During Spring Break holidays at Quinta Mazatlan, there’s a fun one-hour  family forest program every day (Tuesday through Saturday), both at  10:00 a.m. and repeated at 2:00 p.m.Spring Break programs at QM

On “Trekking Tuesday”, March 15, a Quinta park naturalist will greet you in the main house and take you exploring in the woods to search for the most amazing birds, fastest rabbits, and unusual insects. Visit Eugene the snake, Tepeguaje the giant tree, Archaeopteryx the dinosaur bird, and the creatures hiding in the creek!   On “Watercolor Wednesday” come to the Ruby Pond patio and show your creativity as you blend colors around native animal silhouettes in an easy to learn watercolor technique for all ages and all skill levels.  On “Thoughtful Thursday” join others in the community for a special volunteer service day.  Help to pull out invasives, plant new plants, water and mulch, and give the Earth a little boost of healthiness.  “Feathery Fun Friday” is filled with fascinating facts about the World Birding Center’s feathered friends.  Go birding with binoculars;  learn to identify bird calls;  study feathers under microscopes; and make a feather craft.  Finally, come to the Discovery Museum  on “LUCKY YOU SATURDAY!” and see a REAL 4-leaf clover.  Head out on the trails with a  “LUCKY YOU Scavenger Hunt” and bring it back to try to win a “Lucky You Rabbits Foot” or a “Nature Pot of Gold”.

At any time during the week you can bring the family to take the challenge to earn a “Quinta Naturalist Badge”.  The junior naturalist program directs children to visit a variety of habitats at Quinta and learn about the plants and animals of the forest, and the historic home on the hill.

Take a “break-in-the-break”, and spend a reinvigorating day with your family…in nature!

Cost included with admission:  $2 child; $3 adult.  For more information phone (956) 681-3370.


Bird Workshops for Everyone at Quinta Mazatlan

Spring is coming and so are the birds.  Professional bird guide Erik Bruhnke is teaching THREE workshops in March at Quinta Mazatlan World Birding Center.  There is something for everyone whether you are a beginner, an intermediate, or an advanced birder! Beginner and Intermediate workshops are ten classes long, and cover a large range of topics.  To register for the workshops, visit webtrac.mcallen.net or call 956-381-3370.

Are you new to birdwatching? The Beginning Birder Workshop will teach you about birds in general, show you how to attract more birds to your backyard, and demonstrate how to locate and identify common birds in the Rio Grande Valley.  Students can try out loaner binoculars, flip through different types of field guides, and learn about different types of field gear.  This workshop covers a great deal of bird identification geared towards beginning birders, and students are encouraged to bring photos of birds whose identification has stumped them. After spending some time in the classroom, the group will explore the grounds to put their new found skills to the test! Pre-registration for this workshop is required (activity #167100.01).

No longer a beginner, but not yet a master? People who are currently birding and are looking to advance their bird identification skills will have a great time throughout the Intermediate Birding Workshop! People attending this workshop will benefit greatly from the species-by-species presentation, delving into identification specifics for every bird seen in Texas! Audio and visual components are covered and a wide assortment of catchy anecdotes are blended playfully into this highly informative workshop. This workshop was a big hit last year! Pre-registration for this workshop is required (activity #167101.01).

Are you ready to step up your game as a birdwatcher? Join Erik Bruhnke on Saturday afternoons in March as he reveals and simplifies the exciting world of bird identification through the Advanced Bird ID Series. Each session will focus on a different group of birds: 3/5 Warblers, 3/12 Raptors, 3/19 Gulls, and 3/26 Pelagic birds.  Pre-registration is not required for this series, and the price is $5 per session.
These workshops are designed to make you a better birder while immersing you in the fun world of birds.  The more we know about birds, the more we appreciate and connect with them on a special level. We’re looking forward to birding with you this March!

