This is Passport to Texas
Neither Bill Baker nor his teammates were birders 20 years ago when they participated in the very first Great Texas Birding Classic.
We were so bad the first year, the Parks and Wildlife department staff felt sorry for us. And they gave us an award for being rookies of the year so we might think about coming back the next year.
Back then he worked for Houston Lighting and Power managing a program called Environmental Partners.
And the goal of that program was to leverage money to enhance wildlife and fishery habitat here in Texas. So, when I saw the Texas Birding Classic advertisement, I thought we could participate in the classic with the Parks and Wildlife Department. If, perchance, we would happen to win, we could leverage our company money with any winnings to enhance a project here in Texas.
Bill may have been overly optimistic about his team’s prospects that first year, but he said it opened his eyes to what they needed to do to become competitive.
So, that was the goal after year one. And it drove us to come back. It was like, ‘Okay. We were embarrassed the first year. So let’s see what we can do to close the gap.
More with Bill Baker tomorrow. Meanwhile, The Great Texas Birding Classic gets underway April 15. Winning teams help decide the distribution of habitat restoration funds. Keep up with the action at birdingclassic.org.
For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.