Archive for December, 2009

History of the Christmas Tree in Texas

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

This is Passport to Texas

The custom of decorating trees for Christmas took root in German villages during the sixteenth century.

A lot of Germans, as you know, settled Texas. And they brought a tradition with them of the tabletop Christmas tree.

Cynthia Brandimarte is program director for Texas historic sites.

When you look at interior photographs of Texas houses, you see many tabletop Christmas trees ornamented for the season, particularly in German households in the late nineteenth century Texas.

Ornaments were handmade then, and small gifts often dangled from branches. Eventually, the tabletop conifer gave way to larger trees that became “floor models,” and the decorations sometimes mirrored the day’s events.

You saw more and more seven or eight feet [tall] trees that were placed on the floor. And because we had just ended the Spanish American war in victory, there was a fashion in the early part of the twentieth century to decorate trees with a few American flags here and there. We have photographic evidence for that.

What kinds of ornaments will hang from your tree this year? Tell us about them at

That’s our show… we record our series at the Production Block in Austin, Texas…Joel Block engineers our program.

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

Hunter’s Resolutions

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

This is Passport to Texas

As the holiday season winds down, it’s time to start thinking about the year ahead. And for most of us, that includes making few resolutions. Terry Erwin has suggestions for hunters.

First off, hunters ought to think ahead and plan for their trips for the upcoming year.

Erwin oversees hunter education at Parks and Wildlife.

Certification is required for a lot of out of states. And you need to get that certification done. So get your hunter ed completed early…get it out of the way…you only have to take it once.

But the resolutions for hunters don’t stop there.

If you talk about a resolution, then we want that instructor who’s going to teach a class to convey to the students, number one – resolve to always point that muzzle in a safe direction. Always treat every firearm as if it’s loaded, and always identify your target before you shoot, what’s in front of it and what’s beyond it. Any other resolutions ought to be: if you’re going to take an animal you ought to consumer it. If you’re not going to consume it then give it to Hunters for the Hungry where it can be consumed by those who really need it.

Our show is made possible by the Wildlife Restoration Program…working to increase hunting and shooting opportunities in Texas.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…Cecilia Nasti

Parks for the People

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

This is Passport to Texas

David McComb, a professor emeritus of history and author of Spare Time in Texas, shares the history of our state park system.

National parks were so prestigious, so glamorous, that every state wanted a national park. So the head of the National Park Service decided the answer to demands for national parks was to have state parks, which the states would support and develop.

And this is taken up by the then governor, Neff, as the slogan went, “having a park every 100 miles” was quite appealing to him. Now, the problem, for the state of Texas at the time, was that nobody wanted to pay for it, much less the state of Texas.

So this went through the 1920s, then the 1930s hit, and state parks threatened to wither on the vine. However, there was opportunity with the new deal and the establishment of the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) that meant there was a supply of labor.

So to come up with some money to do that. You’re in a depression, the legislature was quite reticent, but Governor at the time, Ma Ferguson, saw the opportunity, got some emergency funds and got the CCC to come to Texas to develop State Parks.

Thanks, David.

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

Developing the Park System

Monday, December 21st, 2009

This is Passport to Texas

Our state parks wouldn’t exist as they do today without the dedication of Texans who worked to develop them.

These things come about because people are interested. They recognized that here is a piece of land, or a place, that they love and they take steps for its preservation.

David McComb is professor emeritus of history at Colorado State University and author of Spare Time in Texas. Having outdoor spaces in which to recreate comes down to what people value.

Texas has supported the building of parks, so much so that they have bought land, preserved it, developed it, continue to support it. So, what it tells me is that Texans are interested in such places.

The story of Palo Duro Canyon is a good example, and is filled with people who were interested and persistent.

Building Palo Duro takes negotiation. There’s a question of how to make it self-sufficient. And people of Canyon and Amarillo would take picnics there. So the people in the area became interested. And so that it would not be ruined for the future, they set up a summertime extravaganza to bring in tourists and brought a great deal of publicity and made it a success.

Tomorrow, hear how you can support park development near your home.

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

TPW Magazine–A Picture Perfect Issue

Friday, December 18th, 2009

This is Passport to Texas

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the January issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine will speak volumes. Editor, Louie Bond, says 2010’s first issue will be a festival of photos.

And I don’t mean just a couple of extra photos. Instead of our regular features, and some of our regular departments, we’re having photo essays by our best photographers. We are so blessed with these great talents, so we’ve decided to showcase portfolios from our photographers. It’s just going to be, I think, a thing of great beauty, and we’re really excited about it. We do hope this will become a regular occurrence every January.

So this year, we’re featuring Wyman Meinzer, who will be having a collection of shy photographs. Rolf Nussbaumer, who’s really well-known for his animal photographs in the magazine. We’re having a little twist with him—he’ll be featuring flowers this time. Jesse Conselmo, who you might remember from our State of the Gulf issue in 2008 will be featuring all kinds of fantastic under the sea. Laurence Parent will be playing around with light in nightscapes, and Clive Varlack will be putting bugs under the microscope for us.

In addition, we couldn’t leave out our good guys. So, Earl Nottingham, our longtime photographer, will have some photos in there, as will Brandon Jakobeit, our photo editor. We’re hoping that you’ll take this issue and enjoy it in January and all through 2010.

Thanks Louie.

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