Texas Nature Challenge regional competitions in South TX, Coastal Bend kick off Aug. 25
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — With the dog days of summer waning and the mercury beginning its slow decent back down into the double digits, now is the perfect time to get your family outside and reconnected with nature.
Don’t let your kids park themselves on the sofa every weekend. Turn off the TV and power down the laptop. It’s time for Texas Nature Challenge 2012.
Like a family nature hike with a little healthy competition thrown in, Texas Nature Challenge encourages families to spend their time together outside, active and learning about their local nature spots – completing challenges along the way.
The Coastal Bend and Rio Grande Valley regional competitions kick off Aug. 25 and run through Nov. 10. Similar challenges in North and Central Texas and the Alamo and Bayou regions were held earlier this summer and already have concluded.
“With the emphasis today on keeping kids and families on the go and outside, what better way to spend time together is there than to visit our local nature areas and learn about our natural resources in Texas,” said Texas Forest Service Conservation Education Coordinator Leslie Kessner.
“With the wide array of partners in the Texas Nature Challenge program, families can find places and challenges that fit their interests. Some may finish all the challenges in their region, but no matter how many they complete, we want them all to have a positive learning experience outside.”
Coordinated by Texas Forest Service and Texas AgriLife Extension, the contest calls for families to visit designated nature sites across the region in which they live, completing challenges at each site. Participating families are eligible to win prizes.
Coastal Bend mother Martha Buendia and her kids participated in the regional competition last year and described it as one of her family’s most memorable experiences.
“Finding the information to respond to each question in each challenge was like trying to put a puzzle together,” Buendia said. “By participating in these activities, we set aside the time to spend together as a family in a safe environment.”
Fellow Coastal Bend mom Dee Porter echoed Buendia’s sentiments.
“We had a great experience learning about the wildlife and nature in the Coastal Bend. The challenges were fun and easy enough for my 8-year-old, but challenging enough for my 14-year-old,” Porter said. “My husband and I learned a lot, too. We got a chance to see Texas tortoises up close in nature. My children had never seen one so it was a great time.”
For more information about Texas Nature Challenge 2012 or details about specific, regional competitions, visit http://naturechallenge.tamu.edu.