Archive for September, 2012

Wildlife: Origin of White-Nose Syndrome

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Frio Cave Bat Emergence

Frio Cave Bat Emergence

This is Passport to Texas

Geomyces destructans is a cold-loving fungus responsible for White Nose Syndrome that kills cave hibernating bats. It’s new to North America; when discovered six years ago, Scientists hypothesized it came from Europe.

14—This year a paper came out that demonstrates and provides the strongest support that, yes, this is a new fungus that arrived from Europe. It adheres to the novel pathogen hypothesis. And that’s why the bats are so susceptible to it here.

Katie Gillies, imperiled species coordinator at Bat Conservation International, says the novel pathogen hypothesis suggests because it is the bat’s first exposure to the fungus, they have no defense against it. Sampling of European caves provided answers to its origin.

14—They went around to several sites in Europe, and took fungal swabs, and grew them on cultures. And then sequenced the genomes for those fungi, and the found a match basically for the Geomyces destructans that’s here.

Scientists hypothesize the fungus struck thousands of years ago in what is now Europe, perhaps giving bats the opportunity to adapt to its presence.

20— The bottom line is we’re going to see this big die-off; it’s probably not going to kill every single bat on the landscape, but we’re going to see a significantly different composition of bats on the landscape as a result of this. And the species that are impacted, they will absolutely not recover in our lifetime. I mean, it will be many, many, many generations before they’re able to recover.

Find more information about white nose syndrome and our role in preventing its spread at

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

Wildlife: White-Nose Syndrome Update

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Mexican Free-tailed Bats

Mexican Free-tailed Bats

This is Passport to Texas

Since the winter of 2006, White-nose Syndrome has killed more than 5.7 million bats in Eastern North America. The culprit is a fungus called Geomyces destructans.

14—The fungus can be present on the bat and in the environment before it actually evolves into the full blown disease. And right now we’ve got 19 states and 4 Canadian provinces with the disease and an additional two states with just the fungus present.

Katie Gillies is the imperiled species coordinator at Bat Conservation International.

17—This is what they call a sacrophilic fungus, which basically means it’s cold-loving. And so the environment has to be cold, and it generally has to be humid, too. And then you also have to have that host present on which it can grow. And so, it just happens to be the trifecta for cave hibernating bats.

Texas bat populations are free of white nose… for now. Temperatures may be too warm for it to survive, but Gillies says it is hard to make a “blanket statement” about the fungus in a state the size of ours.

26— I think most people are concerned, primarily, in north Texas, where we do have the cooler temperatures and the right humidity levels that could be conducive to it. You know, most of these big caves [in Texas] are used by Brazilian free-tailed bats who do not hibernate. So, we don’t really think that it is going to affect those species of bats, but we don’t know what role they could play in possibly transferring the fungus to other caves.

Tomorrow: Where did this fungus originate?

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

State Parks: Texas Outdoor Family Program

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Texas Outdoor Family Goliad State Park

Texas Outdoor Family Goliad State Park

This is Passport to Texas

After a summer hiatus, the Texas Outdoor Family Program is back in full swing. Our state park guide, Bryan Frazier, says it offers an affordable educational weekend of outdoor learning for the whole family.

54—We’ve got a full schedule right now on the website, that goes into December. We provide the tent, expertise, the Texas Parks and Wildlife volunteers tht are trained will be out there. All people need to bring is food and a sleeping bag and that’s it. But up to six people, for $65, for an entire weekend can learn how to safely start a fire, set up and take down a camp, how to do geocaching, how to do all kinds of outdoor activities from fishing to kayaking to nature watching. We’re teaching families and groups and all kinds of people how to reconnect with the outdoors safely so that they on their own can go out and do it by themselves and really see what they’ve been missing. So, check out the website; there’s a programs link on, and find out everything about the exciting Texas Outdoor Family program.

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.

Cooking: Field to Plate with Chef Jesse Griffiths

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

Grilled Venison Loin, Photo by Cecilia Nasti

Grilled Venison Loin, Photo by Cecilia Nasti

This is Passport to Texas

Food fads come and go. Currently, wild game is in the spotlight. But there’s nothing new about eating game, unless it’s how it’s gone mainstream.

Chef Jesse Griffiths is a hunter and angler living in Austin. This week his book Afield: a Chef’s Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game and Fish, published by Welcome Books, hits bookstore shelves. It takes readers from field to plate. Jesse says this book is for “the 99%.”

18 – It’s mostly fishing from the shore. It’s mostly game that’s very plentiful: feral hogs and squirrels and rabbits and doves. We don’t go on pheasant hunts. We really tried to convey the point that this land is out there, and that everyone should have the ability to get out there and do this.

Jesse often hunts and fishes on Texas public lands, but stopped short of revealing his favorite places. Afield is an instructional book with stories of the outdoors that takes readers from the field to the plate.

23—I love having a connection with my own food. To sit down to a meal with vegetables that came out of our garden –and we live in a small house in town. And sit down to a meal of –what did we eat this week – a lot of venison. It’s the most important thing. I love knowing where my food comes from. I love the pride in seeing my two year old daughter eating venison, knowing that it’s really healthful for her. There’s really nothing better than that.

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

Cooking: Afield with Chef Jesse Griffiths

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Chef Jesse Griffiths

Chef Jesse Griffiths, Photo by Cecilia Nasti

This is Passport to Texas

We have a culture of hunting game, but when it comes to eating it, many people pass. It’s too gamey, most say. Chef Jesse Griffiths is a hunter and angler, and eats everything he kills. He says game has a rich, unique flavor that’s perfectly palatable when properly prepared.

He chronicled a year of hunting, fishing and cooking in Afield: a Chef’s Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game and Fish, published this month by Welcome Books.

24 – We just tried to present this book that was a guide to getting more out of fish and game for people. We wanted it to be a field manual, a recipe guide. And we put step-by-step photos and descriptions of how to break everything down from a crab to a deer. Just to teach people who are new to it, or maybe even more experienced with it how to utilize these animals more.

I spoke with Jesse in his Austin based commercial kitchen, where he told me the recipes in Afield are simple and recognizable.

18—There’s a lot of tacos in there, and there’s a lot of things like pot pies. Squirrel and dumplings. Things like that. very accessible. I just wanted people to see food that was recognizable and translate that into game, and then that way encourage people to get out there and have the confidence to get out there and have the confidence to do this themselves.

We’ll have more with Chef Jesse Griffiths tomorrow.

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