INVISTAType: Corporate Habitat of the Year
Site name: Victoria Plant
Habitat Certification: 1991
CLL Certification date: 2001
First WHC certified for a Wildife at Work program in 1991, the Victoria Site encompasses 4,500 acres, on which 3,500 acres are set aside and included in the wildlife habitat management program. The wildlife team established an invasive species control program for mesquite, cattails, nutria and McCartney rose. A rotational mowing program and prescribed burns help in the restoration of native grassland. Wildlife are provided both natural and artificial habitat throughout the site. The team also erected nesting structures for bats, owls, bald eagles, purple martins, eastern bluebirds and wood ducks and constructed brush piles and disked fencerows for bobwhite quail. A monitoring program was developed for white-tailed deer and feral hogs with annual counts to determine on-site populations. In addition, the team planted wildflower gardens to attract hummingbirds, butterflies and other pollinators.
One of the biggest efforts the site has undertaken is the construction of a fifty-three-acre wetland. The wetlands, which were constructed in the late 1990s, are planted with native species and are also managed under the invasive species control program. An educational center, observation areas and trails were included in the design of the wetlands to highlight the many habitat components provided by the wildlife management plan. This extensive program reaches well into the community and involves representatives from at least twenty-five outside groups, including Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Audubon Society and Texas A&M University.
Certified since 2001, the Victoria Site's Corporate Lands for Learning program teaches students in grades 4-12, about the value of wetlands through the Wetland Environmental Science Education Encounter (WE SEE) program. Participants in the WE SEE program also include learners from the University of Houston, Rice University and Texas A&M University, which has campuses in nearby Kingsville, Corpus Christie and College Station. Funded jointly by INVISTA and the Victoria Independent School District, science teacher John Snyder guides students through a series of activities designed to instill an appreciation for the benefits of wetlands for wildlife and water quality. Students engage in lessons both at the education center and on trips to the wetlands through inquiry-based learning activities, which include topics on water quality, micro-biology, entomology, botany and soil dynamics, with a heavy emphasis on application of proper scientific method.
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