Plenty of sunshine and encounters with some fascinating animals from around the world helped to make the 15th Annual Nature Fest a huge success. Presented by The Howard Hughes Corporation, the yearly extravaganza is a day-long expression of Bridgeland’s commitment to sustainability and environmental preservation in the form of a celebration. On Saturday, May 6, more than 6,000 attendees came to Oak Meadow Park to learn about creatures great and small and the importance of preserving their ecosystems.
We had the perfect teacher in headliner and nationally renowned wildlife expert Jeff Musial whose quick wittedness and knowledge of the animal kingdom educated us in a fun and amusing way. Referring to himself as Jeff the Animal Guy, Musial brought brave children and adults to the stage to come face-to-face with a Kinkajou, a Burmese python and a variety of snakes, a blue-tongued skink, a two-toed sloth, a gila monster, and more. If you were lucky, the animal gave you a kiss; if you were brave, you wore the animal around your neck like a necklace! From almost every continent, from the Amazon to Australia, we learned some interesting things about these animals, such as a sloth is an awesome swimmer and that snakes “smell” the air with their tongue and Jacobson’s organ. Did you know that a gila monster can go a year without food or that it and the Mexican bearded lizard are the only 2 venomous lizards?
Numerous activities including pony rides, a petting zoo and face painting, to name a few, along with a variety of exhibitors and food trucks filled the park. An event of this scale requires many contributors, and we are grateful to our many sponsors. Our title sponsor was Honeywood Realty and additional sponsors included: HEB; The Tello Group; Schwartz, Page and Harding; The Spencer Company; Masterson Advisors; Memorial Hermann Cypress; Beazer Homes; BGE; Costello, Inc; Raba Kistner, Inc.; Perry Homes; Ravenna Homes; Highland Homes; David Weekley Homes; The Cooley Team; Municipal Accounts and Consulting; Westin Homes; Lennar; Tri Pointe Homes; Village Builders; Shooter & Lindsey and Republic Services
In addition to Musial, stage shows included Crocodile Encounter; Wildlife Revealed, a bird demonstration; Texas Snakes, who reminded us of their importance in ecosystems; and a magic show by Jungle Jack. We sang happy birthday to Bridgeland Bill, then the music started and so did the dancing on haybales!
Since 2008, Nature Fest has drawn tens of thousands of people to Bridgeland to spend the day immersed in nature, learning about our 11,500-acre nature-based community, and some of the wildlife found in our area and from all parts of the world.
While Nature Fest is a free event, some activities require a small fee. The proceeds from these activities raised more than $10,000 for Cy-Hope, a local non-profit that strives to make life better for children in the Cypress area. One of over 180 local charitable causes supported by The Howard Hughes Corporation and the HHCares Program, money raised from Saturday’s programming will assist backpack food programs, counseling and recovery programs, Camp Lemonade, supplemental music education, and coaching.
We’re looking forward to the next Nature Fest in April 2024, when Bridgeland and The Howard Hughes Corporation take you on one wild adventure!