photo courtesy of Jeff Woo, DRC; right photo courtesy of Jake King, DRC

Urban Craft Co., 2311 Cross Timbers Road, Suite 305, Flower Mound, urbancraftco.com. This DIY creative workshop opening on May 4 hosts events where participants can try their hand at woodworking, leather working, pillow creation, painting and more — all while enjoying BYOB beverages and snacks with friends and other crafters. Visit their online calendar to sign up for a fun group outing now. La Rose Maison, 221 W. Hickory St., Denton, larosemaison.com. Part art gallery, part gift store, La Rose Maison aims to “bridge the gap between art and homes” by offering affordable, oneof-a-kind art from local artists as well as gifts such as candles, books and home goods.

Frios Gourmet Pops, 1640 W. University Drive, Denton, friospops.com/denton. Just in time for summer, this purveyor of unique frozen treats arrives in town. Refreshing offerings include vegan fruit pops and gourmet signature pops in flavors such as blackberry ginger lemonade, pumpkin cheesecake, avocado lime and Fruity Pebbles.

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See&Do YOUR GUIDE TO THE BEST UPCOMING EVENTS IN DENTON COUNTY

Rock the Square: Mother’s Appreciation Food Tour

When: May 4, 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Where: 110 West Hickory Street, Denton Mothers, join Bite Size Food Tours for a delicious day out with fellow parents. Meet at the Denton County

Courthouse-on-the-Square Museum and let Denton’s only food tour company introduce you to some of the area’s best and most unique eateries. You’ll learn about the history of Denton along the way. Tickets are $95 for food alone or $125 for food plus signature, handcrafted drinks at three of the stops.

When: June 28, 3 p.m. to June 29, 10 p.m. Where: South Austin Street, Denton The Denton Pride Foundation Block Party will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising as well as a half-century of LGBTQIA+ pride. The free event will feature music, activities, exhibitors, food and drinks for people of all ages. Pick up some Pride gear while you’re there to show your support.

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Left photo courtesy of Rachel White

Denton Pride Block Party


Left photo courtesy of CreativeCommons/Aiko Vanhulsen

Denton County Farm Heritage Day

My Fair Lady

When: May 4, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Where: Denton County Historical Park, 317 W. Mulberry St., Denton This third annual event celebrating Denton County’s farm heritage will feature antique tractor displays from the Denton Antique Tractor Club, blacksmithing demonstrations from the North Texas Blacksmith Association, a kids tractor pull, rope making and crafts and much more.

Festival Cinco de Mayo

When: May 4, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Where: Quakertown Park, 700 Oakland St., Denton More than 6,000 people attended last year’s annual celebration commemorating the historic battle of Puebla, and organizers expect even more this year. This free event showcases the rich cultural traditions, songs, dances, art and food of the Hispanic community. It offers activities for the whole family, including a parade (10 a.m.), traditional Mexican crafts for kids, Hispanic bands, local school performers, the Little Miss Cinco de Mayo pageant, food and drink vendors and much more.

When: May 3 to 12 Where: Campus Theatre, 214 W. Hickory St., Denton Music Theatre of Denton presents its version of this award-winning Broadway musical and classic film. This adaptation is produced by David K. Pierce and directed by Laura C. Skipper with Katie Sperry starring as Eliza Doolittle, the cockney flower girl who is transformed into an elegant lady.

Highland Village Art Festival

When: May 4, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Where: The Shops at Highland Village, FM 2499 and Justin Road, Highland Village Peruse works from more than 30 gallery-quality artists and enjoy art demonstrations, live music and interactive children’s activities at this fun festival for the creative among us.

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Some goodbyes are more

See&Do

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Mother’s Day Goat Yoga

When: May 11, 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Where: 1300 Homestead Way, Argyle Get your yoga pants on and make your way to Farmhouse Coffee & Treasures for a special Mother’s Day edition of goat yoga. The goats will walk around, graze and perhaps even jump on you during your downward facing dog. You can bring your own yoga mat or get one for $7. Admission is $20.

