Archive for the 'Habitat' Category

Green Habits to Begin This Earth Day

Monday, April 17th, 2017
Earth Day

Celebrate Earth Day every day.


This is Passport to Texas

On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans demonstrated for a healthy, sustainable environment…and thus began the annual celebration of the planet called Earth Day.

2017 marks the 47th Anniversary of Earth Day, and millions of people worldwide are gearing up for it. It’s more important now than ever before to take personal responsibility for the care of our environment.

What kinds of things can you do to pay it forward for Mother Earth? Pick up and dispose of trash you find in parks or other public places. That’s simple. Plant native plants that use less water; they also provide food and shelter for wildlife. You could always properly dispose of monofilament fishing line so it doesn’t harm aquatic life.

When camping, leave your campsite in better shape than you found it. Or, your stewardship goal might be to spend time with your family outdoors instead of inside with the television—because a butt print in the sofa cushion offers no value to nature.

Mix it up, and regularly add new earth friendly activities to your list. As for me, I am going to do better with respect to composting kitchen waste and repurpose newspaper and cardboard as a weed barrier in my garden beds.

What will you do?

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

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

The Kraken Serves Texas as an Artificial Reef

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017
The Kraken on the way down to the gulf floor to become an artificial reef.

The Kraken on the way down to the gulf floor to become an artificial reef.

This is Passport to Texas

On Jan. 20th, Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Artificial Reef Program sank a 371-ft cargo vessel, named The Kraken, more than 60 miles off the coast of Galveston. Alison Baldwin is an Artificial Reef technician.

Because Texas [gulf floor] doesn’t have a lot of structure, it makes it hard to for fishermen to fish because fish really enjoy structure. So any time we put structure out here, it’s really good for fishermen and divers.

Program Leader, Dale Shively, says the Kraken, which began life in 1987 as a Japanese cargo ship, was cleaned of fuel, oil and hazardous materials before being deployed into gulf waters.

We’re at our reef site, about 65 miles out of Galveston. We’re trying to maneuver into a deep water spot that’s at least 140 feet deep.

To facilitate a controlled flood to sink the ship, Baldwin says work crews cut four large holes into the its hull.

Water will rush into the stern, and we’re hoping that the stern touches the bottom first, and all that super structure will fill with water, and it will bring the bow down nice and slow.

Everything progressed flawlessly, because of the planning and preparation that went into it beforehand.

As soon as we sink the ship, there should be fish on it in minutes—which is really exciting.

Since 1990, the artificial reef program has documented more than 200 marine fish species that make these complex, stable and durable habitats home.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

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

No Bird Shaming, Just Bird Watching

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017
2017 Great Texas Birding Classic, April 15 - May 15.

2017 Great Texas Birding Classic, April 15 – May 15.

This is Passport to Texas

During The Great Texas Birding Classic, birding teams raise money for conservation while they compete for bragging rights against other teams…if there are other teams.

 If you wanted to know where I really feel like people need a challenge, I think the Panhandle. They want some competition up there.

Shelly Plante is Nature Tourism Manager for Texas Parks and Wildlife. While the coast hosts a multitude of birding teams during the classic, regions like the Panhandle barely have any, and they aren’t alone.

Far west Texas—they want some competition. The DFW area only has a couple of teams participating. They could use some great competition. It would be wonderful to see those areas grow by leaps and bounds this year, and to see a real shift in people seeing birdwatching as an activity that they can do with their friends and family in spring as the Birding Classic.

There are tournaments suitable for nearly every experience level. So, c’mon Panhandle, Far West Texas and DFW Metroplex, step up to the challenge and put together a team. You other regions, too. I’m not trying to bird-shame anyone, but you can all do so much better.

When you register, the fee you pay supports conservation, and you’ll have fun outdoors with friends and family. Doesn’t that sound better than watching The Real Housewives of wherever?

The Birding Classic is April 15 through May 15, and the registration deadline is April 1. Do it for the birds.

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

Birding Classic Attracts Birders Old & New

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017
Big Sit in Austin with the Tweeting Chats

Big Sit in Austin with the Tweeting Chats

This is Passport to Texas

The Great Texas Birding Classic continues to attract seasoned and beginning birders to its flock.

It’s really crazy. We keep seeing amazing growth. I keep wondering when we might plateau, and it hasn’t happened yet.

Shelly Plante is Nature Tourism Manager for Texas Parks and Wildlife. The tournament had a growth spurt beginning in 2013 after it became statewide.

We had the largest participation in over ten years in that first year that we were statewide. And that was 58 teams. Since then, we’ve grown every single year; last year in 2016, for our 20th anniversary, we had 113 teams.

The money raised funds conservation grants. Birders have fun doing it, when they participate in various tournaments. One of the most popular is the Big Sit.

And it is what it sounds like. You are sitting in a 17-foot diameter circle for 24 hours (or parts of 24-hours), to see how many birds come through that area. In 2016 of the 113 teams that were registered for the Birding Classic, 40 of those teams were Big Sit teams. And they took place in every region of the state.

Register a team before April 1, at birdingclassic.org.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation supports our series and helps keep Texas wild with support of proud members across the state. Find out more at tpwf.org

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti

Birding Classic Still Flying High after 21 Years

Monday, March 6th, 2017

This is Passport to Texas

Twenty seventeen marks the 21st anniversary of the Great Texas Birding Classic.

I’ve been involved for 20 of those 21 years.

Shelly Plante is Nature Tourism Manager for Texas Parks and Wildlife. In the beginning, Plante says the majority of participants were “hard core” birders. Since becoming a statewide event, she says it’s evolved into a tournament for everyone.

We have a lot of different categories. There are categories for beginners; categories for kids who are just getting started; categories families can take part in—or bird clubs can take part in. And so, I’ve seen this really huge growth in the generalist, which I think is fantastic. That’s who we would love to connect with nature. They may not have a connection. So, we’re hopefully making that connection for them with an event.

The Great Texas Birding Classic is April 15 through May 15; registration deadline is April 1st. Money raised through fees and sponsorship goes toward conservation grants.

The more money we raise through registration fees and sponsorship, the more money we are able to award to conservation grant projects throughout the state. So last year, we gave out $36-thousand dollars worth of grants. And, some of the winning teams got to pick which projects received that funding. So, it’s really a fun way to take part in conservation, and maybe even get to choose who gets those conservation dollars.

Put together a team and register before April 1, at birdingclassic.org.

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

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti