loader image
- Advertisement -

Thursday, June 20, 2024
81.1 F
McAllen
- Advertisement -

McAllen Environmental Educational & Tourism Ecology Hub

Center for Urban Ecology at Quinta Mazatlán will provide academic lessons, degrees to develop future environmental scientists

Translate text to Spanish or other 102 languages!

- Advertisement -
“The Center for Urban Ecology at Quinta Mazatlán promises to be a  transformative venture, fostering a positive and enriching environment for the local community, students and residents alike,” said McAllen Mayor Javier Villalobos. Courtesy Image
“The Center for Urban Ecology at Quinta Mazatlán promises to be a  transformative venture, fostering a positive and enriching environment for the local community, students and residents alike,” said McAllen Mayor Javier Villalobos. Courtesy Image

Texas Border Business

- Advertisement -

This Monday, July 24, during the McAllen City Commission meeting, the City of McAllen will award a construction contract to Spawglass for the construction of the Center for Urban Ecology at Quinta Mazatlán.  The project, in the amount of $51.9 million, will transform the 12 acres of the nature sanctuary, into an educational space with many committed stakeholders including the State of Texas, Texas Parks & Wildlife,  Hidalgo County, the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley and McAllen Independent School District and others.  

Rendering of the main entrance. Courtesy Image

The Center for Urban Ecology at Quinta Mazatlán promises to be a  transformative venture, fostering a positive and enriching environment for the local community, students and residents alike,” said McAllen Mayor Javier Villalobos.  “Aside from classroom settings for guest lectures for the general public to experience, there will be dedicated labs where students from elementary through college will be able to develop, lead and participate in real-world experiments to better understand, learn and protect our environment.”

City of McAllen leaders expect the Center for Urban Ecology (CUE) to become a nationally recognized destination in the Rio Grande Valley, drawing visitors from throughout Texas and Northern Mexico. The CUE will become a leading Texas destination – a place where education and tourism intersect.

- Advertisement -

The project has inspired a formal partnership with the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV).  The vision is to develop intellectual capital in students through applied experiential learning.  Programming at the CUE will work towards increasing access for area students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).  The UTRGV Center for Urban Ecology will become a premier research lab on urban ecological sciences and its application towards sustainable urban development.  The CUE was designed by Overland Partners, a globally recognized architectural firm for sustainable design.  The CUE will accomplish LEED building requirements, a Leader in Energy and Environmental Design.

Rendering of the Palm Room & Skybridge. Courtesy Image

Another important academic alliance is the McAllen Independent School District (MISD) supporting the 5-acre Children’s Discovery Center.  In partnership, innovative curriculum is being developed to use the Center as a big outdoor learning lab.  The outdoor interpretive Center was designed by award-winning landscape architect out of Austin, Ten Eyck Landscape.  The green spaces will feature an Ethnobotanical Garden, Sensory Garden, 

Leadership Course, Classrooms, Science Lab and more learning spaces.  A centerpiece of this green space will be an interactive model—a physical metaphor of the Rio Grande River from Colorado to the Gulf of Mexico, in partnership with McAllen Public Utility.

Children and all visitors will enjoy the Vantage Point, an outdoor amphitheater and educational exhibit deck sponsored by Vantage Bank Texas, Loring Cook Foundation and the James W. & Kathleen C. Collins Family Foundation.

- Advertisement -

Additional attractions include the H-E-B Health & Wellness Pavilion for demonstrations on healthy cooking, yoga and more.  The Economic Development Administration is supporting the teaching spaces for entrepreneurial and global tourism opportunities at the CUE.

“Texans love the great outdoors and the Center for Urban Ecology will serve to assist Texas in educating our youth, promoting preservation practices and enhancing economic development through nature tourism.” said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, when a $5 million grant from the State of Texas was first awarded. The grant was made possible by the legislative efforts of various RGV state-elected officials, including Gov. Abbott; Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick; (at the time) House Speaker Joe Strauss; Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa; (former) Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr.; Representative Bobby Guerra; Representative Oscar Longoria; and Representative Sergio Muñoz. 

The project is also supported by Texas Parks & Wildlife, as the CUE is being designed to attract both people and wildlife.  The expansion includes the planting of over 24,000 new native plants, over 90% native to the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

The transformative project will feature a McAllen Transit Park & Ride, encouraging the use of public transportation.  The beautiful design will create a biodiverse working landscape.

“We are pursuing an amazing vision thanks to the leadership of our elected officials, and the unwavering support and immense contributions of all of our partners, including education and conservation partners; the Qunita Mazatlán board of directors and staff; and many moretowards this exceptional initiative,” said McAllen City Manager Roel “Roy” Rodriguez, P.E.  “Without these partnerships, the project would not become a reality.”

The lead architect for the project is Megamorphosis of Harlingen, who has been working in partnership with SpawGlass, to help build a premier national facility promoting and teaching the concept of sustainability.

“We are extremely grateful to the donors of this capital campaign, to build the Center for Urban Ecology, led by our dedicated Friends of Quinta Mazatlán chairs Val LaMantia and John Gerling,” said Colleen Hook, executive director of the urban oasis. “The public and private donations have supported a significant amount of the expansion that will come at Quinta Mazatlán to support this project, allowing us to double the footprint, from 12 to 25 acres.”

Quinta Mazatlán is a nature sanctuary in the heart of an urban area, making it the perfect place to demonstrate how the two can work together to benefit people and wildlife.

For additional information about the Center for Urban Ecology contact Quinta Mazatlán at 956-681-3370 or at https://www.facebook.com/McAllenQuintaMazatlan/.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest News

More Articles Like This

- Advertisement -