As reported in the December Loop, for its project in collaboration with SMGA this semester, Professor Colleen Myles’ Interpretive Geography class created a Natural Areas Passport, the goal of which is to more fully engage children and adults in the Greenbelt. Inspiration for the undertaking came partly from the National Parks Passport program, in which users collect stickers for each park they visit. To make their version more accessible, Myles’ students developed both a physical and a virtual passport, with the latter designed to appeal more to adults.
To accomplish this, students collected photos and information on the six established natural areas, focusing particularly on points of interest that could be pinned on the City’s interactive trail maps in the future. In Lower Purgatory, for example, they noted the flood control dam and the interpretative sign erected by SMGA. In Schulle Canyon, they included the new bird viewing station and Tales on the Trails, neither of which is currently marked as a “point of interest” on the map.
Because there is seldom adequate time in a semester to both design and implement a project, this one was left on the drawing board in hopes that it could be completed by interns or perhaps by another class next spring. Fortunately, two members of Myles’ class expressed an interest in bringing the project to fruition this semester and have recently begun a spring internship with SMGA. Though their tasks will overlap, Courtney Stuhldreher will focus primarily on printing and distributing the passports, while Lauren Thompson will work with the City’s GIS Department to enhance existing trail maps.
Meet our new interns now.
A junior from Arlington, Lauren Thompson is majoring in Resource and Environmental Studies at Texas State. She’s passionate about environmental interpretation and getting people outside. In working with SMGA, she hopes to encourage families in San Marcos to get out and enjoy our beautiful green spaces. She’s excited to be interning with us this semester! In the little time she has outside of classes, Lauren is a singer/songwriter who plays piano, guitar, and ukulele.
Originally from Klamath Falls, OR, and more recently Lewiston, TX, Courtney Stuhldreher is a Texas State senior in the Geography, Natural Resource, and Environmental Studies program. She aims to create a sense of stewardship among the younger generation for the protection of natural areas, especially locally in San Marcos! She is excited to obtain some experience through her work with SMGA this Spring. In her free time, Courtney enjoys hiking, taking film photos, reading manga, and making collages.