The John Bunker Sands Wetland Center Mission Statement
The mission of the John Bunker Sands Wetland Center is to educate the public and provide research opportunities in the areas of water quality and supply, wildlife management, and wetland systems.
The Wetland Center facility provides opportunities for research, education, wildlife observation, and community gatherings within a comfortable, environmentally-conscious building. The Center partners with area school districts, wildlife and conservation organizations, and research institutions.
The Wetland Center resides in the middle of the East Fork Wetland Project which was designed to filter treated wastewater and supplement the water supply for 1.7 million people living in north Texas. It is one of the largest constructed wetlands on the United States and is located along the banks of the East Fork of the Trinity River, 25 miles southeast of Dallas, TX An additional 1,200 acres of bottomland hardwood forest with seasonal shallow wetlands are located on the opposite side of the river and is dedicated as a wetland mitigation bank in honor of John Bunker Sands called the Bunker Sands Mitigation Bank.
These ideas reflect and extend the vision of Bunker Sands, a holistic ranch management advocate, who directed the creation of over 2,100 wetland acres on Rosewood Ranches properties in Kaufman, Henderson, Ellis, and Navarro counties. The constructed wetlands included seasonal emergent wetlands, scrub swamps and flooded bottomland hardwood forest. Several of the original wetlands occurred at Rosewood's Seagoville Ranch, the site of the Center and of the water reuse East Fork Wetland, developed and operated by North Texas Municipal Water District.
Created in partnership with the Caroline Rose Hunt family through The Rosewood Corporation and the North Texas Municipal Water District, the Center hosts and provides facilities to further our community's understanding of the area's water supply challenges and the importance of habitat conservation.
Director - John DeFillipo
John DeFillipo, Director of the John Bunker Sands Wetland Center, is an engaging naturalist with over 20 years of experience blending ecological concepts with business insights. After receiving his BS degree in Business Administration in 1992 from the Mississippi University for Women, he pursued a naturalist career with two nature centers in the southeastern United States; Camp McDowell Environmental Education Center in Alabama and Crow’s Neck Environmental Education Center in Mississippi. In 2002, John refined his focus as an Outreach Educator with the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science where he presented endangered species programs, including live Alligators. While living in Mississippi, John served as the president of the Mississippi Environmental Education Alliance and was the recipient of the 2008 Environmental Educator of the Year Award.
John moved to Dallas in late 2008 to accept the Lead Natural Science Educator position with the Perot Museum of Nature and Science before becoming the Director of the Wetland Center in March 2010. In August 2015, John received the New Outstanding Leader Award from the Association of Nature Center Administrators (ANCA) where he currently serves as VP of Development.
Through his leadership skills and enduring passion of man’s stewardship of the Earth, he has guided the Wetland Center to become a premier example of environmental education with a strong focus on habitat and water conservation, public education, partnerships, and wetland research.
John Bunker Sands Wetland Center
655 Martin Lane Combine, TX 75159
Education Manager - Linda Dunn
the creek at her elementary school, participating in weekend camping trips in high school and then choosing to begin her college career in the upper peninsula of Michigan, where there is nothing but nature, so she could explore and enjoy the beauty of the area. She has been involved in the field of environmental education for over 30 years, teaching both in the formal classroom and in an informal environment. In 1986 she graduated from Texas A&M with a B.S. in Recreation and Parks/Outdoor Education. After graduation she traveled across the United States, working at various environmental education facilities including Shavers Creek Environmental Center in Pennsylvania and Bradford Wood Outdoor Education located in Indiana. During this time Linda gained insight into a variety of environmental educational programming settings and developed the necessary organizational skills needed to flourish in a nature center environment. After receiving a B.A. in Education from Colorado Christian University in 1993, Linda taught in the formal classroom in Colorado and Texas. With the outdoors calling her back to her roots, she went back to the informal world and worked for Texas Parks and Wildlife for seven years as a program specialist. She is currently the education manager of the John Bunker Sands Wetland Center, located 30 miles south of Dallas, and is president of the Texas Association for Environmental Education. She has been recognized by the Colorado Division of Parks & Wildlife for her work with their teacher education programs and awarded recognition by the Girl Scouts of North East Texas for her involvement with the Girl Scout council. She recently received the Environmental Educator of the year from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for her work in environmental education for her innovative approach to programming and work in the environmental education field in Texas. Linda has a passion for sharing with others the importance of not only taking care of the environment, but also how taking care of the environment directly impacts people in the areas of physical and mental health, and the overall well-being of society.
WILSON SANDS - Board President
The Rosewood Corporation
TERRY SAM ANDERSON - Vice President
North Texas Municipal Water District
KEN MINDELL - Treasurer
The Rosewood Corporation
JOE JOPLIN - Secretary
North Texas Municipal Water District
HAVEN HEINRICHS - Board Member
The Rosewood Foundation
ANJANETTER MURRY - Board Member
JAMIE STEINBURG - Board Member
Crandall Independent School District
SUZANNE TUTTLE - Board Member
Fort Worth Nature Center, Retired Manager