Archive for November, 2009

TPW Magazine December Preview

Monday, November 30th, 2009

This is Passport to Texas

Before you enter holiday shopping abyss—grab the December issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine and peruse its annual gear guide for the perfect something for your outdoor enthusiast. Editor, Louie Bond.

And there’s something on it for everyone, from the people who are breaking open the piggy banks this year for Christmas, to the one of three people who made money in the stock market this year.

I thought back about my childhood, and was inspired by the old Neiman Marcus catalogs, with the wish list—you could buy everything from a mermaid suit to a dirigible. So, I asked out great gear writer—Russell Graves—to come up with, you know a couple of things on the high end; even when times are bad you still need to dream. So, let’s say our top item is going to remain a secret, but there are many, many zeros in the price tag.

But, of course, we have something for regular folks like me, including stocking stuffers, items for kids. Of course, every years there’s the latest in technology—and we have a few new gadgets, including a personal weather stations and your own personal GPS, and other items like that. There are lots of other products on there that I’m sure that our readers would love to find under the tree this Christmas, and I hope one of them makes its way under your tree, too.

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.

Houston Toad Release

Friday, November 27th, 2009

This is Passport to Texas

[Houston toad trill] The Houston Toad is why Mike Forstner gets up mornings.

A Houston toad is pretty remarkable. It’s a piece of Texas that is right on the edge of being lost.

For nearly two decades the Texas State University biology professor has worked to keep the endangered amphibian from becoming extinct. Current drought conditions could have stymied his efforts.

We have effectively kept whatever loses were going to happen during the drought somewhat offset by what we’ve head started.

Forstner collaborates with people like Paul Crump, reptile and amphibian keeper for the Houston Zoo, who raised hundreds of the toads from eggs, called head-starting.

March 20th I believe is when we collected the eggs. They started completing metamorphosis I think it was three to four weeks later…so what does that make them…near four to five months old?

In early fall, Forstner, Crump and others, armed with buckets of the young toads, met in Bastrop County, to release them into a pond.

I’m going to try and direct them into here, so to kind of shoo them into this area. (:05.5 ambience at end)

Unaware of their important role, the toads, amid a bit of nervous chirping, dispersed into the surrounding area.

[:04 toad chirps] I don’t think we’re naïve enough to think every one of these guys will survive…but fingers crossed. [:04 toad chirps]

The Wildlife restoration program supports our series…For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Head-starting the Houston Toad

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

This is Passport to Texas

[Houston toad trill]

You’ll only hear that sound in a small area of Texas.

Like Gauss, or Bastrop, or places that a lot of people haven’t heard of, but those people that know them, that’s what they think of as home.

A home they share with the endangered Houston Toad… an amphibian that doesn’t have a voice when it comes to how humans alter their shared habitat… alteration of habitat is what put the toad in peril.

Mike Forstner is a biology professor at Texas State University, and for nearly two decades he’s worked to keep the toads from fading into oblivion…starting with habitat recovery. Today, with partners including the Houston Zoo, they’re raising toads—called head-starting—to supplement existing populations.

Head-starting is the last stand. It’s when your back’s to the wall, and you’ve got nowhere else to go. An ideal situation would have been that we recovered the habitat and that the populations became reinforced because we recovered the habitat. But we got caught—it stopped raining. And as soon as it stopped raining, we ran right out of room for natural recovery.

Unnatural recovery is better than no recovery at all. Tomorrow we attend a release of head-started toads in Bastrop County.

The Wildlife restoration program supports our series…For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

The First Thanksgiving in Texas

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

This is Passport to Texas

Spanish Explorer Coronado and his expedition celebrated the first Thanksgiving in Palo Duro Canyon in May 1541—80 years before the Pilgrims.

And they celebrated by eating the wild game in the area: buffalo, wild fowl, and other things.

Jeff Murrah is an author and sixth generation Texan living in the Hill Country who writes extensively about Texas history.

They [Coronado’s expedition] had been traveling up into New Mexico and across Texas. When they finally made it to Texas, they had been in the Palo Duro Canyon area. And there had been some rough weather they had recently experienced. They had made it through that with the shelter of the canyon, and they wished to express thankfulness.

Murrah says there were 300 in the expedition and their Thanksgiving celebration took place over several days.

I like this Thanksgiving. Not only was it large, but I think it captures more the idea that many cultures contributed to. Because when you stick with the whole idea of the Pilgrim’s Thanksgiving, you’re either a Pilgrim or an Indian. But here you’ve got Indians, Spaniards, Portuguese, French, Italians, Scots, and Blacks in the party. You had people from many different backgrounds all coming together to give thanks.

So why do Pilgrims get all the credit for this feast day?

They did a better marketing campaign?

Happy Thanksgiving…for Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

You can find more information on early Thanksgiving celebrations in Texas in Jeff Murrah’s Book on Texas history, Texans Always Move Them. And you can find the book at this website:

Catfish: A Fish for Texas’ Future

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

This is Passport to Texas

Texas is known for its bass angling, but chief of inland fisheries management and research, Dave Terre, says catfish angling is gaining popularity.

Today in Texas, about 50 percent of our anglers say they prefer largemouth bass. But, about 20 percent of anglers prefer fishing catfish in Texas.

Parks and Wildlife is meeting the challenge.

We’re trying to launch an initiative that will help us understand what our anglers needs and desires are for catfish angling in the state. And then study catfish more intensively to determine how we can make fishing for catfish even better.

September first, new regulations governing the harvest of blue catfish went into effect at Richland Chambers Reservoir, Lake Waco and Lake Lewisville—water bodies offering trophy potential for catfish. Find the regulations on the Parks and Wildlife website.

Meanwhile, Terre says as our climate changes, and extended droughts continue to plague our state, catfish will have an important role to play.

Catfish are able to deal with fluctuating water levels better than largemouth bass which have been, and will continue to be, a popular sport fish in Texas. So, managing catfish more intensively will mean that we may be able to provide more fishing opportunities for Texans in the future years.

Our show receives support from the Sport Fish Restoration Program…supporting fisheries research in Texas. For Texas Parks and Wildlife I’m Cecilia Nasti.