The RGV Birding Festival is Back, But Some Worry For its Future Due to Plans For A Border Wall

HARLINGEN, Texas - Due to its geographical location, and with 1/3 of Mexico to the west, the Rio Grande Valley is prime territory for birds, making it a desirable place to visit for birders.

This is one of the reasons why the RGV Birding Festival has been staying active since 1994.

"Our birding festival is the 24th that we have had here in Harlingen,” said the Chair for the Birding Festival, Sue Griffin. “It draws people from all over the world. We have almost all of the states represented, and fourteen foreign countries represented either by our visitors or our vendors here," she added.

The large number of visitors the Birding Festival and other eco-touristic locations in the region attract, have helped bring a good amount of money to the area.

"This festival itself, creates a $2 million economic impact on just Harlingen and other areas that we visit here in the Valley,” said Griffin. “The economic impact has on the entire valley annually, has been measured by Texas A & M, at over $400 million," she added.

Local non-profit organizations understand the importance events like the Birding Festival have in the region, and are concerned the effect the construction of a border wall might have on them and the ecoturism in the area.

"Birding is something that's really important because it attracts people from all over the nation and all over the world,” said the communications coordinator for La Union Del Pueblo Entero, John-Michael Torres. “If the border wall is to be constructed, it could really devastate some of the key areas that people come to see. When they come to see these birds, they're also bringing their money with them and it's a needed boost to our local economy," he added.

This week, members of these organizations spent time in Washington D.C. trying to get Senator John Cornyn to stand with them, and prevent the Trump administration from building a border wall without bringing the idea to congress.


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