Two state agencies and the City of Edinburg have combined resources and efforts to provide training this summer to school teachers on how to create wildlife habitats at their campuses.
The city, Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Texas AgriLife Extension Service will hold the 10th annual Summer Teacher Training July 27-31 at the Edinburg World Birding Center, 714 S. Raul Longoria Rd.
Barbara Storz, an AgriLife Extension horticulturist in Edinburg, said this year’s training will feature “Wildlife Gardener,” a Junior Master Gardener curriculum filled with math and science activities.
“This curriculum is recommended for grades three through five,” she said, “but we’ve tailored it so that it’s been used successfully by teachers from kindergarten to high school.
Teachers will also receive an adult guidebook from Texas Parks and Wildlife called “Creating a School Habitat.
“This one provides details on the native plants, birds and butterflies that can be found in our area of the state, Storz said. “It gives step-by step instructions on how to make the most of a South Texas habitat.”
Storz said the Edinburg World Birding Center provides the perfect setting for this year’s training.
“This world-class park is a wonderful place to learn all about nature while rejuvenating and unwinding from months of teaching,” she said. “The park includes a wetland that supports a wide array of wildlife. Their classroom and visitor center, which we’ll be using, provide fantastic panoramic views of birds and butterflies.”
Besides the aesthetics, Storz said there’s also a more practical reason to train at the World Birding Center.
“Surrounded by so much nature, teachers will really have the opportunity to ‘apply the science,’” she said. “We’ll go out into the Birding Center gardens to collect plant materials that we’ll identify using guides that we develop in the classroom. This is hands-on training and materials that teachers can easily demonstrate to their own students.”
Storz said the training also features classes and hands-on training in building a water feature, setting up wildlife viewing stations, building a nest box and setting up a butterfly feeder.
Training is limited to the first 25 participants who register, Storz said.
The registration fee of $165 includes the cost of the AgriLife Extension curriculum, teachers’ manual on “Creating a Schoolyard Habitat,” nest box, butterfly feeder, wildflower seeds and a daily lunch.
Teachers who complete the program will also receive certificates for 35 hours of professional in-service training.
The registration deadline is June 5, Storz said. For more information, contact Storz at 956-383-1026, or e-mail BStorz@ag.tamu.edu .