Island plays host to Winter Outdoor Wildlife Expo


SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — Nature enthusiasts will soon be able to venture into this coastal area and listen to an array of presentations that aim to educate the public about the unique wildlife and environment of the Rio Grande Valley.

The South Padre Island Birding, Nature Center and Alligator Sanctuary will host its 25th annual Winter Outdoor Wildlife (WOWE) Expo from Jan. 21 through Jan. 25.

Each day will be dedicated to the following topics — plants and pollinators, fishing, the gulf and bay, South Texas birds and the Nature of the Valley.

According to Javier Gonzalez, SPI Birding and Nature Center naturalist, this year’s Expo is offering a special tour of Cactus Creek Ranch and Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in the morning on Thursday, Jan. 23.

During the tour, participants will learn about the 25 year partnership between Cactus Creek Ranch and the refuge directly from ranch owner Mary Jo Bogatto, refuge park rangers and volunteers and will learn of their efforts to conserve the special wildlife habitats of the South Texas coastal prairie.

“Enjoy a one-of-a-kind, nice and easy tour, with minimal walking and a beautiful assortment of RGV specialty birds like green jays, great kiskadees, Altamira orioles, Harris’s hawks as well as other birds and wildlife along the way,” Gonzalez stated in a news release. ‘This will be a great tour for anyone interested in the conservation work being done in the area.”

The tour fee is $25 per person and seats are limited.

Tickets can be purchased through the SPI Birding and Nature Center’s website under the WOWE 2020 tab.