Friday, December 04, 2020
Text Size

Texas Veterans Commission letter honoring Memorial Day

st txMay 25, 2020

My Fellow Texans,

Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. It is a day for Americans to offer tribute and honor to the heroes who laid down their lives to preserve our freedoms.

Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War. It was not until after World War I, that the day was expanded to honor those service men and women who have died in all American wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was officially declared a national holiday by an act of Congress.

Read more: Texas Veterans Commission letter honoring Memorial Day

Camo is my happy color

Common Pauraque on Thornforest FloorBy Colleen Hook, Executive Director at Quinta Mazatlan

One of the most near-perfect camouflaged birds is the Common Pauraque. The Pauraque has an understated beauty marked in brown-black and grey patterns and can just “disappear” on the Thornforest floor. While Pauraques are an adaptable species, they need forests to live and will leave areas that are heavily built up. Forests are important for many reasons from providing homes, to providing food, medicines and helping us breathe and keep cool.

Pauraques are unlike most other birds, as they really don’t construct nests. They make a scrape in the ground and lay eggs on the Thornforest floor on fallen leaves. A clutch consists of 1-3 eggs which are pink colored with buff spots. Incubation takes about 20 days and is carried out by both parents.

Read more: Camo is my happy color

In celebration of momma birds

Eastern Screech Owl QM 6 16 18Colleen Curran Hook, Executive Director of Quinta Mazatlan

Springtime means new baby birds and celebrates rebirth and motherhood. Mother birds take parenting very seriously from building the nest to incubating the eggs and to finding food for her young. To quote Proverbs 31:10-31, “A mother’s work is never done”.

Bird nests are fascinating and as a general rule, the mother is the skilled builder designing the nest for support, shelter and camouflage. Some nests are intricately designed and others are scrapes in the ground. Let us look at the seven styles of Avian Architecture!

Read more: In celebration of momma birds

Stinging caterpillar season has arrived in Texas

spiny oak slugWritten by Susan Himes,

AgriLife experts warn stinging caterpillars can cause contact rashes, painful reactions

As the weather warms up and people begin spending more time in their yards, parks and forests, more people will be coming home with a rash or bug bite.

However, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts say before you blame a flying insect or a poisonous plant for a skin ailment, you may need to consider another culprit – stinging caterpillars.

Read more: Stinging caterpillar season has arrived in Texas

The Century Plant—It’s Time to Bloom

Century Plant FlowerColleen Curran Hook, Executive Director of Quinta Mazatlán

The Century Plant only blooms once in a lifetime every 10 to 25, years so the century thing is an exaggeration, but a quarter of a century is still a long time. The plant is monocarpic in that it flowers, sets seed for pups and then dies. But it leaves plenty of pups or small plantlets at its base to begin a new life cycle.

Read more: The Century Plant—It’s Time to Bloom

Students, faculty and staff at STC team up to study and find solutions to deadly bird to glass collisions

Collaborators HummingbirdsIn 2017, a new architectural gem named the North Academic Building, also known as Building P, was built on the South Texas College Pecan Campus. With its modern design, impressive three stories, and welcoming atmosphere, it became a popular hub of campus activity. However, its substantial iridescent plate-glass windows and impressive height began to attract an unexpected type of attention.

Seemingly without explanation, birds, sometimes more than a dozen a day, were striking the tall windows and dying upon impact. This phenomenon was alarming, to say the least, and especially concerning for those who worked and studied in the building on a daily basis.

Read more: Students, faculty and staff at STC team up to study and find solutions to deadly bird to glass...

The Retama Tree is full of life in the Spring

Retama FlowerColleen Curran Hook, Executive Director of Quinta Mazatlán

Seen throughout South Texas, the Retama is truly a stunning tree. At Quinta Mazatlán we describe it as a “Tree of Life” providing food and shelter to many a wild creature. In addition, the Retama can live on 12 inches of rain a year, a true native survivor in the Rio Grande Valley.

