News Categories: Parks & Trails

15 May
By: Communications 0

Volunteer Spotlight: Howard Rose

For Howard Rose, there’s nothing better than being outside. When most Harris County residents are blasting air conditioners during the hottest part of the summer, Rose is outdoors working with children as a Summer Nature Camp counselor.

“Being outside is just so much fun!” said Rose. “I love the outdoors and want the kids to be interested in that too.”

But what the children don’t know about Rose is that, before becoming a Summer Nature Camp volunteer, he enjoyed a distinguished career as a soldier, prosecutor, and ultimately a federal judge.

Like his father, Rose began his military career in Army Infantry School before serving in Germany and Vietnam. Following military service, Rose attended law school at Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, which led to a legal career as a prosecutor. The position took Rose to Guam, Miami, and finally Houston, where he was named special assistant U. S. attorney for the Southern District of Texas. Although Rose speaks humbly of his work, he was involved in prosecuting some of the world’s most infamous criminals, including an al-Qaeda member involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Rose and his wife, Beverly Rose, moved to Kingwood with their three sons in 1987 and started visiting Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center shortly thereafter. As a perpetual student of history, Rose was captivated by a battle re-enactment at Pioneer Day. After speaking with historical re-enactor Tom Whitesides, Rose decided to become a Civil War and Texas Army re-enactor and to join the Jesse Jones Park Volunteers.

In addition to his volunteer work as a historical demonstrator at the Redbud Hill Homestead, Rose also has trained as a nature tour guide and junior canoeing instructor. Rose especially enjoys volunteering at the park’s Texas Bound day camp and leading 10- to 12-year-olds at Summer Nature Camp. He looks forward to taking campers on canoe trips every year, an activity that reminds him of his own childhood. As a child growing up in Erie, Pa., Rose participated in the YMCA camp canoeing program. One year, they traveled to the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York and canoed the Fulton Chain of Lakes. When he was 18, the campers traveled to Ontario for a three-week canoe trip through Algonquin Provincial Park. Rose fondly remembers drinking water straight from the rivers and lakes and tells stories of a friend who mistakenly used a leaf of poison oak for toilet paper.

“We ran out of food on that trip,” he said with a laugh. “All of us lost weight!”

You can catch Rose volunteering as a counselor again this year at Summer Nature Camp: True Texas Natives.

“I’m looking forward to camp again this summer, especially with the Native American focus,” he said.

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15 May
By: Communications 0

Long-time Volunteer Donates Artwork to Support Jones Park

Congratulations to Nancy Zey, raffle winner of “A Flood Plain Forest,” an original watercolor by Jim Ramay.

Ramay, an artist and longtime volunteer at Jones Park, paints scenes of Jones Park and donates them to raise funds for Jesse Jones Park Volunteers, an organization supporting park operations and programs through volunteer work, fundraising, and education. When he is not painting, Ramay participates in homestead events as a historical demonstrator and regularly participates in Tai Chi at the park on Wednesday mornings.

The current JJPV raffle is for “Deer at Salad Bowl,” a 16-by-20-inch oil painting in a classic 21by-25-inch gold, wooden frame. “Deer at Salad Bowl” is on display in the Nature Center, and raffle tickets may be purchased for $2 each or $5 for three. The drawing is tentatively scheduled for Monday, August 26. Participants need not be present to win. All proceeds from raffle ticket sales received by the JJPV are used to support programs and operations at Jones Park.

Deer at Salad Bowl

Thank you, Jim, for sharing your talents and supporting Jones Park.

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15 May
By: Communications 0

Bugs Buzz!

By Steve Hostetler, JJPV President

Calling all nature lovers! We need your help. Check out a special message from JJPV President Steve Hostetler about new volunteer opportunities below, including a position as a volunteer beekeeper.

Hello to all!

It’s that time of year! The Jesse Jones Park Volunteers Board of Directors is looking for new volunteers, new board members, and new captains for festivals, programs, and events.

Below are a few specific needs:

  1. Nominating Committee members by Wednesday, May 29, for the upcoming JJPV Board of Directors elections in August.
  2. New captains for the concession stand and the photo wagon.
  3. Committee members for a new event called Christmas in July, tentatively slated for July 2020.
  4. New captain for the park’s bee program starting in December 2019.

If you have the bug to buzz, please contact the following folks:

  1. Kim Hammond, volunteer coordinator, at
  2. Steve Hostetler, president of the JJPV Board of Directors, at
  3. Gary Chapman, first vice president of the JJPV Board of Directors, at

I hope and pray you will join me and the board as we develop innovative ideas to attract new JJPV members. Then we can have a bigger and better celebration in August.

