Step Softly and Look Out for Diamondbacks

April 21st, 2017
Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

This is Passport to Texas

Now that spring is in full swing, you’ll spend more time outdoors. When you do, my advice is to literally watch your step.

Probably most people who spend any amount of time hiking in Texas have been within arm’s reach of a diamondback and never knew it.

Andy Gluesenkamp is a herpetologist [and Director of Conservation at the San Antonio Zoo]. Don’t let what he just said about the big, scary venomous Western Diamondback Rattlesnake, which happens to be deadliest snake in North America, keep you locked up indoors.

Diamondbacks would by and large much prefer to avoid contact than get in some sort of fisticuffs with a large animal like a human.

These snakes play defense. They usually hang out in the vicinity of fallen logs, brush piles, and rocks. If they think you don’t see them, they’ll lie perfectly still and let you do a Dionne Warwick and walk on by.

If they feel threatened by you, the first thing that they’ll do is buzz that rattle. On rare occasions when somebody reaches their hands into a crevice, or is picking up firewood and grabs a snake or steps on a snake—then they’re going to react violently. And that’s when people tend to get bitten.

So, avoid doing what he said. You’ll be glad you did, or rather, didn’t. Find more information about snakes on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Website.

Support for Passport to Texas comes from the Wildlife Restoration program…working to restore native habitat in Texas.

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

Putting Texas Wildlife on the Map

April 20th, 2017
Prairies and Pineywoods West map segment

Prairies and Pineywoods West map segment

This is Passport to Texas

Now you can drive on the wild side of our state’s prairies and forests using two newly updated Great Texas Wildlife Trail maps.

The updates of the Prairies and Pineywoods East and West maps mark the completion of the entire collection of wildlife trail maps, which feature more than 920 wildlife-viewing sites all across our great state.

There are nine wildlife trail maps in all, and each invites nature lovers like you to discover the best of Texas’ native wildlife no matter where you are in the state.

In addition to physical copies of the maps, interactive maps are available online to explore various regions.

Each regional map details several smaller trail loops for easy driving trips throughout Texas.

The maps list contact information, entry fees and operating hours for attractions along the trails.

To view all nine Great Texas Wildlife Trails maps or to purchase a printed map, visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The new wildlife maps were made possible in part from the support of a number of sponsors, including the Wildlife Diversity Conservation License Plate Program.

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.

Celebrating a Pivotal Moment in Texas History

April 19th, 2017
Reenactment

Battle of San Jacinto Battle Reenactment

This is Passport to Texas

The Battle of San Jacinto was a game changer in Texas History. On April 21, 1836, an untrained Texian militia routed General Santa Ana’s troops.

The actual battle lasted less than half an hour; it carried on into the evening with clean up. But the main assault and the main fighting was done in less than half an hour.

Justin Rhodes is Region Four Director for State Parks, which includes the San Jacinto Battlegrounds in LaPorte. On Saturday, April 22th, the historic site celebrates this momentous battle with a reenactment and festival.

If you’re planning on coming out, I would recommend you arrive early when the crowds are low. That will give you plenty of time to visit the festival and get set up for the reenactment. The reenactment will occur only once during the day.

And that happens around 3 p.m. Rhodes hopes visitors leave with renewed appreciation for the sacrifices made on the battlefield in 1836.

Ultimately we want visitors to take away an appreciation of the significance of the site, the event, the history tht brought us to where we are today. So much of what we do today and tomorrow is based on lessons from the past – from the sacrifices that these men and women brought forward. They teach us valuable life lessons moving into the future.

The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The reenactment is at 3 p.m. details at texasstateparks.org.

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

They Fought to Preserve a Way of Life

April 18th, 2017
The Battle of San Jacinto

The Battle of San Jacinto

This is Passport to Texas

Six weeks after the fall of the Alamo General Sam Houston’s Texas army took less than 30 minutes to overpower Santa Ana’s militia, at what is now the San Jacinto Battleground.

San Jacinto is such a special place. It’s where we won our Texas independence. It’s where many scholars will argue that the history for not just Texas, but more so the United States — and even the world — was set with the Texian army winning that battle on April 21, 1836.

Justin Rhodes is the Region Four Director for State Parks, which includes the San Jacinto.

It’s interesting to sit down and talk to other historians and hear the “what ifs.” What if Texas did not win? Where would we be? Where would the United States be? Where would the world be without that victory that day? You know, where the battle occurred is right on – now – the Houston Ship Channel, which is one of the busier ports in the world.

The Texian Army was a rag tag crew of untrained men, battling against Santa Anna’s professional soldiers. Fighting on their home turf to preserve the lives they’d worked to achieve spurred them to victory.

Any time someone tries to take something that’s near and dear to your heart, you’re going to have that spirit that flows through to make you fight that much harder. And that was the backbone of the Texian army.

Celebrating the victory at San Jacinto is tomorrow.

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

Green Habits to Begin This Earth Day

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.