Ever since John Audubon visited Galveston's shores in 1837, the upper Texas coast has been documented as a primary site for birds and bird habitat. This area enjoys a plethora of bird activity, due to its location along the central flyway used by migratory birds, and its pivotal location on the Gulf of Mexico. Residents of the upper Texas Coast are privileged to witness large bird populations throughout the year, and we believe the school children of the upper Texas coast are one of the best target audiences for our outreach efforts.
In June of 2012 GCBO hosted our first Birding Day Camp for youth ages 8-11. The Coastal Wild Bird Trunk developed several years ago here at GCBO was the backbone of the week's activities. Each day of Camp featured a variety of outdoor learning experiences including: bird identification; how and why birds communicate; bird sketching with a local artist; catching and examining wetland critters eaten by wading birds; conducting a mini-research project entailing recording bird sightings at the same location and time each day and analyzing the data; and finally, graduating as a certified "Bird Scene Investigator" at weeks end.
The 34-acre headquarters sanctuary in Lake Jackson with the outdoor classroom, deck over the wetland for dip netting, boardwalk to the photography blind and over 3 miles of trails are available to traditional classes and home schoolers. Please contact us at 979-480-0999 to schedule your class's visit.
The Birds & Bottomlands Blitz program is a joint effort between the Cradle of Texas Master Naturalists and GCBO to raise awareness of the critical importance of native habitat for the survival of this ecosystem and the birds that depend on it. On the second Saturday morning of each month from 9 - 11 you can join experts to learn about specific aspects of Columbia Bottomland forest habitat.
We also have a year round banding station at our headquarters in Lake Jackson that has multiple purposes. In addition to collecting baseline data for the property, the impact of our habitat restoration on species using the site will be determined. Visitors are welcome to come and observe how this scientific monitoring method is practiced the third Saturday of each month. Click on Events on the home page.
Over the past 7 years GCBO has been the organization responsible for the successful coordination of the Great Texas Birding Classic. Although the 15th annual 2011 Classic was the last, the conservation work that resulted is continuing. The Classic raised and contributed $789,500 for bird habitat conservation along the entire Texas coast - 83 individual grants. The grants were awarded for habitat restoration, acquisition and human accessibility enhancements. Click on Great Texas Birding Classic on our home page for more history and information.