Raymond Raccoon is a northern raccoon, and he makes sure Nacogdoches stays litter-free. Raccoons are smart, resourceful, and great at problem-solving. Raymond uses all of those skills to find creative ways to recycle. His favorite pastime is “treasure hunting” in dumpsters around the city. If he can’t find a use for something, he makes sure to dispose of it properly so that we can Keep Nacogdoches Beautiful!
Welcome to the Friends of the Forest Trail – I’m Olivia the barred owl!
What is your name?
As you follow the trail, you will meet a host of new friends who are excited to teach you about our community, the natural world, history, wellness and more! Simply stop at each of our ten friends’ houses to say hello. Each new friend is a wildlife species that is native to East Texas. After you complete the Friends of the Forest Trail, be sure to stop by our Little Free Library and
borrow a book.
Are you ready for an adventure? Let’s go!
Betty is a gulf fritillary butterfly who cares for all of Nacogdoches’ beautiful gardens. Since we live in the Garden Capital of Texas, Betty stays very busy tending to all of the plants, flowers, and trees. Butterflies are important because they pollinate. Our community leaders have made sure to plant pollinator-friendly gardens to attract butterflies like Betty. Take a look at one of the many pollinator gardens around the city! When they're in bloom, you can thank Betty for all of its beauty!
Evelyn is an earthworm who is passionate about recycling. As an earthworm, she recycles all the time! Earthworms eat organic matter like dead leaves or grass, and even fruits and vegetables! Earthworms turn their food into nutrient-rich worm castings (poo) that helps to create a healthy soil. Humans can use worm castings in their gardens to help grow big and healthy vegetables! When we practice reusing and recycling, we can also help others. By cutting down on waste and trash, we are taking care of people and animals so that everyone in Nacogdoches can live and breathe cleanly!
Carlos, a northern cardinal, helps us to remember the performing arts. Carlos is a colorful bird inside and out, so naturally, he loves to perform! He spends his days flying around Nacogdoches, singing songs to remind us of the beauty of art and expression. Whether he is performing a singing solo act at sunrise outside of your bedroom window, or sitting quietly inside to enjoy a play at the local Lamplite Theater, Carlos reminds us how important it is to express yourself!
Sophia is a striped skunk and can be found in and around Nacogdoches’ forests. If you meet Sophia or any of her relatives, make sure you keep your distance. Although she is friendly, she scares easily and might spray you with a stinky compound skunks use to keep predators away. Did you know skunks can spray up to 15 feet? However, Sophia and her family are more than their smelly secret weapon. Skunks are omnivores (they eat both plants and animals) who love to eat pesty insects that might eat up trees or gardens. Sophia likes to make sure our forests stay lush and healthy. After all, what would Nacogdoches be without its Pineywoods?
Anthony is a nine-banded armadillo who reminds us of Nacogdoches’ history and all of its historic sites! Anthony's ancestors moved to Texas about 100 years ago from South America. Since then, his family has become a celebrated part of the state and are recognized as one of the official state animals of Texas. Anthony takes this role very seriously by learning all about the history of our town. Did you know that Nacogdoches is the oldest town in Texas? That’s a LOT of history! Anthony thinks it is important to know and understand your town’s past in order to flourish and keep moving forward in positive ways.
Ruby is an eastern cottontail rabbit who is quick on her feet and loves to remind everyone around her to get up and move! She values healthy living. You can find Ruby taking long hops in Pecan Park and cheering on her favorite team at the Recreation Center or Clint Dempsey Soccer Complex. Just like many rabbits, Ruby comes from a big family (she has 12 brothers and sisters!), so she knows the value of being on a team and urges everyone to have fun while staying active so that our citizens can be healthy. This helps our town thrive!
Tanya is an eastern wild turkey who roams East Texas’ Caddoan Mounds State Historic Site west of Nacogdoches. Tanya’s turkey ancestors played a big role in ancient Caddo life. Sometimes turkeys were used as a kind of “alarm system” for protection. Turkeys have extra sensitive eyes and ears so the Caddo relied on turkey friends to warn them of approaching enemies. Nacogdoches is named for the Nacogdoche tribe who once lived here.
“Texas” is derived from the word taysha, a Caddo word that means “friend” or “ally”. Tanya is proud of her heritage and says everyone should visit the Caddo Mounds to learn more!
Luciana is a convergent lady beetle who lives with her family all over Nacogdoches’ many parks and trails. Luciana travels all over Nacogdoches so that she can experience all of the outdoor fun that our town lends. Whether looking to play a round of disc golf or basketball, have a picnic, or just play with friends, Nacogdoches’ parks offer something for everyone! Our many hiking trails offer plenty of room to stretch your legs, bird-watch, find waterfalls, and take in the beauty of the native trees and flowers of East Texas! Luciana hopes you’ll appreciate and enjoy the splendor of outdoor fun in Nacogdoches just as she does.
Beverly is a North American beaver who loves Nacogdoches and is always eager to help her community however she can! Beavers are close to their families and love helping each other so that they can live together safely. So naturally, Beverly is happiest when helping others! She particularly enjoys volunteering around town in order to make Nacogdoches a better place. Whether helping Raymond Raccoon pick up litter, watering thirsty flowers at one of the many gardens around town, or even stopping to give directions to a friend who lost their way, Beverly is ready to help!
Thank you for coming to visit our Friends of the Forest Trail; we are so glad you came!
Be sure to visit our other friends at Pioneer Park!
We want to give a special thanks to Holden Kelly for choosing to build our friends' houses for his Eagle Scout project.
Also thank you to our amazing friends at the City of Nacogdoches, Crystal Hicks, Emily Childress, Katt Ruth, and Tred Riggs for the illustration of all the forest friends and maps.
And a special thanks to our friends Dr. Mario Morera Jimenez, assistant professor, and Lithany Hernandez, student, with the Department of Languages, Cultures, and Communication at Stephen F. Austin State University for the Spanish translation of each forest friend's narrative.