Archive for December, 2014

Recreation: Healthier, Happier, Smarter

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014


Time outdoors makes families healthier, happier and smarter -- because Life's Better Outside.

Time outdoors makes families healthier, happier and smarter — because Life’s Better Outside.

This is Passport to Texas

There’s big push to get children outdoors. But kids aren’t the only ones who benefit from fresh air and sunshine. Survey says: Adults of all ages—as well as the kiddos—can achieve a better quality of life by committing to spending time in the wide open spaces…as well as the forested spaces…or watery spaces… Education and outreach director, Nancy Herron, shares some thoughts.

40— When you spend time outdoors you can be healthier, happier and smarter.

Those are some big claims there, Nancy. What do we mean by that?

Actually there is a lot of research that’s out there that shows that people of all ages actually do have benefits from being outside in nature, and that does include improvements to your health, your stress level, your sense of self esteem and confidence. Even being more cooperative. Can you believe that? Communities are more cooperative; families bond better in the out of doors. These are interesting things that we now know that we took for granted, and we just didn’t realize. That there’s a whole bevy of benefits from being outdoors.

Get healthier… happier…and smarter in the New Year when you spend time outdoors. Because, Life’s Better Outside…and so are you.

Happy New Year from Texas Parks and Wildlife and all of us at Passport to Texas …I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Resolve to do Something That Scares You

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014


Rappelling at Tom Mays Unit Franklin Mountains

Rappelling at Tom Mays Unit Franklin Mountains

This is Passport to Texas

Hard to believe, but another new year is just days away. Karen Zimmerman who coordinates the Texas Parks and Wildlife State Park Ambassador program offers a couple of suggestions to help you connect with the outdoors and yourself in 2015.

44—If you’re not getting outside try to go outside – even if it’s just walking outside. It’s amazing the benefits that that can bring to our mind. If you need to think on a problem, you should just let it marinate in your head while you walk amongst some trees. But, if you’re already into the outdoors recreation somewhat, and you want to take it a step further, I think the best resolution you can make to yourself is to try something that scares you. Because, there were so many things that I thought I just wasn’t tough enough to do – like repelling. And you might cry a little bit while you do it, but then afterwards you are going to feel so good. And, there is nothing in the world that can boost your confidence for months than undertaking something that scares you like that – and succeeding – because it’s actually not that hard, and you don’t need to be in that great of shape to do most of these outdoor activities.

Explore outdoor activities available in state parks and natural areas when you visit

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

Recreation: Resolve to go on a First Day Hike

Monday, December 29th, 2014


Hiking in Big Bend

Hiking in Big Bend

This is Passport to Texas

Whether you make official New Year’s resolutions or not, it never hurts to have a plan going into the next 365 days. Kevin Good with state parks has a few suggestions for your consideration.

21—Get outdoors more and take advantage of all of the opportunities that we have in Texas: from paddling trails to hiking trails to nature viewing…. It’s too easy to get stuck in your routine and not take advantage of those opportunities. And I’d suggest that folks start of their New year with a First Day Hike.

First Day Hikes take place throughout Texas and the US. Visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife website to find a First Day Hike opportunity near you.

35—First Day Hikes vary between sites, but typically, they are guided hikes led by a staff member or knowledgeable volunteer that will point out some of the best recreational aspects of a particular park. They may involve hand-on experiences, as well as educational activities along with the hikes. So, you’ll have folks not only to show you where to go and lead you on the trail, but also point out some of the topics of interest that you might see on that hike. It’s a great way to start off your new year with a healthy habit.

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

TPW TV: Sinking the Kinta

Friday, December 26th, 2014

This is Passport to Texas

The Gulf of Mexico has a lot going for it; but one thing it lacks is substrate. Substrate is hard material on which an organism can live and grow. That’s where this guy comes in.

05—[I’m] Dale Shivley; I’m the program leader for the artificial reef program for Texas Parks and Wildlife

Travel to the gulf with Shively and his crew this week on the TPW TV Series, as they “near shore” reef a 155 foot decommissioned freighter called the Kinta in 77 feet of water 8 miles off the coast of Corpus Christi.

13—Basically, what we have is a huge piece of metal that will benefit the local environment. Marine organisms will begin to grow on it; fish will be attracted to it immediately; it’s been cleaned of environmental hazards and is ready to go. [ambience]

On this TV segment, witness the hulking ship begin its new life on the gulf floor, where it will improve angling and diving opportunities. Brooke Shipley-Lozano, a marine biologist with Parks and Wildlife was at the reefing, and explains what will happen to the freighter.

19— So, the water will start coming in at the stern. And then gradually the water will fill up the ballast tanks one by one from the stern to the fore, and the rear of the ship should h it the bottom, and then eventually the bow will follow suit, and it will land perfectly upright and everyone will celebrate…

Will there be celebrating? Find when you watch the segment Sinking the Kinta S the week of December 28 on the TPW PBS TV Series. Check your local listings.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

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

Wildlife: Whooping Cranes in Texas

Thursday, December 25th, 2014


Whooping Cranes in Texas.

Whooping Cranes in Texas.

This is Passport to Texas

Former Parks and Wildlife biologist, Leeann Linam, has a long history with Whooping Cranes.

11— [chuckles] well, I may age myself here, but we moved to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge when I was 12. And so I guess that means about 40 years or so I’ve been involved with whooping cranes.

Whoopers winter at the refuge, where Leeann’s father worked for the US Fish and Wildlife Service. After a low of 15 birds, and more than 70 years of conservation, we only reached 300 members in the migrating flock in 2013.

24 – Part of it is the nature of the animal, itself. Whooping cranes are one of these birds designed to be around for a long time. They live 25 to 30 years and more (in captivity). They don’t reproduce until they’re four or five years old; they usually only raise one chick successfully per year. So it just takes a while. You just have to be patient and provide the right conditions for a long time and then the numbers start to add up.

As their population increases and becomes more widespread, maintaining an accurate tally of the birds becomes a challenge. Whoopers are moving farther up the coast away from their traditional wetland habitat.

07 – Some of the rice country in Horton County and most interestingly, in Central Texas, we’ve had some whooping cranes wintering in Williamson County.

The Wildlife and sport fish restoration program supports our series and funds rainbow trout stocking in Texas…

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