Join Colleen Hook for an evening presentation and special photography exhibit featuring “Story Telling Trees” of the Rio Grande Valley during the McAllen Nature Speaker Series on Thursday, March 19, from 6 to 7 p.m. at Quinta Mazatlan, McAllen Wing of the World Birding Center.

Trees have been around since the dawn of man and played an important part in the lives of many by providing food and shelter. Trees are also an important part of many cultures including the traditional celebration originally designed around the Christmas tree.

“Trees are the big game of the plant world and worthy of our respect,” said Hook. “There are some beautiful trees that represent different countries like the Baobab known as the African tree, but some of the most remarkable trees are here in the Rio Grande Valley,” she said.

The little village of Abram has a big TREASURE…a 900-year-old Montezuma Bald Cypress tree which is heavily utilized by both man and wildlife. The cypress has been an important medicinal plant and considered sacred by some Mexican civilizations.

Hook is the manager of Quinta Mazatlan, the McAllen Wing of the World Birding Center. Prior to joining the city of McAllen, she worked as a marketing director for Texas Parks & Wildlife and the Valley Land Fund. She serves on the Texas Land Trust Council board of directors and is a member of Leadership Texas.

Following the “Storytelling Trees” presentation, guests will be treated to the opening of a new photography exhibit featuring the most remarkable trees of the Rio Grande Valley. The goal of this exhibit is to build awareness and appreciation of our natural heritage and help shape the future landscape of the valley.

Five Valley residents have been on a quest to photograph 30 native trees. Featured nature photographers include Hector D. Astorga (Mission), David Cantu (San Juan), Esperanza S. Chapa (McAllen), Suzanne Herzing (Mission) and Ruth Hoyt (Linn).

“This project was a great challenge,” said David Cantu. “I wanted to make sure something so majestic was properly recognized.”

The McAllen Nature Speaker Series is hosted by Quinta Mazatlan and the McAllen Chamber of Commerce as a means of disseminating ideas and information about our natural environment and the importance of protecting and conserving these wonders. The series is sponsored by Thurmond Eye Associates every Thursday evening at Quinta Mazatlan. For more information contact (956) 681-3370 or visit