By Gaige Davila
Port Isabel High School (PIHS) students got an exclusive look at the Cameron County South Texas Eco-Tourism Center last Thursday.
The South Texas Eco-Tourism Center is a 10-acre site across Laguna Vista on Highway 100, highlighting the flora and fauna of the Rio Grande Valley.
Noble Texas Builders, the contractors building the center, gave PIHS students and staff a tour of the center. Noble Texas Builders, based in La Feria, offered PI-ISD the opportunity before the COVID-19 pandemic, Superintendent Theresa Capistran told the PRESS.
“Ensuring we connect what students are studying to real world experience is critical,” Capistran said. “It’s also so important to expose our students to other opportunities, just in hearing our students ask questions of things they hadn’t even thought of because they had not been exposed to it, such as the different types of engineering opportunities.”
The students, who were juniors and seniors, were selected based on the classes they are enrolled in, such as construction or manufacturing. It’s part of a continuing “on wheels” program at PI-ISD, Capistran said, where students are taken to sites where they can experience career fields in real-world settings. These opportunities will extend to freshmen and sophomores, too, as the district navigates the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We feel we have enough safety protocols in place so we can extend the educational opportunity,” Capistran said, mentioning PI-ISD’s COVID-19 protocols since the start of the pandemic last March.
When the center is complete by summer, according to Cameron County Commissioner, Pct. 3, David Garza, who was leading the tour, it will be an interactive, family friendly space that seeks to bring more nature tourism to the area.
“Forty-eight thousand different plants will be in front of us here, all around us, in the next three months,” Garza said. “Every season that you visit will be different, flowers and plants bloom at different times of the year when they’re native.”
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