UTPA participates in United to Serve project at Edinburg Birding Center
Posted: 05/16/2007
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In conjunction with National Student Leadership Week and National Volunteer Week, both April 15-21, and The University of Texas System's United to Serve Initiative, more than 75 students and faculty from The University of Texas-Pan American along with other community members volunteered their time April 21 to beautify the Edinburg World Birding Center.

Working from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., volunteers planted new beds, mulched walking trails, cleaned and planted wetlands, secured observation decks, pruned plants and trees and built a 10'x11' pergola, that will serve as the setting for the center's new grass and wildflower gathering area that will be completed in the fall.

Pictured are two UTPA students who helped install more than 200 plants at the Edinburg World Birding Center during the University's 2007 United to Serve project April 26.
Marisa E. Oliva, manager of the Edinburg World Birding Center, said the volunteers did a fantastic job helping with much needed labor at the center. The more than 200 plants they installed over the grounds, she said, will provide traffic and erosion control and species diversity.

"The students, professors and the United to Serve Committee made a great impact on our site that day, which will have reverberations for months and years to come. We hope that the UTPA community takes advantage of these improvements and visits our grounds often," she said. A 12-member committee comprised of students, staff and faculty began planning the project in December 2006 and chose the World Birding Center among seven considered because of the significance of the project and the amount of volunteers it could accommodate.

"A special thanks goes to the Office of the Dean of Students, Student Government Association, Volunteer Resource Program, Auxiliary Services, Edinburg Lowe's and THHEM (The Helping Hands Employee Membership), a group of UTPA physical plant employees who regularly perform volunteer service. THHEM fired up their grill that day and provided the volunteers a great meal," said Amy Martin, coordinator of the UTPA Leadership Academy and co-chair of the project.

A UTPA student, one of more than 75 students, faculty, staff and community volunteers, is pictured working in one of the wetland areas at the Edinburg World Birding Center during the recent United to Serve project organized by the University.
This is the fourth year The University of Texas System Administration and all 15 of its campuses have participated in the system-wide United to Serve initiative by giving their time and talents to better their local respective communities.

"The United to Serve project provides not only our students but also our staff and faculty an opportunity to make a difference in the community and to realize the importance of a lifelong commitment to volunteerism," Martin said.

For more information on United to Serve activities on other UT System campuses, log on to