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CEDAR HILL (CBS 11 NEWS)In Cedar Hill, nestled amid the trees and the trails, just 16 miles south of downtown Dallas, you’ll find the Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center.

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“The most common comment is that it is so peaceful. It’s so shaded, so it’s nice in the summertime,” said Judy Collins, the conservation and operations manager.”

The goal of the Audubon Center is to protect wildlife and habitat, but they also teach people about conservation. Those lessons are done through exploration.

On the day we were there we saw the Audubon team in action with a group of 5th graders from Plummer Elementary.  Dogwood Canyon leaders created a custom tailored program to take science out of the classroom and into the forest.

“It’s kind of like science outside. Actually exploring it and seeing some of the things they are learning in the classroom,” said Plummer 5th grade teacher Kelly Johnson.

One of the things that makes this place special is that plants and animals from east, west and central Texas all converge there.

The kids are taking it all in.

Dogwood Canyon (Russ McCaskey - CBS11)

Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center (Russ McCaskey – CBS11)

“It’s more hands on, and I think kids respond to more hand things better than just pencil and paper,” said 5th grader Keniya Widley.

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Student Adam Beltram said the program is,”… helping us learn more about what’s outside. What we can do, and about what we have learned in the past.”

Collins said the results are paying off. “Those kids score better on their science concepts on the STAAR Test. The kids who came out here versus the kids who did not.”

But it’s not just kids — Dogwood Canyon is for everyone.

The CBS 11 crews crossed paths with someone who comes to the area for birding.

“Bird watching is not easy and it can take a lot of effort,” explained avid bird watcher Ron Hiscock. He reminded us that while centers like these appear peaceful, nature can at times be dangerous.

“There’s and all of that, but it’s okay. The system works together, and stays in balance,” Collins said.

So, if you don’t stray from the trails, you can escape from the hustle and bustle of the daily rush, enjoy some peace and quiet and maybe see a hummingbird or two.

The Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free.

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