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!
Bruce is an American bullfrog who lives and plays in the creeks around Nacogdoches. He is a hungry frog and will eat anything he can fit in his giant mouth: bugs, fish, mice, and even snakes! Bruce also loves to play and cool off by splashing around in nearby ponds with his friends. However, sometimes Bruce and his friends have to stop playing because of trash and litter thrown in the water. This is not only dangerous for Bruce, but for all the other animals that use this water, even human friends like you! Bruce wants to remind everyone to make sure to dispose of waste properly by throwing it in trash cans or recycling bins and keeping it out of our water so that we all can enjoy clean and safe water. This is another way to Keep Nacogdoches Beautiful!
Simon, an eastern gray squirrel, is always busy. He plays an important role in making sure that trees continue to grow in his part of the forest. The acorns Simon squirrels away for his winter food are not just for him. All seeds he forgets may grow into new trees! In fact, squirrels like Simon are nature’s gardeners! We can all be like Samuel and make sure to plant and grow new plants and trees whenever we remove them. Nacogdoches holds a Tree City USA designation, and volunteers have planted more than 2,000 trees throughout the city for Texas Arbor Day which occurs the first Friday in November.
Callie is an American crow who loves technology and all things STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) She is just like all crows: she is smart and has an amazing memory. Did you know crows can remember a human after meeting them just once? Callie uses her Super Crow Memory to learn and remember all that she can! She then uses these tools to build and learn. Callie’s favorite pastime is taking apart a broken piece of equipment and figuring out how to put it back together again. She also wants to make sure everyone knows that just because a piece of technology is broken doesn’t mean you can’t use it again. You can recycle your broken phones, computers, and TVs at a Keep Nacogdoches Beautiful Techcycle event, so that some of the extra parts can be used to build something new!
Samantha is a yellow garden spider who loves to be creative. In fact, she might be the only Spider Artist you’ll ever meet! Most spiders spin flat webs, but did you know that yellow garden spiders spin circular webs? Visual art, like paintings and sculptures, is a way to communicate and show your feelings and creativity without using words. Samantha spends lots of time planning and creating her web design so that she can express her own unique style and let others enjoy her beautiful art, too!
Henry is a great blue heron with a taste for fish and a love of swimming. Not all birds swim, but Henry and his family of herons love to dip and dive while they hunt for their food. You can find Henry near the waterways in and around Nacogdoches. In fact, grab a fishing pole and spend a day at Lake Nacogdoches (10 miles west of Nacogdoches), Lake Naconiche (14 miles northeast of Nacogdoches), or Sam Rayburn Reservoir (46 miles southeast of Nacogdoches) and see what kind of fish you can find. Everyone can enjoy the beautiful waters of East Texas!
Frida is a common gray fox and Nacogdoches’ party animal! She makes sure our town has fun! Foxes are very sneaky and creative and Frida uses those skills especially when she is having fun. She always wins a game of hide-and-seek! Nothing makes her happier than a festival on our Historic Downtown Square or some splashing around at Splashadoches Splash Pad. Frida says that nothing brings a community together like music, food, laughter, and friends!
Belinda Blue Jay
Belinda is a blue jay who has a passion for healthy eating. Though she doesn’t expect you to stick to her diet of bugs, berries, and nuts, she makes sure to share how important it is to eat healthy foods that you like. Healthy eating keeps your body and mind sharp and full of energy, and it helps you to grow strong and be your best self! You’ll need a lot of energy to explore all the parks and trails in Nacogdoches!
Benjamin is one of the few remaining Louisiana black bears in East Texas. While black bears are not very common in East Texas today, Benjamin has many ancestors who lived all over this region and got to experience Nacogdoches’ history. In fact, Benjamin’s family has seen all nine of the flags that have flown over Nacogdoches!
Before Texas joined the United States in 1846, lots of different groups wanted to settle here. Each of our flags tells the story of the different groups of people who lived in Nacogdoches during these times and what they represented. Benjamin Bear is proud that his family has been a part of our town’s exciting history!
Dr. James Long 1819-1821
Fredonia Rebellion 1826-1827
Lone Star 1823-1846
Confederate Stars and Bars 1861-1865
United States of America 1846-present
Billy is a largemouth bass with an appreciation for the great outdoors! As a bass, Billy can live in rivers, lakes, or streams, so that means he is able to travel throughout Nacogdoches and experience all of the different outdoor environments around East Texas. From forests filled with pine trees, to open fields, plenty of parks and trails, there is so much to do and learn while stretching your legs…or flapping your fins like a fish in the water! Between Lake Nacogdoches, Lanana Creek, or even our local Splashadoches Splash Pad, there are so many ways to splash around in Nac! Billy knows that spending time outside is good for your brain and your body. He urges everyone to get out and enjoy the great outdoors in Nacogdoches!
Diego is a white-tailed deer who keeps an eye on Nacogdoches’ animals. Diego roams the woods around Nacogdoches looking for any animals that are lost and afraid. Although Diego isn’t up for adoption (he prefers to keep his distance from humans), he has lots of furry friends who really need a human to take care of them and keep them safe. Sometimes he helps them find the Animal Shelter so that they can find their fur-ever home! Diego makes sure the animals of Nacogdoches are safe and taken care of. You can help Diego by adopting a pet from or volunteering at the Nacogdoches Animal Shelter!
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.