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Award-winning cake by 4-H student spotlights Birding Nature Center

Clara Dodd, 9 years old, spent many summer days at the Matagorda County Birding Nature Center. Her mother, Meridith Dodd, who volunteered at the nature center always brought Clara along.

“My favorite thing to see was the alligators and turtles,” Clara said. “I also loved to see the spiders and ladybugs.”

Clara, who is a member of the El Maton 4-H Club, wanted to enter the Decorated Cake competition at the Matagorda County Fair earlier this month. When she considered what kind of cake decoration she would make, she decided to create the sign at the nature center’s entrance.

Nine-year-old Clara Dodd's award winning cake was inspired by the Birding Nature Center.

Clara’s cake was awarded Grand Reserve and her mother posted photos to Facebook to celebrate her daughter’s success.

A volunteer at the Birding Nature Center saw the post of the prize-winning cake and immediately called one of the center’s board members, Sue Crow, and suggested the Nature Center buy Clara’s cake.

Clara Dodd's (left) Birding Nature Center-inspired cake was awarded Reserve Champion at this year’s Matagorda County Fair. Sue Crow (right), a Matagorda County Birding Nature Center board member, presents Clara with a check from MCBNC for her cake and encouraged her to continue exploring nature and participating in 4-H Club activities.

“We were delighted with her success and creativity,” Crow said. “We bought the cake for $50 and encouraged her to continue her involvement in 4-H and with nature.”

Clara’s vanilla cake features a white chocolate recreation of the front entrance sign that welcomes visitors to the nature center. Her mother said that Clara insisted on piping the wording and icing by herself.

“She wanted to do it all herself,” Dodd said. “I stood by and gave her pointers when I could, but she wanted to be very independent and make it her project. She did not want me to help her do any of the decorating.”

In addition to her winning cake, Clara took Grand Champion in the Gel Pen Drawing competition at the Fair. The subject of her drawing was also inspired by nature – a snake.

“It’s really quite good, isn’t it?” Dodd said while showing a photo of her daughter’s work. “I’m very proud of her accomplishments.”



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