Lower Rio Grande Valley Learning Landscapes Collaborative (LRGV LL) has been designated a valued partner as a Conservation Wrangler by Austin-based, nonprofit Texan by Nature for the creation of native habitats as learning centers as part of a multi-school district initiative in South Texas. Founded by former First Lady Laura Bush, Texan by Nature’s mission is to spur Texan-led conservation that produces tangible benefits for people, prosperity, and natural resources by activating new investments in conservation.
The Lower Rio Grande Valley Learning Landscapes Collaborative is a network of organizations working together to engage students, teachers and administrators throughout school districts of the Rio Grande Valley to incorporate native habitat gardens as outdoor classrooms. The organization’s goal is to infuse the community with a deep appreciation, respect, and cultural pride of the local ecosystems through experiential learning. Not only are learning landscapes highly educational and ecologically critical, they are water wise and economically beneficial to the overall maintenance and appearance of the Lower Rio Grande Valley schools and community.
Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD has been in the forefront of this initiative as part of its goal of creating and preserving native habitats at all district campuses. These habitats help serve as outside classrooms and hands-on laboratories for PSJA students to learn science, math and reading concepts to name a few.
“The next best thing to bringing children to nature is bringing nature to children,” said Allen Williams, landscape habitat specialist for the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District. “Schoolyard native habitats or learning landscapes reflect the unique culture and history of the people, the schools, and the communities they serve.”
“Scientific research tells us that children and adults must reconnect with nature for mental and physical well-being,” said Tina Bufford, Texan by Nature’s board president. “This collaborative provides a framework for students to learn about native habitats and ecosystems as well as improve their academic skills through hands-on inquiries into the natural world.”
Texan by Nature’s Conservation Wrangler Program highlights the very best Texan-led conservation projects occurring in Texas. This is one of three program offerings through Texan By Nature that engage citizens in stewardship. Texan by Nature supports select innovative, transformational projects in the field of conservation with tailored aid, resources, and visibility. Collaborative partnerships for conservation yield great benefits — for our natural landscapes, native plants and wildlife, and for everyone involved. Texan by Nature connects, catalyzes, and communicates for the benefit of Conservation Wrangler partners.