Archive for September, 2009

Texas Antiquities

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife

You’re hiking in a state park, and spy something unusual on the side of the trail. You stop to get a closer look, and discover a very old knife. The temptation may be to scoop it up and give it a place of honor on your fireplace mantel. But, Margaret Howard says — that would be illegal.

There’s a particular state law that protects the archeology, and it’s called the Antiquities Code. And it really does protect every single item in our parks that is greater than fifty years old.

Howard is the archeology survey team leader at Parks and Wildlife. Artifacts found in state parks help tell the story of how the land was used, and by whom.

We like to say that these objects belong to all Texans, not any particular Texan. And I think most people would feel bad if they thought that they had taken something that was part of a story and put it on their mantel where it just becomes an object, and its tale is lost.

If you were to find an artifact in a state park, leave it where you found it; it could be part of a known story, or a new story.

And try to alert park personnel and then have them come back. They can make a record of it that we can add to the record we have. If it’s something that we already know about, it expands what we know. And there is, as you said, the chance of discovering something new. But it’s critically important where it was found. And the temptation is to pick something up, and look at it and carry it back.

Learn more about Texas antiquities on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

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

Texas Archaeology

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife

The ecological regions of Texas are diverse — something the Parks and Wildlife archaeological team knows well.

Our team has to become proficient in all of those different areas, and there are very different ways to find the archeology of those areas.

Margaret Howard is archeology survey team leader at Parks and Wildlife. Some areas of the state give up their secrets more easily than others.

In the Pineywoods, it’s deep below the pine needle blanket that’s on the ground;’ it’s very well preserved but it’s hard to find. Out in West Texas, it often shows on the surface, so it’s easy to find, but then it’s very vulnerable to erosion, or even vandalism.

Even though there are more than a million acres of parkland to survey, knowing where to look for artifacts is easier than you might think.

Humans are just not as different as you might want to imagine. We’ve had a number of cases where ancient campgrounds were below the campgrounds that are used today. We are humans; we’re walking across the ground the way that humans once did. Humans are thirsty, humans need to eat, they like shade and protection from the weather. And so, if you look at those aspects of the landscape, you can figure out where people tended to live.

Learn how Parks and Wildlife archeologists use the clues left behind from peoples’ activities to gain insight in Texas’ past when you log onto the Texas Parks and Wildlife Website.

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

GO TEXAN Wildlife Initiative

Monday, September 21st, 2009

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife

The GO TEXAN brand is well-known among agricultural producers, wineries and restaurants. And now, the brand is expanding to include wildlife.

I’m extremely excited to announce the addition of the GO TEXAN Wildlife initiative. We’re inviting businesses and organizations that focus on wildlife recreation to join GO TEXAN.

Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Todd Staples, encourages businesses that cater to hunting and fishing enthusiasts to take part in the GO TEXAN Wildlife Initiative.

TPWD estimates fish and wildlife recreation activities have a $15.8 Billion dollar impact on the Texas economy. Parks and Wildlife shares our commitment to business development in rural Texas, and the GO TEXAN brand is a tremendous way to do that.

Commissioner Staples says the GO TEXAN Wildlife initiative captures the heritage of our state.

Since the beginning of time, Texas has been recognized as an ecosystem that offers a diverse variety of fish and wildlife opportunities for enthusiasts. Whether you’re hunting [,fishing] or nature tourism—whatever it is—the Texas Wildlife Initiative showcases the best that Texas has to offer.

We have more information about the program at

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

Social Media & the State Parks Website

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife

When Texas State Parks new website débuts later this fall, it will have virtual tours, videos of state parks, new images, and a chance to get up to the minute information about parks using social media.

They’re going to be able to sign up for Twitter updates. As most of you know Twitter now has become very commonplace. But, it’s going to allow them to, for example, find out when there might be fall foliage at Lost Maples SP. They’ll get a Twitter alert.

Marketing Director, Darcy Bontempo, says Twitter isn’t the only social media application the new state parks website will employ to keep visitors connected.

They also can go and look at the Facebook page for a park and see, for example, what other visitors have experienced at the park…user comments…also look at photos and videos from park visitors who have been there post. So, that’s a neat way, also to explore what a park’s about before you’ve even had a chance to go there.

Incorporating social media into the new website makes sense.

This is the way of the future, and people want to see what other people are saying. This is not a new discovery on our part—this is just us keeping up with the wave, and we are very excited about it. And people are going to possibly even reconnect based on Facebook. I mean, there are all kinds of opportunities to connect or discover things that they didn’t know about the park, because users are the ones sharing experiences or discoveries.

The new State Parks website goes live this fall.

That’s our show… remember…Life’s better outside…for Texas parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

New State Parks Website

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife

Texas state parks are exciting and diverse; they’re where visitors engage nature and discover Texas’ past. Too bad the website that told our parks’ stories fell flat.

Visitors told us, and Texans told us, that when they went to our website they didn’t see as many photographs and images and [as much] information as they’d like.

Marketing Director, Darcy Bontempo, says the agency took these concerns to heart, and later this fall, will unveil a redesigned and reenergized site.

Really, we’re listening to our customers. They wanted to have a much more visually appealing and informative site. So that’s why we’re making this change.

The new image and content rich website will give visitors an opportunity to engage Texas state parks online in a way never before possible.

When people visit the new state parks website they’re going to be very delighted, I think, to discover a wealth of beautiful photographs of facilities of the parks, cabins, things to do at parks. They’re also going to be able to look at virtual tours. So, they’re going to be able to get a better idea of what kind of facilities are at parks. We also have a lot of videos, so they’re going to be able to watch short videos that tell them about history or about what they can do.

You might even hear a Passport to Texas podcast or two on the on the new state park website when it debuts later in the fall.

That’s our show… remember…Life’s better outside…for Texas parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.