Since the first cleanup in 1986, more than 488,000 Texas Adopt-A-Beach volunteers have picked up more than 9,200 tons of trash from Texas beaches, some of it originating from as far away as South America.
SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — The Texas Master Naturalists program is taking applications through December for new members interested in the Rio Grande Valley’s native habitat and how to sustain its natural process between land and wildlife, according to organizers.
One of two Texas Master Naturalists chapters in the Rio Grande Valley is taking applications for 2017 classes. Members here help build a bird sanctuary, one of many projects they can pursue. (AgriLife Communications photo by Tony Reisinger)
“We’re inviting people interested in learning more about our highly unique ecosystem we have here in South Texas and who want to help us maintain and improve on what nature has provided,” said Tony Reisinger, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent for coastal and marine resources in Cameron County and a Texas Master Naturalists advisor.
Texas Master Naturalists is a program supported by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Sea Grant and AgriLife Extension, he said. Among their many efforts, volunteers provide youth education programs and outreach and service to local nature centers and parks.
The deadline to apply for membership in the Rio Grande Valley Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists is Dec. 31, Reisinger said. Training begins Jan. 11. The cost is $150 and includes textbooks, fees and a one-year membership. Scholarships are available.
For membership and scholarship information, visit www.rgvctmn.org. Other information on the website includes a list of partners, the schedule of monthly speakers whose talks are free and open to the public, a live bird camera, a gallery of articles written by members, a calendar of events, field trips and more.
The Rio Grande Valley chapter of Texas Master Naturalists is taking applications through December for next year’s classes.
Classes are taught by an array of experts, including local university professors and field personnel from Texas Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“We have something for everyone interested in nature,” Reisinger said. “All Valley residents over the age of 18 as well as Winter Texans are welcome. We evolve into educated volunteers who become involved in myriad activities to learn about, work with and help educate others about the special land on which we live.”
Students attend weekly Wednesday evening classes from 6-9 p.m. through April 11. They are held in San Benito at the Cameron County Annex Building conference room at Williams Road and U.S. Highway 83/77.
Anita Westervelt, a member of the Rio Grande Valley Chapter, said members team up with more than 60 local partners who work with federal and local wildlife parks, coastal naturalist programs, cities, schools and other public entities.
“There are hundreds of opportunities, from studying ocelots and other mammals to joining cutting-edge university studies, developing public native gardens and even working with national programs like the one helping save monarch butterflies,” she said.
Westervelt said there are also plenty of interesting activities for bird lovers.
“We explore bird habitat in thorn forests, urban birding and migration, and there are volunteer opportunities to document and save shore birds and their habitat,” she said. “We don’t leave out the Gulf of Mexico, beach inhabitants and trends. And we also explore the Rio Grande and its evolution and learn about invasive species that threaten the Valley’s ecological uniqueness.”
To speak to a Texas Master Naturalist, call 956-748-3190 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Google Flights is a solid tool for booking travel. You’re probably already familiar with its basic functions, like finding the best price for flights and browsing flexible dates that can save you money and time. However, there are some other, lesser-known features that can help you squeeze even more out of your travel budget.
Small businesses complain there are too few Mexican immigrants in the U.S., not too many; as the labor market tightens and the population of undocumented immigrants shrinks, employers in low-skill industries such as hospitality, construction and agriculture are scrambling to fill jobs they say Americans don’t want.
"Clayton approached us to design a series of five homes and this is the first one that they've actually constructed," he said. "Instead of me designing all of them, I have a talented crew that works with me, so everybody took a day to sit around and sketch, look at inspiration and share ideas. We took the best of the bunch and pursued those." They range in size from 386-399 square feet.
The designers looked at different styles of architecture across the country and in Europe. "We looked at the low country in South Carolina, the Saltbox in New England, the Adirondacks in upstate New York, the French countryside, and beach huts in the Bahamas, Cape Cod or Malibu."
"We really loved the whole attitude of being at the beach and escaping and that's what little houses are about," said Dungan.
"Cloudbreak was inspired by beach style, surf shacks and places that sell beer and Jerk chicken in the Bahamas."
"It's more about designing much more meticulously, designing by the cubic inch rather than by the square foot," said Dungan, who is more accustomed to designing high-end residences with a minimum of 7,000-8,000 square feet.
Planning and then manufacturing a small home off-site comes with its unique set of challenges according to Dungan. "Everything was a little different," he said. "There were the restraints of working within 400 square feet — it couldn't be more than 12 ½ feet wide to get them down the road or more than 12 feet tall to go under bridges." This led to the modification of roof pitch in some cases.
675 square feet might seem awfully small for a family of three — but this Brooklyn couple and their son are making it work, thanks to some clever renovations. Here are the small-space solutions that make this little apartment livable.
One of the most gratifying things about traveling is getting to shop cool, small boutiques in a city that’s not your own. The sense of excitement, and above all else, the fun that comes from browsing a totally new retail scene and discovering labels you’ve never seen before is reason enough to board a plane.
But in some cases, you don’t have to. While many of these special little shops don't operate web stores, a handful of them do it so well that online fans might not even realize they’re anchored by brick-and-mortar operations.
Michael Stuart's insight:
Austin's By George presents a mix of hip US-based labels and modern European brands.
The men’s and women’s sections are robust and the home category features little extras like locally made bitters, beach towels, sleek ceramics, and travel guides.
Coco is an upcoming American 3D computer-animated film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. On August 15, 2015, Pixar confirmed the title of the film, inspired by the Mexican holiday Día de Muertos, at the D23 Expo. It was also confirmed that the film will be directed by Lee Unkrich ().
The main inspiration for Coco is Día de Muertos (or Dia De Los Muertos, as North Americans call it), a traditional Mexican holiday that takes place every year at the end of October to honor the dead. You're probably familiar with festival goers painting their faces like skeletons, but that doesn't make Día de Muertos gloomy in the slightest — it's a colorful celebration that is central to Mexican culture, and has been acknowledged in many other countries.
Michael Stuart's insight:
Disney Animation Inspired by the Mexican holiday Día de Muertos
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