On October 23rd, Bridgeland transformed Oak Meadow Park into an outdoor classroom known as Nature Fest. The 13th annual event, sponsored by The Howard Hughes Corporation educated and entertained more than 8,500 attendees while also supporting a local charity. Like Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are,” Nature Fest gave access to wild things from far away and across the world, showcasing indigenous creatures all the way from Africa to the Americas and places in between.
Nature Fest is a free event, with a few activities requiring a small fee. Ticket sales from this year’s programming raised over $12,000 for local non-profit Cy-Hope whose mission is making life better for all kids in Cypress. Monies raised will help to support programs including Camp Lemonade; the Hope Chest Resale Market; Cy-Hope Counseling, reaching 350 clients per week; the Backpack Feeding Program, providing 750 bags of food to students each week; and more.
“We are delighted by the overwhelming response to the return of Nature Fest, the incredible community turnout, and the enthusiasm for all the performances and activities,” said Lona Shipp, Director of Residential Marketing for Bridgeland. “Protecting our natural resources remains a top priority for Howard Hughes across our nation-wide portfolio—as does our support of local charitable organizations whose work is critical to ensuring the vitality of our communities. In the Houston region, we support over 180 local causes through the HHCares program and we are honored with this year’s Nature Fest to support Cy-Hope—a dedicated local non-profit that seeks to improve the lives of children in our area.”
Headlining this year was Nat Geo WILD’s Jack Randall, the British zoologist that hosts “Out There with Jack Randall.” Randall, who is constantly adventuring to where the wild things are, brought his energy and passion for all animals so that we could gain a better understanding by getting up close with a few creatures in the animal kingdom. Smiling, willing and wide-eyed, some participants were brave enough to get on stage to receive their first hug from a snake, while others helped to hold one, coming eye to eye with the magnificent reptile. Other species introduced to audiences were the endangered Roatan iguana of Honduras and the black and white ruffed lemur of Madagascar.
Cheers of excitement could be heard throughout the day and guests watched in amazement as a brave squirrel named Twiggy performed on water skis. Pulled by a small motorized boat, world-famous Twiggy, wearing her life vest, entertained the crowd while also advocating for water safety.
Additional educational opportunities for attendees to learn about the conservation of wildlife and their habitats were provided by Crocodile Encounter, Wild Things Zoofari, Texas Snakes and Texas Wildlife Rehabilitation Coalition. In between scheduled stage shows, attendees were also treated to a park full of activities including face painting, a kids’ zone with bounce houses and rock wall, outdoor laser tag, pony rides, and food trucks to feed your inner animal, just to name a few.
Nature Fest exemplifies Bridgeland’s commitment to sustainability and the appreciation of the natural environment. Since 2008, the daylong, outdoor event has brought many tens of thousands of people together as a way to not only showcase some of our community, but also as a way to learn about some of nature’s striking and unusual inhabitants and the importance of preserving their ecosystems in a fun and engaging way. After a year-long hiatus, the 13th annual event was certainly one wild adventure.