News Categories: Trails As Parks (TAP)

21 Jun
By: Communications 0

Summer Events at Levy Park

Precinct 4 programs are now in even more locations! Guests will explore local fishing, nature, herb gardening, and urban wildlife. Check out these four action-packed events throughout June, July, and August at the City of Houston’s Levy Park.

  • Backyard Bass. Wednesday, June 26, from 10 a.m. to noon. Practice casting a fishing rod while on land and learn about common freshwater fish species in Harris County. Ashley DeLeon Torres, outdoor education coordinator at Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve, leads this fun-filled activity.
  • Walk in Nature. Tuesday, July 9, from 10 a.m. to noon. Walk on the wild side with Precinct 4’s Trails As Parks. Explore animal skins, skulls, and tracks with Kristina Linberk, director of the Trails As Parks program.
  • Herbs: Your Own Scratch ‘n Sniff Garden. Wednesday, July 17, from 10 a.m. to noon. Explore the colors, textures, and fragrances of an assortment of herbs during this hands-on presentation from Jennifer Garrison, education director at Mercer Botanic Gardens, and Jamie Hartwell, Mercer’s volunteer coordinator. Learn about the cultural requirements, culinary inspiration, historical aspects, and folklore of different herbs.
  • Tall Tails: Urban Wildlife Myth Busters Tuesday, July 23, from 10 a.m. to noon. Anni Ranck, Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center’s outreach coordinator, dispels common myths concerning local urban wildlife. Participants will discover how myths begin, solutions to common wildlife problems, and that truth really is stranger than fiction.
  • Nature Night. Saturday, Aug. 17, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Celebrate the end of the Summer Nature Series with an evening filled with outdoor fun! Enjoy a showing of Disney’s Monkey Kingdom on the big screen, along with a variety of outdoor activities. Nature enthusiasts will fall in love with this documentary following a family of monkeys navigating the complex social hierarchies of the jungle.

Parking is available along the park or on Wakeforest Avenue and Eastside Street. Additional public parking is available in the parking garage located at 2925 Richmond for a fee.

Levy Park is a vibrant six-acre City of Houston park located in the heart of the Upper Kirby District that leverages innovative environmental practices and hosts a multitude of family-friendly and community inclusive programming. The maintenance, operation, and programming of the Park is managed by the Levy Park Conservancy, an affiliate of the Upper Kirby District Foundation, a private, nonprofit organization.

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22 Apr
By: Communications 0

Top Summer Childrens Activities

As the weather heats up and the school year winds down, parents everywhere endure a common tradition: the struggle to keep kids occupied during the summer.

Don’t let your child’s summer go to waste. From movie nights to canoeing, archery, and fishing, Precinct 4 offers a variety of summer camp activities from unique locations throughout the precinct. Check out some of our top activities below.

Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve Summer Day Camps

Spend the summer learning about nature during three action-packed day camps at Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve. Choose from among Nature Exploration Camp: Water Wise, Mini Discovery Camp: My Senses and Nature, and Jr. Ranger Camp.  Campers should bring lunch and a refillable water bottle. Bring proof of age to the first day of camp. Registration is required at Please only register if you can attend all days of camp.

• Nature Exploration Camp: Water Wise
Monday, June 17, through Friday, June 21, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Monday, July 15, through Friday, July 19, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Are you water wise? Canoe, fish, and learn the basics of water testing, ecology, and nature journaling. This camp includes a field trip. Transportation is provided by Harris County or parents may drive their own children.

• Mini Discovery Camp: My Senses and Nature
Monday, July 1, through Wednesday, July 3, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Use your senses to explore water, air, land, and other elements of nature. Ages 5 and 6.

• Jr. Ranger Camp: Nature Rangers

Become a park ranger for a week during Jr. Ranger Camp on Monday, July 29, through Friday, August 2, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Learn about nature journaling, park wildlife, and more! Ages 7 to 9.

Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center Summer Nature Camp 

Children ages 5 to 12 can take a step back in history and discover the local tribal culture of the Akokisa Indians at Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center’s Summer Nature Camp 2019.

