STC students plant themselves in the community
The STC Biology Club recently volunteered at Rio Reforestation, planting 12,000 tree seedlings across 12 acres, creating a new habitat for 400 species of migratory birds.
Biology Club and Education program students at South Texas College recently participated in Rio Reforestation, an annual event in Pharr hosted by Refuge and Friends of Wildlife Corridor.
This year, students helped plant 12,000 tree seedlings across 12 acres, creating a new habitat for 400 species of migratory birds.
Biology Instructor and Biology Club Advisor Mehrzad Mahmoudian-Geller, Ph.D., has shown unwavering support for the Rio Reforestation event and said it’s an annual tradition for her club. Mahmoudian -Geller commends her students for their dedication to community service and their willingness to lend a helping hand. She believes that engaging in these external activities is vital for students to foster connections within the community.
“What makes this event different from the other events is what we are doing, this activity will impact future generations,” said Mahmoudian-Geller. "All the activities we do have components of community service and include learning, teamwork and deepening of their understanding of biology.”
What makes this event different from the other events is what we are doing, this activity will impact future generations. All the activities we do have components of community service and include learning, teamwork and deepening of their understanding of biology.
Oscar Hinojosa, STC Biology Club president, emphasized the club’s role in combining classroom knowledge with real-world action.
“All of the Biology Club members at STC are pursuing natural and health science degrees and the Biology Club provides valuable opportunities to apply our knowledge outside of the classroom and help our communities,” said Hinojosa.
STC Education Instructor Lydia Bean, Ph.D., had approximately 50 of her students join the service-learning project, aiming to engage them in community activities.
Her goal is to encourage students to contribute a minimum of five hours to community service, involving them in various projects with different organizations throughout the Rio Grande Valley.
Recognizing Mahmoudian-Geller’s efforts with the Biology Club, the idea of collaboration for Rio Reforestation became a perfect opportunity to get her students involved.
"We lost count of all the students that came along. They are so motivated, and this is a great way to give back and help protect our wildlife population,” said Bean. "Students have an opportunity to learn more about nature, how they can serve and learn teamwork communication skills. This is something we need to continue to be a part of.”
German Osiel Reyes, a student in Bean’s online Education course, said he dedicated his Saturday morning to support the community at the Rio Reforestation event because he finds immense satisfaction in volunteering.
As an STC student pursuing this associate degree, he views these events as a fantastic opportunity to gain connections with like-minded individuals from across the Valley.
“What we are doing here is amazing, and in 29 years this area will be filled with trees, and I can say I helped plant them. I encourage all students to get involved, "said Reyes.