Duggan leaves green mark on city

Longtime volunteer honored for more than 20 years of dedicated service

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Angelina Liu

Lou Duggan was the executive director of the Coppell Nature Park before retiring last year. Duggan spent 20 years gathering volunteers and spreading his vision to form the Coppell Nature Park and the Biodiversity Education Center. His name was added to the building in honor of his contributions.

Iniya Nathan , Staff Writer

Coppell Nature Park, located in Wagon Wheel Park, contains 66 acres with multiple trails to explore while serving as the home of many animal species. Inside the park is the Biodiversity Education Center (BEC). 

As the name suggests, it exists to help educate adults and children about the environment. The BEC opened on April 22, 2014, otherwise known as Earth Day.

He wanted to create a nature park for the community. The fact that he played such a large role in its existence is a legacy to him, even though he would never want to point the attention on himself.”

— BEC education coordinator Cynthia Contreras

All of this would not exist without former Coppell Nature Park executive director Lou Duggan.

“Without [Duggan] we never would have reached our goal [for the park],” Coppell Nature Park historian Vonita White said. “He led us through all the fundraising campaigns. He worked with all of the city and the contractors; [he] just lived to work on the building. He was very instrumental; he was the primary focus behind the building, and he motivated everybody to get on board, but he definitely led the work.”

Duggan was the executive director of the Coppell Nature Park, a volunteer position, before he retired last year. Starting with only a vision of creating human and environmental interaction, Duggan spread his passion to the students and teachers of Coppell. By gathering volunteers, he was able to bring his visions of the Coppell Nature Park and the BEC to life.

“Because of [Duggan], Coppell has gained a great asset,” said Coppell Nature Park secretary Cynthia Wolfe, digital media teacher at Coppell High School. “[The City of Coppell] just pays for it. For the most part, [Duggan] and many others in Friends of Coppell Nature Park were the ones who decided how to [put the park] together, and [Duggan] was the one who got people to volunteer their time. You wanted him on your team.”

In honor of his efforts for the BEC and his approximately 20 years of contributions to the community, Duggan’s name has been added to the exterior of the BEC building.

“Everybody knew what an incredible legacy he created,” BEC education coordinator Cynthia Contreras said. “He wanted to create a nature park for the community. The fact that he played such a large role in its existence is a legacy to him, even though he would never want to point the attention on himself. So, when he retired, the organization just felt like it was appropriate to honor him in some tangible way.”

Duggan recently moved to South Texas from Coppell after retiring. The Coppell Nature Park and the BEC are still open during the pandemic, and safety measures and guidelines are available on their respective websites.

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