Crescent Bend Bird Watching Blind - article submitted for Schertz Magazine April 2014
Crescent Bend Nature Park is growing into a premier park for nature lovers. This was a residential neighborhood before the devastation of the hundred-year floods in 1997 and 1998. Since the park’s opening on October 16, 2009, the City of Schertz in partnership with Bexar County has brought many changes to the park. Most of the old electrical and telephone wiring and poles have been removed. Several of the paved streets have been bulldozed out of sight, with only a pole with street names standing as a reminder. In June of last summer, approximately forty-five (45) Texas State Youth Conference participants assisted the city in the installation of posts and cables along Lakeview Drive to restrict traffic through the park. A small group of volunteers known as the Friends of Crescent Bend Nature Park assist the city’s Parks Department from time to time with mowing, managing invasive plants, tree planting, and picking up trash. Now the Friends of Crescent Bend are working on a new addition to the park. Their inspiration was born from a community project by the Girl Scouts.
Girl Scout Troop 2120 of Cibolo/Schertz are brownies and juniors, eight to ten years old, led by leaders Teresa Fahlsing, Julie Buchanan, Lynn Odom, and Jennifer Koenig. The project idea was for their “It's Your Story - Tell it Journey Take Action” in which they wanted to do something to help at a local park.
In February 2013, troop leader Teresa Fahlsing approached Parks Manager Chuck Van Zandt to seek approval for a community project at Crescent Bend. The Girl Scout Troop wanted to provide something for the birds and the visitors of the park. Chuck referred Teresa to local bird photographer Ann Mallard to assist with the project. In only a few short weeks, the girls began working hard to provide the park with its first bird watching station. Each member of the troop made hand-painted bird feeders from plastic soda bottles and water drips from milk cartons. On March 23, 2013, the troop arrived at the park to fill and hang the feeders and water drips.
Within weeks, the birds started coming in to the food and water. They were not the only ones to notice the new bird watching station. Two feeders were donated to the troop by a local birder who was very proud of what the girls had done. The gentleman thought the girls' project was wonderful and was very excited about the new station at the park.
Over the next several months, this area grew in popularity with the birds and park visitors. Unfortunately, the girls’ feeders were taking a beating from the weather and from a few nightly visitors, squirrels and raccoons. Visitors, noticing this destruction, began donating more new feeders and seed to keep the bird watching station active with birds.
A Friend of Crescent Bend, Bill Skinner, volunteers his time to come to the park almost every day to oversee the watching station. As the station’s popularity grew, so did the donations of bird baths, feeders, and a variety of bird seeds to keep the birds returning to this area. Park visitors began to bring their own chairs to sit comfortably under the trees to observe over twenty-five (25) species of birds that flock here for food and water. Some also see other creatures pasting through such as the park’s White-tailed Deer and Fox Squirrels.
In the fall of last year, Darrell Cochran approached the city’s Parks Department Director with the idea of building a blind at the bird watching station. At the end of January 2014, the construction of the blind was approved. With the cooperation from the city's Parks Department, the Friends of Crescent Bend Nature Park group pooled donations and resources together for the construction of the bird blind. This blind will gave visitors the opportunity to see more birds and other animals, as well as a little protection from the weather. There’s a storage box nearby for visitors to drop off seed donations. At its completion, the blind will have a roof with a water collection system.
The Friends of Crescent Bend Nature Park members contributing to the building of the blind are Darrell Cochran, Joel Tanner, Bill Skinner, Bruce Ebaugh, Steve Wielgosh, Patricia Garcia, Ann Mallard, and Don Bush.
Across the street from the restrooms, there sits a small sign hand-painted by each girl in the troop to mark the trail to the bird watching station. A sign of inspiration to visitors to keep their community project alive.