David & Marianne Book have been volunteers, supporters & contributors on many levels for Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. His children's books are a popular item at the Nature Store, and his history book on the Refuge was a particularly challenging puzzle to pull together. I look forward to his blog for bits and pieces to be brought to life among other topics regarding the habitat and conservation efforts of Laguna Atascosa.

Georgia Peanut Farmers Visit the Refuge

Sat, December 02, 2023 8:43 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

author: David Book

LANWR has hosted many of the elite of the birding world since its inception in 1946; people like Roger Tory Peterson (six visits), David Sibley (two), and a handful of noted photographers. None created the stir, however, more than did two avid birders who visited in early April, 2004, the late Rosalynn Carter and her husband, none other than the 39th President of the United States. Jimmy and Rosalynn had been fascinated with birds since a trip to Africa in 1988 and had begun their bird list on that trip. They embarked on their first "dedicated to birding" adventure with a whirlwind, four-day tour of the Rio Grande Valley covering 12 stops from Falcon Lake to South Padre Island, a distance of only 60 miles. The couple visited our refuge on Tuesday afternoon, April 6, with a retinue of Secret Service agents, Texas Parks and Wildlife and Department of Public Safety officials, Border Patrol, Coast Guard, Fish and Wildlife Staff and two guides! During their six-hour visit, the Carters observed six life birds: White-tailed Hawk, Reddish Egret, Wilson's Plover, Verdin, Bewick's Wren and Olive Sparrow, as well as 92 other species. They also adopted an ocelot through the Friends program.

Father Tom Pincilli, a local priest who served as a volunteer guide for LAWWR, had the privilege of guiding the Carters some of the time. In an interview with this blogger several years ago, he fondly recalled his impressions. "Jimmy and Rosalynn were an endearing couple. Often in our time together he would take her by the hand. You could tell quickly that they were a devoted pair. I made one mistake, however. I ask the former president and Nobel Peace Prize winner if he would tell me something about peanut farming. Big mistake!"

The Carters had a very successful trip. The four-day total was 151 species, 57 new American birds and 41 worldwide lifers. Writing in an article for Birder's Digest about his trip, President Carter praised local efforts to preserve areas for bird life and welcome birders like himself to visit the area.

Friends of Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. 
22688 Buena Vista Rd., Los Fresnos, TX 78566

© 2022 Friends of Laguna Atascosa NWR. All Rights Reserved

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software