Archive for September, 2007

Conservation History Association of Texas

Friday, September 21st, 2007

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Program

Today, the word chat is synonymous with online instant messaging. But when you ask David Todd what chat means to him, he’ll tell you:

Conservation History Association of Texas.

Todd coordinates this Austin-based non-profit, the purpose of which is two-fold.

One is to compile stories from individual conservationists, environmentalists, around the state and document their lives, and try to give them a little bit of the recognition we feel they’re due for their many different contributions. The other side of it is more one of education.

Visit the organization’s website and learn of statewide conservation efforts.

We have about 400 hours of interview taped with about 190 conservationists. The neat thing about it is that there is a huge diversity, a great breadth of conservationists. Some are rich, some are poor, some are well educated, and some not so. Great diversity of kinds of work. But the common denominator amongst all these people is… They’ve got an ethic. They’ve got an interest in stewardship. An interest in continuity and what their grandchildren may inherit.

There’s more information at

Our show’s receives support from the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Program…working to increase fishing, hunting, shooting and boating opportunities in Texas.

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

When you visit you will be able to:

  • Learn about the narrators
  • View a timeline of environmental history
  • Choose a region to explore
  • Search a database about conservation
  • Watch videos about conservation topics
  • Use the curriculum for your class
  • Find out about the project partners

Monarch Watch

Thursday, September 20th, 2007

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife…

It’s estimated that some 350-million monarch butterflies will arrive in Texas as part of an annual fall migration to Mexico.

They hit the Panhandle and the Red River in mid September… they’ll hit Central Texas in the first week of October. The best place is actually along the western portion of the state. They’re not common in East Texas and along the coast.

Mike Quinn, invertebrate biologist for Texas Parks and Wildlife, says monarchs make the long trip, surviving on nothing more than flower nectar. And yes, there is a visual difference between the males and the females…

The male monarch has black spots in the middle of the upper side of the side wings and females lack those.

Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Monarch Watch program enlists the services of hundreds of volunteers to collect data on the species during its migration.

We recruit volunteers of all ages and backgrounds all across the state, and we have over 500 people that keep calendars, that’s the one of the most helpful bits of information that people collect for us.

Members receive a booklet and migration calendar, which helps record the presence and abundance of the species in their area.

To volunteer, log on to our website,

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

Texas Plant Information Database

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife

Before you add plants to your landscape, ask yourself these questions:

Is it drought tolerant? Is it saline-tolerant? Is it alkaline-tolerant? Does it propagate easily? What’s it beneficial to? Horses, wild game or other types of livestock, is it pollinated by honeybees? Fire-tolerant?

Kathy Boydston is the Coordinator for the Wildlife Habitat Assessment Program at Texas Parks and Wildlife, which is home to a comprehensive online Texas Plant Information Database.

Most of them are natives; some of them are what we call naturalized plants. There is a list of 150 attributes for each plant that is in that database.

Users of the database, found on the Parks and Wildlife website can determine what plants will be the most beneficial to wildlife, which are best for a certain soil and what plants grow better in the heat of the Texas sun…

Trying to get people to plant more wildlife-friendly plants, rather than a lot of exotic species. We’re trying to get people to find other alternatives for lets say, grass species in their lawn, or we’re trying to encourage people to xeriscape more, use more native plants that use less water.

Fall is an ideal time to plant perennial plants, woody shrubs and trees.

To learn more about the Texas Plant Information Database, log on to our website, at

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

Outdoor Stories: Cliff Shackelford

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

Passport to Texas Outdoor Stories from Texas Parks and Wildlife

Cliff Shackelford, Parks and Wildlife non-game ornithologist, was a city kid whose family owned land in east Texas. It’s there Cliff discovered his passion.

It was great to have this big backyard of a hundred and twenty acres. And I used to wander around with a BB gun shooting cans, and pine cones…I saw this big bird, and I couldn’t believe how big it was. The colors – it was black and white and had this big flaming red crest and it landed on a trunk of a tree and started hitching up like a woodpecker.

And I thought – no way – I never had seen a woodpecker that big. So I remember running back to the cabin and asking my dad – I saw t his big woodpecker, what was it – and he said, it was a “log god.” And I said, log god, what is that?

And so as soon as we got back home we went to the public library and found a bird book. It happened to be Roger Tory Petersen’s Birds of Texas. Right in the middle of the book are the woodpeckers and so I opened it up and there it was.

And it was the pileated woodpecker, and one of the colloquial names is log god – the god of the logs. And I just thought was really neat to go out in the field, see something, note all the characteristics and then have a book and try to identify it.

So, to me, it was really fun to identify things – and it hasn’t stopped. And, thirty plus years later and I’m still doing it.

Thanks, Cliff. Go to to share your outdoor story.

That’s our show for today…remember Life is Better Outside…For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

TPWD Expo: Geocaching

Monday, September 17th, 2007

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife

There’s something new and different at Texas Parks and Wildlife Expo this year, and it’s called geocaching.

Geocaching is a fun, fun, family activity that gets moms, dads and kids, and whoever else, into the outdoors, to try to find a prize. The prize has been put there by other geocahers; you use a GPS unit, and wander around and try to find out where they prize is hidden.

Expo Director, Ernie Gammage.

At Expo, we’ll have a new geocaching activity that will actually train people on how to geocache; and we’ll have GPS units for those who don’t have their own, so you can actually try it out, and yes, we will have prizes stashed around Expo.

This activity is in keeping with the agency’s mission.

Because it’s a reason for people to go into our state parks. There is probably no better place to experience the variety, the topography, the flora, the fauna of Texas than in our state parks; and what a great place to geocache and see all of these wonders.

Expo is Saturday and Sunday, October sixth and seventh from nine to five…on the grounds of Parks and Wildlife HQ in Austin….and its free. Find links to more information when you log onto

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

Learn more about Geocaching: