Are you visiting Port Aransas or Rockport this winter? We have many opportunities for you to learn and enjoy the wonders of our marine environment. You won't be disappointed!
Wetlands Education Center Tours
Did you ever want to visit and learn about a marsh without getting your feet wet? The Wetlands Education Center is a ADA compliant 3.6-acre wetland will allow you to do just that, as you stroll through seagrass, salty marsh plants, and dunes. Come during a free guided tour Tuesday and Thursday, at 10 a.m. (the trails are always open for self-guided walks) and you will learn about the special plants and animals of our local wetlands. Participants meet at the University of Texas Marine Science Education Center (855 East Cotter Avenue, Port Aransas, Texas 78373). Call Nicole Pringle at 361-749-3153 for more information.
Afternoon Movies and Discussion
Enhance your environmental literacy through film. Films range in time from 10-45 minutes with a 15-20 minute facilitator-led, group discussion. These programs are free of charge and occur from October 20th - March 10th, every Tuesday and Thursday from 3 - 4 p.m. Participants meet at the University of Texas Marine Science Education Center auditorium (855 East Cotter Avenue, Port Aransas, Texas 78373). Call Nicole Pringle at 361-749-3153 for more information. Check the calendar on www.utmsi.utexas.edu for movie listings.
Public Lectures in Port Aransas (Marine Science Education Center)
Join us for a series of free presentations about the oceans, local wildlife, and some history - led by the people who study them. Lectures are on Thursday evenings. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the lectures begin at 7:00 p.m. Located at 855 East Cotter Avenue (near the beach), Port Aransas, Texas at the UT Marine Science Education Center auditorium. Call 361-749-6805 for more information.
January 14 — Three Oceans and One Sea: Selected Adventures during an Oceanographer’s 50-year Sea Going Career by Tony Amos from UTMSI
January 21 — There’s Something Fishy Here by Dr. Ken Webb from UTMSI
January 28 — Pioneering Archaeology in the Texas Coastal Bend by Jace Tunnell from UTMSI and the Mission-Aransas Reserve
February 4 — Save the... sharks by Dr. Greg Stunz from the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies
February 11 — Skywarn Storm Spotter Training by John Metz from the National Weather Service
February 18 — Dispatches from the Gulf: Research Updates from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill by Drs. Ed Buskey, Andrew Esbaugh, Lee Fuiman, Zhanfei Liu, Hernando Bacosa, and graduate student, Meredith Evans from UTMSI
February 25 — Birds, Beast, and Conservation in the Northern Serengeti by Scott Holt from UTMSI
March 10 — Monarchs, Migration and Milkweed by Dr. Barbara Dorf from Big Tree Butterflies
Winter Walking Tours at the Nature Preserve at Charlie’s Pasture
Come explore The Nature Preserve at Charlie's Pasture on a free docent led nature walk. This Port Aransas Preserve has over two miles of hike and bike trails (crushed granite and boardwalk) and encompasses 1,217 acres of land. Join us as we enjoy the serene habitats of salt marsh and algal flats. You’ll be serenaded by herons, egrets and the whisper of salt cord grass. Offered from 11/15/15-3/24/16 on Fridays at 3:00 p.m. Tour starts at Phase I pavilion at the end of Port Street, past the ferry. Programs sponsored by The University of Texas Marine Science Institute, Mission-Aransas Reserve and the City of Port Aransas. Programs may not occur during inclement weather. Call Nicole Pringle at 361-749-3153 for more information.
Winter Education Programs
Explore, recreate, and investigate the natural world as you learn about coastal habitats and how you can help protect them at our upcoming events. These free interactive programs are for all ages. SEA you there! Located on Saturdays at 855 East Cotter Avenue (near the beach), Port Aransas, Texas at the UT Marine Science Education Center. Programs sponsored by The University of Texas Marine Science Institute (UTMSI) and Mission-Aransas Reserve. Call Nicole Pringle at 361-749-3153 for more information.
January 30 - Mustang Island Beach Exploration from 10 a.m. - 11 a.m.
February 13 - Fish Adaptations from 10 a.m. - 11 a.m.
