Frequently Asked Questions

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Armand Bayou Nature Center (ABNC) Fact Sheet


 

Description:

A private, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) wildlife refuge and wilderness preserve. Armand Bayou Nature Center (ABNC or the Center) is a 2,500-acre preserve in the center of a highly urbanized area between NASA/Johnson Space Center and the Bayport Industrial District. ABNC protects remnants of this region's original ecosystems including wetlands, bottomland forest, and tall grass prairies. This environmentally significant area has been designated as one of only four Texas State Coastal Preserves and is one of the last bayous in the Houston area that is not channeled. In addition, ABNC is the recipient of the Lone Star Land Steward Award sponsored by Texas Parks & Wildlife Department recognizing excellence in wildlife habitat management and conservation on private lands.

Mission:

ABNC provides environmental education and preserves the important and vanishing ecosystems with which it has been entrusted. The nature center's mission is defined by four documents: our state charter, our by-laws, our lease agreement with Harris County and our IRS determination letter. All of these define our role as (1) nature education and (2) management of a nature preserve. Our facilities and programs help people to reconnect with nature.

Location:

On Bay Area Boulevard 7 miles east of I-45, approximately 25 miles southeast of downtown Houston, 30 miles northwest of Galveston, and on the southeast boundary of Pasadena. ABNC is the neighbor of NASA/Johnson Space Center, University of Houston Clear Lake and the Lunar Planetary Institute, the Bayport Industrial complex and is surrounded by significant residential development.

Hours & Admission:

Wednesday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sunday from noon to 5:00 p.m. Last admission at 4:00 pm. Gate locked at 5 pm. Closed Monday and Tuesday.

3 & Under Free
4 - 1 Years
$2.00
13 - 59 Yeas $4.00
60 & Above $2.00


Restrictions:

Accessibility -  Our trails are crushed limestone with wooden boardwalks and ramps. Call for more details about specific access to exhibits.

Pets - Pets are not allowed in any part of the nature center.

Bicycles - A bicycle rack is available at the Admission building. NO bicycles are allowed beyond the Admission building.

Jogging - Jogging is not permitted on our trails.

Picnicking - Picnicking is not allowed in any part of the nature center.

Preservation:

Until the late 19th Century, several American Indian tribes lived in this region using the Armand Bayou area for hunting and fishing. The preserve is also home to more than 370 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians including white-tailed deer, armadillo, swamp rabbits, bobcats, coyotes, turtles, alligators, frogs, and venemous and non-venemous snakes. Over 220 species of birds reside here or rely on the Nature Center as a safe resting-place on their long migratory journeys. ABNC lies along the Central Flyway which is the largest migratory bird route in North America. Visitors may hear the melody of songbirds such as warblers, flycatchers, orioles, and painted buntings and the cry of birds-of-prey such as osprey, owls, kites, and hawks. The vegetation of Armand Bayou is characteristic of East Texas. The bayou lies in a biological transition zone between the southern mixed hardwood forest, the coastal prairie, and the coastal salt marshes. The site contains the remnants of one of the few remaining native prairies, small areas of shallow, brackish marshlands, and bottomland hardwood or riparian woodland areas. These areas are historically and ecologically important and require constant efforts in preservation and restoration.

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Education:

A broad variety of EcoEducational programs are available at ABNC.  EcoCamps (day camps) are held each summer and winter for children to explore and discover nature.   ABNC encourages family involvement to get outdoors! Some of the programs ABNC offers are: School Field Trips, Scout Workshops,  Canoe and Pontoon Boat EcoTours,  Photography Hikes, Prairie Wildflower Tours, and Birthday Parties.  Cooperative educational programs are held with universities, colleges, and special groups.

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Exhibits:

Exhibits on the Discovery Loop include hawks, reptiles, and bison.  On the boardwalk, visitors may see alligators, turtles, dragonflies and birds. ABNC offers  over five miles of hiking trails, which wind through the woodlands and prairies. The center is also home to a turn-of-the-century farm site. The interpretive building contains displays of living reptiles, fish and amphibians.  Demonstrations, exhibits, and tours are given on weekends or by reservation.

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Special Events:

Spring Gala and the Martyn Farm Harvest Festival.  ABNC also participates in events sponsored by other agencies.

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Space Rental:

A large auditorium with audio-visual facilities, classroom spaces, a farm site and outdoor spaces are available for group rental. The parking lot will hold 250 cars.

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Membership:

ABNC receives no guaranteed funding from any government or private source. Annual memberships (ranging from $45 to $1,000 for Life Membership) provide operational funding for the center and help to guarantee the future preservation of the ecosystems and their inhabitants. Corporate memberships are also available.

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Governance & Personnel:

A Board of Trustees provides governing authority. Site and program management is provided by full and part-time staff, contracted services and over 200 trained volunteers who supply over 13,000 hours of service each year.

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Budget & Funding:

Approximately $550,000 per year annual operating budget plus substantial special project expenditures (wildlife habitat restoration/enhancement, exhibit development, and construction projects). Operating income is split approximately 55:45 between contributions (from corporations, foundations, organizations, county, and individuals) and other fund raising activities and site-based income (membership and admission fees, special program fees and space rentals).

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Ownership & History:

Incorporated in 1974; land acquired through efforts of a diverse coalition of individuals, organizations, and government entities. Harris County is the property owner of record, with ABNC, Inc. holding a 99-year automatic "roll-over" lease agreement providing full management and development responsibility.

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Namesake:

In 1970 Middle Bayou was officially renamed Armand Bayou to memorialize Armand Yramategui, a visionary of Texas Gulf Coast wilderness conservation who initiated the drive to preserve Armand Bayou and surrounding land.

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Endowment Foundation:

Armand Bayou Nature Center Foundation was created as a separate and distinct 501(c)3 organization for the purpose of establishing an endowment fund to benefit Armand Bayou Nature Center. This board functions independently of the Nature Center board with the mission of enhancing the financial security of Armand Bayou Nature Center.