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For those unable to visit the amazing Metroplex nature trails, many outdoors destinations are perfect for a bike ride, stroll, vigorous workout or a day in the park, all accessible by Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART).

White Rock Lake Trail is the granddaddy of local hike and bike trails, and it’s much more extensive than the ring around the lake. From just east of White Rock Station, head south to the nine-mile loop or go north to the less-traveled, forested White Rock Creek Trail, which follows the rambling creek for more than seven miles to LBJ Freeway.

Bachman Lake is another mainstay for local hikers and bikers, with a paved trail that meanders along the lake’s shore, passing waterfowl and cypress trees. With a length of five kilometers, this is the perfect place for serous runners to train. It’s located just to the northeast of Bachman Station.

Opened in 2000, the Katy Trail is one of Dallas’ most popular hike-and-bike trails. The former rail corridor extends from the American Airlines Center,  where it is accessible via Victory Station, through the Turtle Creek greenbelt running through the heart of the city to the edge of Highland Park, north of Knox Street. Around the midway point of this 3.5-mile trail, pause for refreshment at a couple of al fresco cafés that directly face the trail.

When the Orange Line opened, it forged another rail-to-trail connection. The Campion Trail is a paved path extending through both wooded and open areas along the Elm Fork of the Trinity River from North Irving just east of Las Colinas Urban Center Station, north six-and-a-half miles to Valley Ranch. This trail offers a bonus to mountain bike riders, as there are several unpaved detours that lead to wilder areas off the beaten path.

Cottonwood Trail wends its way roughly from Spring Valley Road to Royal Lane, and it can be accessed from the southwest corner of the parking lot of Forest Lane Station. The paved path is fairly new and very smooth, making it a great choice for roller-blades. It runs mostly through residential areas, with access to major shopping areas, transportation, medical facilities and educational institutions.

The Chisholm Trail, in Plano, is a half-mile from Downtown Plano, where it connects a strand of city parks and extends north along the banks of Spring Creek all the way to Legacy Drive. The mostly flat greenbelt eventually joins a second greenbelt— the east-to-west-running Bluebonnet Trail—just before reaching its northern terminus.

Fort more information, visit



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Master Naturalist Ben Sandifer, DFW’s most prolific environmental steward, says, “I recommend the following trails because they are family friendly, easy to find and safe. Also, other than Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area (LLELA), these trails are free from an entrance fee. The trails are in different parts of the metroplex, as well.

“I would put Cedar Ridge Preserve at the top of the list ( Arbor Hills Preserve, in Plano, ( is nice, as well.

Other picks include River Legacy Park (, in Arlington and LLELA trail (, in Lewisville.

Wendel Withrow,  president of the North Texas Sierra Club and author of Best of Tent Camping Texas, states, “The best local hiking is Cedar Ridge Nature Preserve in the cedar hill area. Arbor Hills, in Plano, is also good, but most of the trails are paved. I also recommend a great source for all the best hiking trails is 60 Hikes Within 60 miles: Dallas-Ft Worth, by Joanie Sanchez. 


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By reducing skin cancer risks under our control, we may be able to decrease the chances of developing melanoma. For those that can’t be controlled, regular skin examination can increase the chance of catching a developing skin cancer early, when it is most curable.

The primary risk factor for skin cancer, including melanoma and non-melanoma cancers, is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, including sunlight and tanning beds. People who live in areas with year-round bright sunlight or those that spend a lot of time outdoors without protective clothing or sunscreen are at greater risk. Early exposure, particularly frequent sunburns as a child, can also increase skin cancer risks. Avoiding direct sunlight and tanning beds is the most important thing we can do. When out in the sun, wear protective clothing, hats, sunglasses and sunscreen. Here are some other risk factors.

Older age: Skin cancer risks increase as we age, which is likely due to accumulated exposure to UV radiation.

Weakened immune system: Conditions that weaken the immune system, such as immune suppression therapy associated with organ transplantation, may increase skin cancer risks.

Male gender: Men are approximately two times more likely to develop basal cell carcinomas and three times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinomas compared with women.

Fair skin: Caucasians have an increased risk of developing skin cancer than non-whites. The risk is also higher in individuals with blonde or red hair, blue or green eyes, or skin that burns or freckles easily.

Moles: Most moles are harmless and will never develop into cancer, but having a large number of moles may increase the risk for developing melanoma.

