Are you a high school or college student looking to make an impact in your community? Quinta Mazatlan has the perfect program for you. The Environmental Steward Certification Program is a 6 week service learning workshop to train nature "ambassadors." Older generation stewards will be teaching a younger generation about the ecology in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in the hopes of awakening a true lifetime passion for ecology in general.
The workshops will take place every Tuesday from 10am to 1pm, beginning June 11, 2013. Students will accumulate 40 of volunteer community service, which will enhance their resumes and job applications for jobs with nature parks and will also allow them to help their environment and make an impact on their communities when they are called on for help, advice or resources on environmental issues.
There will be an information social today, Thursday May 23rd, from 6:30pm to 7:30pm at Quinta Mazatlan for those interested in the program. Early Registration is required, call Quinta Mazatlan to register.
600 Sunset Dr.
McAllen, TX 78503
This summer, join us at Quinta Mazatlan for some outdoor fun and service…the chachalacas will greet you at the front gates! Every Wednesday and Saturday morning, from 8am-11am, Quinta Mazatlan welcomes volunteers that enjoy getting their hands in the dirt! Whether you need hours for school credits and/or want to learn about native plants you are welcome to join us in the garden. Projects will include bird feeding, watering gardens, weeding, planting shrubs and trees, trail maintenance, trail building, invasive plant removal, cleaning, and more! You will learn about South Texas plants and wildlife, enjoy a few hours with other generous people, and leave with the satisfaction that you made a difference for wildlife habitat in the Rio Grande Valley.
Cha-cha-la-ca Mornings will begin Saturday, June 1st and will run every Saturday and Wednesday, 8:00am-11:00am, through August. If it’s your first time volunteering at Quinta Mazatlan, please arrive early to fill out a Volunteer Form. No need to call ahead, just show up ready to work. If you are bringing a large group, please contact Christine Williams, 681-3373 in advance so the nature center can prepare accordingly. We recommend wearing long pants, tennis shoes, clothes you don’t mind getting dirty, gloves, hat, sunscreen and bug spray. Volunteers that complete 40 hours from June through August will receive a special gift in appreciation of their hard work.
Quinta Mazatlan, the McAllen Wing of the World Birding Center is located at 600 Sunset in McAllen, one block south of La Plaza Mall on 10th Street. For more information contact Quinta Mazatlan at (956) 681-3370 or visit www.quintamazatlan.com.
She has lived in South Texas for 20 years. She has a family. She is a birder. And she calls herself the Urban Birder. This woman has a private suite at her house that she rents to birders at a low price with easy access to all of the World Birding Centers in the Rio Grande Valley. Be sure to check out her website at: http://birdmecca.posterous.com/ to see beautiful pictures of chachalacas, sandhill cranes, bluebirds and more. Happy birding!
Brandon Brywczynski is a teacher in Delta, Ohio with a lovely hobby- birding! His interest in birding began at a the young age of ten, and this year he has set the bar high for himself with a project titled the "Big Year." The idea came to him after watching the movie “The Big Year” starring Jack Black, Steve Martin, and Owen Wilson. This movie follows the true story of Greg Miller, a computer consultant from Ohio that set out to find more than 700 species in 365 days. Now Brandon is doing the same thing in 2013. You can follow Brandon and his progress on his website at: http://www.brandonsbigyear.blogspot.com/.
In an article with The Press, Brandon says, "Toward the end of year, if everything works out, my dad and I are going to try and take a trip down to the Rio Grande Valley because that's basically birders' heaven down there." He couldn't be more spot on. With over 500 bird species in our area, we feel confident that Brandon would be able to add to his list significantly. Check out this birding site for more information: http://www.theworldbirdingcenter.com/. And Brandon, you are welcome here anytime!
with Sharon Stiteler, the Birdchick
This Thursday at 6:00pm!
Techno Birding at Quinta Mazatlan
Learn more about birding in the digital age with Sharon Stiteler, the Birdchick, on Thursday, April 6th, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. during the McAllen Nature Speaker Series at Quinta Mazatlan.
