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BRGHT FUTURES — PNG’s Lydia Garza looks to future in wildlife biology

PORT NECHES — Lydia Garza has been interested in animals and how they interact with their environment since a very young age.

Maybe it came from her love of hiking and the great outdoors while living in Virginia, where there were mountains and a backyard of hiking trails.

Her interest continued after a move to Houston, where she was always trying to get out in the environment and volunteered at veterinarian clinics.

This interest has evolved to nature journaling for Garza, a senior at Port Neches-Groves High School.

“I have that curiosity of the environment and get a journal and go outside and sit for a few hours,” she said. “If you see a bird, you draw a bird; find their species and what family they run in and why that bird is there. It’s a curiosity thing.”

She also has a few pets of her own; a Boston terrier named Tink and a bearded dragon named Jarvis.

After high school she plans to head to Texas State University in San Marcos, where she will major in wildlife biology.

Further plans include earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees and landing in a field career.

“Maybe work for a conservation organization, get into conservation,” she said. “A zoo would be a nice option, but I’m more of a field person, get your hands dirty.”

The wildlife biology field can get very specific and Garza finds reptiles and the dense forest interesting — “snakes, lizards and the swamp.”

She plays varsity volleyball and is also a track athlete. She is involved in the Association of Indian Athletes through the girls athletic department.

Kyle Einkauf, environmental systems instructor at the high school, called Garza an amazing student who excels in his class.

“Lydia always comes to class with a smile and an eagerness to learn,” he said. “She always works hard and takes in as much information as she can. I see great things in her future.”

Lydia Garza is the daughter of Stacey Lynn Garza and Armando Garza Jr.