Birding Workshop-QM flyer

bird workshop

Concert in the Park

Christams Concert 12-11-14.jpgThe tree is up, the lights shine bright, and Christmas is in the air! Let Quinta Mazatlán further get you in the holiday cheer with festive music. On December 10th at 6:00 pm, Mr. Dean Canty and his fellow musicians will kick up the holiday spirit as they play traditional and contemporary Christmas songs, along with some jazz, big band and modern hits. Guests will be treated to hot chocolate and cookies. To make the night even more magical, good Ol’ St Nick will be there to visit with all the boys and girls, big and small!

Date: December 10th

Time: 6:00 pm

Fee: $5 per person

Christams Concert 12-11-14 (2)

Tapas & Talks

Creating Living Landscapes

The celebration of our natural heritage will take place at Planta Nativa on Friday evening, October 23rd from 6:30 to 9:30 at Quinta Mazatlan. Along with tacos, tapas, beer, wine, and art guest will thoroughly enjoy a presentation by Dr. Douglas Tallamy on the giant LED movie screen outdoors titled “Creating Living Landscapes”. Tickets on sale now $15.Douglas Tallamy

The Land is Borrowed from our Children

By Colleen Hook

Bob Simpson & Jane Kittleman

There is a great thoughtful insight about the environment as follows: We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children. The author is unknown!  Some say it is a Native American Proverb.  The saying has been used by many leaders in the environmental movement and encapsulates the wisdom of previous centuries.

I recently asked Bob Simpson for his favorite proverb, and he mentioned the above saying. Bob Simpson has just been named the 2014 Conservation Hero in the Rio Grande Valley by the Advisory Board at Quinta Mazatlan.  Mr. Simpson will be recognized at the annual celebratory fundraiser, Moon over Mazatlan, on the evening of March 20th, 2014, tickets are available now at 956-681-3370.   Bob is an exceptional conservationist working with many organizations to preserve and enhance our remaining native habitat.  A partner in the firm of Boultinghouse Simpson Gates Architects, Bob’s leadership has benefited many organizations including Quinta Mazatlan, Valley Land Fund, First Presbyterian Church, Museum of South Texas History, McAllen South Rotary, Coastal Conservation Association of Texas, McAllen Chamber of Commerce and more.  Bob is such a humble and quiet giver, and tirelessly gives to so many.


At Quinta Mazatlan, Bob is helping to design “Ebony Grove” on a four acre tract of land. With the support of community individuals and businesses, our plans include the reforestation of the land, palapas, a wildlife pond, trails and interpretive signage.  This year’s Moon over Mazatlan fundraiser will go towards the creation of a large wildlife pond at Ebony Grove.

The wisdom of the saying is so evident today.  Not only have we borrowed the land from our children, but we are also giving them little opportunity to enjoy it.  Sadly in the last two decades, children have moved indoors.  The average child spends as few as 30 minutes outdoors each day, and more than seven hours indoors each day in front of some size electronic screen.  Our children are missing something essential to their health, development, happiness and heritage:  their connection to the natural world.

What our Valley Conservation Heroes have in common, like Bob Simpson (2014) and Jane Kittleman (2013), is that they enjoy outdoor hobbies such as bird watching, wildlife photography, fishing and more.  They love the great outdoors and thus work to protect and enhance it.  I have had the privilege of learning from Bob and Jane and I can say nature makes one nicer, enhances social interactions, value for the community and creates close relationships.

Quinta Mazatlan works to enrich people’s lives by sharing knowledge about birds, plants and stewardship of South Texas.  The nature center recently calculated how many hours children spent in outdoor programs at Quinta Mazatlan this past year.  We calculated over 6,200 kids participated in outdoor science driven programs– OVER 20,000 HOURS OF KIDS- IN-NATURE.

Let’s work to keep growing the number of KID-IN-NATURE HOURS!

Invest in creating natural parks for children and adults to enjoy in the city! It is our responsibility to return the land better than we found it, as well as teach the next generation the value of the land and the experiences it provides!  The time to act is now!

You can learn more about Moon Over Mazatlan here. The RSVP/Sponsorship form is here. We hope to see you all out for this special event!