Archive for January, 2010

Whooping Crane–A Shared Past

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

This is Passport to Texas

[:05 whooping cranes calling”]

The call of the whooping crane may not be the most beautiful birdsong you’ll ever hear, but it is music to Lee Ann Linam’s ears.

A wildlife biologist, Ms. Linam, has a shared history with North America’s largest bird. Thanks to six decades of conservation, including efforts by one special family member, the species’ worldwide population has grown from 16 individuals to more than 200 birds – something Lee Ann has waited a lifetime to witness.

Well, I literally grew up with whooping cranes. My father worked for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and when we moved to Texas in 1973, the whooper numbers were still around fifty birds. At that time, they were still very, very endangered, and yet we saw the number progressing upward. And in fact, when he died in 1986, he thought, ‘this might be the year they pass the one hundred bird mark’, and they did. And so, I feel like whoopers are a part of my life. I think that their success kind of reflects something of our family’s connection in history to the Texas coast and all the animals there.

Learn more about Whooping cranes by logging onto

That’s our show …made possible today by the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Program…working to increase fishing, hunting, shooting and boating opportunities in Texas.

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

Whooping cranes are one of the rarest bird species in North America. Whooping cranes are protected in Canada, the United States and Mexico. Because some of their habitat is federally protected, the land is managed to preserve the animals. The greatest threats to whooping cranes are man-made: power lines, illegal hunting, and habitat loss. Because the Gulf International Waterway goes through their habitat area, the cranes are susceptible to chemical spills and other petroleum-related contamination. Public awareness and support are critical to whooping cranes’ survival as a species.

Mountain Biking

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

This is Passport to Texas

When photographer Richard Stone sets out to capture nature with his camera he never leaves home without… his mountain bike.

You get to see much, much, much more…as a wildlife and nature photographer I get more places on a bike that I do in a car.

And Texas state parks offer a wealth of scenic variety for biking…including mountains.

You can bike on a beach, you can bike in Big Bend Park, you can bike in the Hill Country State Natural Area with the horses, there’s many different places, East Texas through the Pineywoods, even Bastrop to Buesher (BISH-ur) State Parks…there is a tremendous diversity.

There is also a wide range of trail users, which means riders have to share the road.

We always yield the trail to hikers, because they have the right of way…and to equestrians…give the walkers the right of way. Control your bicycle, plan ahead, control your speed, don’t skid your tires, don’t leave any traces on the park.

Texas Parks and Wildlife offers and brochure listing state parks with bike trails as well as their degree of difficulty. Just long onto the Texas Parks and Wildlife web site and type “Bike Texas” in the search field and you’ll get right to it.

That’s our show for today…thank you for joining us…For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Recreational Landowners: Wildlife Management Associations

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

This is Passport to Texas

As more people move from the country to the city, large tracts of farm and ranch land are being divided into smaller parcels to accommodate urban dwellers’ need for rural retreats.

More and more of our land is being fragmented and broken up. And so, small acreage land holdings are more common, especially in the eastern half of the state. You know, we’re talking fifty acres to two hundred acres.

Linda Campbell directs the private lands program at Texas Parks and Wildlife. Because habitat fragmentation negatively impacts wildlife, neighboring landowners are encouraged to work together to lessen the problem.

We encourage landowners to join with their neighbors in what are called landowner cooperatives, or wildlife management associations. They’re becoming much more common, and landowners working together can get a lot more done for wildlife; they impact more habitat when they work together. And they can accomplish common goals. And, so, we very much encourage and work with groups of landowners to develop these landowner driven cooperatives.

Visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife web site for complete details on how landowner cooperatives can receive free, confidential technical assistance.

That’s our show…we receive support from the Wildlife Restoration program

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

Recreational Landowners: Knowing Your Land

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

This is Passport to Texas

The best time to get to know your land is when you first buy it.

Walk it; look at it carefully. Study it over the seasons. Really find out what makes it tick. And, that’s the first step – to really understand the land – and then understand the management that it takes to achieve the kind of goals you want for your recreation.

Linda Campbell directs the private lands program at Parks and Wildlife, from which landowners receive help with their management goals. She recommends getting started by visiting the workshop calendar – in the private lands section – on the TPWD website.

These are workshops and field days and things of that nature that occur all over the state. And so I would suggest landowners take a look at that.

Attending these events allows landowners to get to know other like-minded people in their region. The agency also offers free on site technical assistance in wildlife management planning.

And so, we look at the entire picture – all the habitats that are there, what can be done, what are the landowners goals, and then we help them develop a plan that will help them achieve that.

Tomorrow, joining with adjacent landowners to form a wildlife management association.

That’s our show. We receive support from the Wildlife Restoration program.

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

Recreational Landowners: Buying Rural Land

Monday, January 18th, 2010

This is Passport to Texas

As our population becomes more urban, we see people buying rural property as weekend retreats.

Recreational buying is the greatest motivation for exchanges in land in Texas.

Linda Campbell, who directs the private lands program at parks and wildlife, says the reasons for buying rural property are as different as the people buying it.

Game species are still a big driver – very important economically for landowners in Texas, and for the communities that are supported by this. But, we have a greater diversity of landowners, and so with a diversity of people, you have a diversity of interests. So, there are a lot of landowners, particularly those with smaller tracts that are primarily interested in managing for birds and other non-game wildlife. Or, they just want to get away from the city to have a retreat. And that’s an absolutely valid goal as well. And, so, we work with all landowners in whatever their goal is.

Parks and Wildlife’s private lands program offers landowners free technical assistance managing their property.

Texas is over ninety percent privately owned, and so we recognized that if we’re going to have any impact at all on conservation of wildlife and habitats, we have to do it through the cooperation of private landowners.

Understanding your land…that’s tomorrow.

That’s out show…we receive support from the Wildlife Restoration program.

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