Monday, May 17, 2021
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The Magic of the Mesquite

20200714 Honey Mesquite 2Colleen Curran Hook, Executive Director, Quinta Mazatlán

We’ve all heard of the mesquite tree in Texas –either sitting around a mesquite fire cooking fajitas or enjoying the shade of the beautiful tree. It has been dubbed the “Tree of Life” because of its ability to offer life-giving sustenance in harsh environments. The tree has an amazing history and provides native people, past and present, with the Big Five; food, fuel, fertilizer, furniture, and fence posts. Literally, every part of the tree is useful.

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How Birds Beat the Heat

By John Brush, Urban Ecologist, Quinta Mazatlán in McAllen

20200708 Verdin red berriesWe all feel it; the sun peering intently, directly down on us, the oven-like heat rising from streets and sidewalks, the instantaneous beads of sweat appearing as we take two steps outdoors. We are in the hottest months of the summer, and it changes us. We sweat more, spend more time indoors, and crank up the air conditioning – all in the effort of keeping our bodies from overheating, and, let us be honest, for general comfort. Birds, excepting grocery store sparrows, do not have access to air conditioning, which raises the question: how do birds beat the intense summer heat?

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Pet Food Drive-Thru Launches at Palm Valley Animal Society

Palm Valley Animal Society (PVAS) is launching a pet food drive-thru to assist families struggling to feed their pets. The first drive-thru will be held on Saturday, August 15, starting at 10 a.m. at the PVAS Laurie P. Andrews Center.

“The RGV community is resilient and strong,” said Donna Casamento, Executive Director of PVAS. “First with the effects of COVID-19, and then with the destruction of Hurricane Hanna - these are hard times but the community has been coming together and we want to help as much as possible.”

The pantry’s drive-thru format requires participants to arrive in a vehicle, where they should remain while PVAS staff requests, from a six-foot distance, information on the household pets then loads the pet food into the trunk or hatchback. Quantities are limited and food will be available for cats and dogs while supplies last. PVAS requests that those interested drive safely and line up on Roegiers Road by the IDEA Edinburg school.

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Wag-A-Thon Kicks off to Raise the Roof for PVAS

Edinburg, TX – Hurricane Hanna ripped through Palm Valley Animal Society’s (PVAS) two centers, damaging roofs, fences, trees, and dog kennels. To raise funds for repairs, PVAS is kicking off a Wag-A-Thon. Runners, walkers, bikers, and swimmers can pledge miles and laps for support. PVAS has a goal to raise at least $30,000 for repairs.

“Thankfully, no animals or staff were hurt. But our roof at Trenton needs repairs - that building houses dogs and cats, and that’s where we do adoptions,” said Adam Ricci, Director of Operations.

The community stepped up to help foster, and for the first time ever, PVAS' team was able to get all pets into the main buildings at Trenton and Andrews. While both the Laurie P. Andrews Center and Trenton Center suffered, most damages hit the older Trenton Center.

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Learn to Bird workshop set Oct. 23-25 in Del Rio

owlWritten by Susan Himes, TAMU

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will be holding a multi-day workshop for beginning birders Oct. 23-25 in Del Rio. Learn to Bird will feature focused birding trips lead by professional guide Bryan Calk and educational presentations by AgriLife Extension faculty. Space is limited to 11 participants.

Maureen Frank, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension wildlife specialist in Uvalde, and Emily Grant, AgriLife Extension agent for Val Verde County, created Learn to Bird in response to feedback from the AgriLife Extension Virtual Birding Seminar.

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When do you need to water your yard?

wateringWritten by Kay Ledbetter, TAMU

Heading into the heat of the summer, homeowners begin asking, “how much do I need to water my yard.” Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s WaterMyYard program has a new, free mobile app just for that purpose. (It might not be available in your area yet, so check the app periodically)

When does the grass need watered? There’s an app for that. 

“This app has several enhancements compared to the WaterMyYard website-based program we’ve offered the past few years which should improve user experience and the accuracy of water recommendations, including push notifications directly to the mobile device as well as texts and emails,” said Guy Fipps, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension irrigation engineer, College Station.

Read more: When do you need to water your yard?

Online Acting Class at Pharr Community Theater this month

Ensemble of actors at PCTThe Pharr Community Theater (PCT) is offering eight 1/2 hour online acting classes from July 6, 2020 to July 31, 2020 for kids, teens and adults. Learn the basics of acting and a little more including auditioning tips and digging deeper to discover characters for real acting. Classes will be via zoom and instructed by Pedro Garcia, a member of the screen actor guild since 1994 and current PCT artistic Director.

