Archive for June, 2019

TPW TV: Billy Hassell and the Art of Conservation

Thursday, June 13th, 2019
Billy Hassell's Powderhorn Ranch

Billy Hassell’s Powderhorn Ranch

This is Passport to Texas

Billy Hassell lives in the urban world of Fort Worth; yet, he’s always been drawn to the natural world.

Reconnecting with nature in a small way, in a very urban environment… it calms the soul somehow if you can slow down. We live fast-paced lives and we’re kind of conditioned, I think, to believe we have to live in rush all the time.

He doesn’t rush, but he does brush. Billy’s a full-time artist who focuses on nature.

My work has always been inspired by nature. I grew up in a time when there were still some open spaces and creeks and I got to experience a little bit of nature even though I grew up in a pretty urban environment. I guess my love of nature was born from those experiences, and I’ve been kind of searching for that throughout the rest of my life. I’ve been seeking out opportunities to be out in nature and find places to inspire my work.

And inspiration is all around. He recently found it at Powderhorn Ranch.

I find a lot of inspiration as an artist in a place like this, and as I learn more and more about it, I’m fascinated by the complexities of it and how practically every plant and every little creature plays a role in the overall balance of a place.

See Billy Hassell and his art in a segment of the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS the week of June 16. Check your local listings.

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

Benefits of Conservation License Plates

Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

Whitetail deer conservation license plate

This is Passport to Texas

Established in 2000, Texas Parks & Wildlife’s conservation license plate program has raised millions of dollars for wildlife conservation.

Grossing more than $1.2 million dollars since it launched back in 2002, the White-tailed Deer plate benefits big game management and hunting programs in Texas. This past April, a Desert Bighorn Sheep plate joined the lineup.

15- The revenue generated from those two license plates goes directly towards the research and management of big game species in Texas. Which means the research and management of white-tailed deer, mule deer, pronghorn, desert bighorn sheep and javelina.

Mitch Lockwood is the Big Game Program Director for Texas Parks and Wildlife

We’re very fortunate to have this revenue that we can use to leverage more federal Pittman Robertson funds. We’re basically able to quadruple the revenue generated from this license plate.

The Texas desert bighorn sheep restoration program has been one of the most successful wildlife restoration programs of its kind.

The population was extirpated from the trans Pecos region back in the sixties and we acquired some animals from western states. Those two populations have responded very well to those early reintroduction efforts. So, now were taking those surplus animals and we’re starting to put sheep into mountain ranges that haven’t seen sheep in decades

Learn how to obtain your conservation license plate at conservationplate.org.

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

New Conservation License Plate to Drive You Wild

Tuesday, June 11th, 2019

Conservation Plate, Desert Bighorn Sheep

This is Passport to Texas

Thousands of Texas motorists have contributed to wildlife conservation efforts with a simple purchase. Thirty dollars for a Texas Parks & Wildlife conservation license plate.

We’re really excited to announce that we’re launching a new desert bighorn sheep conservation license plate.

Janis Johnson is with the Conservation License Plate program at Texas Parks and Wildlife.

This is a real beauty. The first time that we’ve used a photograph on a license plate. It’s a really clear view of this majestic looking bighorn with an enviable set of horns.

This popular fund-raising program started with the horned lizard plate, first offered in 2000.

It’s been quite amazing to watch the program grow. We now have nine plates and within this period of time we’ve raised nearly 9 million dollars.

Each conservation license plate costs just $30 in addition to the vehicle registration fee. $22 goes directly to help fund conservation efforts in Texas. Motorists can order a plate anytime for their vehicle, motorcycle or trailer; it’s not necessary to wait for a renewal notice. Go to any county tax office or conservationplate.org for your plates.

If you have a deer plate already or one of our other plates, I’m sure that there’s another vehicle around that could use a handsome looking desert bighorn sheep on it.

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

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

Food, Fellowship and Dutch Ovens

Thursday, June 6th, 2019

Cooking fluffy biscuits in a Dutch Oven.

This is Passport to Texas

Cleburne State Park, about 30 miles southwest of Fort Worth, has a spring-fed lake and shady trails. It also hosts a local group that’s passionate about their avocation.

We fell in love with the park and the people.

Dennis Clute is chapter advisor for the Chisolm Trail Chaparral Dutch Oven Society

We cook on the third Saturday of each month except for June, July and August; it’s just too hot. We get there about mid-morning on Saturday, we have the pots on the table by 12:30, we all gather in a big circle, we say grace, we invite everyone there to eat with us and have a good time

The Chaps say they can prepare nearly anything that can be cooked in a home oven in a Dutch oven.

I think my favorite was this rich chocolate cake that they made. It was delicious

Annie Hepp is a regional interpretive specialist with Texas Parks and Wildlife.

They really enjoy the opportunity to be with one another. They get to cook for people, they get to share their passion with others and that passion and enjoyment is pretty infectious. Just being around them and seeing what they’re cooking up really inspires you to try it yourself.

Go to the calendar section of the Texas Parks and Wildlife website and click on “cooking” to find Dutch Oven demos in parks.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

Student Docents at Texas State Parks

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

Crystal Camacho, a student docent at FLHS, leads a group from Houston through the site. Image: Fort Leaton Facebook Page.

This is Passport to Texas

Manuela Catano is the Park Superintendent at the Fort Leaton  State Historic Site and manages a unique workforce – student  docents.

We work in conjunction with our local school district. We can hire them as young as 14 years old.

The program provides students a solid first job experience while they develop a range of marketable skills. Laura Jennings is a park ranger.

[Laura] They apply for the position, we score the application, we will interview them and for many of the docents, this will be their first interview. So that in itself is a learning experience.

[Omar] Before this I was a pretty much a shy person and it helped me open up and not be so shy when I meet new people.

[Crystal] It really pushed myself to get out of a comfort zone… to try and focus on my communication skills.

Omar Udave and Crystal Camacho are part of a team of eight student docents

[Omar] Well, a lot of questions are asking about the “carreton”, this big wagon we have back here; and I explain it to them.  

[Crystal] My favorite part of the tour is the dining room; the second owner, Edward Hall was actually shot in that room.

The student docent program is much more than a job. It’s an opportunity to learn while teaching others

It’s the best job I’ve ever had. We’re really thankful to have them

Volunteer at state parks. Find opportunities in the Volunteer section of the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

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