San Antonio now served by "Virtual Nature Center" website

A local World Wide Website -- the San Antonio Virtual Nature Center -- hopes to be a true one-stop shopping center for everything anyone might want to know about the environment, natural history and related issues, from city leaders researching policy to students researching term papers, from activists seeking good ideas to ordinary citizens seeking to enhance their city and neighborhoods. Unlike other sites that offer similar fare, this one will focus tightly on local issues and the writings of local experts.

On the first page of the website a "hot button" leads to a list of phone numbers to which you can report environmental and wildlife emergencies or violations. The same button also gives you access to the latest environmental, conservation and community-development "alerts," which can range from important public meetings where your attendance can make a difference to short-notice crises in which a letter or e-mail from you might influence a government agency's policies or a company's development plans. Recently McDonald's saved a heritage tree at a new restaurant site because of just such an alert from local tree groups and the resulting outpouring of public messages.

Enter the front door of the nature center and you find yourself in a hallway lined with doors leading to a meeting room, with information on local environmental/conservation groups and their meeting schedules; to a library with reference information on ecology, ecosystems, natural history, natural resources, etc., to an issues room, with postings about local, state, national and global concerns, to a children's room with information and activities for young people, and to a classroom, where listings of environmental and natural-history educational resources in the San Antonio region are now being added to the site.

The site is young and still growing, with additional material added every week. Citizen comments and suggestions are welcomed and may be submitted through e-mail links on the site.

The San Antonio Virtual Nature Center is a project of the San Antonio Environmental Network (SAEN), an umbrella for collaborative efforts among local environmental and conservation organizations. Bexar Audubon Society is currently acting as the executive agency for SAEN and the website.



San Antonio Audubon Society members who want to read the monthly "Audubon Conservation Report For The South Texas Region" (locally produced by our conservation committee) but who miss one because they cannot attend a monthly meeting have two other options. The first is to visit the San Antonio Virtual Nature Center site and click on the door to enter the hallway, then click on the "issues" door, and then click on the "conservation reports" note on the issues bulletin board. This will take you to both the current and past issues of the conservation report. All the websites and e-mails listed are converted to links on the website, so you can get additional information or send e-mails simply by clicking on the report. The other option is to contact the conservation report editor, Harry Noyes, at (210) 490-3124 or e-mail and ask to receive the report by e-mail. We encourage you to keep up with this report because it describes many hot environmental/conservation issues that you can take action on, by active participation in projects or events or by sending letters, e-mails, phone messages, etc., to political leaders, government agencies, businesses or non-proft organizations.


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