May 8, 2022 | NVC PR Volunteer employees from Microsoft Data Center San Antonio recently visited Northwest Vista College to assemble wildlife habitat boxes that will be placed at NVC’s 30-acre EcoLab in Bandera. As a part of a three-year Microsoft Community Empowerment Fund grant the Geography and Environmental Sustainability department was able to purchase bat, butterfly, blue bird, wren, and owl nesting box kits. The volunteers built all the kits in about an hour and a half. Constructing from kits saved grant funds and allowed the volunteers to get out into the community. “Often when we talk about the ‘community’ in community college, we think of how NVC serves our local population. The roles were reversed and Microsoft’s service was focused on their community — NVC and regional wildlife,” said Dr. Scott Walker, coordinator of NVC’s Environmental Studies program and who oversees the grant. In the fall students conducting undergraduate research at the EcoLab will help install the new bird and bat houses. As part of a Texas Parks and Wildlife management plan on the EcoLab property, NVC students are conducting ongoing bird and mammal surveys. The habitat boxes and other wildlife management initiatives will promote a healthy ecosystem for students to study and gain real-world experience.