Birders are using the latest in technology to enjoy the outdoors from digiscoping (photographing birds through a spotting scope), to digital recorders, to field guides on smart phones, to websites, and more! Sharon will be presenting a program on Techno Birding and will share some interesting stories of her birding adventures in the digital age. Because technology is constantly changing, this program is never the same and changes based on the current trends.
Sharon Stiteler was given a Peterson Field Guide to Birds when she was seven years old and snapped. She loves birds; it's just the way she's wired. Since 1997, she has made it her goal to get paid to go birding. Sharon lives in Minneapolis and visits the Rio Grande Valley as often as she can to go birding. She runs the popular birding blog, Birdchick.com and has been in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and on NBC Nightly News as well as making regular appearances on Twin Cities' TV and radio stations. She's an international speaker and her writing can has been found in several publications including WildBird Magazine, Outdoor News, Birds & Blooms, 10,000 Birds and Birding Business. She has authored several books and works part-time as a National Park Ranger. When she's not digiscoping or banding birds, she's a blue ribbon beekeeper. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
The McAllen Nature Speaker Series is sponsored by Thurmond Eye Associates as a means of disseminating ideas and information about our natural environment and the importance of protecting and conserving these wonders. This presentation is also sponsored by the McAllen Chamber of Commerce.
General admission rates apply $2 for adults and $1 for seniors and no advance registration is required. Quinta Mazatlan, the McAllen Wing of the World Birding Center is located at 600 Sunset in McAllen, one block south of La Plaza Mall on 10th Street. For more information contact Quinta Mazatlan at (956) 681-3370 or visit www.quintamazatlan.com.
Come on out to Quinta Mazatlan on Thursday, April 4th!
McAllen: Let me tell you a story about the time I saw an ocelot....almost.
I probably wouldn't believe it if i wouldn't have seen it with my own eyes. I have been running the trails at the Mission Hike and Bike Park for two years and i've seen all types of critters. I've seen rattlesnakes, black snakes, rabbits, roadrunners, deer, lizards and countless bird species, but never have i seen anything like i saw today. I saw an ocelot!.....well, almost. After giving my full explanation to the experts what I actually saw was a bobcat. Still pretty cool if you ask me!
I work with the McAllen Convention and Visitors Bureau and i know about the diverse nature we have in the area. I didn't realize to what extent until i started working with the CVB though.
My typical Saturday morning trail run was a little different today. The night before i checked when sunrise was because i wanted to make sure to run in the daylight since i knew it was going to be in the upper 40s. I decided i'd make it out to the trails by 8am. When i walked out the door it was pretty chilly outside…it was 7:37 AM. I remember the time exactly because i remembered thinking to myself "what time does the gym open? Maybe i'll put in my miles on the treadmill today"….so I called the gym and there was no answer. I figured they opened at 8 or 9 so i decided to suck it up and run in the cool weather "it'll only be cold for the first mile, tough it out, i said". That turned out to be one of my best decisions ever.
I got to the trails on South Conway at about 8am and headed out for my run. There's two paths you can take…the asphalt path or the rugged trail run. I always do the trail run. Well about 2 miles and 20 minutes into my run i'm coming up to a clearing that opens up to the asphalt and as i'm looking up i see something running perpendicular to me from left to right approximately 15 yards away. My immediate reaction was it was a dog because of its size, but the fraction of a second it took my brain to realize it wasn't a dog i realized it was a large cat….an OCELOT(BOBCAT)! The large feline took three full strides in front of me. it was about the size of labrador retriever…slightly smaller probably…i was close enough to get a good perception of its size. I would say 36 inches from it's stubby tail to it's aerodynamic feline head, and about 18 inches from the top of it's back to the ground. It had a color pattern like a leopard.
I didn't stop running towards it and when i got to the clearing i looked to my right and it was gone. It went back into the brush. The unique thing about it was that the clearing i was coming up to was the pavement. You exit out onto the pavement and then about 10 yards down there's another entrance to go back into the rugged trails. The cat was running on the pavement in the open for anyone to see. It ran to the right, and i was headed to the left. At first i thought "should i be scared?" then i realized it was probably more scared of me that i was of it. This was at approximately 8:20am.
