IDEA Public Schools Buys Camp RIO at the Historic Lula Sams; Providing Outdoor Activities and Conservation Learning for Students

IDEA Public Schools Buys Camp RIO at the Historic Lula Sams; Providing Outdoor Activities and Conservation Learning for Students

IDEA Public Schools is excited to announce its purchase of Camp RIO, located at the historic Camp Lula Sams, and renovations that will provide students in the Rio Grande Valley with a quality nature and ecology education and camp experience that will enhance classroom learning.

On October 26, we introduced the community and partners to Camp RIO activities and facilities, shared plans for future renovations, and discussed how the camp will be utilized to provide outdoor activities and nature and ecology learning opportunities for IDEA students and the local community.
“Camp RIO will help make this vision a reality as it provides an additional opportunity for students to be active and learn and interact with nature and the outdoors,” said Nancy Mance, Programming Director at Camp RIO. “Through hands-on experiences, students will learn to identify plants and animals, develop teamwork and communication skills, acquire skills in various outdoor activities, and develop a respect for nature and wildlife.”

Camp RIO at historic Camp Lula Sams will be open to IDEA students and school groups across the community for pre-scheduled whole-grade level day visits. During summer 2017, Camp RIO will continue to provide summer camp for six one-week sessions to children currently in first through fifth grade. Registration for summer camp will open in December. Activities currently provided at Camp RIO include canoeing on the Resaca, archery on the open grass fields, hiking the old growth forest habitat and nature photography.
Camp RIO sits on approximately 85 acres of predominantly untouched wildlife preserve on the north end of Brownsville, TX. The property is filled with various native plants and animals that in most places in the Valley have long been eradicated by urbanization. IDEA Public Schools, in coordination with the Valley Land Fund, a non-profit organization that works to conserve land through acquisition or holding land easements, is working to preserve this unique piece of land so that generations to come may enjoy it in its natural form.

“We are excited about the continued development of Camp RIO and working in partnership with IDEA Public Schools to preserve, expand and enhance the native wildlife habitat of the Rio Grande Valley through education,” said Debralee Rodriguez, executive director of the Valley Land Fund. “We are committed to continuing to educate the public about the importance of land conservation and protection of our natural resources. This site will provide an opportunity for children to study natural sciences and conservation collaboratively, while applying knowledge about writing and grammar, mathematics, social studies, language, history, health, and art.”

Our organization wants to recognize partners and supporters who have been instrumental in this effort, including the Valley Land Fund, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, East Foundation, Dr. Patrick Burchfield, Carol DeMoss, John Martin, and Jesse Barba, Jr.

“The East Foundation is proud to help support IDEA Public Schools and the redevelopment of Camp Rio, and we are certain the grounds will provide an additional source of hands-on learning and development for students on the road to college,” said Tina Buford, Education Project Manager at East Foundation. “Students are spending less time outside, and more time being sedentary. Camp Rio provides an additional opportunity for students to be active and learn and interact with nature and the outdoors.”
IDEA is committed to refurbishing and renovating the site to ensure it can provide state-of-the-art facilities, activities and environmental and science learning curricula for students in the Valley. Over the next few years, we will work to earn the support of the community, individuals, businesses, and organizations to fund several renovations to the site, including an archery range, an outdoor pavilion, refurbishing the pool, and building a fishing pond that will afford students hands-on knowledge and experience on conservation and fishing.
Educational adventure await

- Post written by Matthew Dougherty, Communications Manager at IDEA Public Schools