Education & Engagement

Bexar Audubon Society Education & Engagement

In addition to the outings planned by Bexar Audubon Society in San Antonio, we also enjoy promoting, attending, and providing volunteer support for birding festivals and special events outside of our immediate area. Check back often to learn more about upcoming events.

Mitchell Lake Audubon Center:
The Hidden Jewel of
San Antonio’s South Side

Mitchell Lake has a vision not just be a world class birding center but also to be a premier eco-cultural tourism destination in Central Texas.  Audubon, in collaboration with San Antonio Water System, has created plans for improving existing infrastructure, expanding accessibility and public access, and adding safety features and amenities. The Center has been allocated $6 million for improvements in the 2022-2027 Bond Project for Parks & Recreation. Priorities for use of these funds include:

  • Expanded educational pavilion
  • Improved parking area
  • Redesigned roads and trails

Click here to read more about the Mitchell Lake proposal.

More about Mitchell Lake Audubon Center

Birdwatching enthusiasts from across the globe call Mitchell Lake Audubon Center a world-class destination. Its mission is to connect people to nature through conservation and community education focused on birds and their habitats. Mitchell Lake’s ponds, grassland, wetlands, brushland and woodlands boast more than 340 bird species as well as a diverse assemblage of reptiles, amphibians, insects, mammals, and plants. Located at the literal crossroads of San Antonio’s thriving hike and bike trail system, this 1,200 acre hidden jewel of the South Side is uniquely positioned to become a vibrant, gateway destination for nearby residents, nature lovers throughout the region, and birding enthusiasts from around the world.

Birds need us

Mitchell Lake’s wetland habitat is one of the last critical stopover grounds before the Texas Coast. Shorebirds utilize muddy shores or mudflats to gather important food resources. Mitchell Lake is the only site in the San Antonio area that has mud flat habitat vital to shorebirds, making the habitat here critical for migrants. Additionally, it is a major wintering site for migratory waterfowl.


  • 98.5% of long-distance migratory bird species in the US pass through Mitchell Lake Audubon Center
  • 340+ bird species documented at the center
  • 30 species documented from Audubon's WatchList for Bexar County (bird species that have the greatest conservation needs)
  • 120 plant species
  • 315 acres of wetlands & ponds
  • 285 acres of brushlands, grasslands, and woodlands

People love us

From its inception in 2004, Mitchell Lake Audubon Center has welcomed visitors to its refuge, inviting them to participate in nature education programs. This innovative approach—preserving open space not just to protect wildlife and native habitat from people, but to actively engage people in its conservation through learning and exploration—serves as a model for Audubon and other nature education centers nationwide and has influence the development of place-based experiential learning as a highly effective pedagogical practice.


  • 12,000 visitors annually
  • 53% visitors from San Antonio and surrounding area
  • 49 species of birds seen by average explorer
  • 7.5 miles of trails
  • 4 geocaches
  • 4,000 students participate in educational programming onsite
  • 81% of students served are economically disadvantaged
  • 70% schools served are Title 1

Informative Bird Banding Video from
Mitchell Lake Audubon Center

Bird bander and TPWD and Texas Nature Trackers naturalist Craig Hensley and his team spent a glorious morning banding birds at Mitchell Lake Audubon Center. Watch the video here for an intro to bird banding, including a look at their specialized equipment, and a fantastic up close view of some of the birds banded that morning. Forward the video to 7:42 for the start to finish banding of a beautiful male Northern Cardinal. Other birds in the video are a Loggerhead Shrike, Lincoln's Sparrow, Black-crested Titmouse, Hermit Thrush, and an Eastern Phoebe.


Watch the "Introduction to Birdmania" Video

On Saturday, June 13, 2020, Phil Hardberger Park Conservancy presented a Live Virtual Nature Talk. Birding educators Tom and Patsy Inglet (Patsy is president of Bexar Audubon Society) hosted a birding presentation for all ages. Learn the basics of birding and using binoculars to see local birds. Click here to visit the Phil Hardberger Park Conservancy website to watch the video and download Tom and Patsy's handouts from the presentation.


Choosing Bird-friendly Plants

Click here to read Seth Patterson's informative article about landscaping for birds. Seth is a conservation consultant for San Antonio Water System.

