Spring Break: Family Fun

March 2nd, 2015
Spring Break: Camping at a state park with the family.

Spring Break: Camping at a state park with the family.

This is Passport to Texas

Spend time with the family outdoors this spring break.

I believe it’s very important for families to spend time outdoors. Especially in the metropolitan areas, (where) people aren’t able
to fully experience nature in a natural setting.

Doug Huggins works with state parks in the Houston area, but when we spoke, he worked at Bastrop State Park. Parks buffer visitors from the hubbub of city life.

16—It’s a good place to see nature; to look at the flora and fauna, and get out of the city and feel like you’re away from it all… and you can leave all the hustle, bustle and business behind, and slow down for a little while to think about what’s going on right here right now.

Spring break can be sunny and warm or cold and wet; whatever the weather you can enjoy the Texas outdoors. If an overnight stay is in your future, and the weather warrants, consider cabins—like those at Bastrop State Park.

20—They’re nice and cozy. They also have heaters and they have fire rings outside so you can have fires and roast marshmallows and make s’mores. It’s a great place to spend time with the family; and in the winter time we still have some people that come out who take advantage of the bluebird days when it’s mild and the sun is out, to look at what winter residents we have at the park.

Find a link to state park information and reservations at passporttotexas.org

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

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

TPW TV: San Jacinto Monument

February 27th, 2015
San Jacinto Monument

San Jacinto Monument

This is Passport to Texas

Rising from the flat Texas wetlands along the Houston ship channel, the San Jacinto Monument is one of the most recognizable symbols of Texas history. Larry Spasic is President of the San Jacinto Museum of History Association.

14— This monument was built to be a memorial to remind us of the sacrifices of all those who fought for Texas independence. And when people come here, they see that singular vision in the San Jacinto Monument.

Watch a segment about the monument next week on the PBS TPW TV series. Russ Kuykendall, retired site superintendent, says the obelisk is a soaring monument to commemorate a small battle with huge consequences that took place on that site in 1836.

15— The monument really honors both sides of the battle – both Mexico and Texas. And, of course, independence [was] won for Texas from Mexico at this site. And so, what better site to have this magnificent monument erected to honor all of those individuals.

The San Jacinto Monument state historic site embodies the hopes and dreams of the people who fought for the future of Texas.

Watch a segment on the monument and Texas history next week on the PBS Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

NOTE: As happens from time to time, there’s been a change in the PBS TV program schedule. The above show about the San Jacinto Monument will not air until a later date. However, you can still catch a TV segment that highlights the San Jacinto Battlegrounds, called Charlie and his Cannon through February 28 on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Television series. Check your local listings.

Nature: Feeling Ownership of the Outdoors

February 26th, 2015
Children enjoying the outdoors

Children enjoying the outdoors

This is Passport to Texas

Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods and The Nature Principle is coming to Texas in April for the Children in Nature Network Conference. As a child, he says he felt ownership of the woods near his home, the kind of ownership that often eludes today’s youth.

As an 8 year old, I pulled out –I think—hundreds of survey stakes that I knew had something to do with the bulldozers that were taking out other woods. I think I held ‘em off for a while. In any case, I was telling the story about pulling out stakes [at a conference]. And afterwards in the discussion period a rancher stood up, and he was sunburned, he was in his sixties, white handlebar moustache…And he said, you know that story you told about pulling out survey stakes? And he said, I did that when I was a boy. And then he began to cry in front of five hundred people. And despite his deep sense of embarrassment, he continued to speak about his sense of grief that his might be one of the last generations to have that kind of sense of ownership of land that has nothing to do with money—it goes deeper than that.

Help children connect with the land. Learn more about the Children and Nature Network Conference April 7 – 9 at passportotexas.org.

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

Research | Hunt: Learning From Dove Lethality Study

February 25th, 2015
Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove

This is Passport to Texas

Lead shot is the most common load used when hunting dove in Texas. In high accumulations it is a potential environmental toxin. Texas carried out a two-year study to evaluate effectiveness of lead versus non-toxic shot, should ammunition regulations change in the future.

02—We went into this study no knowing what we would find.

Corey Mason, Wildlife Region Three Director says it was a double blind study.

23— Everyone that was in the field – the observer recording the data and the hunter pulling the trigger – they did not know what kind of ammunition they were shooting. All of the ammunition looked identical on the exterior: all in the same brass, the same hole. No one knew what they were shooting. So, it removed all of that potential bias so that the study results are as objective as they can possibly be.

Mason says Texas needed to determine if a non-toxic ammunition alternative would be as effective as lead.

19—Secondly, we needed to know that information because of our harvest management strategies in which we base the number of days, the daily bag [limit], the opportunities to hunt these birds based on current knowns. And so, if those efficiency and wounding rates were to change it could potentially have an impact on the number of days in dove season, the daily bag – all those sorts of things.

Mason says the final analysis shows virtually no difference in effectiveness of lead versus steel shot. So, for now, it’s hunter’s choice.

03— We believe in hunter choice, but we want that to be an informed hunter choice.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

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

Research | Hunt: Dove Lethality Study

February 24th, 2015
Dove hunters at sunset

Silhouette of dove hunters at end of day with sunset

This is Passport to Texas

Texas leads the nation in dove hunting with roughly a quarter million hunters bagging 5 million mourning doves each fall.

03—Dove hunting is kind of a rite of passage for fall for many hunters.

Corey Mason is Wildlife Region Three Director. He says in December (2014), the agency released results of a two year study examining the lethality of lead versus non-toxic shot for mourning dove.

07— Long story short, what this [analysis] told us is that bagging, wounding and missing rates, they really did not differ across ammunition types.

Mason said the most commonly used shot is a 2 3/4-inch 12-guage shell, one and one-eighth ounce 7 1/2 lead shot.

10— We compared that to a one ounce seven steel, and a once ounce six steel. It came out with very comparable results. So that statistically speaking, there was really no difference.

Texas Parks and Wildlife staff, trained as observers, spent two years in the field collecting birds bagged by hunters at commercial hunting operations.

14—There were over 5-thousand shots fires; there were over 11-hundred birds bagged. Every bird that was shot was necropsied, x-rayed, and examined. We took information gained in the field – as well as the terminal ballistics – [to determine] the effects those particular pellets had on the birds.

Again, researchers discovered negligible differences between ammunition types. But why study this at all. That’s tomorrow.

The Wildlife and Sport fish Restoration Program supports our series.

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