Martin Hagne has acquired quite a collection of stories and images on his nature-seeking adventures across the Rio Grande Valley over the years. The Valley Nature Center director will share snippets and vignettes of surprising and beautiful images of local nature for Frontera Audubon’s final program in the Summer Nature Talks series, Backyard and Beyond: Nature Discoveries here and Across the World. The program will be Tuesday, August 9th at 6:30 p.m. at the Braught Theater behind Weslaco Public Library, 525 S. Kansas Ave.
“Through the years of being able to work in and enjoy nature, I’ve been lucky to come across some great scenes, animals and situations where I’ve snapped a few photos,” Hagne said. “People will enjoy viewing what I’ve seen through my eyes.”
He says most Valley residents don’t realize the many natural wonders available to them.
“People think it’s dry and brown and boring, whereas, if they really get out there, they will find an amazing amount of beauty and awesome wildlife and sites to see,” he said.
Hagne, who has been the Executive Director of the Valley Nature Center in Weslaco for the past eleven years, says he is passionate about getting people, especially children, outdoors to enjoy nature.
“I realize that kids are suffering from various health issues like obesity and diabetes, and kids are often confined to the classroom and hardly get a break to go outside, and I see that as a result, kids are having a harder time coping with life,” he said. “They are missing out on the wonders of nature.”
He adds that if young people who will be in charge of caring for the environment in the future have no connection to it, they won’t see the need to care for it.
“If kids don’t get out and bond with and learn about nature, what will make them want to safeguard it when they are older? That’s why it’s so imperative to get kids outside,” Hagne said.
Born and raised on the Swedish west coast, Hagne says his grandfather instilled in him a love for nature at an early age.
“We spent summers on a small island located just off the coast, and we fished along the extensive granite island archipelago,” he said. “Coastal birds were numerous, along with seals, foxes and other wildlife.”
When Hagne moved to the United States, and the RGV, in 1979, he slowly turned his focus toward wildlife viewing, conservation concerns, and environmental education. He currently also works part time as a Field Biologist for TXESA, doing wildlife and habitat baseline studies and volunteers on several nature related boards and committees.
“It’s been many years of traversing the Valley’s wildlands that have allowed for some cool photographs to materialize, mostly by chance,” he said. “Hopefully [the presentation] will help instill a bit of love for our local native habitats and their inhabitants.”
For more information on the presentation, call 956-968-3275 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.