Skin inflammation: Skin that has been damaged by a severe burn, underlying severe bone infection or severe inflammatory skin disease may be more likely to develop a skin cancer, although this risk is thought to be small.

Family history: Individuals with one or more first-degree relative (parent or sibling) with skin cancer are at increased risk.

Smoking: Smokers are more likely to develop squamous cell skin cancers, particularly on the lips.

Chemical exposure: Arsenic, industrial tar, coal, paraffin and certain types of oil may increase the risk for certain types of non-melanoma skin cancers.

Human papilloma virus (HPV) infection: Infection with certain types of HPV, particularly those that affect the anal or genital area, may increase skin cancer risks.

Radiation exposure: Treatment with radiation can increase the risk for developing skin cancers in the exposed area.

Psoriasis treatment: A treatment for psoriasis, psoralen and ultraviolet light treatment (PUVA) can increase the risk for developing squamous cell carcinoma.



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Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging (DITI)T is a non-invasive technique that allows observation of the body’s interior functions without uncomfortable compression or radiation to potentially contribute to abnormal cell growth or compression, as with X-ray diagnostics. Here are some other attributes of DITI.

  • Uncovers where immune system functions are compromised, including challenges from heavy metals, viral infections, bacteria and yeast, and assesses the function of the thymus gland, which is the “director” of the immune system
  • Can show changes in the breast tissues at their earliest stages often seven to 10 years before other testing methodologies
  • Provides a complete assessment of dental health, which is often a key missing link affecting the immune system, and very specifically connected to identifying affected organs
  • Assesses health of lymphatic system, which contributes to immune function throughout the body and is the predominant tissue of which the breasts are comprised
  • Evaluates the functional health of all organs, giving a unique picture of areas where the body needs support
  • Can identify when the body is becoming too acidic, creating an environment for dysfunction
  • Assesses the health of the breast tissue and identifies systems and organs of the body that are potentially contributing to changes in that tissue


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Many people are unaware of the powerful role diet and lifestyle play in cancer prevention and treatment, and research studies consistently support a plant-based diet. For example, in an extensive review of the medical literature, J.D. Potter and K.A. Steinmetz, of the World Cancer Research Fund, in London, found that plant foods “have preventive potential and that consumption of the following groups and types of vegetables and fruits is lower in those who subsequently develop cancer: raw and fresh vegetables, leafy green vegetables, Cruciferae, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce and raw and fresh fruit.”

Even mainstream organizations such as the American Cancer Society recommend limiting meat and processed foods while increasing intake of fresh fruits and vegetables. When food is heated, most of the protein, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients are destroyed; therefore, major healing centers such as the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center, the Hippocrates Institute, the Optimum Health Institute and Hallelujah Acres teach a raw, vegan approach to nutrition. 

An optimal diet is even more powerful when combined with exercise and stress management. According to a study published in Lancet Oncology, “Healthy lifestyle behaviors that encompass regular exercise, weight control, healthy nutrition and some complementary practices have the potential to greatly reduce cancer-treatment-associated morbidity and mortality in cancer survivors and can enhance quality of life.”

There is an ongoing research study in North Texas at the Kotsanis Institute, in Grapevine, regarding the potential effects of a simple, raw, organic, vegan diet combined with relaxation methods and gentle, moderate exercise. To date participants are consistently showing improvements in standardized measures of fatigue and cognition, as well as mental, emotional, and spiritual health. It involves participants with confirmed cancer diagnosis meeting with the  study researcher weekly for four weeks to receive support and monitoring of the specified protocol. 

For more information, call Suzy Edmonson, LOT, RMT, at 817 996-9961.


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Of all the DFW green neighborhoods, South Oak Cliff is the greenest, because it’s the most green. While it lacks walkability and its holistic offerings are few, the hilly terrain south of Clarendon between Loop 12 and I-35E boasts some of Dallas’ largest parks, plus it’s a short jump to the best scenery in Dallas County. The city’s biggest agricultural operations thrive here, as does the community garden scene. This eco-operated, multi-use enterprise in a reclaimed manufacturing plant has dreams of becoming a center vibrant enough to pull this diffuse community together.

An Overflowing Bounty of Parks

Kiest Park  is to South Oak Cliff what White Rock Lake is to East Dallas: the open space around which everything revolves. One of the largest in Dallas at more than 250 acres, it’s got everything: gardens, sports facilities, recreation center, some imaginative children’s areas and a paved, mostly level, hiking trail nearly three miles long. Texas Recreation and Park Society recently named it a Lone Star Legacy Park that holds special prominence in the local community and the state of Texas.

