Go Fish! Learn to Fish Events Teach New Skills

May 3rd, 2016
Go Fish! Events

Go Fish! In Texas State Parks

This is Passport to Texas

Fishing dates back 40-thousand years. While we started as nomadic hunter-gatherers, archeological analysis indicates most permanent settlements were established near water, where fish became a primary food source. Today, fishing is not so much about survival as it is about connecting with nature and family. But most people are out of touch with the activity. And for them, we have Go Fish! events at State Parks.

At a Go Fish! event, they’re typically going to have a chance—after they’ve gone through learning stations—to borrow some equipment and fish there on the site.

Caleb Harris, Texas Parks and Wildlife’s aquatic education training specialist, says Go Fish! events take place at state parks year-round and are self-paced.

They normally have about five learning stations they learn how to assemble their fishing gear. The next station they may learn how to identify certain fish. So, they’ll go through those learning stations, and when they finish that, they normally have a check-list, and they come back up to the table and get their award for learning how to fish, and then can borrow some fishing poles.

Harris says it takes about 30 to 45 minutes to go through all the stations; those who do get an award and an opportunity to put their new found skills into practice.

We really hope they leave there [the Go Fish! Event] much more comfortable with the sport of fishing, and ready to try it out on their own.

Find Go Fish! events near you in the calendar section of the Texas Parks and Wildlife website…and get ready to get hooked. The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Your Chance to be Part of History

May 2nd, 2016
TPWD TV Show Contest

Celebrating 30 Years of Texas Parks and Wildlife Television

This is Passport to Texas

A generation grew up watching the Texas Parks and Wildlife PBS TV series. Now, a new generation is joining them.

The thing that I consider the most special part about the Texas Parks and Wildlife [TV] show, is that I’ve never seen my daughter’s face light up so much as when she hears that opening song.  It doesn’t matter which room in the house my daughter is in, as soon as she hears those opening notes, she comes running in, because she knows the animal show’s on.

Josh Havens, Texas Parks and Wildlife Director of Communications, says 2016 marks the series’ 30th anniversary, and viewers of all ages are invited to commemorate this milestone.

We are holding a contest to commemorate that anniversary; a chance to give our viewers an opportunity to be part of that show that they’ve supported for so long. To enter is simple. In 250 words or less, you pitch us an original story idea for a feature segment. If your idea wins, you get the choice of either being on the show itself, or being on the film crew.

The winner also receives over $2-thousand dollars in prizes.

We’re looking for stories that can take individuals from their everyday indoor life, and introduce them to a world that is outside, and that tells the story of why Texas’ wild places and wild things are so unique.

Deadline for entries is May 31, 2016. Find complete contest rules and online entry form on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

TPW TV: The Night’s Watch

April 29th, 2016

This is Passport to Texas

The night skies sparkle over Texas. In an upcoming segment of the Texas Parks and Wildlife PBS TV show, you’ll meet folks like Bill Wren, who work tirelessly to keep the skies dark.

“Dark sky” just means the lack of any artificial light sources; man-made, human-origin light sources. It’s a relatively recent phenomenon, I mean, astronomers are kind of like the canaries in the coal mine, we’re the first ones to say “hey, wait a second. The skies aren’t as dark here as they used to be.

We waste tens of billions of dollars a year worldwide lighting up the night sky. Davis Mountains SP ranger, Tara Poloskey, calls this misdirection of wattage, light pollution.

And when I talk about the dark skies, I try to help people to understand how easy it is to preserve them. All it is, is a choice you make at Home Depot to buy the light that points down instead of up.

The MacDonald Observatory in Fort Davis depends on dark skies. Larry Francell says the surrounding community is on board, but they can only do so much.

We, as a group, keep our night lights either directed downward or don’t use them. But it’s encroaching from other areas, particularly the oil patch in the Permian Basin. The only way to keep McDonald Observatory working and safe and viable is for dark skies.

Catch the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV segment called The Night’s Watch the week of May 8th on PBS stations statewide. Check your local listings.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

Kidnapping or Rescuing Wild Baby Animals?

April 28th, 2016
Baby bobcat, Lexi when she was still a bottle baby. Photo courtesy of http://lexiandmoxi.blogspot.com/

Baby bobcat, Lexi, when she was still a bottle baby. Photo courtesy of http://lexiandmoxi.blogspot.com/

This is Passport to Texas

You know the story of spring: reawakening, renewal, and baby animals. That last part – baby animals – can be tricky. You see, sometimes we find infant wildlife when we’re outdoors, and want to “rescue” them, which might actually be more like kidnapping.

For example, a baby dear [or fawn] will hide quiet and mama will almost always come back. That’s their strategy.

See what I mean. Jonah Evans is a mammalogist at Texas Parks and Wildlife; he says unless an animal is injured or clearly in distress, leave it alone, but monitor it at a safe distance if you’re concerned. Even then…

I recommend, before touching an animal, call a rehabilitator and ask them.

Licensed rehabilitators know animal behavior and can provide guidance, which may also include instructions to leave the animal alone because of legal considerations.

There are actually some regulations about possessing certain wildlife that you have to make sure you’re not violating. Possessing a non-game animal without a license, could be in violation of certain laws.

That can be avoided when you know who to call. Find a list of licensed wildlife rehabilitators—by county—on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Look But Don’t Touch Wild Babies

April 27th, 2016
Fawn waiting for mom to return.

Fawn waiting for mom to return.

This is Passport to Texas

This time of year, reports start rolling in to Parks and Wildlife from people who think they’ve discovered abandoned baby animals.

What could have happened is you walked up there, and mama ran off and hid – and baby is hiding there. And, as soon as you leave, mama will come back.

That’s not true in every case, though, says Jonah Evans, Texas Parks and Wildlife mammalogist. If you see an abandoned baby possum, for example, mom could be gone for good.

With 184 some odd mammals in the state, it’s probably pretty difficult to give you a list of which mothers will come back wand which ones won’t. So, what I recommend is before touching and animal – call a [wildlife] rehabilitator.

Licensed rehabilitators know animal behavior and can tell you which critters may benefit from intervention.

If you contact one of the many throughout the state – and there’s a whole long list of them on our website – they are really the experts in this. Not Parks and Wildlife.

Jonah Evans says although—as a mammalogist—he researches and studies warm-blooded animals, rehabilitators are the ones with skills suited to helping citizens’ where abandoned baby animals are concerned.

Find a list of licensed rehabilitators by county on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series…

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.