TPW TV–Texas Clipper 10 Years Later

November 17th, 2017
Reefing the Texas Clipper 10 years ago.

Reefing the Texas Clipper 10 years ago.

 

This is Passport to Texas

Ten years ago, Texas Parks and Wildlife sent a ship called The Texas Clipper to the gulf floor to serve as an artificial reef.

Texas Parks & Wildlife has taken a section of the Gulf of Mexico that was once a barren dessert, and created an enormous ecosystem of 180,000 square feet of substrate, to bring new life for both the fisherman and the divers.

Tim O’Leary takes sport divers out to explore the Texas Clipper which now teems with marine life.

This is a world class wreck. I want Texans and Texas to get excited.

The Clipper is an oasis for the marine life of the Gulf of Mexico. Dale Shively headed the project for Texas Parks and Wildlife.

This is quite an adventure to come back 10 years later and see that it’s a tremendous dive opportunity, it’s a great place for fishing, and it’s a great place for marine habitat. I think it’s a great dive destination. Lots of marine life, a lot of coral, juvenile reef species of all different types. You’ve got thousands and thousands of square feet of hard surface area and you can see that where the marine life is growing on the ship itself. I would consider this a big success for an artificial reef.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS airs a segment on the Texas Clipper, then and now, the week of November 19. Check local listings.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

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

TPW Magazine’s Rio Grande Valley Road Trip

November 16th, 2017
Bentsen Rio Grande Valley State Park

Bentsen Rio Grande Valley State Park

This is Passport to Texas

To celebrate its 75th anniversary, Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine’s staff spent a week in the Rio Grande Valley to discover its stories.

It’s the craziest thing we’ve ever done. But, sometimes crazy is brilliant. And I’m hoping that’s the case here.

Editor, Louie Bond, says the issue is a tribute to the folks who started the magazine 75 years ago in the midst of a world war.

And we thought about, what part of the state of Texas could we celebrate that embodies the spirit of Texas, and the multi-culturalism, and fantastic nature opportunities? And we unanimously agreed the Rio Grande Valley was the place to go.

Their inspiration came from an old issue of Norwegian Airlines magazine.

Who had taken the entire team to the most northern location that they fly to in Norway—which was actually a tiny little town within the Arctic Circle. But, for such a tiny town, a whole magazine was devoted to it, and it was the most fascinating thing I had ever seen.

In the end, Louie Bond says the December issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine is a love letter.

We call is a love letter to the Rio Grande Valley. And that’s what I would like everyone to take away from it. You know, to look at the Rio Grande Valley through the eyes of a new visitor, who looks around and says: “’Wow. I cannot believe what I found here.’

The December issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine is on newsstands now. Our show receives funding from Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram.

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

Monarch Malaise

November 15th, 2017
Monarch on milkweed.

Monarch on milkweed.

This is Passport to Texas

Habitat loss along its migration route may be one reason the Monarch butterfly is in decline. While feeding on nectar, Monarchs pollinate wildflowers along their route, which benefits our ecosystem.

There are two primary ways that habitat supports pollinators.

Johnnie Smith oversees outreach and education at Texas Parks and Wildlife.

And one is, the adult pollinators oftentimes feed on nectar of flowers. So, flowering plants that are a food source for the pollinator is very important. But also, is the food source that the pollinator’s larvae rely on as they’re growing up and becoming an adult. And so, that is just as important as the flowering plants that support the adults.

For Monarchs, native milkweed is an important plant. By cultivating them in our yards, along with other nectar and larval plants, we can all play a part in their survival.

There is no effort that is too small to be counted worthy. And there’s no spot of land that is too small to contain pollinator habitat. So, we really want to empower everybody—tht they can make a difference. Right where you stand. Right where you live—you can crate pollinator habitat, and help turn around this negative trend with the monarchs.

Find native and adapted plants for pollinators on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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

Go on a Nature Scavenger Hunt

November 14th, 2017
Enjoying a nature scavenger hunt.

Enjoying a nature scavenger hunt.

This is Passport to Texas

Most of us will overindulge during the long Thanksgiving weekend. Instead of letting the family collectively slip into a food-induced coma, get outside for some fresh air.

And maybe even have some fun in terms of a challenge or game or scavenger hunt.

Richard Heilbrun is a wildlife biologist with the wildlife diversity program. Personally, I’m intrigued by the sound of the scavenger hunt.

One of my favorite things to do with young kids is to give them a set of objectives: I want you to find a bug. For older kids: I want you to find a butterfly; I want you to find a moth; I want you to find this kind of caterpillar; I want you to observe ten different types of songbirds and tell me what they eat by what kind of bill they have.

Be sure to have a few field guides for reference, as well as binoculars, a digital camera and even a sketch book.

When you give them a challenge, it becomes a game. And they get into it and they get excited. Then, before you know it, they’ve spent their whole day interacting with nature, searching, discovering, and developing a sense of wonder with wildlife. And it’s that sense of discovery that endears them to nature and wildlife and conservation as adults.

And it works up an appetite, too.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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

Interacting With Wildlife

November 13th, 2017
TPWD staff photographer, Earl Nottingham, helps feed fawns

TPWD staff photographer, Earl Nottingham, helps feed orphan fawns

This is Passport to Texas

There’s only one way to see wildlife in its natural state.

You have to spend time where the animals are.

That means outside. Richard Heilbrun, a wildlife biologist with the wildlife diversity program, says cooler fall temperatures makes extended time outdoors more pleasant and improves your chance of seeing wild things.

And with a little bit of patience; a little bit of perseverance—and maybe some education—we can really enjoy, enjoying the wildlife.

Whether you check out the critters in your backyard, neighborhood, or spend the day at a Texas state park, Richard says, there are ways to enhance the experience.

The best thing to take with you when you go out into wildlife habitat is something to enjoy wildlife with—whether it’s a digital camera, a pair of binoculars, or a field guide.

A sketch pad is also fun, and slows you down even more, so you can truly savor your wildlife viewing experience. The one thing you want to avoid, however, is direct contact with the animals.

The best way to enjoy wildlife is to enjoy it from a little bit of a distance. And that camera and binoculars really help you get close without actually needing to pick up that animal. Because, unless you know what you’re handling, it’s really a better idea just to observe them, draw them, photograph them, and watch them.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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