Participants will enjoy educational demonstrations, nature walks, crafts, games, and friendly team competitions during this free, four-day camp.

In-person registration begins Saturday, May 4, at 8 a.m. Online registration begins Monday, May 6, and is ongoing until full. A parent or legal guardian must present the child’s birth certificate during registration. Harris County residents receive priority. For more information, visit For camp dates and times, click here.

Garden Explorers at Mercer Botanic Gardens

Mercer’s Garden Explorers summer camps include opportunities for children ages 6 to 11 to learn about seeds, bees, birds, and exotic plants around the world. A donation of $30 is requested to cover the cost of materials. Space is limited, and registration is required. To register or to receive additional information, contact Mercer Botanic Gardens at 713-274-4160 or For a list of dates and camp themes, read more below.

Garden Explorers: Butterflies and Bees. Tuesday, June 4 through Thursday, June 6, from 9 a.m. to noon. Explore the gardens and observe the pollinators that flap, fly, and flitter among the flowers during this lively, three-day summer camp. With guidance from Mercer Botanic Gardens Education Director Jennifer Garrison, children will scout for butterflies and the flowers they are attracted to, explore the importance of honeybees, participate in nature-themed games and activities, and much more. This camp is designed for children ages 6 to 8.

Garden Explorers: World Travelers. Tuesday, June 11 through Thursday, June 13, from 9 a.m. to noon. Become an international plant hunter during this three-day summer camp adventure! Explore plants native to such locations as Australia, Africa, Pacific Islands, and North America — specifically Texas. Each day will include plant-themed activities, crafts, and games led by Mercer Botanic Gardens Education Director Jennifer Garrison. This camp is designed for children ages 9 to 11.

Garden Explorers: A-B-Seeds. Tuesday, June 18 through Thursday, June 20, from 9 a.m. to noon. Discover the life cycle of nature through seeds during this fun-filled, three-day summer camp. With guidance from Mercer Botanic Gardens Education Director Jennifer Garrison, children will explore common edible and inedible seeds, experience how seeds are dispersed in the environment, create seed-themed crafts, and more! This camp is designed for children ages 6 to 8.

Garden Explorers: Birds of a Feather. Tuesday, June 25 through Thursday, June 27, from 9 a.m. to noon. Join summer camp for three days of feathered-friend fun! With guidance from Mercer Botanic Gardens Education Director Jennifer Garrison, children will discover what makes birds unique and learn to identify birds by physical characteristics and bird calls. Participants will go on a bird hike, investigate owl pellets, build bird feeders using pantry items, and more! This camp is designed for children ages 9 to 11.

Fun4Kids Summer Program 

Enjoy summer fun at Mangum-Howell Center! From Star Wars-themed physics lessons to ice cream parties, mad scientists, and pirates, Mangum-Howell Center offers free children’s activities every Thursday at 1 p.m. from June 13 through July 25.

Click here for a list of activities. Registration is required for all programs beginning Wednesday, May 1, at 8 a.m. A parent or adult must accompany children under the age of 18. Light refreshments are served at each program. Please arrive 20 minutes before each program’s start time. Call 281-591-7830 to register. For more information, visit

Summer Reading Program Kickoff: A Universe of Stories

Ignite your summer of reading and blast off into the universe of stories at the Harris County Precinct 4 and Harris County Public Library Summer Reading Program Kickoff on Saturday, June 1, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Burroughs Park, 9738 Hufsmith Road in Tomball! Play giant lawn games, create out-of-this-world crafts, join special guests for storytime, and more!

Trails As Parks Summer Passport Series

Harris County Precinct 4’s Trails As Parks program kicks off a free summer passport series Saturday, May 4, at Burroughs and Spring Creek parks. Canoeing and fishing begin at 9 a.m. at Burroughs Park, and archery and hiking begin at 1 p.m. at Spring Creek Park.

Anyone who completes at least six different TAP activities from Saturday, May 4, through Wednesday, July 31, will be invited to a family movie night, which includes lawn games, popcorn, s’mores, and a movie.

