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The National Butterfly Center will team with the Boys and Girls Club of Mission to teach our children the love of nature.

The National Butterfly Center recently received a grant to partner with our Boys and Girls Club of Mission, and City Manager Martin Garza says “the City is excited to help teach our younger generation appreciation for the environment.”

You can read about the NAB’s partnership in this excerpt from the PROGRESS TIMES:

Marianna Wright, director of the National Butterfly Park in Mission, told the Mission City Council the National Butterfly Center received a grant for a summer educational program that would provide classes for students attending summer programs at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Mission

During the Monday meeting of the council, Wright said campuses involved include Leal, Castro, Marcell and Jensen Elementary schools, where Boys and Girls Club is active during summer.

It will be a nine-week program with weekly lessons at the park designed to teach children 9 to 12 years old about habitat, ecology and wildlife, building skills for outdoor encounters like animal tracking, campfire safety and bird and butterfly identification.

The purpose of the program is to teach children about the unique habitat where they live and help develop a desire to protect it for future generations. There will also be a field trip to Estero Llano Grande in Weslaco to learn about wetlands.

During the following school year, these children will use their skills to mentor younger children in the afternoon sessions of Boys and Girls Club, teaching what they learned. The students also will design a native plant habitat and pollinator garden for their school. This process will include selecting the plants and type project they want, producing designs for the project, and getting permission from their local school administration and school boards before the projects can be built.

Wright said being required to plan and then present their plans to local authorities would develop communication skills as well as the critical thinking skills needed in planning and implementing their projects.

“We teach our lessons from Project Wild, where children are outdoors learning in nature as it exists around them,” Wright said.

The grant from the state through the Community Outdoor Outreach Program is for $33,171 and will be matched by a grant of $34,000 from North American Butterfly Association and its partners.

— Kathy Olivarez. THE PROGRESS TIMES.