Archive for September, 2013

Nature/Wildlife: Native Texas Bees

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

Native Solitary Bee. Image from

This is Passport to Texas

Although we’re concerned about the loss of honeybees from colony collapse disorder, this might ease your mind:

12— You have to think of honeybees as a farm animal. We can grow more of those. And we can produce more honeybee queens, which can in turn, grow more honeybee colonies.

That’s TPW invertebrate biologist Michael Warriner. While we focus on replaceable non-native European honeybees, we’re neglecting our irreplaceable native bee populations, also in decline.

17—If we lose native bees, we can’t necessarily breed more of those because we don’t know how. We don’t necessarily know what kinds of things they prefer – because we’re not managing them. They’re existing in natural habitat that we’re losing. Honeybees are pretty much a domesticated animal we can breed
more of.

Native bees play a valuable role in the ecosystem.

18— They play the biggest role in maintaining native plant communities. And a lot of those plants have to be pollinated by bees. As we lose bees, those plants will be less able to produce viable seed, which means that they just slowly disappear off the landscape.

How to help native bees…that’s tomorrow.

That’s our show…the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series, and funds diverse conservation projects in Texas.

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

TPW TV: 112 Million Years

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Dinosaur Track at Dinosaur Valley State Park

Dinosaur Track at Dinosaur Valley State Park

This is Passport to Texas

Artist, photographer and sculptor, Mike O’Brien, has spent the past 15 years documenting tracks in the Paluxy River near Glen Rose made millions of years ago by dinosaurs. He’s featured this month on the Texas parks and Wildlife TV series. Producer Ron Kabele.

59— When he started this, he didn’t have access to all the cheap technology that he has now. Now he can do 3-D tracks, he can do geo-positioning of each track. And then, when you combine it with Google Earth, he gets some fascinating maps.

These red tracks are a pretty big acrocanthosaurus; and you can see this green line and how he goes from here, and then all of a sudden he turns real hard right here. It really tells quite a story.

What’s cool is the APP he’s going to make. A park visitor will be able to look on their iPhone and follow the tracks as they’re walking along the river. Is that awesome or what?

Sometimes, I get bogged down in the mechanics and the details and the drudgery of some of what has to be done to document them. But, every once in a while, you sit back and reflect and you get that sense of wonder about what it is you are actually seeing. When you see footprints made one after another, that’s as close to seeing a living dinosaur going about its activities as you’re going to get.

This segment airs the week of September 22. Check local listings.

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

Recreation: Texas Outdoor Family

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

Texas Outdoor Family Workshop

Texas Outdoor Family Workshop

This is Passport to Texas

You want to camp overnight in a state park but don’t want to spend money on gear until you hone your skills?

04— Texas Outdoor Family provides all of the camping equipment that a family needs for a weekend.

Robert Owen oversees the Texas Outdoor Family Program. During supervised weekend workshops, Texas Outdoor Family provides nearly everything families need for a successful overnight camping experience.

14—Generally a family needs to bring their own food and personal items like a sleeping bag. We provide the rest from a tent to the air mattresses, pots and pans… And even a bunch of ranger guidance to go along with it Rangers actually spend the night in the campground with the families.

TOF staff helps families set up camp, and plans activities for them like kayaking, geocaching, fishing, and hiking to get them into the outdoor groove. If one weekend isn’t enough …

21— We invite families back to join us as many as three times. The first time is very much their beginner experience. So, you come out the first time you realize it’s fun; you realize your family has really enjoyed it. The second and third times you refine your skills. And then we hope you’re ready to be released out there into the parks, and do it on your own.

The cost of the weekend is $65 for up to six people. There are Texas Outdoor Family workshops this fall; find details on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

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

Recreation: Updating Outdated Outdoor Skills

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Texas Outdoor Family Weekend: Learning to Kayak

Texas Outdoor Family Weekend: Learning to Kayak

This is Passport to Texas

Which outdoor skills can make your next overnight camping experience successful?

04—The basics: how to put up a tent, how to get the stove going, or how to light a campfire.

When those skills are rusty, Robert Owen says people are reluctant to take their families camping. But that’s not the only reason some folks shy away from this outdoor activity.

17—Well, they’re not sure if their family is going to be interested in spending money on a tent and camping equipment just to find out maybe it’s not for them. Or time? A lot of folks think they don’t have the time to plan a weekend camping trip. Additionally, some folks just don’t have the confidence in getting outside.

That’s why Owen recommends Texas Outdoor Family Workshops. He oversees the program.

10—Texas Outdoor Families is a skills based program for families that want to get outdoors and want to get back into the hobby of camping, but for some reason it’s been left behind in their past.

A weekend workshop for up to six people costs $65, and Texas Outdoor Family supplies most everything campers need – including staff. More on that tomorrow.

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

Recreation: Training for the Day One Trail Run

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Running at Cedar Hill State Park

Running at Cedar Hill State Park

This is Passport to Texas

Circle January 1, 2014 on your calendar for the start of a new tradition: Cedar Hill State Park’s Day One Trail Run.

18—We’ve got a huge crowd in Dallas of people that are very fit, they’re very active. And they’re huge fans of state parks. So, we figured that we would just put those things together and give them a chance to come out here if they want to do a little bit more than just hiking on January first. Start off their New Year with a good race.

Jeff Achée [uh-SHAY], from Cedar Hill SP says the event takes First Day Hikes—that occur January 1 in state parks across the US—to a new level, with 20K and 5K races.

Early registration is currently underway at Day One Trail Run dot com. You can also sign up for their newsletter, which will give out of practice or new runners a big advantage on race day.

23—Well, what we’re going to get going here pretty soon is a training plan. So, if you subscribe to that newsletter, you’ll have news about the race. We’ll be mapping out the course here pretty soon, so you can get a GPS map of the course. We’re also going to be working with a trainer. Maybe if you are new to running, you don’t have a training plan set for yourself, we’re going to have a 20K and 5K training plan so that you can follow those and work your way into these races.

Find registration and fee information, and newsletter sign up at

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