In the spring, the tree is covered in yellow flowers, and will bloom into the summer months. The flowers are unique in that they have five petals each, four yellow and one orange. The orange petal is known as the honey petal, providing nectar for bees and butterflies.

Read more: The Retama Tree is full of life in the Spring

McAllen's Sunset Live outdoor music series - Must go on

Sunset liveMCALLEN, TX- In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and the adaption to our “new” reality, the Sunset Live Music Series has joined a number of concerts and artist who have taken the approach of the show must go on-line.

Sunset Live Music Series main objective for this season is to support the local music community who are among those affected by the spread of COVID-19 and continue to spread the happiness of music and health through livestreaming services in the comfort of your own home.

Read more: McAllen's Sunset Live outdoor music series - Must go on

Respect nature, property, others when taking wildflower photos

Wildflower Pic CSEditor's Note: For when you are able to get out and about, there might still be some wildflowers to take pictures of. We wanted to share this with hope that our shelter-in-place orders don't last too long that we still get to enjoy Spring and what Mother Nature has given us to enjoy. These are guildelines to follow when taking pictures of wildflowers. Always remember to respect nature and, if you are out and about, social distancing. 

By Paul Schattenberg, Texas A&M Agrilife Communications

With wildflowers sprouting up all over roadsides throughout Texas during springtime there are ample opportunities to take photos. But shutterbugs should be careful, as well as respect private property and nature, when trying to find the right spot for that perfect shot, said Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts.

Read more: Respect nature, property, others when taking wildflower photos

Mission Animal Shelter waives adoption fees

20200325 Mission Animal ShelterThe kennels at Mission Animal Shelter are nearly full, and with more animals coming in daily, adoption fees are being waived until further notice. More than 40 cats and dogs are available for adoption now.

“We are reaching out to our community to help us find homes for the many deserving animals waiting to be adopted because our shelter is at capacity,” Ernie Zapata, Health Department Supervisor said. “Right now with so many people home during the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, it’s a great time to add a pet to their family. We have more dogs and cats coming in every day and need the support of animal lovers and all citizens.”

Read more: Mission Animal Shelter waives adoption fees

HCA looking forward to 2020-2021 season

20200325 mandy barnettNext year you can enjoy Celtic, 50’s, Patsy Cline and more music during Harlingen Concert Association’s 2020-2021 season. The season is packed with talent and enjoyment for all audiences.

Their first concert will be on November 19. The concert will feature Vinyl Radio. Vinyl Radio is a vocal power with a righteous regard for the great Rock-n-Roll music classics. They perform music from The Eagles, America, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, The Doobie Brothers and more. Vinyl Radio delivers the harmonies and melodies of classic 70s radio.

Read more: HCA looking forward to 2020-2021 season

Exploring nature around our homes

20200325 NATURE Southern SkipperlingBy John Brush, Center for Urban Ecology at Quinta Mazatlan

Many of us are facing restricted movement and changes in our routines due to the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, yet there are still ways we can explore and enjoy nature from around our homes. One way is with the City Nature Challenge and iNaturalist.

The City Nature Challenge, started by the California Academy of Sciences and Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, invites people around the world to make observations of nature in urban areas. The event has two phases: (1) making observations from April 24 – April 27, and (2) identifying other people’s observations from April 28 – May 4.

Read more: Exploring nature around our homes

PVAS needs foster families

20200325 PVAS 01 Palm Valley Animal Society (PVAS) is asking for foster families to help get animals out of their shelter now. PVAS is taking serious measures to reduce the number of animals that are in the shelter, as they prepare for potential closure.

“We want to reduce our shelter population by 50%. That means that we need to get 200 animals, dogs and cats alike, into temporary foster homes by Wednesday, March 25th. We’ve had higher-than-usual intake for the past three weeks and want to get ahead of any worsening in the trend. It is my primary goal to get our community to step up and help us save these animals. We don’t want to be forced to euthanize for space. We need our community support now, more than ever,” says PVAS Executive Director, Mike Bricker.

Read more: PVAS needs foster families