Archive for August, 2017

Think Globally, Play Locally

Thursday, August 24th, 2017
Getting kids outdoors makes them healthier, happier and smarter.

Getting kids outdoors makes them healthier, happier and smarter.

This is Passport to Texas

Texas Children in Nature is part of the larger – global – children in nature movement.

The concept is that there is a disconnect that has been happening for the past few decades between children and nature.

Texas’ Children in Nature coordinator, Jennifer Bristol, says that disconnect is at the root of various health and wellness issues for our children. It also affects the future of environmental stewardship; but there is reason for hope.

Texas leads the way for the Children in Nature movement within the country. And we’re very excited about the work that we have done throughout the entire state. We have really created some system changes in the way that we think about how do we care for children in our places like schools and daycare centers. How are we helping them have a connection while they’re in those institutions, but also then – how are we looking at their play as a way to also help facilitate that connection with nature?

We’re seeing more nature based play areas at schools and parks. Educators and health care providers promote time in nature as a prescription to help kids become healthier, happier and smarter.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation supports our series and helps keep Texas wild with support of proud members across the state. Find out more at

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

Small Town, Big Fun — Texas Bison Fest

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017
Music, food and fun -- to support bison restoration.

Music, food and fun — to support bison restoration.

This is Passport to Texas

On Saturday September 23 part of downtown Quitaque, Texas will be shut down…for the love of bison.

This is [for] the seventh annual Texas State Bison Music Festival.

Donald Beard is superintendent of Caprock Canyons State Park, home to the official state bison herd. The festival raises awareness and funds for continued restoration of the animals and their habitat.

This year’s event will be held in downtown Quitaque; the food and arts and crafts vendors will start at around nine o’clock. So, you can come do some shopping, buy some local goods, get some great food. We’ll have some historical reenactors so you can see what life was like in this area a couple of hundred years ago. Then, the music starts about three o’clock.

With five bands on the bill attendees will have plenty of opportunity for boot scooting. While the fun seems limitless, the tickets are not.

It’s actually a small festival by festival standards. We don’t want it to get real big. The max number of tickets we’re selling is 12-hundred. And, last year we had a thousand or so people. So, we’re getting to the point where we’re almost getting ready to start selling out.

Find complete details and ticket prices for the September 23rd Texas State Bison Music Festival at

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

Texas State Bison Music Fest

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017
Bison making plans to attend Bison Fest September 23.

Bison making plans to attend Bison Fest September 23.

This is Passport to Texas

Caprock Canyon State Park is home to the official state bison herd, comprised of descendants of the original southern plains bison that wandered the Great Plains.

We think we’re at about 150 [bison], plus this year’s calf crop, which should be about 30 or so.

Superintendent Donald Beard oversees this growing, free-roaming herd. Restoration efforts of the animals and their native habitat takes time and money. That’s where the Texas State Bison Music Festival comes in.

We were just looking for a fun fundraiser, and we decided that this would be pretty fun. And by all means it is. This year we’re headlining it with the Randy Rogers Band. But we also have Mark Powell, Zach Wilkerson, Sarah Hobbs, and Kevin Deal. It’s a street dance; we close off part of the town. The festival is held in the town of Quitiquae. We have all kinds of live music. Food vendors. Arts and crafts – and all day fun on a Saturday. This year it’s going to be September 23rd.

Proceeds from The Texas State Bison Music Festival on September 23, go directly to bison research and habitat restoration at Caprock Canyons SP. Find compete details and ticket prices at

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

New Pictographs Discovered

Monday, August 21st, 2017
Pictograph at Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site.

Pictograph at Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site.

This is Passport to Texas

For thousands of years, people have trekked to the rock hills in far west Texas where they found rainwater pooled in natural basins called huecos.

Today, visitors to Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site enjoy the rock hills for bouldering, which is a form of rock climbing, and the rock paintings, or pictographs, left by those ancient people.

After a year-long survey using D-stretch image enhancement technology, researchers discovered previously unknown pictographs in 29 locations. These areas will remain closed to recreational activities to protect the fragile artwork from potential impacts.

A list of closed climbs has been provided to the guides and to visitors on the North Mountain.

The majority of the pictographs are in the Jornada style, named for the prehistoric Jornada Mogollon culture of western Texas, southern New Mexico and northern Mexico.

These Native Americans were the first farmers in the region, and it’s believed they created the paintings about 550 to 1,000 years ago for use in prayers for rain. Some things never change.

Hueco Tanks is a significant cultural resource in the El Paso area that reflects at least 10,000 years of history. Find more information about the site at

That’s our show for today… Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

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

TPW TV — Hop for the Future

Friday, August 18th, 2017
Collecting data on Kangaroo Rat.

Collecting data on Kangaroo Rat.

This is Passport to Texas

According to Dr. Randy Simpson, kangaroo rats are…

They’re about the handsomest rodent that you can find.

The problem is, you can’t find them. At least not many of them, anyway. Simpson is Wildlife Biology Program Director at Texas State. During a Texas Parks and Wildlife TV segment airing next week on PBS, graduate students, including Silas Ott, survey the species near the Texas/Oklahoma border.

So, it does seem to be pretty rare geographically. It’s only been found in 11 counties in Texas. And within the past 20 years, it’s only been found in five of those 11 counties.

Ott and his cohorts locate fresh burrows and set traps and cameras. Dr. Simpson.

Are we seeing just the last vestiges of populations that are hanging on? We don’t know. I think that that’s the reason Texas Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service want to find that out.

Nathan Rains is a Wildlife Diversity Biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife. He’s assisting Texas State, and says the agency helped to fund the research through its grant program.

It’s obviously declining. We don’t have a lot of great information on this species, so we’re trying to learn as much as we can. But it’s a species we’re concerned about, and it’s been a concern for awhile.

Catch the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV segment Hop for the Future next week on PBS. Check your local listings.

The Wildlife restoration program supports our series funds kangaroo rat surveys and management in Texas.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti