Dogwood Canyon, formed by the rare convergence of two ecosystems, displays the rich natural beauty that proliferates in Cedar Hill. Here the flat terrain of the Blackland Prairie, which covers the majority of Dallas County, gives way to the white rock of the Austin Chalk deposits. This region is referred to as the Balcones Escarpment which rises 200 feet from the creek bottoms near Joe Pool Lake to an elevation of as much as 880 feet. Once covered by grasses, these hills have become a vast ecosystem of unique plant and animal life.
Dogwood Canyon is named for the flowering dogwoods scattered throughout the escarpment. Generally absent from the shallow clay soils of the limestone regions of the west, this rare flower flourishes in the canyon's unique ecosystem. Other rare flora found in Dogwood Canyon include the White trout-lily, a small, but showy, spring-blooming forest wildflower whose population at Dogwood Canyon may be among the largest in the southwest, as well as three species of Hexalectris orchids, which flourish in the soil types found in the canyon and are among only a few hundred in the country.
Dogwood Canyon's extensive bird population includes many unique and interesting species such as the Golden-Cheeked Warbler, an endangered songbird who builds its nests in the plentiful Ashe junipers. The ancient trees provide the protection and freedom from disturbance that these charming birds need to rebuild their fragile population. Other scarce birds who have made the Dogwood Canyon their home include the Black-Chinned Hummingbird and the Black-Capped Verio.
The Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center has been awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification, established by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). LEED is the nation's preeminent program for the design, construction, and operation of high performance, environmentally-friendly, green buildings.
The Audubon Center achieved LEED certification for energy use, lighting, water, and material use as well as incorporating a variety of other sustainable strategies. By using less energy and water, the building saves money for families, businesses and taxpayers, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and contributes to a healthier environment for residents, workers, and the larger community.