I can pinpoint exactly where i saw it if i was there at the trails, but explaining it is a little tougher. The paved trail is the shape of a "7"…it is about 3 miles long. If you start at the bottom of the "7" and make your way up it is at the 1 1/2 mile mark more or less.
The only other time i have experienced something unexplainable at the trails was when i was running in an area close by where i spotted the ocelot today. It was very early in the morning..with very little light so i took off my headphones because there are signs that illegal aliens have been there. I wanted to be able to hear someone if they were near me. While i was jogging i hear a grunt and a loud rustling in the bushes. I thought i was maybe some kind of javelina….maybe it was. Maybe it was this same ocelot i saw today. I will never know, but now every time i'm out there i'm going to keep my eyes open to hopefully spot it again.
That's when I ALMOST spotted an ocelot!
Don't miss your chance to participate in this wonderful event!
¡Que Gran Manera de Empezar la Primavera! Con una estancia de 5 noches en el lugar mas popular y productivo de Observacion de Aves……McAllen, Texas
Registrese para ganar una estancia de una semana en McAllen, Texas. El paquete incluye 5 noches en el Bird Nest y un dia de observación de aves con uno de los mejores guias del Sur de Texas. Si usted o alguien que usted ama, le gusta la observación de aves, esta es una gran oportunidad para empezar la “Primavera” con un tour a traves del mundo de las aves en McAllen y sus alrededores.
Para REGISTRARSE solo tiene que llenar el formulario en:
El ganador será elegido el 4 de marzo del 2013.
Al registrarse en este concurso, certifico que soy mayor de 18 años de edad. Entiendo que el paquete incluye una habitracion adecuada para una pareja (con una sola cama) y los servicios de un guía de observación de aves por un periodo de tiempo razonable en cada uno de los cinco días del paquete. Tambien me comprometo a poner mi nombre para recibir un correo electrónico trimestral sobre los programas y proyectos de naturaleza de McAllen, en el entendimiento de que mi dirección NUNCA será compartida.
Victoria Cruz, 9th grade student at PSJA North High School, has been awarded one of only ten scholarships from the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) and will attend a summit from Feb. 28 to March 3 in Jacksonville, Florida. She will have the opportunity to network and learn from nature photography professionals including stock photo agents and magazine photo editors.
The 14-year-old has been taking photography instruction from professional nature photographer Ruth Hoyt since the summer of 2011. With this scholarship, Victoria will now have the opportunity to improve her craft as she continues to explore her passion for both nature and photography.
According to Hoyt, she saw great potential in the young prodigy and told her family about opportunities such as the NANPA High School Scholarship Program. The application process alone provided Victoria with the practical experience of putting together a portfolio of her work along with essays.
Victoria is the only scholarship recipient from Texas and also the youngest participant. The majority of the participants are seniors and come from other states like Alaska, New York, Washington, Kansas and Florida. One recipient is from Canada.
“The applications received this year were extremely impressive,” said Mac Stone, NANPA High School Committee Chair in the acceptance letter sent to Victoria. “Your maturity, passion for nature photography and past accomplishments were key in your selection.”
According to Stone, after participating in this summit, other scholarship recipients have become finalists and winners in the Youth Awards in Nature’s Best International Competition and have been honored as Young Wildlife Photographers in other international competitions.
“[Victoria] should be proud to be a member of such a prestigious group of young nature photographers,” Stone said.
Aside from her love for photography, Victoria is also part of PSJA’s Dual Language Enrichment Program. As a 6th grade student, she won a national essay contest with her work detailing the importance of being bilingual and biliterate. She is also in UIL Science and Orchestra at PSJA North, as well as the Pan American Student Forum. Victoria has been part of the Gifted and Talented Program and plans to graduate through the Distinguished Achievement Program.
Although the scholarship program includes accommodations, meals, classroom instruction and field trips, winners are responsible for their transportation to and from the summit, as well as of any equipment they purchase and incidentals. Victoria is currently raising funds to meet these costs.
For more information about NANPA and the summit, visit the organization's website at www.nanpa.org. If you would like to learn more about Victoria's fundraising needs, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (956) 330-2900.