Archive for the 'State Parks' Category

Go on a Nature Scavenger Hunt

Tuesday, 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.

Items to Bring on an Overnight Campout

Thursday, November 9th, 2017
Prepared camping, is fun camping.

Prepared camping, is fun camping.

 

This is Passport to Texas

Do you avoid overnight camping because you’re afraid you won’t get your beauty rest?

The folks that do avoid camping tend to think that it’s not comfortable. Well, it doesn’t have to be that way.

If you’re concerned you’ll be counting sheep instead of sawing logs on your overnight campout, Robert Owen with the Texas Outdoor Family Program says a blanket and pillow and a few other items will have you sleeping like a baby in Mother Nature’s embrace.

I always like to bring either a foam pad to sleep on or an air mattress – and even cots are getting especially popular now. Sleeping bags often have a temperature rating on them, so you’ll want to make sure that you know what your overnight lows are going to be; maybe even subtract a couple of degrees from that just to be safe, and make sure your sleeping bag is rated for that temperature. We have some tips for folks who are going to spend the night outdoors when the temperature starts to drop: air mattresses –they can actually cook you off over night. They might be very comfortable, but it’s like sleeping on a pillow of cold air. If you can insulate yourself against that pillow of cold air, it’s really going to make you more comfortable overnight. All that means is laying a blanket or sleeping bag below you – between you and the air mattress – and that goes a long way.

Reserve your site at your favorite state park at texasstateparks.org.

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

Campsite Considerations

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017
Family camping trip at Bastrop State Park

Family camping trip at Bastrop State Park

This is Passport to Texas

Fall camping season is here, and Robert Owen—an avid camper who oversees the Texas Outdoor Family program—offers suggestions for choosing a campsite for your overnight adventure.

What I look for in a campsite is a bit of privacy. I enjoy a quiet end of the park; a place where the family can settle down and enjoy peace and quiet of nature. Nearby nature trails – looking for a trail that offers the family something to do right off the back of the campsite is always a real benefit. Also, I always like to reasonably close to water if the park offers water so that all those recreational opportunities are there. I also look for a campsite that has level ground. There’re no safety concerns like low hanging limbs or anything like that, that might interfere with my evening. And proximity to the restroom. You always want to make sure you’re within a comfortable distance of the restroom.

One of the best ways to ensure that close proximity to the restroom is to reserve your campsite in advance.

Tomorrow sawing logs instead of counting sheep when sleeping under the stars. That’s tomorrow.

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

TPW TV–Fort Richardson: Appreciating Our Past

Friday, November 3rd, 2017
Bringing history to life at Fort Richardson.

Bringing history to life at Fort Richardson.

This is Passport to Texas

Fort Richardson, established in 1867, was the northernmost frontier fort in what is now Texas; it was established to help protect the western movement of settlers. Tim Swagerty.

The fort system was really integral in being able to settle the state. So without the fort system, we would not have had a state of Texas. We would not have been able to defend it and be able inhabit it as we do now.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS takes viewers back in time to experience the Fort’s and Texas’ history. Annie Ellison.

We are giving visitors an opportunity to see what life was like back when this fort was operational. They get to see the soldiers in action and to see what activities might be available to the children who lived in the fort back in the day, it makes that connection to their history.

Having that multi-sensory experience helps to connect visitors to the fort’s history, and helps them to understand why it is important to conserve that history.

Fort Richardson is really unique. And to keep it alive just as long as we possibly can, I think it is the best possible way to honor what has gone on out here and all the diverse cultures that have come through here and helped build this place.

The segment on Fort Richardson airs on the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series the week of November fifth through eleventh on PBS. Check your local listings.

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

A Weed Walk on the Wild Side at WOB

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017
Park Interpreter at Barrington Living History Farm at Washington-on-the-Brazos.

Park Interpreter at Barrington Living History Farm at Washington-on-the-Brazos.

This is Passport to Texas

Try as she might, Perry Foskey’s efforts to grow a vegetable garden in her East Texas backyard failed.

The weeds did really well. And I just got to looking around [and wondered]: why am I fighting this? And I started doing
some research on the weeds and [discovered] they were actually edible.

Foskey–who works at Washington-on-the Brazos–Barrington Living History Farm–proposed a program for the historic site on identifying edible wild plants.

I thought it would be an excellent accent for the farm, itself. And visitors have liked that program, and it’s been a great success.

Dr. Mark “Merriwether” Vorderbruggen of Foraging Texas will facilitate two wild edible plant identification walks at the site on Saturday, November fourth.

Dr. Merriwether…he’s been foraging for a very, very long time. His parents even did it back in the depression; they subsidized their food source with foraging. He is one of the premier foragers in this area, and we’re so lucky to have him come out and teach these classes.

The plant ID walks with Merriwether are nine to noon, and one to four on November 4th. Interested? Give Perry Foskey a call.

And, we’ll be glad to put them on the list. We recommend the classes should be for 12 years of age and up. And the classes are absolutely free.

Find more information in the calendar section of the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

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