The faint smell of sulfur from the bacteria living in the soil of the Laguna Madre mixes with the smell of sunblock as I head out to the Center for Coastal Studies Field Station. It has been more than five years since I have had the chance to visit the field station. As an undergraduate in the invertebrate biology class I had the opportunity to spend a weekend at the field station. That weekend was spent gaining a better understanding of the small spoil island inhabitants.
Sadly, your everyday person does not get the chance to experience what it is like on the remote island where the wind, birds, and the faint whirring of boat engines are the only sounds.
As Capt. Jay Tarkington told me, not many local Corpus Christi residents are aware of the amazing wildlife and habitats that can be found in their own backyard. Jay, who is the Aquatic Education Program Director for the Center for Coastal Studies, is also a proponent of making science fun and interesting. He does a numerous amounts of community education programs including the Wetlands on Wheels program.
Aside from Jay, I was able to meet Dr. David Tripp on this outing. Dr. Tripp is a Texas watercolor artist and he had the opportunity to spend the last few days at the field station. His goal was to study the nature surrounding him and try to capture it in his paintings. He talked to me about taking a break from his books and getting the chance to paint under the pure air and sky of the Laguna Madre. He is part of a new Artist-in-Residence program that the Center for Coastal Studies has created. Using art to visualize the field house’s surroundings, Dr. Tripp hopes to inspire those who cannot make it out to the Laguna.
If you also enjoy nature, science, and art – visit David’s blog at https://davidtripp.wordpress.com/. He has some great photos of today’s visit with local media and his artwork!
Overall today’s visit to the field station reminded me how much I love being outside. Since my career change I have worked in a cubicle that doesn’t even have an outside window and it gets to me sometimes. But today really put the pep back into my step and reminded me that everyone should know just how lucky we are to live here!
Here are a couple of my favorite outdoor places:
- Hans & Pat Suter Wildlife Refuge
- Padre Island National Seashore
- Oso Bay Wetlands Preserve (can be found at Paul Jones and Holly).
So this weekend I hope you can take your families outside! Please, let me know about all the cool things you saw and the awesome memories you made!