Posted on October 20, 2023 by Frances Sanchez


October 20, 2023 - Last month, COEHD's Dr. Mariela Rodriquez's photo of a yellow-crowned night heron eating a crawfish at San Pedro Creek Culture Park won in the Special Category of the San Antonio River Authority's 6th annual River Clicks Photo Contest.

Rodriquez is an avid bird lover and nature enthusiast who spends her free time practicing photography.

"I've always enjoyed it, you know, and all that, but taking it more seriously, I would say the last five years have been, yeah, they've taken it more seriously and gotten a good camera and some good lenses," said Rodriquez.

A professor in the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies department, when she is not mentoring students or publishing articles or books, she can be found outdoors learning more about her passion project and taking in all that mother nature has to offer.

Her focus has been still bird photography, but capturing birds in flight during the migration is her next goal. Her winning photo of a yellow-crowned night heron eating a crawfish at San Pedro Creek Culture Park happened with her patience and self-trained eye.

Travel is one of her other hobbies, and places like Puerto Rico, which she and her husband frequent, present opportunities for stellar photos of tropical birds and extremely picturesque landscapes—not to mention beautiful shots of water from the island. 

When it came time to decide what photo to submit for the contest, her husband, who also assists her on all of her shoots and does photo editing, helped her select the night heron photo.

"In my file, I named it abundance because, yeah, you know, because there were two. He was at a different angle so that I couldn't take everything over, and so that's why, you know, abundance because they knew where to look and the river was providing life, you know, for these gorgeous birds," said Rodriguez.

As a seasoned traveler who is committed to seeing and experiencing as much of nature as possible, when asked what's next, she said, "Back to South Africa."

You can view her winning photo while it is displayed at the Witte Museum.


— Frances Sanchez