Growing up in Houston, The Houston Arboretum and Nature Center (HANC) instilled my love for being outdoors and respecting all that it has to offer. For years, my grandfather volunteered countless hours and provided guidance as a member of the board. He honored lost family members with dedications such as The Charlotte Couch Memorial Birding Walkway so that visitors could share the passion my grandmother had for observing nature. The arboretum was always our sanctuary to find peace in the middle of the city and convene as a family.

I remember the pride on my grandfather's face when the Discovery Room was completed and watching him interact with the visiting children.

The HANC or as we just called it, the arboretum, rests in the middle of the 4th largest metropolitan area in the United States and offers 155 acres full of native plants and animal habitats. It provides a retreat to nearly 200,000 visitors annually and educates thousands of children on the importance of nature along with the impact it has on the local area.

The Couch family has been involved with the arboretum ever since its existence became known and we are honored to help the next evolution of the revered organization usher in a new era of improvements. Today visitors can already start to see the significant changes taking shape that will include: new trail experiences, renovations to the existing building to expand educational programs, a state-of-the-art playscape and so much more.

All of these changes are part of an ongoing effort to revitalize the area after a devastating drought and hurricane season that caused the property to lose 50% of its trees among other significant damage that hurt native species in the area. Also, the educational programming has outgrown the current building that was built in 1967, and new buildings must be constructed to keep up with the growing demand.

Trails in New Master Plan
Trails in New Master Plan
Buildings in New Master Plan
Buildings in New Master Plan

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Trails in New Master Plan
Buildings in New Master Plan

If you live in the Houston area or just there to visit, it's certainly is a must-see since it provides an experience that will leave you feeling detoxed from all the hustle and bustle. We make it a point to visit everytime we’re in town, and it’s a joy to watch our children follow our family's footsteps towards a path that leads to greater love and appreciation for the outdoors that was first started by their great-grandparents.

The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center

The mission of the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center is to provide education about the natural environment to people of all ages and to protect and enhance the Arboretum as a haven and as a sanctuary for native plants and animals.

They are one of the first nature education facilities for children in the state of Texas, provides services to nearly 200,000 visitors annually. The Arboretum also provides nature education for more than 10,000 children annually.

The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center is a 155-acre non-profit urban nature sanctuary located on the western edge of Memorial Park. It is managed by the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center Board of Directors and staff under an agreement with the City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department.

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Sean Couch

Strategist & New Philanthropist at the J.W. Couch Foundation

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