Archive for May, 2019

Diversity in the Workplace Supports the Work

Thursday, May 30th, 2019

Diversity in the TPWD workforce helps support nature’s diversity.

This is Passport to Texas

For David Buggs, Director of Diversity at Texas Parks and Wildlife, diversity and inclusion aren’t just nice ideas. As in nature, it’s crucial to the agency’s mission… and the survival of the organization.

Any good bio-scientist will tell you, if you don’t have that diversity in the eco-system, it’s not very strong. It’s going to eventually falter, and then invasive species or other things take over and it creates an imbalance in the habitat.

So, what does diversity inclusion look like at Texas Parks and Wildlife?

Diversity inclusion means everybody gets an opportunity to participate and to be fully engaged and to add value. And it makes for a better, stronger organization. …we’ve got to start having some of those conversations about how diversity adds value. It’s an uncomfortable conversation for some folks to have because when you’ve been in an environment where the only folks you see look just like you, you get real comfortable there. But you’ve got to start off being comfortable being uncomfortable. And once you’ve become comfortable being uncomfortable, it’s a lot easier to reach some of your goals and make your organization sustainable.

Find information about Texas Parks and Wildlife’s diversity and inclusion initiatives on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

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

Diversity Initiatives at Texas Parks and Wildlife

Wednesday, May 29th, 2019
Diversity in the workplace

Diversity in the workplace

This is Passport to Texas

David Buggs is the Director of Diversity here at Texas Parks and Wildlife. He’s working hard to enact projects and programs for the agency that reflect the ever-changing demographics of the citizens of Texas.

We created a booklet that really spoke to who Texas Parks and Wildlife was. Not just the activity of the agency, but also the people of the agency …and it speaks to every division, talks about specific jobs, and it talks about why we love it here. …Another thing that we’ve also done is created our own diversity and inclusion webpage, and that’s something I’m very proud of as well. And we’ve had a lot of folks who go out that have hired on here recently, that have gone out and seen that webpage, saw some of the things that were on there, saw the statement that was created by our senior management, and said, “Okay, this is a place I want to be…”

And what initiative is closest to Director Buggs heart?

The project that I’m most proud of right now is our university partnership project. …we’re reaching out to predominately diverse universities—some Hispanic-serving universities, predominately African-American universities—and seeing how we can develop a partnership with them.

Find information on Texas Parks and Wildlife’s diversity initiatives on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

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

Cultivating Diversity at Texas Parks and Wildlife

Tuesday, May 28th, 2019
Chief Diversity Officer, David Buggs

Chief Diversity Officer, David Buggs

This is Passport to Texas

As the population demographics of Texas continue to evolve, so does Texas Parks and Wildlife

Texas is a majority minority state. Not just ethnic diversity, but also gender diversity. … there are more women in the state of Texas now than there are men.

David Buggs, Director of Diversity at Texas Parks and Wildlife is leading the charge on this vital mission.

I love the outdoors. Always been a part of it, ever since my youth. I loved the mission of Texas Parks and Wildlife and having an opportunity to actually focus on diversity and inclusion, along with helping a mission, was just outstanding, so I couldn’t miss the opportunity.

And what does a Director of Diversity do exactly?

My position entails creating strategy for the entire organization, both internal diversity and inclusion strategy, looking at recruitment, looking at retention. But it also deals with the external piece, looking at outreach and education. I make sure that I’m facilitating good conversations, and basically what I do is hold up the mirror to everybody within the organization, so they can see who they are, and also talk about what we can do differently.

Find more on diversity at Texas Parks and Wildlife on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

We receive support from RAM Trucks: Built to Serve.

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

Are Rattlesnakes Losing Their Rattle?

Thursday, May 23rd, 2019


This is Passport to Texas

Maybe you’ve heard stories around the campfire about rattlesnakes losing their ability to rattle. Some chalk it up to feral pig attacks, others to humans who seek out and kill rattlers. If they can’t find you, they can’t kill you, right? But is there any truth to the tales?

It’s a pretty common story that you hear but its completely unsubstantiated.

Dr. Andy Gluesenkamp, herpetologist and Director of Conservation at the San Antonio Zoo says he’s seen no scientific evidence to back up these claims.

I think it’s just conjecture on the part of folks that like a good story or don’t have a very good understanding sort of how natural selection works in the wild. A lot of snakes get collected out of their winter dens for rattlesnake roundups, yet those snakes aren’t being discovered because they rattle. Road mortalities are a significant issue for a lot of snake populations and rattling or not rattling isn’t gonna make a bit of difference with a passing car.

So, what do you do if you come up on a rattler?

Better just to leave the scene. Nine times out of ten the snake will do the same. If you encounter a snake in a place it shouldn’t be say close to structures or in a playground contact a wildlife professional to come remove the snake safely.

We receive support in part from RAM Trucks: Built to Serve.

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

Playing it Safe on the Water

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019


This is Passport to Texas

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start to summer boating fun. And, if you plan on operating a boat, ensure the safety of yourself and your passengers with the proper safety gear.

You should have a sound producing device, and you should have a life jacket for every person that’s on board. If you’re boating at night, you should have the proper lights—that are working—and we suggest a first aid kit.

Tim Spice, manager of boater education for Parks and Wildlife, says anyone born on or after September 1, 1993 is required to take boater education.

We cover lots of different things, including safety aspects of boating; the different types of vessel you may have; the rules of the road; the required equipment. Again, everyone on board a vessel needs to have a lifejacket that’s accessible. We define what accessible means by law so that you don’t get in trouble when you’re on the water and a game warden stops to give you a boating safety check.

File a float plan with someone onshore that details where you’ll be and when you plan to return. Keep in mind that the rules for operating a boat differ from that of a car.

There’s no lines on the road; there’s no speed limits, per se. There are different signs and things you have to look out for that are very different than you would in your car.

Boating safety course are available online or in a classroom. Find a link on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

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