By Rita Cook     
It’s an organization in Arlington that folks can get behind just like current Arlington Conservation Council President Jo Ann Duman did eight years ago when she joined the board for the local organization. President of the council now for two years Duman says “I picked up a newsletter in the city library and attended a potluck brunch in 2001. I found the people fascinating and the monthly programs interesting.”

Duman says one of the best things about the council is that the members are active in other groups like Native Plant Society, Organic Garden Club and Sierra Club so they learn a lot about what is going on across the city and region when they get together. In existence for 42 years now, “which is one of the reasons the name is "conservation council" from the beginnings of the modern environmental movement” Duman says, the group is a 501c(4) non-profit environmental organization. 

“Although our main focus is conservation of Arlington's natural resources and open space, we coordinate with environmental groups in the surrounding Dallas-Fort Worth area and at the state level especially on air and water quality and support of state parks,” she says. ( Photo on the left ACC members at Arlington's Eco-Fest)


 Of her eco-friendly ideas she says she learned about song and field birds from her father, but had training on birding, wetlands and plants from an employer in 1989. “That's when I started frequenting natural areas and volunteering for cleanups and trail improvement projects,” she says. 

These days her own eco-friendly lifestyle at home consists of many things, but she says she loves Arlington's curbside recycling program.  “I also collect beverage cans and bottles at my office and take them to the ReImagine Center on Fielder between Arkansas Lane and Pioneer Parkway where I get points for Hill Elementary School, you can donate your points to any school you pick from a long electronic list.”

As for her involvement with the Arlington Conservation Council, key projects she is working on with that group include a booth at the Prairie Fest at Tandy Hills in April and the City's Eco-Fest in October.  There are almost monthly workdays at the New York Avenue Blackland Prairie, the Molly Hollar Wildscape at Veterans Park and a new group Friends of OS Gray Park. (Photo on the right ACC workday at Molly Hollar Wildscape in Veterans Park, Arlington.)

Last year the council also generated dozens of calls to the Arlington City Council against granting a variance for a gas well drill site within less than 200 feet of the Southwest Nature Preserve and a local business.    “We lost, unfortunately, but we're used to that. Perhaps things would be worse if we didn't demonstrate that there is another side to consider besides developer’s interests,” she says adding

“We [also] want to strengthen ties with UTA students and faculty, work with a high school science club, and continue support to our city staff who work on "green" projects for all of us. We support the Hike and Bike plan and want to help city staff make progress next year for cyclists and pedestrians.” 

( at left ACC school volunteers from the HOBY youth leadership program working at Molly Hollar Wildscape at Veterans Park   Photo by Diana Kunde )

Interested in getting involved with the Arlington Conservation Council, the group meets the second Wednesday of the month at 7:00 p.m. at the Fielder House Museum on Abram Street in Arlington.  For information on programs, workdays and other activities you can also visit


Rita Cook is an award winning journalist who writes or has written for the Dallas Morning News, Focus Daily News, Waxahachie Daily Light,  Dreamscapes Travel Magazine, Porthole, Core Media, Fort Worth Star Telegram and many other publications in Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago.  Cook is the Managing Editor of Insider Magazine, and can also be heard Sunday morning in Los Angeles on The Insider Magazine Radio Show’s featured segment “I’m Standing Here.”  With five books published, her latest release is “A Brief History of Fort Worth” published by History Press.  You can contact her at