Overcoming Outdoor Anxieties

January 23rd, 2019

Eco-therapist, Amy Sugeno. Image from her Facebook page.

This is Passport to Texas

Did you know that spending time outdoors may be the cure for people who are anxious about spending time outdoors?

There are ions that come up out of the soil and tend to have these effects—like calming the nervous system.

Former TPWD biologist, Amy Sugeno is a licensed clinical social worker and eco-therapist. She says medical researchers studied earthing, which involves direct skin contact with the surface of the Earth. Among its benefits, researchers found it produced feelings of well-being.

Something as simple as gardening without gloves. Barefoot walking is kind of becoming more popular. You can just sit in your backyard, take your shoes and socks off, and just put your feet onto the grass, or onto the ground.

Anxiety about spending time outdoors is common.

Back when I was working for Parks and Wildlife and would take groups of children out, it would not be uncommon for a child to say, well wait a minute, are there skunks out here? Are there snakes out here? And I would be surprised because I’m so used to being out in the field. But it would remind me that there are anxieties for people.

Other anxieties develop around whether one has the necessary skills to stay safe outdoors. Eco-therapist Amy Sugeno addresses the topic of outdoor anxiety and how to manage it during a segment in our new long-format podcast called Under the Texas Sky.

Find it at underthetexassky.org or wherever you get your podcasts.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

TPW TV: Black Capped Vireo

January 22nd, 2019
This black-capped vireo male is a passerine species.

This black-capped vireo male is a passerine species.

This is Passport to Texas

In the Texas Hill Country, biologists are keeping track of a Texas treasure: the Black Capped Vireo.

I stop in my tracks every time I hear one [vireo] Up…there’s that bird. Right there!

Jeff Foreman is a Wildlife Biologist at Mason Mountain WMA. For many years the black cap was an endangered species, but over the past 30 years this little bird has made a big comeback.

Healthy nesting habitat is very much required for the vireo’s sustainability. They really like these low shrubs with spaces in between. They can fly in and around and catch insects.

Historically vireos thrived in the scattered shrubs and open grassland that stretched across Central Texas. But with European settlement came grazing by cattle, goats and sheep.

…sometimes the populations of those livestock weren’t kept in check. They just ate the homes out from under the vireo.

Fire suppression, white-tailed deer, and the brown-headed cowbird, also played parts in reducing the vireo’s population. It was listed in endangered 1987. The good news is, it was delisted in April of last year.

Find out how biologists worked this magic the week of January 27 on the TPW TV series on PBS. Check your local listings.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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

Becoming a Texas Master Naturalist

January 17th, 2019
Photo from the Texas Master Naturalist Facebook Page

Photo from the Texas Master Naturalist Facebook Page

This is Passport to Texas

There’s a training program for people with a passion for nature. It’s called the Texas Master Naturalist Program.

The Texas Master Naturalist Program is a volunteer based training program; we develop a corps of well-informed volunteers that provide education, outreach and service around the state in the beneficial management of natural resources and the natural areas within Texas.

Mary Pearl Meuth (MOYT) is the program’s coordinator. They train roughly 700 volunteers annually, and have training sessions annually.

Our curriculum that is used for the training, has 26 chapters in it. So, they march through those 26 chapters all with a large context of the state of Texas, but then developed even more within their local ecosystem.

Once trained, volunteers provide 40 hours of community outreach, and take 8 hours of advanced training annually. The program’s not just about taking or facilitating classes. It’s also about discovery.

Quite a few of our Master Naturalists have identified new species of plants or new species of animals located within the state of Texas.

Are you ready to help Mother Nature, and to make a name for yourself – or a new species? The Texas Master Naturalist program can help. Find a training session at txmn.org.

That’s our show…brought to you in part by RAM Trucks. Built to Serve.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

Master Naturalists Share a Passion for Nature

January 16th, 2019

Master Naturalists in their element. Photo courtesy Texas Master Naturalists’ Facebook Page

This is Passport to Texas

When you’re passionate about something, it’s hard to keep it to yourself. And when that passion leads you to become a Texas Master Naturalist, you don’t have to.

We develop a corps of well-informed volunteers that provide education, outreach and service around the state in the beneficial management of natural resources and the natural areas within Texas.

Mary Pearl Meuth (MOYT) is Texas master Naturalist program coordinator. People of all ages and from all walks of life may train to become Master Naturalists, although retirees are strong within their ranks.

We do ask that each Master Naturalist provides 40 hours of volunteer service yearly along with their continuing education of 8 hours of advanced training every year to maintain that certification. That is difficult to do on a full-time employee based status – if you’re a full-time worker. But, we do have many master naturalists who are able to juggle the load. So, we do have young and old.

Since the program’s inception in 1997, Master Naturalists have given back to Texas in millions of meaningful ways. Find out how you can train to become a Master Naturalist at txmn.org.

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

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

Texas Master Naturalist Program

January 15th, 2019

Become a Texas Master Naturalist. Image from: www.txmn.org

This is Passport to Texas

The Texas Master Naturalist program trains volunteers in all aspects of the Texas environment where they live.

All the way from the plants and why they’re named what they’re named in their local ecosystem, to the birds and the mammals and the fish and the invertebrates and everything.

Mary Pearl Meuth (MOYT) works for Texas AgriLife extension and is program coordinator for Texas Master Naturalists.

They [volunteers] are encouraged to share their knowledge, either through events with other local classrooms and youth education programs, working and volunteering at state parks or nature centers and natural areas.

Texas’ Master Naturalist Chapters train volunteers in the specifics of their local ecosystems once they’ve learned the universal basics.

Master Naturalists join the program because they’re excited about the environmental world in which we live and the diversity of Texas, which is just incredible. And, once they join, then they can give back to their community that needs that resource.

To remain in the program, volunteers agree to 40 hours of community outreach and eight hours of advanced training annually. Learn more at txmn.org.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti