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LLELA offers family fun this holiday season

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Looking for a different way to enjoy the holidays? Perhaps something a little more about time with your family, and a little less about gifts and food? Why not head out to the Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area?

The Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area is 2,000-acres of prairies, forests, and wetlands managed as a wildlife preserve by a group of agencies including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the University of North Texas, the City of Lewisville, Lewisville ISD, and Texas A & M University.

Their mission is to preserve and restore the native ecosystems and to provide and promote environmental education and scientific research. 

A variety of events are coming up in December:

• A Homestead Christmas on Saturday, Dec. 11, from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. Enjoy a tour of the historic Minor-Porter Log House, help trim an edible tree for wildlife, make an ornament to take home to your own Christmas tree, enjoy seasonal music and snacks, and more. Knowledgeable volunteers will be on hand to guide visitors through the structures. Visitors are welcome to arrive at any time during the open hours and join in at their own pace. There is no additional fee for this activity beyond regular admission to LLELA ($5/person; children age 5 years and under free).

• Come out early for a winter bird walk. Bird watchers of all skill levels are welcome to join Keith Lockhart at 7:30 a.m. on Dec. 11 as he guides visitors to locations for viewing of wintering sparrows, ducks, and more. Some of the best birding spots are not normally available to the public, outside of a scheduled tour. Ages 10 and up. There is a $2 program fee for the bird walk, in addition to the regular gate fee ($5/person). Reservations are requested, but not required; call 972-219-3930. Bring sunscreen, your binoculars, a hat, and drinking water.

• On Dec. 26, visitors are invited to roam over to LLELA’s bison area for a guided tour at 2:00 p.m. (arrive at 1:45 for sign-in). Participants will meet herd owner Robert Vaughan at the gatehouse, then drive out for an opportunity to see the bison up close and learn more about bison natural history and husbandry. All ages are welcome; reservation is required at 972-219-3930. The tour is available for only $2/person in addition to LLELA’s regular gate fee of $5/person. The bison are normally off view in a secure area of LLELA, so this is a chance to visit a part of the preserve most people don’t get to see. Bring sunscreen, a hat, and drinking water.

LLELA is open to the public every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for fishing, hiking, camping, bird watching, kayaking/canoeing, picnicking, and other outdoor activities. Learn more at www.ias.unt.edu/llela or by calling 972-219-3930.   

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