To commune with a deeper level of nature, Oak Cliff Nature Preserve  is the place. Owned by the Nature Conservancy, the former Boy Scout camp is 121 acres of heavily wooded and intricately folded chalk hills dotted with meadows. The Dallas Off-Road Bicycle Association, DORBA) , maintains eight miles of multi-use trails that is such an interconnected miasma that first-timers often get lost. Make sure to save their terrific interactive map before heading out. The perimeter trail is easier on hikers and skirts the lush riparian area of Five Mile Creek, where the old bois d’arc trees, pecans and oaks are quite massive.

For an even bigger dip into nature, take the U.S. 67 split off I-35E in Cedar Hill to FM 1382, to find hundreds of square miles of nothing but nature. The scenery evokes the Texas Hill Country with craggy limestone bluffs, clear-running creeks and scrubby forests. Cedar Hill State Park (, the only public place to camp in Dallas County, is around 1,200 acres flanking nondescript Joe Pool Lake. A few pleasant lake vistas are on the eight miles of DORBA trails (, but most explore the ravine-rich interior. In addition to camping, it’s nice place to set up for a day of exploration in Southwest Dallas County. History buffs will appreciate its Penn Farm Agricultural History Center (, with mid-1800s farm buildings and a terrific bluestem prairie.

Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center ( is part of the vast greenbelt of forests and around Cedar Hill Lake State Park. The 205 acres at the mouth of a forested canyon has around three miles of trails through a surprising variety of habitats. While the trails are not long or challenging, there is a nurturing closeness to nature. Pets are welcome on Dog Days Sundays. The visitor center provides engaging insight into the area ecology with creative displays, live education animals, resident raptors and a fun gift store. Look for their fun, friendly events, including full moon hikes.

In the uplands across FM 1382 from the state park is the natural jewel of Dallas County: Cedar Ridge Preserve ( Its 600 acres features epic views of the lake valley and an impressive nine miles of varied trails: short, long, strenuous, easy, steep, flat, forested and prairie, ranging from broad and graveled to narrow dirt. The noises and views of civilization fade. Birds and animals seen nowhere else in the county live here. The Dallas Audubon Society operates this rare and wonderful place, once called the Dallas Nature Center, but it’s the dedicated and ingenious volunteers that make this treasure come alive.

The Fine Art of Food

Some impressive agricultural operations occur in South Dallas and South Oak Cliff. Paul Quinn College, an African-American college, became legendary when it turned its football field into the We Over Me Farm (, which trains students in the skill of growing food on a commercial scale. It even has a mascot: Spike The Touchdown Tomato, toting a turnip football.

South Dallas is considered a food desert, where fresh produce and unprocessed foods are hard to obtain. In a partnership with Good Local Markets, farm products are sold each Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Paul Quinn Market  Located on a busy DART bus line, the operation brings healthy foods to all of South Dallas, healing a community on many levels.

We Over Me Farm and associates have expanded into locavore items like heirloom vegetables, specialty fruits, microgreens, herbs and honey. Locally manufactured pickles, preserves, sauces, plus breads and baked goods also join the menu. Non-edibles like handmade soaps and body care products are also featured.

Healing on a personal scale is facilitated by Eat the Yard (, an urban farming operation founded by two veterans that train and employ other veterans. A 17-acre farm in Desoto, plus a network of high-intensity garden spaces in yards and open spaces, create produce for local markets and restaurants. For more community garden goodness, visit Community Gardens of Oak Cliff (

Enjoy fresh foods cooked for you at Sankofa Kitchen & Smoothie Bar (see Facebook). A bastion of lean chicken and turkey dishes, it has lots of vegan and vegetarian options. Ann’s Health Center & Market ( has brought healthy foods and advice to the area for decades,  now with a cafe boasting a creative, fresh menu and some stellar sandwiches.

