Archive for September, 2017

TPW Magazine — Texas Brigades

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017
Learning conservation with Texas Brigades.

Learning conservation with Texas Brigades.

This is Passport to Texas

Texas Brigades is a wildlife and natural resource focused leadership development program for youth, 13 to 17.

Texas Brigades has been around for 25 years. It started out as Bobwhite Brigade back in 1993, and then it just kind of morphed.

It’s morphed into is eight summer camps, each with a different conservation focus. Aubry Buzek [Byu-zik] wrote about the Brigades for the October issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine.

What was really interesting is that these camps are not necessarily about learning about one particular species. At Bobwhite Brigade, they were learning a lot about quail—and they had biologists there teaching them about quail. But that wasn’t the overall goal of the program. It was about being comfortable with public speaking, comfortable talking with their peers. Debating.

These five-day intensive camps incorporate military marching and cadence, and introduce students to experts and activities that challenge and

I talked to a lot of parents after graduation and they were like, ‘Who is this kid?’ I saw it too. That confidence. A lot of parents said they didn’t expect their kid to know just so much. But, in addition to that knowledge, these kids are loud, and they’re marching, and they make a lot of friends. It really is a transformative camp.

Read Aubry Buzek’s story about the Texas Brigades in the October issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine.

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

Take a Hike at a Texas State Park

Monday, September 11th, 2017
Fall is a great time to take a casual stroll or a vigorous  hike at a Texas State Park.

Fall is a great time to take a casual stroll or a vigorous hike at a Texas State Park.

This is Passport to Texas

After spending the summer indoors in self-imposed air-conditioned exile, the promise of cooler fall temperatures is sure to call you outside again.

Hiking in a state park is a simple and enjoyable way to reengage the great outdoors, and experience our state’s abundant natural resources.

Many parks have more than one trail, offering varying levels of difficulty.

A hike is not a race. So, slow down and take time to appreciate your surroundings. Trails are as varied as the parks they’re in. Some follow streams or take you into the woods, or onto rocky ledges; they can be shaded or sun-drenched. And wildlife viewing opportunities while hiking are abundant.

When hiking, dress for the weather. Always wear comfortable close toed shoes. Use a hat and sunscreen to save your skin. Insect repellent is always a good call when hiking in heavily wooded and wet areas. And don’t forget to bring water. Experts recommend you carry eight ounces of water with you for every hour you plan to be on the trail.

And always remember that if you pack in—pack it out. Leave no trace.

Find trail information on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

That’s our show for today… Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

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

Buy Your License, Feed Hungry Texans

Friday, September 8th, 2017
Beautiful, yes. But also an important protein source for hungry Texans.

Beautiful, yes. But also an important protein source for hungry Texans.

This is Passport

Hunters for the Hungry, a program of Feeding Texas, welcomes legally harvested and tagged deer from hunters to help feed hungry Texans.

This is a wonderful program that helps us fight hunger.

Celia Cole, CEO of Feeding Texas says a bill passed during the 2015 Texas Legislative session, allows hunters and anglers to make voluntary cash donations to the program when buying a license.

The option on the license is you can (voluntarily) donate one, five, ten or twenty dollars. In addition to the donations we’ve received through the hunting license option, individuals have supported the program through a donation option on our website.

Last year hunters and anglers, donated 110-thousand dollars to Hunters for the Hungry.

So, for the first time this year, we had funds to help reimburse processors for their costs of participating in the program. And that funding stream is what’s going to allow us to greatly increase the pounds of venison that go through the program next year.

Even with limited promotion, hunters donated more than 55-thousand pounds of venison to the program.

Collectively, we serve 3.5 million Texans every year. About a million of those are kids. We’re looking to grow [Hunters for the hungry] in those areas where there are lots of opportunities.

Find details at feedingtexas.org; click on the “get involved” tab, and then Hunters for the Hungry.

That’s our show…For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Hunters and Anglers Help Feed Hungry Texans

Thursday, September 7th, 2017
This is one of the faces of hunger in Texas. Image from Feeding Texas Facebook page.

This is one of the faces of hunger in Texas. Image from Feeding Texas Facebook page.

This is Passport

Hunger is widespread in the US and in Texas.

Our food banks collectively provide food and other services to about 3.5 million Texans every year. They do that through a network of approximately 3,000 private charities. They manage to get food and other services out to hungry Texans in all 254 counties.

Celia Cole is CEO of Feeding Texas.

Feeding Texas is the state association that represents all of the food banks in Texas – there are 21. And we’re all part of a network called Feeding America.

Hunters for the Hungry is a program of Feeding Texas.

We work with hunters and meat processors to involve them in the program. Hunters donate excess venison they hunt, to the processor who then grinds it up and packages it and makes it available to our network for distribution to the hungry people we serve.

Last year, hunters donated about 55-thousand pounds of venison to the program.

We are really hopeful that we can greatly increase that amount. It’s a matter of getting the word out to hunters that this program is available, and then also recruiting enough processors that there are enough outlets for hunters to take their deer to.

Learn how to help hungry Texans when you buy your next hunting or fishing license. That’s tomorrow.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

That’s our show…For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Developing an Ear for Backyard Birds

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017
White-throated sparrow and Carolina Chickadee. Images:  National Audubon Society.

White-throated sparrow and Carolina Chickadee. Images: National Audubon Society.

This is Passport to Texas

It’s not uncommon to find the white-throated sparrow and Carolina chickadee in backyards throughout Texas.

Most Texans have these – especially in the eastern two-thirds of the state

Cliff Shackelford, nongame ornithologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife, says these birds are whistlers.

They have very clear, clean whistles. Sometimes you might even think it’s the neighbor whistling – but it’s a little bird!

If whistling like this comes from ground level, it’s likely the white-throated sparrow.

If it’s a little higher up– maybe up in the trees – it’s probably the Carolina chickadee. We get a lot of phone calls from people saying: what is this bird with that has this crystal clear whistle in my backyard? And it’s probably going to be one or the other – either the chickadee or the sparrow.

The chickadee is finch-sized with a gray body, white underside and black and white head. The sparrow is plump with a black and white head, white throat, gray underside and little yellow eyebrows.

You can hear the chickadee whistling year-round, but the white throated sparrow leaves for southern Canada where it’s nice and cool in the summer while we’re here melting in the summer months.

Learn more about Birds in Texas on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife restoration program supports our series and funds wildlife surveys throughout Texas.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti