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Media Contact: Tom Harvey, 512-389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov [TH]

TPWD Website: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us

TPWD News Release — April 3, 2006

Coastal Expos Bring Beach to Cities

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Parks & Wildlife Department brings the coast to local communities this spring through Coastal Expo events in Edinburg, Victoria and Pasadena offering fun, family-oriented activities for all ages.

Coastal Expo events allow visitors to see and touch crabs, sea stars, and other coastal animals; view a glass-bottom stream; solve a mysterious fish kill; learn what washes up on the Texas coast; fish for live catfish; and participate in other great activities. In the process, they learn about Texas coastal ecosystems, why they are important, and how to protect them.

On April 3-4, the “All American City” of Edinburg and the Edinburg Scenic Wetlands and World Birding Center are partnering to bring Coastal Expo to the Lower Rio Grande Valley. More than 3,000 school children are expected to attend the two-day event. In addition, it will be open to the public for Family Night on April 3rd from 4-8 p. at the Edinburg Municipal Park. During this free family event, visitors can interact with crabs, fish, and other coastal animals while learning about freshwater inflows, coastal conservation issues and beach habitats.

“Coastal Expo is a great opportunity for people to explore the Texas coast for the first time, learn why coastal ecosystems are so important, and also what they as individuals can do to protect it,” said Kris Shipman, TPWD coastal expo coordinator.

Activities include touch tanks with a wide variety of live coastal animals such as sea urchins, sea squirts, crabs, and other sea life. At the glass-bottom stream, visitors will learn about animals’ natural habitats and how bugs can indicate pollution levels in water.

Participants will also have an opportunity to solve a mysterious fish kill, paint images of coastal fish, identify beach objects by touch, and learn about fishing, boating safety, and other coastal issues through a variety of fun and educational devices.

Exhibitors include: Edinburg Public Library, Edinburg Recycling Center, Edinburg Volunteer Fire Department, Frontera Audubon Society, McAllen’s International Museum of Art & Science, Museum of South Texas History, Rio Grande Valley Chapter of Texas Master Naturalists, Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, Sea Turtle, Inc., Texas Master Gardeners, and Valley Nature Center.

On April 22 in Victoria, the Earth Day Celebration at the Texas State Zoo will include Coastal Expo activities.

On May 5 in Pasadena near Houston, the Galveston Bay Watershed Academic Partnership Youth Summit will also feature Coastal Expo activities.

Past and present Coastal Expo sponsors include Academy, Bealls, Buc Days in Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program, City of Edinburg, H.E.B., Payne Volkswagen in Mission, Sam’s Club, Valley Nature Center, Subway, World Birding Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Culligan, Wal-Mart and Texas Coastal Management Program.

For more information, see the Coastal Expo Web pages.

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