I fondly recall my earliest trips to Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge many decades ago. Being born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley and growing up in Harlingen, Laguna Atascosa has been my sanctuary all my life.
The main refuge, east of Rio Hondo, encompasses approximately 45,000 contiguous acres, and it is the largest single protected area of natural habitat in the Rio Grande Valley that is open to the public.
My father’s best friend was a bird watcher, back before birding was so popular, and Ned Hudson often took my brother and I to Laguna. As soon as I was allowed to drive, at age 14 back then, Laguna was where I headed. Later, on breaks from college in San Antonio, Laguna was where I gravitated to renew my spirit.
My story is not unique, as the wildlands of Laguna Atascosa hold a special place in the hearts and souls of many people.
The refuge is my favorite place to savor a South Texas sunrise, whether it is from the bayside loop at Redhead Ridge overlooking the Laguna Madre, or the big lake where in fall and winter hundreds of Sandhill cranes greet the crimson dawn.
I will be premiering my documentary on Laguna Atascosa, ‘A South Texas Treasure’, the evening of Friday March the 2 at the Ocelot Soiree on South Padre Island at the new education center of Sea Turtle Inc. In addition to the premiere, there will be fine food, marvelous music, and a special appearance by a live Ocelot.
Tickets are limited, and they have just become available. Proceeds will go to the Friends of Laguna Atascosa. If you are interested in attending, call 832-3905.