March 12 - Spring SEAsonal crafts from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Whooping Crane Festival
Join the Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce/Tourist Bureau in celebration of our 20th Anniversary Whooping Crane Festival, February 25-28, 2016! The festival is open to avid and amateur birders, photographers, families, and anyone who loves the outdoors and nature-related activities. This year’s festival will feature keynote speaker Carter Smith, Executive Director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Twentieth anniversary special events include a luncheon presentation by Tom Stehn, retired U.S. Whooping Crane Coordinator; a photography exhibit and reception with photographer Zhongjie Zheng from China; an evening painting and wine pairing class; and a family birding field trip. World renowned crane expert, Dr. George Archibald, will be one of the featured speakers at The University of Texas Marine Science Institute, along with representatives from the different Whooping Crane populations across North America. Additional festival events include boat tours to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge to observe Whooping Cranes, guided field trips, interactive workshops and seminars, and a nature-related trade show. Check the website http://www.whoopingcranefestival.org for registration and more information.
Public Lectures in Rockport (Bay Education Center)
Join us for a series of free presentations about estuary, coastal, and marine environments - led by the people who study them. Lectures are on Friday afternoons from 12 - 1 p.m. Located in the Bay Education Center at 121 Seabreeze Drive, Rockport, Texas. Call 361-749-3152 for more information. Programs sponsored by The University of Texas Marine Science Institute (UTMSI) and Mission-Aransas Reserve.
January 15 - Harmful Plankton: Hidden Hazards of the Sea by Dr. Robert Dickey from UTMSI
January 22 - Coastal Bend Archaeological Discovery… in my family’s garage by Jace Tunnell from UTMSI and the Mission-Aransas Reserve
January 29 - Adaptive Management of Oysters in Texas by Dr. Christopher Mace of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
February 5 - What are we doing to keep Aransas County - Rockport - Fulton clean and beautiful? by Diane Probst from the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce
February 12 - Northern Gulf of Mexico: Heaven for oil degrading microbes? by Hernando Bacosa from UTMSI
February 19 - Seagrass Conservation in Texas by Holly Grand from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
February 26 - Poetic Building in Times of Change by Coleman Coker from The University of Texas School of Architecture
March 4 - Birding in Texas State Parks – your other backyard by Ben Horstmann from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
March 11 - Passes in the Past: A look at the changes in the Mustang & Padre Island passes from 1848 to the present by Greg Smith, local historian
Road Scholar Programs
The Road Scholar program inspires adults to learn, discover and travel. Our educational multi-day adventures engage expert instructors, provide extraordinary access, and stimulate discourse and friendship among people for whom learning is the journey of a lifetime. Our diverse topics include, birding, marine ecology, local history, wildflowers and viticulture in a variety of locations including Port Aransas, Rockport, McAllen, Brownsville and Fredericksburg. Programs sponsored by The University of Texas Marine Science Institute and Mission-Aransas Reserve. For registration information for ALL programs, please call 361-749-6806.
January 10-15 — Endangered Whooping Cranes: A Celebration of Life
January 17-22 — Birding the Texas Tropics: Laguna Atascosa to South Padre Island
January 24-29: — Birding in the Rio Grande Valley: Santa Ana Refuge to a World Birding Center
January 31-February 5 — Endangered Whooping Cranes: A Celebration of Life
February 7-12 — Birding the Texas Tropics: Laguna Atascosa to South Padre Island
February 14-19 — Birding in the Rio Grande Valley: Santa Ana Refuge to a World Birding Center
February 21-26 — Endangered Whooping Cranes: A Celebration of Life
February 28-March 4 — Birding the Texas Tropics: Laguna Atascosa to South Padre Island
February 28-March 4 — Island Sampler: Birds, Biology, Bays, Beaches, and Buccaneers
March 6-11 — Birding in the Rio Grande Valley: Santa Ana Refuge to a World Birding Center
March 13-18 — Spring Coastal Migration - Rockport
March 27-April 1 — The Specialty Birds of South Texas: The Big Enchilada of Birding
April 17-22 — Exploring the Texas Hill Country - Fredericksburg
April 24-29 — Spring Coastal Migration - Port Aransas
June 19-24 — Fun with Intergenerational Marine Biology: Dolphins, Fish, Turtles and Birds