TAP programs take place at parks throughout Precinct 4 and include fishing, canoeing, archery, bird watching, stargazing, science days, hiking, aquatic walks, and more. Passport cards will be available at every program throughout the summer. For more information or to register, visit

Summer Movie Nights

It’s a summer of movies in Precinct 4! Check out a new family-friendly selection every month from June through August. Movies begin at dusk. Early arrival is recommended to get a good location for your blankets and lawn chairs. Refreshments will be provided.

June – 101 Dalmatians
Monday, June 3, at Lindsay/Lyons Park
Tuesday, June 18, at Bane Park
Wednesday, June 19, at Matzke Park
Thursday, June 20, at Burroughs Park
Friday, June 21, at Collins Park

July – Frozen
Friday, July 12, at Doss Park
Tuesday, July 16, at Bane Park
Wednesday, July 17, at Matzke Park
Thursday, July 18, at Burroughs Park
Friday, July 19, at Collins Park

August – Lilo & Stitch
Monday, August 5, at Pundt Park
Tuesday, August 13 at Bane Park
Wednesday, August 14, at Matzke Park
Thursday, August 15, at Burroughs Park
Friday, August 16, at Collins Park

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29 Mar
By: Communications 0

Precinct 4’s Unofficial Historian

By Alicia Alaniz

There’s something special about the way Monte Parks retells historical events that brings the past to life.

For more than 15 years, Parks has taught early Texas history, first as a programmer and tour guide at Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center and now as assistant superintendent for the Harris County Precinct 4 Parks Department.

“I always try to teach what was going on in the world that led the earliest Texans to their decisions and what happened as a result. People respond much better to that type of history than just names and dates,” Parks says. “I also try to show how things going on in the world today relate to history.”

Although Parks has always loved history, he didn’t become an expert overnight. The process required years of dedicated independent study and an insatiable thirst for knowledge.

“I read about 200 history books over the past 15 years. If I was going to teach Texas history, I needed to know more than the park visitors or students,” Parks says.

He also started participating in historical re-enactments during festivals and field trips at Jones Park. As a re-enactor, Parks would outfit himself in authentic apparel and demonstrate the lifestyles of early Texans. Along the way, he picked up a few pioneer skills, such as woodworking and blacksmithing.

“I’m a better storyteller and have more appreciation for our early ancestors here in Texas thanks to re-enacting. When you’re working on a pioneer homestead or cooking over an open fire, you’re living the part of someone from history,” Parks explains. “The experience was eye opening. Life on the frontier was hard. Everyone in the family had to work to make it a success.”

A turning point in his career came when a group of senior adults touring the Redbud Hill Homestead at Jones Park asked him to speak at a meeting for the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. Soon, his reputation as a lively presenter led to regular requests from various groups and organizations, including a class at Lone Star College-Tomball.

Today, his undeniable passion and refreshing approach to Texas history is present in every lecture, pontoon boat tour, and senior adult bus trip he leads.

Parks currently oversees Precinct 4’s Trails As Parks Division, which is a mobile team that works to connect people with nature through outdoor recreation, ecotourism, and environmental education.

You can also find him sharing presentations at Precinct 4’s community centers or at one of five Lone Star College campuses in between tours with senior adults to historical landmarks.

“There is so much to discover. I try to learn something new every day,” Parks says.

“I believe in lifelong learning, and I enjoy giving others an opportunity to continue learning too.”

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19 Oct
By: HCP4 Admin 0

Precinct 4’s Senior Passport Series

A new partnership between Precinct 4’s Senior Adult Program and Trails As Parks (TAP) aims to make outdoor recreational activities more accessible to senior adults.

Starting Tuesday, Oct. 23, anyone 50 years of age and better can sign up for senior-friendly TAP activities such as fishing, archery, hiking, stargazing, pontoon boat tours, and more through Precinct 4’s Senior Passport Series.

Sign up for one or many events! Participating seniors will receive complimentary transportation to activities and track their progress with a TAP passport card. Anyone who completes at least five activities can attend a finale event with lunch at Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve Tuesday, May 14.

Register for senior-friendly TAP activities online at

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