Archive for September, 2011

Red-Cockaded Woodpecker

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

This is Passport to Texas

The red-cockaded woodpecker is an endangered species found in the East Texas Piney Woods region.

Wildlife biologist, Ricky Maxey, says the red-cockaded woodpecker is unique because it’s the only woodpecker that makes its home in live pine trees.

08—It is a keystone representative of the upland pine savannah, so it’s a really fascinating specialized bird.

Because of demands for timber and an increasing urban landscape, there are fewer mature pine savannah forests. And it’s because the woodpeckers are so specialized that they can’t adapt to the changing habitat.

17—It does not adapt to loss of its habitat because it occupies a very specialized niche. That’s one of the primary reasons why this bird became rare to the point that it had to be listed under the endangered species act.

Maxey says, right now, the woodpeckers have a stable population thanks to forest conservation efforts by Texas Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. and Texas Forest Services among others. But even private landowners can do their part by creating suitable habitat for the woodpeckers.

10—If you’re a landowner, you can produce habitat for this species. We’ll be glad to work with any landowner to provide management recommendations to do just that.

That’s our show…we receive support from the SFWR program…funded by your purchase of fishing and hunting equipment and motor boat fuel…

For Texas Parks and Wildlife I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Odd Birds

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

This is Passport to Texas

According to a National Audubon Society report, sixty percent of all bird species in North America are moving farther north.

Cliff Shackelford is a Texas Parks and Wildlife non-game ornithologist, and says there are probably several reasons why birds are on the move. One reason: climate change. As temperatures rise, birds move north. Another reason: habitat alteration.

33—The interesting thing is that probably four or five decades ago there was another pulse or movement of birds that might not have been related to climate change. And what some people have suggested is a lot of these birds are extending their range because of fire suppression where grasslands were probably a good barrier to a lot of these woodland birds. And now that we don’t have fires to maintain grass, we have trees encroaching. Things like mesquite, huisache and retama are increasing, and a lot of those South Texas birds are moving in response to that.

Some birds… like the golden-cheeked warbler… are already endangered because of habitat alteration. And if something’s not done to restore the habitat, many more birds could find themselves without a suitable home.

09—They’re specialized they need a very specific habitat and when that is whittled away, they’re not able to adapt to other environments.

That’s our show…The Sport fish and Wildlife restoration program supports our series…and is funded by your purchase of fishing and hunting equipment and motor boat fuel….

For Texas Parks and Wildlife I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Becoming an Outdoor Woman

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

This is Passport to Texas

Shooting, fishing, kayaking, and Dutch oven cooking…. What do these activities have in common?

09—A lot of women have never tried some of these activities, but have hoped for an opportunity to learn them in a non-threatening, comfortable environment.

Heidi Rao (RAY-oh) oversees the Becoming an Outdoors Woman program for Parks and Wildlife. Each spring and fall, women interested in honing or developing their outdoor skills can sign up for a three-day workshop.

19—The BOW program is divided into thirds: A third of the activities that we offer are hunting and shooting and wildlife based learning. A third are fishing, and boating and water-based activities, and the final third are the other activities such as bird-watching, astronomy, camping, and backpacking.

Heidi says women of all ages and varying abilities take part in the workshops, and come away with new skills and new friends.

13—They go to these workshops and they meet new friends. And we do see a lot of the camaraderie, a lot of the small groups that get to know each other and begin to grow and build friendship—and maintain these friendships across the miles.

Find more information on the BOW program on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series. Through your purchases of hunting and fishing equipment and motorboat fuels, over 40 million dollars in conservation efforts are funded in Texas each year.

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

Learning About the Outdoors

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

This is Passport to Texas

Texas Outdoor Family Workshops offer families an unparalleled opportunity to learn new skills or hone existing skills that will make any overnight camping experience one to remember.

During workshops, which take place at state parks throughout Texas, families work together to set up and break down camp [:04 hammering tent stakes]. Be sure to give everyone a job so the tent and campsite go up quickly.

Fishing is another weekend workshop favorite.

08—Oh, you’ve got a bass. Whoa, that’s huge; that’s bigger than mine, I think. Whoa, my dad’s gonna be happy.

Other activities include guided nature hikes, navigation work, trail exploration, kayaking and one of my favorites, outdoor cooking. During the workshop, staff members show families how to cook in foil packs.

17—We call ’em “tin turtles” in my business. One of the first tricks is to make sure you buy heavy-duty aluminum foil. The other key to this is you don’t overload your foil meal. If you put too many things in this envelope, you won’t get it cooked at the right temperature.

That’s just a taste of what to expect during a Texas Outdoor Family Workshop.

That’s our show for today. To learn about upcoming Texas Outdoor Family workshops at state parks, visit

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

State Parks: Vehicle Registration Donation

Monday, September 19th, 2011

This is Passport to Texas

Once people started driving, they journeyed cross country, and state Parks offered them respite during their travels. It seems fitting that beginning in 2012, car owners will be able to make annual donations to maintain these natural treasure when they register their vehicles. Our State park guide Bryan Frazier has details.

54— Beginning January first, two thousand twelve, the program will begin that people can opt in for a five dollar donation—or more—that benefits state parks.

And Texans have historically rallied around state parks and shown their support for it and there’s loyal following. And we just simply couldn’t make it without our park volunteers and the way people voice their support for our parks; and this is one more way that they can do that.

And that’s coming in January. Check down at the bottom, and you can opt in for a five dollar donation or more. And that money directly benefits state parks—just like when you pay your entrance fees, or your camping fees, or buy a souvenir in the gift shop at a state park, that money directly benefits park.

And we need people now—maybe more than ever. We’ve got 1.6 million dollars that we have to make up with this particular program, so we want to get the word out and let people know this is their chance…again as they’ve historically done…and answered the call and helped support state parks.

Thanks, Bryan!

That’s our show for today…with funding provided by Chevrolet…building dependable, reliable trucks for more than 90 years.

We record our series at The Block House in Austin.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife I’m Cecilia Nasti.