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Tuesday, October 3, 2023


Students show area biodiversity

The UH Campus Recreation and Wellness Center has more behind its doors than Stairmasters and a climbing wall.

In collaboration with Houston Wilderness Organization, the Environmental Club secured the University showing of an exhibition promoting the ecosystems in Southeast Texas, which will run through Dec. 12 at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center Atrium.

The exhibition, which began Monday, jumpstarted with a Houston Wilderness display of photographs pieced together by award-winning Atlas of Biodiversity designer Andy Dearwater.

A group of 10 photographers traveled through 24 counties surrounding the greater Houston area, divided into 10 eco-regions, to capture photographs of wildlife that are featured in the Atlas.

Educational Coordinator for Houston Wilderness Amy Markwort said the organization is trying to reach out to students in the area and educate them about the surrounding environment.

"We are trying to draw attention to that because we think that sometimes people see Houston as a great center for energy and industry; they overlook the beautiful nature that we have here," Markwort said. "Our exhibit is trying to celebrate Houston’s natural beauty."

Paulina Guerrero, president of the Environmental Club at UH, said the exhibition is an educational element for the University, and that’s why the student group worked to have it placed on campus.

"It shows what Houston has to offer with its state parks and bayous," Guerrero said. ?The exhibition regions are comprised of Bayou Wilderness, Big Thicket, Colombia Bottomlands, Coastal Marches, Estuaries and Bays, Gulf of Mexico, Piney Woods, Post Oak Savannah, Prairies Systems and Trinity Bottomlands.

"We really wanted to get the exhibit to universities in the area so that students who are interested have the opportunity to get information and see a lot of pictures that we have taken of the region," Markwort said.

Pre-pharmacy and nutrition senior Anthony Dima-Ala, who frequents the Rec Center four times a week, said the exhibit’s location was convenient for him.

"Due to my major and where I take classes, I never make exhibits at Blaffer (Gallery)," Dima-Ala said. "I think it’s beneficial. It’s a good way to kill time. It helps (students) understand there’s more than just buildings in Houston."

UH chemistry alumna Carolyn McCoy said she was surprised to see the display at the Rec Center.

"It’s so interesting to see the map of all the different ecological systems," she said. "It makes me want to get out and explore. Go see the wilderness."

Markwort will visit the University on Nov. 18 to give an informational speech about Houston’s bio-diversity and suggest ideas for outdoor recreation. The free session will be held at 4 p.m. at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center. Those who wish to attend should sign up at the center.

The Houston Wilderness exhibit has traveled throughout the region since the beginning of the year, being showcased at The Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau, JPMorgan Chase Bank in Downtown Houston, Hobby Airport, the Houston Center and Missouri City’s City Hall building.

The exhibit is sponsored by Houston Wilderness, Environmental Club at UH, the UH Sustainability Taskforce and the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center. Houston Wilderness and the Environmental club have been in partnership since the club was founded in Spring 2007.

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