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Concert in the forest featuring Cicadas

Cicada 2Would you like a sound track of cicadas singing in the forest? The cicada concert is happening now in the Thornforest at Quinta Mazatlán. The high-pitched song of the insect is a mating call belted out by males. The females do not sing but respond by flicking their wings together. The noise can be heard up to a half-mile away, which makes the cicadas, pronounced suh-KEI-duh, one of the loudest insects in the world.

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The Number One Reptile Show in the Country Coming to Quinta Mazatlan

Reptile Show closeupVisit Quinta Mazatlán on Thursday evening July 2 for a live Reptile Adventure with Danny Conner. Among the stars of the show are Juanita, a Reticulated Python; “Spartacus”, a 100 year old Alligator Snapping Turtle; and last but not least, “Apollo”, an Albino Burmese Python.

Danny Conner is the owner of Reptile Adventures. He has been keeping and caring for reptiles for over 30years and has a unique background blend of education, science, and theater. Danny educates, entertains and fascinates crowds of all ages as he shares his love, knowledge, and respect for these amazing animals. Danny is well respected, and is often an expert source among his colleague and other reptile professionals. He is known for his passion, his diverse and impressive collection, and for his general love of all animals, especially the cold-blooded kind.

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World’s Best Cactus Hotel Is In the Valley

Prickly Pear orangeBy Colleen Hook, Executive Director at Quinta Mazatlán

The best cactus hotel in the world is right in our backyard, the Prickly Pear Hotel. This hotel offers everything from food, water, shelter, medicines and beautiful South Texas landscapes.

So what is there to eat at the Prickly Pear Hotel? Everything, but carefully! The Prickly Pear cactus obviously gets its name from its sharp spines. The cactus is thought to have originated from Mexico and South America and has the ability to grow where there is little water.

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Wild Bees on Exhibit at IMAS

Bumblebee Exploring Mallow Copyright Paula SharpThe International Museum of Art & Science (IMAS) is excited to announce its first community juried photograph exhibition of 2020, Pollinators in Action: RGV Community Photographs. Photographs of pollinators including bees and butterflies from the region will be accepted through June 28 at through an online form. Entries will be posted for public voting on from June 29 to July 5, and the top selections will be printed and curated by the IMAS for an on-site exhibition from July 18 to September 27, 2020.

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Have You Seen a Jaguarundi?

Jaguarundi WEBBy Colleen Hook, Executive Director at Quinta Mazatlan

A small shy wildcat called the Jaguarundi is on the endangered species list in Texas. It shares many characteristics with the Ocelot but is not as well known due to its lack of spots, which make for more charismatic wild cats. Texas is home to six wildcats that either currently or historically call Texas home. Two presently roam the state, the Mountain Lion and the Bobcat. The other four are residents of the Tamaulipan Thornforest and on the endangered species list in the United States; Ocelot, Margay, Jaguar and Jaguarundi.

Read more: Have You Seen a Jaguarundi?

DHR Health and Hope Family Health Center announce August 22nd “Fishing for Hope” Tournament

FFH2019 184 webEdinburg, TX — DHR Health (DHR) is pleased to announce its 15th Annual “Fishing for Hope” Tournament, which will be held Saturday, August 22, 2020 at Louie’s Backyard on South Padre Island, Texas. Now one of the largest non-profit fishing tournaments on the Texas coast, “Fishing for Hope” is a family-friendly and fun event for people of all ages. This year’s tournament will feature great prizes, dinner, the legendary stars auction, and much more! All proceeds from “Fishing for Hope” will once again benefit the Hope Family Health Center.

Read more: DHR Health and Hope Family Health Center announce August 22nd “Fishing for Hope” Tournament

The Joys of Mandala Coloring & Music in the Woods at Quinta Mazatlán

The Cruz Brothers in WoodsBy Quinta Mazatlán

Would you be surprised to learn that mandalas have existed since the beginning of time and that you probably have noticed their beauty every day? A mandala is simply a sacred circle made up of geometric shapes. Join us Thursday evening at Quinta Mazatlán, June 18 between 6 pm and 8 pm to color your own mandala and listen to music in the park sponsored by Freels Orthodontics.

Local artists have created some unique designs for your coloring and Quinta Mazatlán will provide you design options and circular cardboard for your creation. For best health practices, we ask that you bring your own colors/crayons/markers or medium of your choice in a bag for your own creation.

Read more: The Joys of Mandala Coloring & Music in the Woods at Quinta Mazatlán