The HSLC is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday during the school year. During the month of June the center is open from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The HSLC is closed on all school holidays and during the month of July. The Jim Dunlap Living Materials Center collection and all indoor facilities are not open to the general public for tours. They are for use only by PISD school groups and Plano Parks & Recreation classes. However, the outdoor trails are owned by the City of Plano and are open to the general public.
The Holifield Science Learning Center is located at 3401 East Spring Creek Parkway (formerly 3100 Shiloh Rd.) in Plano, TX.
Take Park Blvd. east of Central Expressway (Hwy. 75) and turn left on Spring Creek Pkwy. The entrance to the HSLC parking lot will be on your right.
The Outdoor Learning Center is a result of discussions held in 1975 between the Plano Independent School District and the City of Plano Parks and Recreation Department. Three Plano ISD personnel were instrumental in the conception of the center: Dr. H. Wayne Hendrick, Superintendent of Schools; Dr. Bill Holifield, Science Coordinator and later Asst. Superintendent of Curriculum; and Ernest Horany, Director of Personnel Evaluation and Staff Development. Their intent was to provide a nature study center for the school district. Once the district received the city's approval to develop the fifteen acre tract of preserved natural area, an advisory committee from Texas A&M University was put into action to work on plans and ideas. Several professional surveys were conducted by environmental experts to map out trails and identify the natural phenomena. Trails were hand cut taking care not to disrupt the natural environment as little as possible. Third grade students from Aldridge Elementary were the first to visit the center and explore these trails on September 20, 1977.
The Jim Dunlap Living Materials Center began as an experiment. In 1976, biologist Jim Dunlap was looking for a way to interest his high school students in biology. "I found that you cannot teach if students do not listen. They will not listen unless you hold their attention. Animals hold their attention." The popularity of his class grew so steadily, he had to relocate the class to bigger quarters every few years. In 1979, they moved to the basement of the Plano Senior High School. In 1983, the class was relocated to four classrooms on the high school's second floor. Four years later, it was time to expand again. This time a bond proposal was passed to cover the construction of the center and create a home base for both the Living Materials Center and the Outdoor Learning Center as they exist today. The building was completed in 1989 and dedicated as the Bill Holifield Science Learning Center in 1991. In December 2010 Jim Dunlap retired as the curator of the Living Materials Center. At that time the Living Materials Center was rededicated as the Jim Dunlap Living Materials Center to honor his many years of service to the students of Plano ISD.
The Outdoor Learning Center, under the direction of lead teacher Brett Taylor, is an interpretive, hands-on educational facility consisting of an indoor auditorium, a laboratory classroom, and nature trails. The trail system is located on a 15-acre wooded area on Rowlett Creek adjacent to Bob Woodruff Park. The land is provided by the City of Plano through a cooperative agreement with the city's Parks and Recreation Department. Field based trail lessons and indoor laboratory activities are provided by HSLC teaching staff and trained volunteers. This program is an integral part of students' educational experiences in science education, environmental education, and integrated learning activities.
Curator, Living Materials Center
Lead Teacher, Outdoor Learning Center
Outdoor Education Coordinator
Send questions/comments about this page to: Brian.Thomas@pisd.edu
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