Community Education

The Mission-Aransas Reserve Education program strives to enhance environmental literacy within the local community by offering facilities and programs that encourage exploration and discovery.

We are currently closed and all public-facing programming is cancelled until further notice. During this time, we will be offering a variety of virtual and engagements for our teachers, students and families. Please connect with us through our Facebook Page (@manerr) and check out our calendar of events page!

There is something waiting for everyone to discover at the Mission-Aransas Reserve. Please join us for one of the many public activities, community events and summer programs hosted at the Reserve. While in Port Aransas take a guided tour of the Wetlands Education Center, take a journey through the Estuary Explorium, view the diversity of local marine life in our Visitor Center, or learn more at our winter Public Lecture Series.

In Rockport, experience Science on a Sphere or explore the estuary through interactive exhibits and outdoor activities at the Bay Education Center. Click here for directions: Map.

                Inside the Estuary Explorium.

Adult Programs

Road Scholar: The University of Texas Marine Science Institute hosts Road Scholar programs that are educational/travel adventures for adults over 55 (or accompanied by an adult over 55) who are looking for something different. These short term academic programs are typically 6 days and 5 nights, although some may be shorter or longer. Subject matter ranges from coastal ecology and birding to coastal and south Texas history. All programs are field based and designed for active Road Scholars. 

Public Lecture Series: Click HERE to learn more about the 2021 series and to register. Please note, you will be redirected to our UtMSI webpage.

City Nature Challenge- April 24-27, 2020

Backyard and Home Nature Challenge is the name of the game as we all

Join the citizens of Mustang Island on the Gulf Coast of Texas from April 24th-27th as we participate in our 2nd annual City Nature Challenge (CNC) project to observe and document the wildlife living in and around our region. This year our challenge is focused on observations of wildlife living in our homes, backyards and neighborhoods. We encourage you to step outside and safely observe the wildlife around you!

Backyard and Home Nature Challenge is the name of the game as we all practice social distancing and safely navigate our home-based environments seeking wildlife in our yards, homes and neighborhoods.

Last year our project was in the top three for CNC observers and research grade observations per capita. We might be a small project area, but we are mighty when it comes to our appreciation for our local wildlife and natural spaces.

Any observation made on Mustang Island and the nearshore waters will count. Observations should be of wild organisms, and not those that are considered captured, domestic or cultivated. You can observe and document the wildlife living in and around your yard, potted plants and gardens, such as insects, lizards, weeds, birds, spiders, and wildflowers.

This event is hosted locally by The University of Texas Marine Science Institute and the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve along with the City of Port Aransas Nature Preserve.

Why Participate?

There is nature all around us, even in our cities! Knowing what species are in our city and where they are helps us study and protect them, but the ONLY way to do that is by all of us – scientists, land managers, and the community – working together to find and document the nature in our area. By participating in the City Nature Challenge, not only do you learn more about your local nature, but you can also make your city a better place – for you and other species!

How to Participate?
- Visit
- Download the app from the AppStore or Google Play
- Sign In
- Start sharing your observations made April 24-27, 2020
- Get feedback from actual scientists, experts, and other naturalists

Learn more about the City Nature Challenge, and which other cities around the world are participating.

Use the "Exploring nature  and around your home" guide to get started. Scroll down to download. 

Young scientists explore local plants and animals through the Reserve's educational programs.

Science on a Sphere offers visitors the opportunity to see satellite and computer generated images on a giant animated globe. 

All ages can get involved learning about the life within an estuary.

Birders visiting the King Ranch on a Road Scholar Trip. Photo credit J. Williams.
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