May 23, 2017 — EDINBURG, Texas — Busy schedules, excessive screen time and lots of other factors keep kids from connecting with nature, even though study after study show that spending time outdoors makes them healthier, happier and smarter. Same goes for adults. So why not head outside together?

    From May 27 to Aug. 26, Rio Grande Valley Texans have the opportunity to venture outside and connect with nature during Family Summer Adventure Texas Nature Challenge 2017. This family-oriented, friendly adventure is aimed at getting families and kids outside visiting local parks, nature centers and green spaces. At each site, participants complete challenges designed for family fun, nature exploration and the development of an understanding of the benefits nature provides.

    Regional coordinator Marisa Oliva-Rodriguez is excited to introduce Rio Grande Valley Texans to a new set of challenges.

    “We want families to take the time to discover us and all the great things happening within the nature center community in the summer when it is hot,” said Oliva-Rodriguez. “Families can fall in love with the sites in summer, engaging in a variety of activities and continue to visit in the fall, winter and spring when it’s a little cooler and wildlife may be moving a little more.”

    Participating in an opening ceremony is a fun, easy way to get started. From Brownsville to McAllen, there are eight sites hosting opening ceremony activities this Saturday, May 27. Visit for a complete list with locations and times.

    Digital badges offer a new layer for families and teams to interact and keep in touch with Texas Nature Challenge, other teams and participating sites. Each challenge has its own unique badge to collect in your Texas Nature Challenge journal.

    “We want families to get out and explore, to challenge their body, challenge their minds during the summer while kids are out of school,” said Oliva-Rodriguez.

    Each team or family is asked to register by calling 956-381-9922. Registered teams will receive a team sign and entry pass to select nature sites.

    Coordinated by Texas A&M Forest Service, the competition takes place throughout the year across three regions:  Central, Rio Grande Valley and Coastal Bend.

    For more information about Texas Nature Challenge 2017, visit



    Texas Nature Challenge, Rio Grande Valley Texas Regional Coordinator

    Marisa Oliva-Rodriguez,


    Texas A&M Forest Service Contact

    Shylo Adams, 979-324-0708,