Archive for December, 2018

Relaxing Old School During the Holidays

Monday, December 24th, 2018

Christmas at Sauer Beckman Farm.

This is Passport to Texas

We have something in common with early Texans.

Christmas and the month of December—in large part—was the time when Texans gathered.

Cynthia Brandimarte is program director for Texas historic sites. Unlike today when a short trip by car or plane will get us to our holiday destination, travel was difficult for early Texans.

And so when you traveled, you tended to stay. People had time at Christmas to do that—to travel and spend weeks.

Which makes the few days that most of us get off at Christmas seem like a rip off. And early Texans made good use of this block of time.

It was then that they celebrated not only Christmas, but other special events, and planned weddings for the month of December.

Since Texas was mostly rural in the 19th and early 20th Centuries, and there wasn’t a lot of farming that could happen in December…

It almost gave 19th Century and early 20th Century rural Texans an excuse not to work. And thus to play a bit more, and socialize a bit more, than they had time to do many other months of the year.

How will you spend your time off this holiday season? How about making time to enjoy the great outdoors?

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

Protecting a Birder’s “Best Friend”

Friday, December 21st, 2018

Musical whistling fills the air as the meadowlark sings its territorial song.

This is Passport to Texas

If you are an avid birdwatcher, or are interested in becoming one, Texas Parks and Wildlife’s non-game ornithologist Cliff Shackelford recommends that you resolve to take good care of your two best bird watching tools in the New Year: your ears.

The most important to me is ear protection. And this is when you’re not birding. This is when you’re mowing the lawn, working the chainsaw, the vacuum cleaner, shooting guns. Anything that’s loud, and you do it a lot, you have to protect your ears, because, guess what: you’re going to use your ears to detect birds more than your eyes.

Your ears are really going to help you find birds when they’re calling. They’re little. They’re up in the trees. You can’t see them amongst the leaves, but they’re singing away like a Red-eyed Vireo. Your ears are going to lure you to that bird way before your eyes are. So, at any age – especially a young age – protect your ears because they are the best tool that you’ve got for bird watching.

Find more birding information on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website.

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

Start 2019 with a First Day Hike

Thursday, December 20th, 2018
First Day Hike at Palo Duro Canyon.

First Day Hike at Palo Duro Canyon.

This is Passport to Texas

When it comes to making New Year resolutions, some folks are all talk. And then, there are other people walk their talk. For the past several years, the folks who walk their talk have been using the New Year as an excuse to bust a move on state park trails during First Day Hike events.

First Day Hikes is a nationwide initiative that Texas State Parks has been participating in for the last several years.

Thomas Wilhelm, with state parks. He says most state parks throughout Texas host First Day Hike Events. First days hikes have become a great way for Texans to begin the New Year in a healthy fashion.

Essentially, it’s the concept of getting outside on January first, and doing something to kick the year off right. So, almost all of our parks have some sort of first day hike. A few of our parks take it a unique way. But many of our parks do have those first day hikes. And they’re, of course, guided hikes with a park ranger. And it’s just a way to start the year off right on the good foot. Literally.

Find First Day Hike events at While you’re there check out other healthy opportunities like yoga in the woods, women only hikes, hikes with shelter dogs, and more.

That’s our show for today… We record our series at the Block House in Austin, Texas…Joel Block engineers our program.

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

Does it Scare You? Then do it!

Wednesday, December 19th, 2018

Rock Climbing at Lake Mineral Wells State Park

This is Passport to Texas

Hard to believe, but another new year nearly here. When Karen Zimmerman was at Texas Parks and Wildlife, she coordinated the agency’s State Park Ambassador program. Back then she offered suggestions for ways to connect with the outdoors and with yourself any time of year.

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 the

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

Resolving to Spend More Time Outdoors in 2019

Tuesday, December 18th, 2018
First Day Hike

First Day Hike at Pedernales Falls State Park.

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 offers suggestions for your consideration.

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.

Visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife website to find a First Day Hike opportunity near you.

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. There 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.

Find more outdoor activities on the Texas parks and Wildlife website.

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