Sunday, February 17, 2019

McAllen Feb '19 #6 afternoon off!

But I went in even earlier this morning and was the only one there save the guard....he'd gotten a large group ready with food bags so I distributed blankets to each family, scarves for the women NOT going to Houston or New Orleans, a small pack of pens/crayons/paper to each kid, and, since we had great donations yesterday, a plush for each child. The guard then took them to the bus station and I stayed at the main desk until a couple of staff members showed up.

Sandwich room, 2.5 hours alone making sandwiches and then snack bags. When a woman showed up, followed by a teen, I turned the task over to them. Down the hall, capable, smart, energetic volunteers had arrived and were organizing and staffing all the clothing rooms. A boss was at the reception desk and 2 staffers were assisting refugees.

I thought hard about what I should do....everything was covered. So I found my counterpart volunteer and told her how well everything was covered and that I was taking the afternoon off. This is my 6th trip, each 7-10 days long, and I always work all day every day. Time for a break, since I am not needed. 

Although I can always go back in if I get bored, lol. Or lonely.

I drove out to the National Butterfly Center ( in Mission, TX, just 15-20 minutes away. It was sort of drizzly and overcast, breezy and cool so not a great day to see butterflies. But I checked out the exhibits, avoided buying a t-shirt, and then went out on the trails. How restorative.

part of the garden area

I saw a couple of sets of birders and thought well, that really isn't my thing. Then I started hearing the songs.....then I arrived at the birding center and sat and watched the green jays, woodpecker, northern cardinal, a few that I didn't recognize, and the ubiquitous squirrels. And I realized I could very easily be a birder!

birding center

Green jays

Chart of birds

I also checked out the butterfly conservatory, the nursery of native plants, and a few other trails. I loved learning that Texas does have beautiful places, and places worth preserving.


native flower, grasses below

There were no active protesters, but the website (above) describes the effect a wall would have on this and other areas of refuge for plants and animals. Flooding and  habitat destruction are just two.

On my way back to the visitor center, I noted a tree leafing out. I guess spring comes early to the Rio Grande Valley!

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