As president of the JJPV for the past two years, I have much to be thankful for — persevering through Hurricane Harvey and the Redbud Hill Storage Facility project, to name a few. In the next three to four months, we are gearing up for the build-out of our new office and storage mezzanine. Please pray for the success of these projects!

Check out our Facebook page, like us, and let us know how we can make JJPV better!

Finally, a huge thank you to our board members and volunteers for always volunteering with a smile. I look forward to our new board and volunteers in August!

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15 May
By: Communications 0

Natural Play and Exploration Area for Kids Now Open

Childhood imagination meets the great outdoors in a new playground now open at Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center. The Natural Play and Exploration area is made of natural resources and is designed for children 10 and under. Games, toys, and even seating are all made from the forest, giving the area a whimsical look and feel. Everything within the natural playground is handmade.

Conveniently located just behind the Nature Center in a shady grove of trees, this play space was first cleared by local scout Aubrey Warner as his Eagle Scout project. Warner lined the path to the play area with stones and framed the space with a rustic wooden fence.

Jones Park Forester David Jamar designed the layout of the playground and built the playground equipment. Jamar made a seesaw, balance beams, and benches out of fallen logs. He even created a tic-tac-toe table with pine cones and sweetgum balls as playing pieces. Jamar was especially excited to move a hollow tree to the play area as a play tunnel. The stump of the tree sits in the education corner, where visitors can investigate lichens and learn how trees contribute to the ecosystem.

With so many interactive options, Jamar hopes children learn to appreciate nature and the environment.

“I think the natural playground is a great project to complement all the outdoor learning experiences we offer,” Jamar said. “It is designed for younger children to help stimulate their imagination and creativity more than a traditional playground.”

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15 May
By: Communications 0

Partnership Brings Art to Jones Park

When words aren’t enough, make art. That’s the lesson taught by artist Jodye Beard-Brown, who spent six Saturdays working with Humble ISD students affected by Hurricane Harvey.

“Our goal was to give kids the tools to bounce back from disaster through art, theater, and sports therapy,” said Beard-Brown. “Some of these kids lost everything. Others have disabilities, such as autism. But what struck me was how positive everyone was. They were all eager and excited to learn.”

Beard-Brown began teaching last fall as a volunteer instructor with HOPE Worldwide’s SPARK Academy. The program, created in 2013 in response to Hurricane Sandy, focuses on art, theater, and sports therapy. Thanks to a recent grant from the American Red Cross, HOPE Worldwide brought the program to three Houston-area school districts in 2018 and 2019.

“Students were affected in different ways by Harvey. Some had to be rescued, and many had homes that flooded,” said Maria Rollins, director of HOPE Worldwide’s SPARK Academy. “Those that didn’t flood were also affected.”

Before the program started, Rollins and the SPARK team had to recruit and train expert volunteers in each of the three subjects. Although Rollins found no shortage of willing participants, Beard-Brown was her first choice to teach art at Humble Elementary.

“I’ve seen Jodye’s art around Houston, so I was familiar with her artistic talent,” she said. “I actually went to one of her art shows and saw several of her pieces on display.”

Rollins was especially intrigued by Beard-Brown’s work with mosaics, an art form she knew would interest children.

“Originally, I just wanted to pick her brain about these different projects and find out what she thought,” Rollins said. “I know that piecing things together is very therapeutic, whether it’s mosaics or puzzles. So I reached out to her, knowing she was an amazing, wonderful artist, and just like that, she volunteered.”

The pair brainstormed and came up with an idea to allow fourth- and fifth-grade students to create a mosaic that could become a permanent art display in the community. After searching for well-known Humble locations, they stumbled upon Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center. When they learned the park was also severely affected by Hurricane Harvey, the duo knew they had found the perfect location.

“I thought it was important to display the mosaics that the kids created in the community,” said Beard-Brown. “So we started to scout some places, and Jones Park was one of the first places we visited. As soon as we entered the park, we knew it was the place.”

After receiving permission to place the mosaics at the park, Beard-Brown worked with SPARK Academy students to create four custom mosaics highlighting Jones Park wildlife. Visitors can now see the mosaics decorating the information display near the front of the park.

“Jones Park is so close to the school, and it’s part of the community,” said Rollins. “That was an important factor for the kids to feel ownership. Now they can share their work with friends and family.”

Jones Park Director Darlene Conley said the mosaic also symbolizes the park’s recovery from Hurricane Harvey, which caused flooding throughout 90% of the park, including the Nature Center.

“This is the perfect project for our park, which was also severely impacted by Hurricane Harvey,” she said. “These mosaics are proof that we can heal and come back stronger than before.”

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