Archive for July, 2018

Can Eating Insects Save the World?

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

Little Herds’ Robert Nathan Allen with toasted crickets.

This is Passport to Texas

Experts predict the world’s population will increase to nine billion people by 2050. That’s two billion more mouths to feed. And Robert Nathan Allen says an eco-friendly protein to help nourish the masses is insects.

Compared to say a cow, where we can only really eat about forty percent of the cow, with insects; we can eat most if not all of them.

Allen founded the nonprofit Little Herds to educate the public about insects as a nutritious alternative food source. Insects are high in protein and rich in fiber micronutrients. Currently 70% of agricultural land supports meat production, which limits the industry’s future growth.

So, with insects, we can raise them in a modular fashion vertically on a fraction of the land as traditional livestock, with a fraction of the water, with a fraction of the feed, and end up with more nutritional valuable protein.

It’s a huge leap from eating burgers to bugs. For the brave ones, Allen recommends obtaining edible insects from farms that raise them for human consumption.

That way we can assure that they’re raised in a hygienic, safe, clean environment. We can make sure that there’s no risk of diseases and parasites, and we can make sure tht they’re eating a clean, wholesome diet.

According to a UN report, over 2 billion people worldwide already supplement their diet with insects. Intrigued? Learn more about edible insects at

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

Insects–They’re What’s for Dinner

Monday, July 23rd, 2018

A handful of tasty, toasted crickets.

This is Passport to Texas

Bugs have a way of showing up just as you unpack your picnic. But what if you welcomed their presence? No, not as guests… as snacks.

They really do have a crunch [crunches]; really similar to roasted nuts.

That’s Robert Nathan Allen, who was just then crunching a toasted cricket. He’s founder of the Austin, Texas nonprofit Little Herds.

And we focus primarily educating the public and particularly children about edible insects and why and how we can adopt them into our diet.

We call eating insects as food Entomophagy; it’s commonplace among 80% of the world’s population. But we westerners steer clear.

Once western societies started becoming very agriculturally based, particularly in northern climates, it just became ingrained in our society that insects are dirty. And so, that idea has continued to be passed down generation to generation in these western cultures. Whereas in the tropical environments where the habit has continued, it’s just another food source.

The thing is, we already eat more than 400 insects a year without knowing it. Allen says by intentionally switching animal protein for insect protein, we can improve the environment and our nutrition. More on that tomorrow.

Our show receives support in part from RAM Trucks: built to serve.

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

TPW TV – Brazos Bend State Park

Friday, July 20th, 2018

Biking the trails at Brazos Bend State Park.

This is Passport to Texas

The thing that makes Brazos Bend State Park special is its diversity. About an hour from Houston, visitors to the park experience Texas as it used to be.

And within this 5,000-acre park, we’ve got swamps to marshes to lakes, coastal tall grass prairie, and we’ve also got some pristine bottomland hardwood forests here.

David Heinicke is with Brazos Bend State Park.

There’s so many things to see here, but one of the biggest draws here are the alligators. On a good day it’s not unusual to be able to walk the trails, and see thirty or forty big alligators out basking either on the edge of the trails or out on the islands. And I’m happy to say that no one has ever been injured by an alligator here at Brazos Bend.

With three picnic areas, 30 miles of hiking and biking trails and plentiful wildlife viewing, Brazos Bend SP is a day trip waiting to happen. And after the sun sets…

The George Observatory is located here in the park. It’s actually owned and operated by the Museum of Natural Science in Houston. But, it has a 36-inch research telescope in a dome, and then two 18-inch telescopes in domes. You can come out any Saturday afternoon and evening and buy tickets to view through the big scopes, and there’s always a lot of astronomer club members that are willing to show you whatever they’re looking at that night.

Explore Brazos Bend State Park without leaving your living room. Tune into the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS the week of July 22. Check your local listings.

Our show receives support from RAM Trucks; Built to Serve.

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

End of Summer State Park Camping Trip

Thursday, July 19th, 2018

State Park Family Camping

This is passport to Texas

I know it feels like summer just started, but school will be back in session before you know it. Before the school bell rings for the fall semester, maybe it’s time to gather the family for a camping getaway. With parks in every region of Texas, your destination is only a short drive away.

Most state parks have campgrounds, and some of those have water and electric hook-ups. Several parks also accommodate RVs for those who wish to bring a little piece of home with them to the great outdoors. Before you travel, check to see what RV connections are available at your campsite.

For the pampered camper, check out state parks that offer cabins and lodges. Historic landmarks and secluded ranches make for a relaxing getaway.

When camping, remember to properly dispose of food waste to discourage unwanted animals visitors; and always pack out what you pack in.

Remember that you are you are not just a visitor, you are part of the natural world, and as such, it is your responsibility to keep it healthy and inviting to others.

If you’ve never been camping before, consider attending a Texas Outdoor Family workshop where For Texas Parks and Wildlife staff teaches you and your family the basics in a fun-filled weekend.

Find more outdoor opportunities at the website

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

How to Spot the Cactus Moth

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

Photo credits: (top) Susan Ellis, USDA APHIS PPQ,; (mid) Jeffrey W. Lotz, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services,; (bottom) CMDMN

This is Passport to Texas

Prickly pear cacti are economically important to Texas and Mexico. They’re also the larval food of the cactus moth, a nonnative species that’s heading to Texas.

Invertebrate biologist Michael Warriner says the larvae of this prolific South American moth species, which is active this time of year, can decimate prickly pear populations. The adult insect is non-descript and difficult to identify, but the larvae is easier to recognize.

Looking for the larvae or evidence of feeding damage is the best thing to look for. The caterpillars themselves are a bright orange to red coloration with black bands or spots. The larvae spend most of their time inside of the prickly pear pad, and they basically hollow it out. So the pad, as the larvae feed on it, will become transparent and they’ll eventually just collapse.

Researchers are developing methods of managing the moth. Until then, if you see infested plants…

You can still control it by removing the infested pads and that would help. Disposing and burning them. Or simply enclosing them in some kind of plastic bag to heat up the larvae and kill them.

Find links to more information about the cactus moth at

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti