Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center will participate in the Southeast Texas Mission Possible: Nature Challenge June 14 through Aug. 8 as part of a project encouraging families to reconnect with the environment. A prize will be awarded to the registered team that completes the most missions and wins the semi-final and final challenges on Aug. 8. The project is sponsored by Houston Wilderness, Texas Forest Service, and Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

The project aligns with Shangri La’s mission to mentor children of all ages to be kind to their world, as it tasks teams with competing in different missions at a variety of Texas state parks, nature centers and other environmental learning facilities. Each site, including Shangri La, will include activities designed for family fun and nature exploration provided in English and Spanish. Participants will have the opportunity to view native plants; dip their feet in creeks, rivers and the Gulf of Mexico; photograph, draw or write about their observations; and learn more about the exciting natural world around them.

The Shangri La mission will send project participants to the wetland demonstration garden, where participants will perform a study on benthic macroinvertebrates, which are organisms living near the bottom of the water and include snails, worms, crayfish and the larvae of many insects such as dragonflies, mayflies and more.

From there, participants will be directed to the Shangri La bird blind to identify four species of birds nesting on Ruby Lake. Finally, upon learning the history of the formation of Ruby Lake, participants will complete the Shangri La portion of the nature challenge mission.

Project sponsors will host the opening ceremonies of the summer nature competition at Discovery Green in downtown Houston on Sunday, June 14 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Participants may complete missions throughout the state through Saturday, Aug. 8, at which time the closing ceremonies will be held in Houston at the Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. The ceremonies will include the semi-final round, a final mission and the grand prize presentation.

For complete rules, details and online registration information for the Mission Possible: Nature Challenge, visit the official website at Families will also be permitted to register at the opening ceremony on June 14 at Discovery Green in Houston. Teams must include a minimum of two family members, with at least one age 18 years or older and one under the age of 18.

Shangri La is located at 2111 West Park Avenue, Orange, Texas. For more information, including admission and tour details, please visit or call 409.670.9113.