Environmental awareness, conservation

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — From hosting nature tours and presentations to helping to conserve surrounding wildlife, the South Padre Island Birding, Nature Center and Alligator Sanctuary offers its visitors all-round learning experiences on a daily basis.

Each year, the center serves more than 65,000 visitors and 1,500 students on field trips.

And recently, a South Texas foundation made sure the nonprofit’s team knew their work was not going unnoticed.

In December, the SPI Birding, Nature Center and Alligator Sanctuary received a $20,000 grant from The Raul Tijerina Jr. Foundation.

The foundation was created with an aim to help enrich life in South Texas by supporting organizations that promote and advance literacy, health, community development, culture and nature.

“We are extremely grateful to the Tijerina Foundation for this grant,” SPI Birding, Nature Center and Alligator Sanctuary Executive Director Cristin Howard stated in a press release. “This equipment will help us provide in-depth environmental education to school students and visitors throughout the year.”

According to representatives, the grant will fund equipment costs for birding tours and new nature center exhibit components, which serve the environmental education mission of the center.

More than 65 different species of coastal and migratory birds can be seen at the center, according to representatives.

“It is the greatest variety of birds concentrated in one place throughout the United States,” Howard stated.

With an emphasis on conservation and environmental awareness, the mission of the center is to educate the public about birds of the Island and its surrounding area.

“As human beings, we tend to care for what we experience in the natural world,” SPI Birding and Nature Center Naturalist Educator Javier Gonzalez stated in a press release. “Only through positive experiences in nature do we protect nature or make necessary behavior changes.”


WHAT — SPI Birding, Nature Center and Alligator Sanctuary

WHERE — 6801 Padre Boulevard

ADMISSION — Adults $8, students 13 through 18 and seniors 55 years and older $7, children four through 12 $5 and children younger than four is free with a paid adult ticket

OPEN — Monday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

PHONE — (956) 761-6801