Archive for October, 2019

Centennial Artist Clemente Guzman

Thursday, October 31st, 2019
Centennial Artist, Clemente Guzman

Centennial Artist, Clemente Guzman

This is Passport to Texas

I love nature. I love being outside.

Artist Clemente Guzman has a genuine affection for the outdoors. He spent twenty-nine and a half years at Texas Parks and Wildlife depicting the natural beauty of the state.

I create art because it inspires me, it moves me, and being out in nature does that to me. It has that magic. You know when you have it, because you can’t sleep. You know you get up. It’s like falling in love. You know, you’re just thinking of that all the time.

Now Clemente has come out of retirement for a higher calling. He’s one of thirty-one centennial artists chosen to commemorate the one-hundredth anniversary of Texas State Parks. Government Canyon State Park is his first assignment.

I went out there to Government Canyon and I did some of the trails, especially one of them that goes to the dinosaur tracks. And I took some pictures and got my mind thinking. I found this lizard that I though it would be a great idea to put him inside of a dinosaur track. It just fit beautifully, the angle of the lizard and the footprint. I’m going to paint that for Government Canyon.

The centennial artists will cover sixty-two parks in all, and their work will be featured in a printed book to be published in the centennial year 2023.

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

Centennial Artists and Texas State Parks

Wednesday, October 30th, 2019
Texas State Parks.

Texas State Parks.

This is Passport to Texas

The year 2023 is the centennial anniversary of Texas State Parks, and thirty-one Texas artists have been chosen to create illustrations for a printed book about the State Park System.

The whole history of conservation in the United States, particularly in the national parks, it was aided and abetted by artists.

Former Texas Parks and Wildlife executive director Andy Sansom is project organizer and co-author of the centennial book.

They are all Texas artists. Each one of them will paint two paintings. There will be sixty-two parks in the book. And then the text will be written by me and my colleague Bill Reaves. And Bill will write mainly about the artists, and then my portion of the book will be about the State Park System. ‘Be a little bit of history, a little bit of personal reflection on my own experiences, a little bit about contemporary issues facing state parks, and celebration of the hundredth anniversary.

The paintings will be offered for sale, and a portion of the proceeds will go to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation to benefit the State Park System.

The book is scheduled to come out during the centennial year, along with an initial public exhibition of the paintings at the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin.

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

Ocelot Habitat Restoration

Tuesday, October 29th, 2019
Endangered Ocelot

Endangered Ocelot

This is Passport to Texas

The endangered Ocelot once roamed many parts of Texas. But over the years, loss of their native thorn-scrub habitat has left only a handful of Ocelots in the Rio Grande Valley.

We need to restore their habitat as quickly as possible because they’re just really in dire need.

Dr. Sandra Rideout-Hanzak is a restoration ecologist at Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute.

The thornscrub is really unique and it’s highly diverse. We’re talking about small trees or large shrubs. They’re multi-stemmed so they’ve got lots of branches coming out very low to the ground. To humans it looks like this impassable jungle, but to Ocelots it’s just perfect.

Traditionally Ocelot habitat was left alone to restore itself. Now a new study is hoping to accelerate restoration efforts with woody plant seedlings.

We’ve kind of figured out how to replant these species of trees that become thornscrub. We have 700 seedlings that we’ve planted ourselves to see what we can do to get them to that multi-stemmed habitat where they’re growing in the right shape as quickly as possible.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series and funds Ocelot research in Texas.

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

The Lesser Prairie Chicken

Thursday, October 24th, 2019
Lesser prairie-chicken

Lesser prairie-chicken. Image courtesy USFWS

This is Passport to Texas

The Lesser Prairie Chicken used to roam many parts of Texas. But over the years, the wide-open grassland prairies they depend on have been greatly reduced by development and land fragmentation.

Lesser Prairie Chickens are important because they are an indicator species on the health of the grasslands.

Brad Simpson is a Wildlife Diversity Biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife.

When we look at Lesser Prairie Chicken numbers we look at two things. We look at numbers range-wide, because they occur in Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas. Probably range-wide they are increasing. But when we look at Texas they are probably more stable in the last five years than they ever have been.

There are only two populations of the Lesser Prairie Chicken in Texas, but that’s not the only reason they’re hard to find.

Most people probably have never seen a Lesser Prairie Chicken because they occur on private lands. They are a delicate species that requires a specific habitat, large expanse of grasslands, so maintaining those large tracks of grasslands is critical for their survival.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is currently performing a species review of the grouse. A status determination is expected in 2021. Until then, management of the Lesser Prairie Chicken will be up to landowner stewardship.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series and funds Lesser Prairie Chicken research in Texas.

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

Children Learning About Nature

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
Camp Wildflower

Camp Wildflower, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Image courtesy of

This is Passport to Texas

This is called the Dino Creek. Or Dinosaur Creek…

The Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center located in Austin is grooming the conservationists of tomorrow.

Camp Wildflower is showing and demonstrating to children how they can appreciate nature at any given moment.

Rosalie Kelley is Camp Director.

Studies have shown that children who have three positive experiences in nature will grow up as adults to want to be in nature, to appreciate nature and be better stewards of our environment.

Campers get their hands dirty learning about nature, from bugs and plants to streams and wildlife habitats.

I use the binoculars to look at stuff up close.

Six-year-old Lauren thinks the best thing about Camp Wildflower is having fun. She’s made a lot of friends, and oh yeah, she’s also learned how flowers are pollinated.

So a bee or a butterfly might come. Whenever it drinks the nectar it can get pollen all over it and then whenever it goes to another flower it brings more pollen.

The wonder and lasting impressions of nature.

To learn more about Camp Wildflower visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center website at

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