Archive for October, 2011

TPW TV–A New Season

Monday, October 24th, 2011

This is Passport to Texas

Nature, outdoor recreation, and the caretakers of our natural resources all get air time on the new season of the Texas Parks and Wildlife television series, which premiers the week of October 23. Series Producer, Don Cash.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife television show has been on the air in one form or another since 1985. Our producers are always working on a number of stories at one time. They may produce a story in three months, and it may take them two years to produce a story. We are on all the PBS stations in the state of Texas, and we also air outside of the state.

What do you think the interest is in other states about the Texas outdoors?

I think people from other states just find Texas interesting. We’ve got a huge amount of different topography, wildlife, and people where in Texas. And one of the things I think people like about our show is our stories are about people that take care of the resources of the state of Texas.

And, Don, personally—what does it mean to you to be a part of this show?

Well, what I tell people is my job is to try and get people to go hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, or bird watching. You know, if you’ve got to work for a living, that’s a pretty good thing to do.

Thanks, Don.

Check your local listings.

The Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series.

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

Halloween in State Parks, 1

Friday, October 21st, 2011

This is Passport to Texas

Fall is a great time to visit a state park. In addition to festivals, our SP guide Bryan Frazier says visitors can also experience the darker side of the outdoors at State Parks this Halloween season.

And so we have some events at Estero Llano Grande SP. It’s their 6th annual spooky science fest. And they do crafts for the kids and interpretive programs with park rangers, and talk about some of the things that people are a little bit uncomfortable with maybe at night.

But really in a park environment—a lot of these animals are nocturnal. We’re able to show them some of these animals: some of the birds and the bats and the mammals and things. And really let’s children, in particular, be a lot more comfortable with what’s happening in the dark.

Because, life goes on in a park after dark. In fact, a lot of animals only come out at night. And so it’s a great chance to see and experience and talk about some of those things they may not get a chance to [otherwise]. But we’ve got a lot of events; there’s Halloween at the Hatchery, and that’s at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, and then the Halloween Fun and Games event at Lake Texana SP in Edna, Texas.

So check our calendar of events for Halloween and Fall festival events in State Parks.

Thanks, Bryan!

That’s our show for today…with funding provided by Chevrolet, supporting outdoor recreation in Texas; because there’s life to be done.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Shelter for Wildlife in the Backyard

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

This is Passport to Texas

Wildscaping is a method of landscaping that allows urban dwellers to create sustainable wildlife habitat in their yards. The first element of a Wildscape: shelter.

07—Shelter is primarily done by structuring your landscape so that you have some plants at every level of the horizon.

Mark Klym oversees the wildscaping program at Texas Parks and Wildlife. Shelter gives wildlife places to escape or to nest.

10—A lot of people think of nests, they think tall trees. Well, most of our birds don’t nest in tall trees. They nest within five feet of the ground. And, so, if we take out all the brush at the five foot level, we’ve eliminated their habitat.

Klym says when you structure your landscape with plants at every level – including lower brush — it becomes attractive to more species.

10—At the same time, that lower vegetation serves as a great food resource usually, because that’s usually the plants that your berries, your nets, your nectar flower are going to occur on.

You can find more information about wildscaping – including a native plant database — on the Texas Parks and Wildlife web site.

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

Creating Wild Spaces

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

This is Passport to Texas

A highly manicured landscape may attract the praise of neighbors, but it won’t attract much native wildlife. To do that, you need a wildscape.

05—Essentially, wildscaping is creating your landscape in a way that’s going to be friendly to wildlife.

Mark Klym is with wildlife diversity at Texas Parks and Wildlife. Fall is a good time to create a Wildscape.

16—So, we’re looking at providing food, shelter and water for the wildlife on the space that you have available using native plants. We ask for at least fifty-one percent native plants. And creating a habitat they feel comfortable with, while at the same time, keeping it comfortable for yourself and your neighbors.

For example, creating a wildlife attracting brush pile in your yard may seem a bit unruly for your tidy suburban neighborhood, but if done right, it can satisfy both man and beast.

20—Well, a brush pile is a wonderful thing for the wildlife to have. And if it’s properly done, it can be a very pleasing thing for us, especially when you start getting some of the field sparrows that we don’t normally see around our gardens, coming into our garden because of that brush pile. These are a wonderful resource. I’ve seen them in downtown Corpus Christi in a way that the neighbors wouldn’t even know they were there unless they looked for them.

Find more information about wildscaping on the Texas Parks and Wildlife web site.

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

Water Quality and Quantity

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

This is Passport to Texas

Water quality in Texas has improved from last century, but increasing demand, coupled with current drought conditions, means we have less of it.

Andrew Sansom, executive director of the River Systems Institute at Texas State University, leads a team of 2,000 volunteers, called the Stream Team. These concerned citizens signed on to track Texas’ water quality.

26—Our waters from a quality standpoint are much better than they were a generation ago. The waters in Texas were far more polluted in the 50s and 60s than they are today. The principle issue that we’re facing today is an issue of quantity. Because we are essentially running out of it. And the more our population grows, the worse this drought becomes, the more acute that problem will be.

If you take a look at the U.S. Geological Survey Web site, you’ll find a map of the United States—a map with dots representing current stream flow. The redder the dot, the more the stream flow is below average. Take a look at Texas and you’ll see it covered in dark, red dots.

11—Today, the hill country of Texas is in the most extreme drought conditions in the United States. You can see evidence of the drought in the hill country anywhere you look.

We’re nearing drought of record proportions. All citizens can make a difference by reducing water use in the home and landscape.

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