Drew moved to the Rio Grande Valley in the summer of 2010 to accept a position with a national wildlife refuge. We had just begun dating in May so it was pretty hard on me. I drove 14 hours to visit him as often as possible. One of those trips I left with some pretty new jewelry 🙂
We got married in May of 2011 and I moved down to Texas.
Thanks to a recommendation by Drew’s boss, I quickly found a job as a naturalist and supervisor at Quinta Mazatlan (QM). Quinta means “country estate” and Mazatlan means “where the deer/antelope roam” and is also the name of a city in Mexico where the original builder of the estate loved to visit.
(front facade of the historic adobe home and “main house” at Quinta Mazatlan)
QM is currently a historic adobe home and 20-acre nature center featuring many gardens, native thornforest, and lots of programs for people to enjoy. QM is also one of the 9 World Birding Centers that work together to promote eco-tourism and birding in the Rio Grande Valley.
(Green Jay- City of McAllen’s official bird – photo by John Brush)
We are under the stewardship of the City of McAllen therefore I have been an employee with the City for the past 2 years. We are also the host of the Valley’s biggest Earth Day Festival: Vida Verde (which means “live green”).
I have LOVED working at Quinta Mazatlan. It’s a beautiful location in the heart of the city. Every morning I walk down Bougainvillea lane, say hello to the Eastern Screech Owl in the fallen palm, and make my way to my office in the Discovery Center.
(Eastern Screech Owl)
(Discovery Center at Quinta Mazatlan, and my office building)
The best part of this job has been working for and learning from my boss, our manager Colleen. Colleen is so inspired and she has such an incredible vision not only for Quinta Mazatlan for the the City itself. I often tell people there is no one else in the Valley that I would rather work for.
(QM board member, Jonathon Wood of the Raptor Project , and my boss Colleen)
I’ve learned SO MUCH during my time at Quinta Mazatlan. And I’ve enjoyed the beauty of our gardens, forest, and wildlife. Here are some other sights of QM:
(Texas Tortoise crossing the walkway)
(Strawberry Pitaya cactus in bloom in the Cactus Garden. Photo by JAVIER AREVALO.)
(Red-bordered Pixie, City of McAllen official butterfly. Photo by John Brush.)
(My favorite- Plain Chachalaca on the trails.)
(Blue Passionvine, a native vine and favorite of the Gulf Frittilary butterfly, has a beautiful bloom)
(Texas Spiny Lizard. Photo by John Brush.)
(Bougainvillea- City of McAllen official flower)
(Red-shouldered Hawk juvie sitting over Ruby Pond.)
(The Forest Sculpture Trail features 25 life-size and larger-than-life bronze sculptures of animals native to South Texas.)
I am going to miss the people at QM most! I’m very sad to leave my work family but excited to see where we go next.
(Sunset over Quinta Mazatlan)
So many people have asked us “So what’s Christine going to do” when we move? Short answer: I don’t know! When we get there, Drew will start right away in his new position. But as soon as possible (December? March?), they are going to send him to training which will take the better part of a year to complete, in a few different places around the country. We don’t know exactly how this will work for me. The first part of his training he has to stay on-site at the training facility and it’s a very intense program so I probably won’t get to stay with him. But his field trainings will be different. So my employment is wide open right now! Which is kind of a cool feeling. I started working when I was 16 and have had a job every since. This will be a new experience for me! We will see how long I will enjoying being a house wife before I go insane and have to find work, haha!
Move countdown: 10 days!!