Rec organizes canoes down Armand Bayou


C Meinhardt

Armand Bayou Nature Center offers students scenic views of wildlife along the protected waters of its preservation center.

Cool breeze. Fresh Water. Bald Eagles. Free Lunch?

Students won’t have to save up all semester and road-trip to this exotic destination.

Instead, head five minutes south of San Jacinto College Central Campus to Armand Bayou Nature Center (ABNC) on April 5 for an outdoor canoe adventure hosted by the Campus Recreation (Rec) department.

“Armand Bayou is the best remaining bayou in the Bayou City…” Stewardship Coordinator for ABNC Mark Kramer said. “ABNC is the most beautiful piece of wild land remaining in Harris County.”

The preservation center has offered the community guided canoe tours for over 20 years featuring some of the region’s most bizarre and endangered creatures.

“Some of your rarest species that can generally only be seen at ABNC include river otter, bald eagle, American alligator, white pelican, brown pelican,” Kramer said.

In addition, outdoor enthusiasts may expect to see herons, egrets and osprey while paddling along the awakening nature tour scheduled for the day.

“As we expand our programming opportunities, we hope to add more outdoor adventures like camping, horse backing riding, and rock climbing,” Campus Rec Staff Assistant Mary Shelley said. “All of these events will be offered to Central students with a nominal fee.”

Shelley said the program is offering a “cookout style lunch” at the end of the trip at Bay Area Park.

Campus Rec also explained the first-year occurrence has limited space available, and reservations are only open to students at Central campus. However, the Center offers canoe trips year-round on the second and fourth Saturday of each month for students wishing to bring friends and family.

Student Ian Black considers himself an “outdoorsy” type and sees the canoe adventure as a “cool” idea for an alternative date activity.

“It’s different ’cause most go to a movie where you can’t talk, or out to dinner where both people are being shy.…” Black said. “It’s just you and them alone. It’s a good way to get to know the other person.”

Registration is open to both beginning and experienced visitors who are welcome to bring their own canoe or use the ones provided by the facility that typically hold one to three people.

“Recreational canoeing improves physical health by providing fresh air, cardio training and team building,” Kramer said.

Canoes will drift off at 7 a.m. Saturday at neighboring Bay Area Park.

“This launch spot has the best public accessibility,” Kramer said.

The park also provides volunteer opportunities for students wishing to spiff up their resumes.

Kramer encourages students to attend “Prairie Friday and Stewardship Saturday,” among the many efforts Armand Bayou offers nature lovers.

Kramer added, he hopes students will find, “a greater appreciation of the richness of life that occurs right here in their own backyard.”