Board Spotlight - April.png

Dr. April Torres Conkey

Board Chair

In October 2020 April Torres Conkey joined the Texas Children in Nature Network Board. April as been part of the Coastal Bend Children in Nature regional collaborative for several years, currently serving as their communications chair. Sarah sat down with April on October 29th to find out more about her and why she feels so passionately about Children in Nature.

April, why don't you introduce yourself and let us know a little about you:

I am April Torres Conkey, I am a wildlife biologist, in the past I worked as a teacher and professor. In my research I specialized in ecology and education and outreach. I am currently a stay at home mom.

What interests you about the Children in Nature movement?

I grew up on a small family farm in a small town and spent a lot of time outdoors, but seeing the trend in children spending less and less time outdoors and that is concerning. This movement is important because it is highlighting the benefits of those outdoor experiences.

Why do you feel strongly about Texas Children in Nature?

I think to best describe this I will use a story of a former student from when I was teaching at the university, a school about a 40 minute drive from the Gulf of Mexico. I took a group of students to a beach clean up and one student had never been to the beach before, and he lived about 30 miles from the beach. After the clean up the students all had the opportunity to play in the surf as a reward for all their hard work. Just seeing him play in the surf, it was something he had never has the opportunity to do before. I want all children to have these opportunities to go out and enjoy the natural areas in their region.

What is some of your history with Texas Children in Nature?

I first found out about the group three or four years ago at a booth at an outreach where the regional collaborative has a booth. I stopped to do the activity and picked up the flier and was interested to learn about the organization. The research I was doing at the time was focused on environmental educators. So, I looked up the local collaborative and became involved. I am now serving on leadership for the Coastal Bend region.

How has working with Texas Children in Nature made an impact in your life or profession?

When I was a professor my research focused on education and outreach - the Coastal Bend regional collaborative was a great resource because it let me network with many people in similar positions. I was able to share what I was working on and learn what they were working on. When it comes to my life it has given me a different lens to look through - addressing the lack of access for some children.

Why did you wan to join the Texas Children in Nature board?

I feel strongly about the cause and the goals to try to make sure all children have equitable access to the outdoors and its benefits.

Where would you like to see Texas Children in Nature in five years?

I think that the organization has grown quite a bit and has really started to branch out across Texas. As it grows it is going to need greater staff support and hope that will bring about the changes we want to see to get kids outdoors in nature.

Thank you April for your time today.