Archive for July, 2009

Camping in Texas

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Summer will be over before you know it. And camping is the perfect way to turn an average summer weekend into a vacation. With parks in every region of Texas, your destination is only a short drive away.

Most state parks have campgrounds, and some of those have water and electric hook-ups. Several parks also accommodate RVs for those who wish to bring a little piece of home with them to the great outdoors. Before you travel, check to see what RV connections are available at your campsite.

For the pampered camper, check out state parks that offer cabins and lodges. Historic landmarks and secluded ranches make for a relaxing getaway.

When tent camping, remember to properly dispose of food waste to discourage unwanted animals visitors; and always pack out what you pack in.

When camping, remember that you are you are not just a visitor, you are part of the natural world, and as such, it is your responsibility to keep it healthy and inviting to others.

If you’ve never been camping before, consider attending a Texas Outdoor Family workshop where Texas Parks and Wildlife staff teaches you and your family the basics in a fun-filled weekend.

Find more outdoor opportunities at the website

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

Hummingbird Roundup

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife

While the mockingbird might be the official state bird of Texas, every July it’s the hummingbird that earns a place of distinction in the state.

July is usually the start of our hummingbird migration when we’ve got thousands of ruby-throated hummingbirds heading this way from the northern regions.

Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Mark Klym heads up the annual Hummingbird Roundup Survey in Texas, where some 18 different species of hummingbirds have been documented.

The round-up really provides us with information about the hummingbird population here in Texas and gives us an idea of where they’re being found.

While the bird count takes place year-round, the birds are more prevalent in the state from July to October.

This would be a good time to start looking at possibly increasing your number of feeders if you have a yard that is going to be actively used by hummingbirds…the best way to get hummingbirds in your yard is to prepare a good hummingbird garden. Lots of plants that will feed the birds, salvias, Turks cap, trumpet vine.

Take part in the annual Hummingbird Round-up and receive your own survey kit…find out how… when you visit

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

Hummer Time, and the Living is Easy

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife

[SFX – hummer] Summer is a great time for hummingbird viewing in Texas.

Obviously the places people see them most often is around feeders.

Mark Klym is in Wildlife Diversity and a hummingbird enthusiast. You can attract hummingbirds to your yard with a hummingbird feeder filled with a solution of one part sugar to four parts water. Once you’ve hung a feeder, Klym says to keep the contents fresh.

During the summer months you want to change that every two to four days. During the winter months, you might get away with four to six days, but certainly no longer than that.

If you’d prefer to see hummers in the wild, you’re in luck: we have eighteen species of the bird in Texas. But you have to know where to look.

If you’re looking on the wild, you’re going to want to look in areas where there are a number of flowering plants available. The do require shelter, so they’re going to be around evergreen or well-leaved trees – depending on the season. And they’re also going to be found where there’s water. Water is a critical element of their environment, and they’re going to be found where there’s water.

We have a link to more information about hummingbirds, and hummingbird festivals in Texas at

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

Public Reefs

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

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

Obsolete oil rigs and decommissioned ships accepted into Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Artificial Reef Program become the hard substrate marine organisms need to grow. But these objects are too large to deploy near shore.

We need 50 feet of clear water from the surface down to the top of the structure.

Dale Shively, who coordinates the program, says near shore reefing using concrete and steel provided by the public is one solution.

The public reefing would be a method where members of the public can take materials that are pre-approved by us to one of our permitted parks and wildlife reef sites and reef those materials.

The 160 acre sites are in Texas waters, nine nautical miles from shore.

And the idea behind near shore reefs is that the average fisherman should be able to get out there and back within a few hours.

The materials, and the reefing plan, must be evaluated by TPW staff.

If we approve that, we certify that and actually tag it. Then we will assign them a spot within the reef site, with special coordinates that they’re allowed to reef material in.

Find links to more information at

That’s our show made possible with a grant from the Sport Fish Restoration Program.

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

Artificial Reefs

Monday, July 20th, 2009

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

The Gulf of Mexico has a soft bottom.

The Gulf [of Mexico] in itself is basically barren of a lot of hard substrate.

This is a problem for marine invertebrates like coral, barnacles and sponges that need to attach to hard surfaces to survive.

To address this lack of substrate in the Gulf, TPW developed an artificial reef program. Dale Shively is its coordinator.

Reefs in general provide habitat for marine organisms, and we have reefs that are made from oil platforms—obsolete oil platforms—which are in the rigs to reefs program. We have ships to reefs program, which includes things like the Texas Clipper Ship that we reefed recently. And then we have other materials that we try to reef near shore in our near shore reefing program.

Near shore reefing, sometimes called public reefing, allows organizations and private citizens to deposit materials such as concrete and steel, in predetermined locations, off shore.

So, these smaller reefs and the materials that we put out provide a base for marine life to grow. That creates a mini-ecosystem reef environment in which larger fishes will live and reproduce.

There’s a process involved in public reefing, and we’ll discuss that tomorrow.

The Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series and provides funding for the operations and management of Sea Center Texas. For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.