I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).
Nature Sanctuary in the Heart of Houston
My husband and I drove past this spot for many years on busy Memorial Drive in Houston without ever visiting. All one can see from the street is a densely forested area. But curiosity finally got the best of us, and we decided to explore it one day in mid-March.
As a visitor, one is directed to park at the adjacent Memorial Methodist Church parking lot. It is located on the eastern edge of the nature sanctuary. The address of the church is 12995 Memorial Drive, Houston, Texas 77079.
About midway back in the parking lot is a gate. After going through the gate, one of the trails through the nature sanctuary begins.
Houston Audubon Society
The Houston Audubon Society is headquartered on the property of the Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary.
Most people know that the function of Audubon societies, in general, is to protect the environments for birds. They also educate people about birds and the importance of maintaining natural habitats where birds and other animals can thrive.
The area in which the Houston Audubon Society operates covers a vast landmass consisting of 11 counties! So this Edith L. Moore sanctuary is just one of the many sanctuaries but certainly a distinctive one!
Moore Log Cabin
The home was completed back in 1932 by Jesse and Edith Moore, who owned a dairy and lumbering company. The logs and wood that went into their cabin came from their own property. There is a state historical marker at the Moore cabin.
A distinctive 2 story stone fireplace was constructed from local sources. We were told that it is only one of four original log cabins in the Houston area. According to their site, it is the only one of the four that has never been relocated.
The 2nd Saturday of each month is important to note. Docents are on hand to admit a person into the Moore log cabin and tell about the cabin history and other interesting facts. Many photos are hanging on the wall inside the cabin.
A few taxidermied birds are one display. There are a couple of live lizards there. Everything from small skeletons to turtle carapaces to snake skeletons and more is on display.
This rustic and historic cabin can be rented for special meetings or parties. Prices range from $350 for up to 40 people at a sit-down affair in the cabin to $5,000 for leasing the cabin and the grounds for 8 hours. Wedding photos to birthday parties…all of that and more can be arranged in advance. Prices vary according to the type of event and time allocated. The telephone number with which they can be contacted is 713-932-1639.
Other than those few occasions when part of all of the grounds might be rented, they are open every day of the year. The hours are from 7 am to 7 pm except for the summer hours. One can stay until 9 pm because of the longer daylight hours.
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Edith L. Moore
The photo above shows Edith as a single woman. She was highly educated, especially for that day and time. World War I had her coming to Houston and working at Camp Logan. That is now the site of Memorial Park. She got married in 1920.
When the city was getting more crowded, the lure of further land west in the country drew them to this location on Rummel Creek. Jesse and Edith lived in the cabin until 1959 when they divorced. She remained living there with her many dogs and cats until she died in 1975.
She was obviously a nature lover. Edith wished for her property to stay in its natural state for the birds and other animals calling it home. So she willed it to the Houston Audubon Society of which she was a member. It was with the stipulations that the cabin and all 17 1/2 acres of land were to be kept as it was when she lived there.
In 1974 it was transferred to Houston Audubon ownership. The home and acreage was named the Edith L. Moore Sanctuary in her name and is a lasting legacy.
There are many different educational programs held at the cabin and in the sanctuary for children and adults. Many of the guided field trips are free, although donations are always encouraged.
If the different types of summer camps are all sold out, children can be put on waiting lists in case of cancellations. With this in mind, if you are local and wish for your children to enjoy nature-inspired summer camping experiences, reserve your spaces well in advance each year!
Rustic and Wild
Walking through the lush hardwood and pine forest costs nothing, as well as touring the cabin when open. Some of the traffic sounds from nearby busy streets can be heard. Except for that, walking through this woods with the ponds and nearby Rummel Creek, it's hard to believe one is in the heart of a city!
Footsteps are muted because of walking on natural paths softened by fallen leaves, moss, and pine needles. Some wooden decks and paths have been built over ponds where it is easy to spot small fish, turtles, and perhaps other amphibians.
Birds are heard chirping and singing in the tree canopies. We heard more of them than we actually spotted on the day we were there. We did see cardinals, doves, bluejays, and a few others that we commonly see in our own backyard. Real birders undoubtedly bring binoculars and plan to spend some quiet time in various locations that wind throughout this sanctuary.
Several signs point out some of the different owls which call this sanctuary home. They offer "Owl Prowls" each fall in the evenings. A fee is charged for that, but it would be fun to experience at least once.
Wilderness in the City
My husband and I so very much enjoyed walking through this natural wooded environment. With the ponds and Rummel Creek, water features blend nicely into the wooded setting.
When I was a child growing up in Wisconsin, there were woods nearby, and I loved walking in it. Exploring the Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary brought back beautiful memories of those times. The air always seems fresher in the woods.
We picked the perfect time of year to explore this nature sanctuary. The temperatures were moderate, and the day was bright and sunny.
By clicking on the highlighted source link you at the bottom of this page, you can learn about the names of the plants and trees grown there. You can also learn about the resident birds commonly found there. There are also migrating birds that occasionally pass through the area at certain times of the year.
If visiting here, take your time! This is a perfect place to slow down and smell the proverbial roses. While you may not see roses, you will view many other plant species and see and hear numerous birds and perhaps different types of animals.
Location of this wondrous site: 440 Wilchester Blvd., Houston, Texas 77079.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Peggy Woods