On the job

Students from Heritage Youth and Family Services took a group photo at the Linda Castro Nature Sanctuary with Aransas County Judge C. H. “Burt” Mills, middle, and Aransas County Public Information Officer Deanna Spruce, middle left. Students involved in the Heritage Community Connections Youth Leadership Camp were, in no particular order, Isabella Garza, Madison Peterek, Mia Tyler, Arwen Griffith, Lulu Ortiz, Ashlynn O’Conner, Caitlyn O’Conner, Madilynn O’Conner, Malayna Vasquez, Fatima Ortiz, Nikki Allen, Emily McDowell, Tricia Boehm, and Pita Ortiz. Students cleared out some of the invasive plants in the area before planting trees in the gardens.

A group of students from Heritage Youth and Family Services (HYFS) spent the morning planting trees Thursday, June 10 at the Linda S. Castro Nature Sanctuary as a part of their Heritage Community Connections Youth Leadership Camp.

Aransas County Judge C. H. “Burt” Mills met with the students at the sanctuary and thanked them for the contributions they made throughout the week.

Due to complications with other sites in regard to COVID-19 restrictions in Nueces County, HYFS decided to host a five-day camp for its students to learn about Aransas County’s natural habitats and how to help preserve them. It was the group’s first camp held in Aransas County.

“It gives them the idea that we’re all connected. All of our human activities are connected to everything that’s in our ecosystem here,” said HYFS Regional Director Kristie Rutledge. “We want them to understand why that’s so valuable and why it should be protected.”

The students performed more than 15 hours of in-service learning throughout the week with various groups and organizations in Aransas County.

They picked up nearly 50 bags of trash from Little Bay with Keep Aransas County Beautiful. They also partnered with Aransas County’s Aransas Pathways, the Texas Floating Classroom, Texas A&M Agrilife Extension – Aransas County and more throughout the week.

Rutledge said the students were given a deep dive on the environment they live in and how important it is to have a hand in preserving it.

“They had no idea there was anything cool about where they lived,” said Rutledge.

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