Community: Hipster, Heart Centered and Ecological

The spiritual heart of is Unitarian Universalist Church of Oak Cliff ( with modern buildings and beautiful rock labyrinth that merge into the wooded landscape. Its humanist message of curiosity and spiritual seeking, kindness and compassion, laced with a strong commitment to justice, is a perfect philosophical match for the area. Join them on Sundays, for seasonal celebrations and a monthly jazz jam. The church is also the Oak Cliff location for Dallas Shambhala Meditation (

Trinity Environmental Academy (, operated by nonprofit Sustainable Education Solutions, is a charter school dedicated to nature and science-based education for Dallas youth and families. It stresses sustainability, environmental stewardship and service to the community through its classes and summer camps, located near the Great Trinity Forest and Paul Quinn College campus.

Tyler Station ( aims to be the compelling center that draws all these disparate elements of South Oak Cliff together. Its location next to the Tyler/Vernon DART light rail station gives that dream some punch. The 70-year-old building, a former manufacturing plant, was environmentally renovated by developer Monte Anderson, creator of the Belmont Hotel and founding president of the North Texas chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism.

Enterprises in Tyler Station’s co-working space include arts and crafts (jewelry, art, sculpture), creative industrialists (furniture and décor making, crafting, welding, woodworking, landscaping), white collar (design, videography, media relations, law, finance) and manufacturing (Oak Cliff Brewery). All tenants must participate in the recycling program and are encouraged to reuse and repurpose materials. Classes at the martial arts and movement studios, and festivals like MayFair, keep it busy with happy, shiny people.


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Thanks to the Plano Rotary Club, the first all-abilities playground has opened in Plano at the new Jack Carter Park on the site of the former Jack Carter Pool, serving children with disabilities a variety of experiences that involve movement and climbing, as well as a mix of tactile, visual and auditory features. It is complemented by a covered pavilion, water fountains and picnic tables

The new playground is designed for children of all abilities to play, learn and grow together and offers a variety of sensory experiences for healthy development. The 2.61-acre park includes ample parking, trail connections, shelters and facilities that include accessible restrooms for all. The Plano Rotary Club initially donated $25,000 to help fund the $1.9 million park project.

Location: 2601 Maumelle Dr., Plano, near Schimelpfenig Middle School.


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Mindfulness has become one of the most popular ways to detox the brain and relieve stress among people of all walks of life. It is an age old-practice that can take many forms and combined with other types of practices in several important ways. Mindfulness teaches us to recognize, “Oh, there’s that thought again. I’ve been here before. But it’s just a thought, not a part of my core self.”  Meditation affects the body in the opposite way that stress does by triggering the body's relaxation response.

Mind-detoxing benefits of mindfulness meditation include as a quick-fix stress reliever to help reverse the body's  immediate stress response and physically relax; as a part a daily routine to help build resilience to stress; as a technique to get centered when we’re thrown off by emotional stress; to restore the body to a calm state so it can repair itself; to prevent new damage from the physical effects of stress; and to calm the mind and body by quieting the stress-induced thoughts that trigger the stress response.

There is an element of direct physical relaxation involved in meditation, as well. When practicing meditation, heart rate and breathing slow down; blood pressure normalizes; we use oxygen more efficiently; immune function improves; we sweat less; the adrenal glands produce less cortisol; and the mind ages at a slower rate, clears and creativity increases.

For more information, call Mastermind Meditation Center at 214-522-4574 or visit


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Fort Hood, the largest active duty post Armed Services, is now implementing the largest renewable energy project in the Army. when complete, the hybrid solar and wind project will have a capacity of approximately 65 megawatts (MW) of alternating current in total.

This is the Army’s first hybrid renewable energy project, and its largest single renewable energy project to date. Energy purchased from the onsite solar system will be combined with energy from the offsite wind facility. The project is expected to provide $168 million in cost avoidance to the Army over the course of the contract and will be micro-grid capable to enhance energy security.


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Here are a few ways to save North Texas water in the summertime while maintaining a beautiful lawn.

  • Change sprinkler controllers to create a cycle and soak program with three-minute run times for pop-up head zones and multiple start times to ensure the water does not run off on sidewalks or driveways. Most controllers will allow three or more start times. They also normally have an A, B and C program button for up to nine different start times.
  • Use two to four inches of mulch in shrub beds and lower the watering times for the beds if they are on their own separate zone.
  • Mow high. Raise the deck on the lawn mower. Do not remove more than one-third of the length of the lawn (leaf blade).
  • Use a mulching lawn mower to add nutrients back into the yard for free.
  • Consider installing low-maintenance, “Texas-scape” landscaping.

For more information, call 972- 979-3996 or visit


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