Learn More About Birdability

Through education, outreach, and advocacy, Birdability works to ensure the birding community and the outdoors are welcoming, inclusive, safe, and accessible for everybody. The organization focuses on people with mobility challenges; blindness or low vision; chronic illness; intellectual or developmental disabilities; mental illness; and those who are neurodivergent, deaf, or hard of hearing or who have other health concerns. In addition to current birders, the group strives to introduce birding to people with disabilities and other health concerns who are not yet birders so they, too, can experience the joys of birding. Read more.


Native Plant Society Videos to View at Your Leisure

Learn about legends and lore of Texas native wildflowers and trees, find out how to create a backyard butterfly buffet, and more. The Native Plant Society of Texas has made several videos available here.

Education & Entertainment for Birders

Our friends at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology have made numerous resources available to keep us informed and entertained.


How to Address Nature-Deficit Disorder
in Your Children

By Jenny Miller,

Each year, it seems like play shifts further from traditional toys to electronic devices. While there are plenty of educational games for kids on these devices, nothing quite compares to getting outside for some good old-fashioned fun. Not only does exposure to nature help kids get more active, but it also encourages creativity, socialization, and a lifelong respect for the natural world. Find some great ideas for fighting the disconnection from nature below.

Teaching Kids about the Importance of Nature at Home
Since children are drawn to technology, getting them to set aside the devices for a while and head outside is important. Here’s some important info regarding kids and nature.

9 Great Outdoor Learning Activities for Springtime

13 Best Nature Documentaries for Kids

Home Science: Backyard Conservation Lessons

Nature Journaling with Children — Keep it Easy, Fun, and Simple

Exciting Outdoor Adventures for Kids
Now that you understand the importance of spending time in nature, what’s next? Discuss outdoor activities with your child and see what they’re into. If you’re stumped for ideas, the following resources can help steer you in the right direction.

Fun Sports Activities and Games for Kids

10 Really Cool Outdoor Adventures with Kids

4 Tips When Mountain Biking with Your Child

Genius Hacks to Make Camping with Kids Fun and Stress-Free

How to Safely Observe Wildlife from Your Home

Ways to Give Back While Spending Time Outside
What’s better than spending time in nature? Helping people and the environment while you’re at it! The following resources can help you find ways to give back while enjoying nature.

How to Plan a Community Cleanup

Community Cleanup - Keep Austin Beautiful

Adopt-a-Beach Cleanup

You Can Be a River Hero: Take Part in a Cleanup

When given the opportunity, kids will love spending more time outside. There are endless ways to have fun as a family, whether you’re having an adventure or learning something new. Outdoor time can also become more meaningful by finding ways to give back to the community.

Photo credit: Pexels

Mitchell Lake Audubon Center
Birding Tours


Summer Seasonal Hours
(June 14 - October 3)

  • Tuesday through Thursday, 7am to 1pm
  • Friday through Sunday, 7am to 2pm
  • Entrance gate closes 60 minutes before close.
  • Closed on major and/or Federal holidays

Review our hours and general guidelines at the Plan Your Visit webpage. Purchase your tickets today HERE.

Guided Birding Tours

On this guided bird tour around the various habitats of Mitchell Lake Audubon Center, guests will see 30-50 different bird species with our expert guide. Travelling by both car and by foot to access as many areas as possible This tour is best suited for the birder age 15+ as it can last up to four hours, though you may leave at any time.

Time & Seasonality

Every Sunday morning (except fifth Sunday of month) at 8:00am

REGISTER HERE for Bird Tours.

Volunteer Opportunities for BAS Members at MLAC

Volunteers can sign for any of these positions using Volgistics by clicking here.  Or you can send an email to [email protected].

Visitor Center Naturalists

Thank you to all our Visitor Center Naturalists!  We so appreciate your time and the volunteer work you do on weekends in support of the Mitchell lake Audubon Center…it is such a great help to the staff on duty!  We now have two shifts on Saturdays and Sundays, 8 am-11 am and 11 am-3 pm.

Bird Surveying 
Come out once a week to survey the property and birds at Mitchell Lake Audubon Center. This opportunity is available during the week on Wednesdays when the center is closed to the public. Our onsite host will meet you when you arrive and provide a radio in case of emergency. This activity may be done alone or in pairs. Volunteers will survey the property and input the bird list into eBird, the premier mobile bird tracking app from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

For updates and a daily dose of nature, follow these social media sites:
Instagram @mitchelllakeauduboncenter
National Audubon Society 

Bexar Audubon Society Partners

Visit our partners and sponsors by clicking on their logos below.