20 April 2011
The Texas Capitol, Austin – Rep. Sergio Muñoz, is proud to announce that one of this year’s winners of the Texas Environmental Excellence Awards is Valley Proud Environmental Council. Also known as, Valley Proud, it has forged partnerships in 27 communities in its four-county region of deep South Texas. Their hard work includes conserving natural resources, enhancing economic development and tourism- the lifeblood of the region. Valley Proud brings together private and public organizations in events aimed at improving quality of life for area residents. This grassroots initiative relies on the spirit of volunteerism in diverse individuals.
The Captain Crab Puppet Show, is one of Valley Proud’s activities that teaches environmental responsibility. With characters like Captain Crab, Diego the Dolphin, and Patrick the Pelican they encourage kids to recycle and prevent litter. More than 30,00 students at 120 different campuses have received Captain Crab’s message, reinforced by an advertised fine of up to $2,000 for littering. Along with the puppet show, Valley proud has provided Port Isabel Independent School District with recycling containers, publicity, organization, training of campus staff, and coordination with the local recycling center. Some students have also begun to take interest in promoting recycling, and acquiring supplies to do so. In 2010, schools located in Port Isabel ISD have successfully collected 17 tons of paper and cardboard for recycling.
Project Rio Reforestation, has mobilized over 15,000 volunteers to plant more than 220,000 native tree seedlings on 750 acres of land. Valley Proud works closely with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to identify appropriate tracts of land and then gathers, transports, and feeds an army of volunteer tree planters. Valley proud organized successful events at 20 different sites since 1994 and continue to seplace for new locations. A 28-page tree guide in English and Spanish, an Arbor Day Planning Guide and two native plant brochures have been produce to help people interested in planting trees on their own.