Here are some examples of questions we hear frequently
Q. Do you offer Summer Camps?
Yes we do. Go to DHDC.org. Look for Summer Camps and click on that. Then click register. You will see options for our amps there. We are partnering with the Discovery Center this year to offer the best camps ever! . If you want to see details, click on the Camp Brochure. We are on Page 13.
Q - What kinds of animals can we see at the Nature Center?
We are located on a major river break of the Canadian River on 645 acres of land. Any kind of wild animal living or passing through the Texas High Plains is likely to be found here. Many species are residents. To see them, you must know something about their habits and habitats. If you don't know these things we will be glad to educate you so you can observe and appreciate our native bio-diversity.
Q - Do you have live captive animal exhibits?
No. We are a nature preserve. As the Nature Center moves to a more research and education based philosophy, our live animal exhibits were all moved to a facility in Abilene that specializes in those kinds of displays. All of our residents are truly wild and they are free to come and go as they choose. We hope to provide habitats where they can sustain themselves by reducing the impact humans make at our facilities. If you would like to see animals in captivity we recommend a visit to the Amarillo Zoo. We are planning to have specialized programs, however in the future where you may come to see and be educated about the animals of the high plains as well as some exotics.
Q - Do you offer field trips for school classes, and can you come to our school?
We certainly do. See our Education Page. Many schools and school groups bring students to the Nature Center for outings, experiential education and for artistic studies. We have qualified volunteer educational staff and guides available at our facilities or yours if given enough advance notice. Our nature trails, geology wall and archaeology dig pit are available. As time goes on, your students will get to see more and more research projects in motion and learn about what scientists in our area are studying.
Q - Is the Gilvin building available for rental? I want to have a birthday party.
Yes. Please contact us for scheduling and details. Please watch for updates on our website, Facebook, and Twitter.
Q - What are the rules for hiking the trails?
The most important rules are:
- Respect the land, residents, features and other visitors.
- Leave no trace except footprints. Anything you carry in you must carry out.
- You may take away photos (please share them!) and happy memories. Take nothing else unless given specific permission by staff.
- Never smoke, start any fire, or expose any kind of flame. Fire danger is extremely high at Wildcat Bluff.
- Do not disturb animals and habitat. Look with your eyes not with your hands, please.
- Do not disturb marked research sites. Disturbing a research site can ruin months or years of hard work.
- Hike safely. We are not responsible if you injure yourself.
- Have fun and enjoy nature.
Q - Can I ride a bike or run on the trails at Wildcat Bluff?
One of Wildcat Bluff's goals is to manage our land as a living museum and outdoor classroom through the use of ecologically appropriate land management practices. Bicycles cut into and wear down the trails, causing erosion and damage. Riding and running also scares away animals other people have come out to observe, photograph and appreciate. Just to the south of Wildcat Bluff, however, is a long stretch of the old Soncy Road. Many bicycling enthusiasts ride this strip daily. If you want a more challenging trail run or ride we suggest using the Pitcher Pump facility at the west end of SW 9th Ave or Palo Duro Canyon State Park.
Q - Can I bring my dog or other pets on the trails?
No, we do not allow any pets at our facilities. Though we love dogs, they have continuously been proved harmful to our preservation of native plants and animals and in some past cases the pets have wound up with parasites, injuries, and in a couple of cases dead due to encounters with wildlife.
Q - Are the trails open after business hours?
The trails are open during all daylight hours. Guests fees for the Nature Trails are $4 - for adults, $3 per child or senior adult, under 3 free. Members do not pay a Nature Trail fee. Use our metal tree sculpture drop box near the Main Bulletin Board before walking the trails if the Visitor Center is locked and no one comes to greet you. This helps us maintain the trails and wildlife habitats for your education and enjoyment. Nighttime hiking is not allowed. However, we routinely schedule guided night hikes. Please watch for scheduling of these hikes On our Event Calendar or call us for information.
Q - Are there snakes and predators on your trails?
There are snakes and natural predators at Wildcat Bluff, though they rarely show themselves to humans. If you do encounter a snake, the smartest thing to do is leave it alone. Most bites from snakes occur when someone tries to move, handle, hurt or kill the snake. Move calmly away from snakes and give them room to get away. They don’t want to be around you any more than you want to be around them. If you do encounter a problematic snake, please contact us at the Visitor's Center or call at (806) 352-6007. DO NOT LEAVE THE TRAILS TO GO ONTO THE ROCKS AT THE BLUFF. That is where a lot of rattlesnakes live. And that is the only place that anyone has had a harmful or potentially harmful encounter.
Q - Is the Nature Center stroller and handicap accessible?
Yes, our paved parking lot, both of our buildings and our Libb's Trail area are handicap and stroller accessible. The Nature Trail system, however, is not.
Q - Where can I take things to recycle?
WE have recycling bins in the Visitor Center and the Gilvin Building.
Plastics (#1 & #2), paper, aluminum cans: most Uniteds and Target may have bins outside; the boy scouts also take aluminum cans
Batteries (rechargeable and non-rechargeable): Batteries Plus
We recommend you take your recyclables to Four States Recycling on East Amarillo Blvd.
For more things to recycle in Amarillo, check out: recycle.amarillo.gov
Q - Is there GeoCaching on your site?
Yes. There is one registered GeoCaching cache on the land, visit Wildcat Bluff http://coord.info/GCH1RZ.
Q - I am a Scout and need to work on a couple of merit badges. Can you help me with my projects?
Many of our structures and attractions have been created by Scouts. Please Contact us for information on submitting your plans to the board for approval.
Q - My group is looking for a new place to hold our meetings. How much do you charge for renting the Gilvin Building for regular meetings?
Our rates are as follows: Minimum 2 hour rental @$30 per hour. For rentals after 5:00pm, add $15 per hour extra. Please use the Contact us form or call our office well in advance of your meeting to inquire about scheduling. We can provide seating for up to 35 people.
Q - Do you adopt injured or found animals?
Our sister organization< Wild West Wildlife Rehabilitation Center is building a wildlife rehabilitation center at Wildcat Bluff. Please call Stephanie at 806-680-2483 if you have an injured animal, or abandoned baby animal. For generally domesticated animals, please call Amarillo Animal Control at (806) 378-3092.
Q - What should I do if I find a misplaced or orphaned bird, rabbit or other animal?
As difficult as it may be, oftentimes the best thing you can do is leave an animal alone. Even a baby bird or rabbit may seem helpless and vulnerable, but many do survive even in the most urban of locations. While it may feel safer, removing these animals from the wild, it actually usually reduces their chances for survival. Baby rabbits are fed only twice a day by their parent. leave the bunny alone and monitor. If in doubt, and ask for Wildlife Rehabber, Stephanie Oravetz at 806-680-2483
Q - I found a baby bird that fell from its nest. What can I do?
It is not unusual to find an egg or a baby bird that appears to have fallen from the nest. The majority of the time, this is not the case. Parent birds build their nest for protection, for themselves, their eggs and their young. It is unlikely for a hatchling to fall from its nest. It is more likely, however, for a hatchling to be pushed from the nest either by stronger siblings or by the parent birds. It is not uncommon in nature for a parent or sibling to sacrifice a small, weak family member to ensure all the babies are strong and healthy. Baby birds are also pushed from the nest if they are ill or diseased. The best thing you can do, although it is very hard to do, is leave the hatchling where it lies.
However, if you find a hatchling or nestling on the ground, look for the nest and put it in the nest. If you find a fledgling out of the nest, leave it alone and monitor. It may be getting ready to fly.