Sibley Nature Center seeks to meet a $50,000 challenge grant
April 1, 2012
A local foundation has given us a $50,000 challenge grant. We are deeply appreciative of all the support that the Sibley Nature Center has received over the years. We hope we have been of service to the people of the City of Midland and other West Texans. We hope we have sparked an appreciation of the Llano Estacado and its ecology and history. We hope we have helped you learn a little more about your own home!
Over the last 25 years we have given over 8,000 programs to audiences whose numbers that now totals over a half million people of all ages. We have been blessed by the generosity of the Midland Reporter Telegram, and since 1999 have provided over 800 essays to the readers (most of which are on our website, plus many more originally published in the Phalarope, the newsletter of the Midland Naturalists.)
Thanks to modern computers we have also published over 200 issues of free 1 page weekly enewsletters that feature one local animal, plant, or historical site or action for more than 500 subscribers. Our website receives close to 3000 page hits daily (and some of our pages like our list of xeriscape plants, or some of our recommended field trip photoessays, have been visited thousands of times over the 7 years it has been on the Internet). Our Facebook page has over 1,900 subscribers, mostly from our region, but also from most of the other states and 10 countries. We post photos of the flora and fauna every day, and some of the conversations are great edifying fun!
In the last year we began a weekly call-in show on KWEL1070 AM on Friday 8:00-9:00, and it is a wonderful experience, hearing reports on animals seen, answering horticultural questions, and talking history with oldtimers who lived it. Recently we began supply the text for Marfa Public Radio's "Nature Notes" which is also rebroadcast on the Portales, New Mexico NPR station. Both radio stations are on the Internet, and as a result we have calls for information from as far away as Las Lunas, New Mexico and Sonora, Texas.
Through all of these outlets, we estimate we provide one point five million "educational experiences" each year. Thanks to the Internet, the Sibley Center has become a place where tourists stop and visit, and call ask advice on where to go and what to see and do when visiting the region. One visitor from Seattle visits us on every one of his business trips to the region, for example. A New York University professor visited us as part of her research for a recent art show debut in Houston. We answer thousands of questions a year from local folks about things from "what is a fox doing on my roof" to "what is this weed" to "what plants attract hummingbirds and butterflies."
Thousands of people have bought plants at our annual xeriscape plant sales. (This year we will hold the sale in the fall.) We are the go-to source for xeriscape information, since we have been promoting water conservation for 30 years, preaching xeriscape and testing over 1,200 species to rigorous conditions. Our list of successful plants became the suggested plant list for the City of Midland Commercial Landscape Ordinance (which may become the home landscape ordinance, too). Subscribe to our free weekly xeriscape 1 page newsletter (Landscaping Llanero Style – send an email to email@example.com requesting "Landscaping Llanero Style").
It is an honor to provide meeting space for the Midland Gem and Mineral Society, the Midland Archaeological Society, The Comanche Trail Woodcarvers, the West Texas Oilfield Environmental Professionals, the Urban 4H,Keep Midland Beautiful, Texas Extension Agency, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Region 18 Education Service Center, and the Midland Naturalists.
We hope that you will join in on our fundraising campaign and help us out. Anyone that donates $25 dollars or more becomes a member, and also has the option to be part of our Camera Club, Outing Club, or our Xeriscape Plant Buyers Club, and gets 10% off of purchases at Ski Skeller! (Someone has donated a 1999 Nissan Altima with a bluebook value of $5800 if someone would like to buy it for a college bound student!)