Director’s Report

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” –Anne Frank, German-Dutch diarist (1929-1945)

 

It has been a great summer! We have successfully completed Summer Nature Camp and other programs with COVID-19 procedures in place. We asked parents to remain in the car during drop-off and pick-up and provided masks, daily health checks, bottled water, and lots of hand sanitizer. Participating children and parents have expressed their appreciation for offering the camps and programs and for having an outdoor experience available this summer. Thank you to the JJPV for support and to the outstanding volunteer counselors that assisted us this summer as well!

Overall, we continue to see an increase in the number of park visitors. The word is out that Jones Park is a wonderful place to visit the outdoors! End of the summer park projects include major repairs to several homestead structures and lots of prep for fall events. As school begins, Jones Park plans to continue to provide virtual programs and tours as a natural history educational resource for students unable to book tours or outings. The fall is a great time to get involved at Jones Park. Just check out the calendar! I hope to see you at the JJPV Appreciation and Elections, Monday, Aug. 31, at 7 p.m.

 

A Special Message from the Director: A Look Back

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, I used everything you gave me.”

Erma Bombeck, American author (1927-1996)

 

In 1985, a friend of the family through church was visiting my father in the hospital and mentioned to my parents and me that the Harris County Precinct 4 Parks Department had a horticulturist position available. To me, this was not happenstance, but a “Godwink” and a dream come true – an opportunity to work at a park within the Houston area. I never imagined that I would still be working here 35 years later. My, how time flies! After long reflection, consideration, and many prayers, I am retiring on Aug. 31. As my career unfolded over three decades at Jones Park, I’ve appreciated the opportunity to work with outstanding leaders like Commissioner R. Jack Cagle, parks director Dennis Johnston, and a host of other staff members at Jones Park, including cherished former staff member and mentor Carmine Stahl. I have fully enjoyed my career and being part of Jones Park’s development over the years. I’ve watched the park grow from its original 154 acres to 312 acres today and had the rewarding experience of educating the public about nature and Texas history.

If only the Nature Center walls and park trails could talk, they would tell of the thousands of children whose smiles and inquisitive questions brought them life, exciting animal sightings, and the scores of annual events and anniversary celebrations held within the park boundaries.

They would also reflect on our dedicated staff members and volunteers, the thousands of corn husk dolls we made together, and the hundreds of projects large and small that have been accomplished, like extending the Spring Creek Greenway Trail and – most recently – adding a monument sign at the entrance.

Most of all, they would proudly share all the monumental challenges we’ve conquered together, including two devastating floods (one in 1994 and another in 2017 during Hurricane Harvey). I count it all a blessing from God and a privilege to have served the citizens of Precinct 4 while working in a place that I love, surrounded by God’s creations.

Though I know I’ll miss the rewarding work, this new chapter ahead is sure to be exciting, with more time for traveling the world with my husband, Steve, volunteering, visiting family and friends, and embarking on adventures yet to be determined.

My hope is that Jones Park will continue providing high-quality natural history education and plant and wildlife conservation programs. I wish the park all the best success!

One final story about the most special lady to me, my mom, who inspired me in so many ways, but especially with her love of God and plants. Whenever she called the park to speak with me, she would say to the staff answering the phone, “Is Darlene about?” Hugs from the heart and…

Until we meet again about the park!

Darlene Conley Hostetler, Director

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