Augustine Hall Students Revitalize Buffalo Bayou
A group of University of St. Thomas students took the lessons they are learning about faith and culture and applied them to revitalizing the Buffalo Bayou area. Twenty students, most from the Augustine Hall Living Learning Community, worked for several hours Saturday, Oct. 27, digging in hard soil and planting native trees and shrubs in a degraded area being reclaimed by the Buffalo Bayou Partnership.
“Anytime you feel that you are giving back to the community or the world in general, you get a sense of fulfillment,” said Beckie Becan, senior Catholic studies and drama joint major. “The plants we were putting into the ground may seem small and didn’t represent the entire picture, but you get the sense that you were doing something valuable.”
The group also had a rare tour of the bayou from the water on the partnership’s pontoon boat. Because UST has a working agreement with the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, Sister Damien Marie Savino, FSE, assistant professor, biology and Catholic studies, was able to arrange the tour, which very few in Houston ever experience due to homeland security restrictions.
“As we travelled on the bayou, we saw different parts of the city from a very unique vantage point,” Becan said. “Some stretches were older and more historical, others newer and upscale. It was amazing to see all the differences and diversity along the area and to realize at the same time how we are all connected.”
On the boat tour the group passed homeless camps, including one under a bridge with beds fashioned on pipes and a rope ladder for access. They also had the opportunity to see snakes & birds, along with a recently completed multi-million dollar erosion control project utilizing Swedish engineering design. They stopped at the channel where storm water from UST empties into the Buffalo Bayou, along with its associated garbage and plastic bottles.
“It was an eye-opener to see the city from this view, as well as to realize UST’s connections to the bayou and its ecology and culture,” Sr. Damien Marie said. “Many of the students have never been to the bayou even though they are from Houston.”
The Buffalo Bayou trip was one of several excursions in the Augustine Hall Living Learning Community Program. In September, the group visited the Houston Symphony.
Learn more about Augustine Hall Living-Learning Community here.