Archive for November, 2008

What is a Wildscape?

Friday, November 28th, 2008

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife

A highly manicured landscape may attract the praise of neighbors, but it won’t attract much native wildlife. To do that, you need a wildscape.

Essentially, wildscaping is creating your landscape in a way that’s going to be friendly to wildlife.

Mark Klym is with wildlife diversity at Texas Parks and Wildlife.

So, we’re looking at providing food, shelter and water for the wildlife on the space that you have available using native plants. We ask for at least fifty-one percent native plants. And creating a habitat they feel comfortable with, while at the same time, keeping it comfortable for yourself and your neighbors.

For example, creating a wildlife attracting brush pile in your yard may seem a bit unruly for your tidy suburban neighborhood, but if done right, it can satisfy both man and beast.

Well, a brush pile is a wonderful thing for the wildlife to have. And if it’s properly done, it can be a very pleasing thing for us, especially when you start getting some of the field sparrows that we don’t normally see around our gardens, coming into our garden because of that brush pile. These are a wonderful resource. I’ve seen them in downtown Corpus Christi in a way that the neighbors wouldn’t even know they were there unless they looked for them.

We have links to wildscape information at

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

Backyard Wildlife Habitat Dos and Don’ts

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

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

Habitat requirements vary between species, yet some critters make themselves at home anywhere.

Wildlife are really adaptable, and there’s going to be some wildlife that thrive in whatever type of habitat that’s provided.

Kelly Bender is an urban wildlife biologist. Even a perfectly manicured monochromatic monoculture known as lawn—will attract some wildlife.

In a typical urban area—where you’ve got really closely mowed Bermuda grass lawn, or St. Augustine lawn, and then just a few really tall mature trees and kind of nothing in the middle? That kind of habitat is really good for grackles, and pigeons, for possum and raccoon, and kind of the species that you see in a disturbed habitat.

Bender says most people don’t mind seeing those species sometimes, but not all the time.

And so what we try to do is to encourage people to create a more balanced habitat. And what I mean by that is to provide native plants that provide natural food sources—fruits, nuts, berries, leaves, etcetera—that provide a balanced source of nutrition for the animals.

This balanced habitat is called a wildscape, and we’ll tell you more about Wildscaping tomorrow.

That’s our show… visit us online at and leave a comment on our blog…For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

TPW Magazine Gift Guide

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife

Gift giving season is here, and Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine managing editor Louie Bond tells us about this year’s goodies guide.

Every month it is so hard to pick my favorite story, but December is the one month it is not hard at all, because we have a gift guide every December. So, I just wanted to tell you about a few of them.

One kind of simple thing is a camouflage suit, which you wouldn’t think is anything new, but this year it’s in 3-D; they’ve added some new optical effects, so you’re going to be trickier than ever.

I don’t know if you’ve ever gotten lost in the woods—but I have. And this next gadget—the spot messenger—a personal locater that uses GPS technology. You can push a button and the Google map will pop up on your friend’s computer, showing exactly where you are and that you’re lost.

We, of course, have the usual best of binoculars, and boots, and bows, but one thing that really caught my eye this year, and I know every deer hunter is going to have to have The Rackulator; the world’s only electronic big game scoring tool.

And, Santa, if you’re listening….I want the ultra light dualist cook system, so I don’t have to lug my personal pots and pans when I’m camping, and they won’t return home covered in soot.

Thanks Louie. The December issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine is on newsstands now.

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

Outdoor Story: Mindy Waters, Rock Hound

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

Passport to Texas Outdoor Stories from Texas Parks and Wildlife

To Mindy Waters, all rocks are hidden gems, just waiting to be found and added to her collection at home in Cedar Creek.

Oh we have jaspers, agate, petrified wood. Rocks lining our garden and rocks lining our driveway. They’re everywhere in our house! You open a drawer and there’s a rock, you know.

She and her husband are confessed “rock hounds” and enjoy scouring the Texas countryside in a game of rock hide and seek.

We just love rocks, we hunt rocks, we go to different places. And once you look at some rocks, you get hooked. If it’s in your blood and you want to hunt rocks, that will do it.

And it certainly is in their blood—nipping on the heels of their rock hunt are their up and coming collector grandchildren, or “pebble puppies.”

McKinney Roughs has a lot of good places to look for rocks; just lying on the ground. You find a lot of jaspers, flint. I remember my grandson and I, when he was young, he’d pick up a yellow rock and he’d say, “what’s this?” I’d say, “that’s flint.” Then he’d pick up a red rock and say, “What’s this?” and I’d say, “Well hun’ that’s flint also.” Then he’d pick up a black rock, he’d say, “Don’t tell me it’s flint, right?” I’d go, “yes.” We have a lot of flint here. It’s amazing! So even though it’s flint it just comes in many, many colors. Once you start really looking at what you walk on, it’s amazing, it really is.

Share your outdoor passion at

That’s our show…with research and writing help from Sarah Loden… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

A Short History of Thanksgiving

Monday, November 24th, 2008

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife

Thanksgiving, a “uniquely” American observance is, in fact, a variation on an Old English harvest tradition, which makes sense as the colonists came from Britain.

What we know as Thanksgiving—centuries ago—was actually called Lammas. And that means Loaf Mass in Old English.

Cynthia Brandimarte is program director for Texas historic sites. On Lammas, farmers brought loaves of bread to mass as a token of thanksgiving.

It’s when breads were made from the season’s first grain crop. They were baked, blessed and broken. And it was celebrated on August first or thereabouts. Over some time, especially the 17th and 18th Century, Americans brought over the tradition of observing Thanksgiving at the end of the harvest, which would be closer to our late November date.

When New Englanders, the first to observe the day, moved west, they brought their traditions with them. However, Thanksgiving did not become a nationally recognized celebration until the mid 19th Century.

Sarah Josepha Hale, Editor of Goudy’s Ladies Book, took it upon herself to make it a widespread celebration; and that was in the 1840s.

At Thanksgiving, remember to give a nod of gratitude for nature’s bounty, and for the people who made this long weekend of food and football possible.

That’s our show for today… from all of us at Passport to Texas…we wish you a very happy Thanksgiving…For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.