Fish and Game Cooking with a Tropical Twist

February 14th, 2019

A past dish prepared at Central Market Cooking Schools.

This is Passport to Texas

Learning to cook can be fun, especially when you attend a Texas Parks and Wildlife / Central Market Cooking School wild game and fish class.

We joined forces to introduce non-hunting and fishing food enthusiasts to the joys of wild proteins, and to help hunters and anglers learn a few new culinary tips and tricks to get the best flavor from the animals they harvest.

We hold classes the second Tuesday of every other month; we have one coming up in March. The recipes will have a tropical twist this time around, and feature crab, wild boar and shrimp with the flavors of coconuts, plantains and luscious fruits, like pineapple.

At each class a TPW volunteer shares information about wildlife management and conservation in Texas.

Classes take place in Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Dallas, Plano and Southlake.

Find a link to the locations, full class description and menu, as well as how to register at

And you can also find wild game and fish recipes on the Texas parks and Wildlife website.

We record our series in Austin at the Block House, and Joel Block engineers our program.

We receive support for our show in part from RAM Trucks: built to serve.

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


Here’s the menu for the March 12 class:

  • Cornmeal (polenta) with Crab, Tomatoes & Bell Peppers served with Green Plantain Chips
  • Oven-roasted Wild Boar with Jamaican Seasonings, Pineapple Salsa & Sweet Potato Mash
  • Coconut Shrimp with Lime

Class registration is simple. Just go the Central Market Cooking School main page, find the school in your area, click on the link, and then search the calendar for the TPWD class.

Follow the directions and you’ll be all set.

The Art of Nature: Jesus Toro Martinez

February 13th, 2019

Painting: An evening walk along looking at the Resaca off Retama St by St. Joe. Artist: Jesus Toro Martinez

This is Passport to Texas

When San Antonio artist, and native Texan, Jesus “Toro” Martinez, isn’t inside his studio at Lone Star Art Space, he’s nearby, collecting materials for his work.

This morning I got some trash along the San Pedro Creek, here outside my studio. This is a piece of aluminum can; I’m cutting it into pieces, so I can put it into my grinder and start making different levels of pigment.

He creates pigments from trash that washes up along the creek bed. When we met, he was working on a series called Creeks and Rivers.

Our Texas lands are so beautiful and vast, and we need to figure out how to protect them. This is more or less a way of me trying to advocate for that by showing it in my work, and then showing them the process of where it came from.

For years Toro has turned non-traditional elements into pigments for his abstract paintings

And now, I’ve created more of a stronger cause, such as: let’s clean our rivers and creeks. This is stuff that I’m finding here. And going down to the gulf—these will end up down there. And since I love fish, I don’t like to see my fish to start tasting like plastic.

Toro’s work is available in Texas through Lone Star Art Space and Dock Space Gallery in San Antonio.

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

TPW TV: Mustang Island, Fun for the Family

February 12th, 2019

Searching for shells on the beach at Mustang Island.

This is Passport to Texas

Are you thinking about a coastal getaway with the family this summer, but wondering where to go? The Texas Parks and Wildlife Television PBS series takes you to an island retreat that offers recreation and relaxation for the whole family. Producer Abe Moore.

As a producer and a dad, I’m always looking for stories or places where it’s kid friendly, or something great for the family. And Mustang Island, it’s just a great place for kids, and then as a parent, you can kind of just hang out.

People, when they come out to the island, they’re looking for relaxation. So, the minute they get here and get set up, that’s all they’re looking to do—just sit back, relax and take it at their own pace.

It’s also a great place for fishing, and beach combing and birding. When I was out there filming, there was a lot of kite surfing going on, so that was really cool. What’s really nice about it, it’s right there in the central part of the coast.

In Texas, I don’t think a lot of people realize within hours you can be here. And when you sit out in this breeze coming off the water, it’s just great. So that’s story’s going to be on Texas Parks and Wildlife television. Enjoy!

The Texas Parks and Wildlife TV segment airs the week of February 17 on PBS stations. Check your local listings.

We receive support from RAM Trucks: Built to Serve.

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

Dispose of Derelict Crab Traps

February 7th, 2019
Picking up crab traps in Texas bays

Picking up abandoned crab traps in Texas bays

This is Passport to Texas

Sometimes commercial crab traps end up missing due to storms, or they are simply discarded. Yet, these traps continue capturing fish and other marine creatures, including endangered species. They take an environmental and economic toll on gulf fisheries.

During a 10-day period in February volunteers like you, join Texas Parks and Wildlife staff and partners, in removing these derelict traps. More than 35,000 crab traps have been removed from the gulf since 2002, saving tens of thousands of marine organisms.

Texas Parks and Wildlife facilitates roughly 20 coastal sites, and provides disposal facilities, tarps, gloves, crab trap hooks and other items to help volunteers remove troublesome traps.

This year’s cleanup is February 15th through the 24th.

Zack Thomas who coordinates the program for Texas Parks and Wildlife, encourages the public to go out on their own during this 10-day period. The cleanup is the only time citizens may legally remove these traps from gulf waters.

Meanwhile, the big cleanup “push” is Saturday, February 16 from 8 to noon. It’s a big crab trap removal party.

To volunteer for this year’s program visit the Abandoned Crab Trap Removal page on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Sport Fish restoration Program supports our series.

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

Making Backyard Birds Count

February 6th, 2019

Finches at feeder.

This is Passport to Texas

The Great Backyard Bird Count provides citizens a chance to collect data to help researchers understand birds.

You’re basically counting all the birds you see at that spot on the planet; and the best part is it’s in your backyard. You’re starting to really pay attention to what birds are there in the wintertime. And, it’s just a lot of fun – it’s a learning experience for everybody.

Texas Parks and Wildlife ornithologist, Cliff Shackelford, says the count, February 15 through 18, is like a snapshot of bird life.

You’re counting both the number of species and the number of individuals per species. So, you’re getting two different numbers. Both kinds of information are very valuable.

Register at or It’s free. Cliff suggests doing your “homework” before getting started.

Crack your field guide open and start learning what species are even possible for your area – which ones would be in big numbers and which ones might be something rarer that you would want to get a photograph of. So, if you had, say, a Rufus hummingbird in February that might be something you might want to get a picture of just in case.

When you participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count, you help expand the knowledge base of the fascinating world of birds.

Our show receives support in part from RAM Trucks: built to serve.

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