Changes are in the works for the
. A new manager, with a future location, seeks to give visitors a cleaner and more natural experience. San Marcos Nature Center
Jenna Winters was named the new manager of the SMNC in late December of last year. She is also pursuing a doctoral degree in biology at
. Winters worked alongside the past manager, Julie King, for almost five years, until King moved with her husband to Texas State University . King, however, said she is very supportive of the city’s decision to have Winters replace her. Colorado
“When she decides she’s going to do something,” said King in a phone interview. “She’s not going to do it half heartedly. She’ll get it done.”
The SMNC was closed and unattended for a month before Winters reopened it. She said that her main focus is to clean the place up so as to do a better job at its mission of environmental education.
The gardens behind the building are overrun with leaves and other debris. Winters, however, has enlisted volunteers from the
horticultural department and professional gardeners to get the SMNC’s many outdoor exhibits back into shape. Texas State
Meanwhile, the city has made plans to move the SMNC from its current location on
and I-35 to the Purgatory Creek Greenspace at the corner of Riverside Wonder World Drive and Hunter Road within the next two years.
Both Winters and King agreed that I-35’s proximity has damaged the SMNC’s natural landscape and atmosphere. The SMNC has been plagued in the past by littering, and occasionally a homeless person was found sleeping on the porch. However, Winters said she believes the new location will change all of this.
SMNC’s new facilities are also planned to be totally energy efficient by using solar and wind power.
“It’ll be really cool when we have kids in here on a tour,” Winters said. “We’ll be able to tell them ‘and all the fish tanks are powered by the solar panels on the roof. The building itself will be an educational display.”
The new facilities will be focused on cultivating native plant and wildlife species.
and Wildlife, on their website, lists the Hill Country as a home to feral hogs, deer and possibly even mountain lions. No, there will not be mountain lions in the petting zoo. Texas Parks
But what is to become of the current facility? Marci Nance, aquatic biology senior, is worried that the efforts of volunteers like her will be discarded.
“I just don’t want to see this place to get lost in the shuffle,” said Nance.
Nance, like many other volunteers, has a personal project at the site. She is building a three-tiered flowerbed which she hopes to fill with different varieties of native flowers.
Other major aesthetic improvements include a large mural on the indoor wall of the nature center depicting the aquatic life of the
. San Marcos River
The city has not finalized any plans so far about the future of the current nature center, but Winters said that she hopes they will turn the building into a trailhead, and keep most of the gardens that the volunteers have spent so much time trying to restore.