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When: May 30, 7 p.m. Where: Mule Barn Sports Bar & Grill, 218 S FM 156, Justin Country singer/songwriter Kylie Rae Harris won 2014 Female Vocalist of the Year at the Texas Regional Radio Music Awards. Hear some great tunes from this up-and-coming local artist at the Mule Barn Sports Bar & Grill. Tickets are free.


Krumtry Fest

When: May 17, 5 p.m. to May 18, 10 p.m. Where: 805 E. McCart St., Krum Krum kids will be excited about the second annual Krumtry Fest, a carnival with games and rides, wiener dog races, a kiss-a-pig contest, cow patty bingo, car show, cornhole tournament, craft and vendor show and much more. Sink your teeth into a hamburger and get your game face on for the fair.

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When: May 11, 1 to 5 p.m. Where: Dan’s Silverleaf, 103 Industrial St., Denton Proceeds from this annual event benefit the Denton County LOSS (Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors) Team, which provides 24-hour outreach, support and resources to those coping with the suicide of a loved one. Attendees will enjoy four local bands, raffle drawings and live and silent art auctions.

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Kid Fish

When: June 1, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Where: Rheudasil Park Pond, 2401 Lake Forest Blvd., Flower Mound Dig your fishing rod out of the garage and take your kids to Rheudasil Park Pond to learn to fish. The pond will be stocked with more than 500 pounds of catfish, so the little ones are bound to take home an amazing catch. If you don’t have your own rod, reel and bait, you’ll be provided with them.

Denton County Vegetable, Flower, Herb and Fruit Show

When: June 15, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Where: 317 W. Mulberry St., Denton Calling all green thumbs! Enter the Vegetable, Flower, Herb and Fruit Show hosted by the Denton County Master Gardener Association for a chance to win cash prizes. There are different categories for kids and adults, so the whole family can get involved. Entries are taken at 9 a.m., and prizes are awarded at noon.

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See&Do

YOUR GUIDE TO THE BEST UPCOMING EVENTS IN DENTON COUNTY

Movies in the Park

4th Annual Roanoke Roundup

When: May 4, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Where: Historic Oak Street, Downtown Roanoke If you love steak, gather the family for a free day of tasty fun at the Roanoke Roundup. Sample steaks and sides from local chefs, who are competing for big cash prizes, and enjoy music, activities, a classic car show and more. All proceeds go toward GUNS & HOSES Foundation of North Texas and Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas.

When: May 31 and June 28, 7 p.m. Where: Allen Groff Memorial Park, Pilot Point Check out the adorable A Dog’s Way Home (May) or the smash superhero flick Captain Marvel (June) under the stars with Pilot Point’s Movies in the Park series. Bring low-backed lawn chairs, dinner, snacks, blankets and bug spray to ensure you and the family have a fun time at the cinema.

Homesteading Series

When: May 14, 5 to 6 p.m. (and additional Tuesdays through October) Where: 501 Bolivar St., Sanger The Sanger Public Library’s homesteading series will teach you valuable life skills in this 12-class series. Learn how to grow and preserve your own food, how to care for a flock/herd and how to make homemade products. If you’re ready to get some chickens or eat from your garden, these are the classes for you.

Concerts in the Park

When: May 3, 10, 17 and 24, 7 p.m. Where: The Heritage Park of Flower Mound, 600 Spinks Road, Flower Mound Enjoy a fun and free night out in the fresh air with music by Big Daddy Band (May 3), Live 80! eighties cover band (May 10), Chinatown party band (May 17) and Random Axis, Motown band (May 24).

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Commencement marks a passage, the transformation from student to graduate. It’s the beginning of a new journey as a creative leader. The Mean Green family comes together each year at commencement to honor the hard work and celebrate the success of our graduates. These are stories of determination, support and pride. Learn more at unt.edu/commencement.


Profile for Larry McBride

Denton County Magazine May-June 2019  

Denton County Magazine May-June 2019  

Profile for lmcbride