Archive for the 'Children in Nature' Category

A Walk on the Wild Side of a Backyard

Wednesday, November 13th, 2019
Amy and Caleb Maxwell

Amy and Caleb Maxwell

This is Passport to Texas

Your backyard is a wild place filled with wild things. To see them, slow down, look and listen. My colleague Randall Maxwell’s children, 17-year-old Amy and 14-year-old Caleb shared their thoughts on backyard nature during a stroll with their dad on the family’s property in Dripping Springs. Here’s Amy.

[Amy] What I like most about being outdoors is the fact that there are just so many creatures out here that are just being themselves—being peaceful. There’s just so much tranquility out there that we’re missing out on just because we don’t spend much time out in nature. Like the creeks nearby our home. I like to walk down to those sometimes and just take a look at all the creatures just flitting around; the little frogs nearby. The little water bugs on top of the creek. What I Find interesting about water it keeps on flowing down to wherever it decided to go. And it’s just really interesting to think about where it could be and what happens to it.

[Caleb] When I’m walking on the trails in nature, I love to think about the origin: when everything got here, you know…

That’s Caleb.

[Caleb] Just seeing all the plants and the rocks and definitely the animals. It’s life…living in this area. That we’re walking on right now. See, we’re wandering here just like they were. They have their own ecosystem and their own community just like us. They just live in the wild while we live in the cities and farms.

Kids say the smartest things…they know Life’s Better Outside.

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.

Overcoming Outdoor Anxieties

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019

Eco-therapist, Amy Sugeno. Image from her Facebook page.

This is Passport to Texas

Did you know that spending time outdoors may be the cure for people who are anxious about spending time outdoors?

There are ions that come up out of the soil and tend to have these effects—like calming the nervous system.

Former TPWD biologist, Amy Sugeno is a licensed clinical social worker and eco-therapist. She says medical researchers studied earthing, which involves direct skin contact with the surface of the Earth. Among its benefits, researchers found it produced feelings of well-being.

Something as simple as gardening without gloves. Barefoot walking is kind of becoming more popular. You can just sit in your backyard, take your shoes and socks off, and just put your feet onto the grass, or onto the ground.

Anxiety about spending time outdoors is common.

Back when I was working for Parks and Wildlife and would take groups of children out, it would not be uncommon for a child to say, well wait a minute, are there skunks out here? Are there snakes out here? And I would be surprised because I’m so used to being out in the field. But it would remind me that there are anxieties for people.

Other anxieties develop around whether one has the necessary skills to stay safe outdoors. Eco-therapist Amy Sugeno addresses the topic of outdoor anxiety and how to manage it during a segment in our new long-format podcast called Under the Texas Sky.

Find it at or wherever you get your podcasts.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

It’s Fun to Get Wild in Class

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018
Project Wild

Project Wild

This is Passport to Texas

The more children learn about nature and wildlife, the greater their potential of becoming good stewards of the land.

That’s the philosophy behind a program from Texas Parks and Wildlife called Project Wild. Project Wild is an environmental education program and conservation education program. The idea behind it is to help young people in grades K-12 learn about wildlife and understand natural resources.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Outreach and Education staff lead workshops that teach adults hands-on activities that incorporate wildlife-related concepts into the teaching of basic learning skills…like math, science, language arts and social studies.

Different types of activities take place at each workshop. Some include quiet activities like drawing, writing and coloring. Some involve activities can be somewhat physical. All activities have an environment theme. Project Wild workshops are available to anyone who works with children. Educators who complete the workshops earn 6 hours TEA-approved CPE and TEEAC Credit.

Find upcoming workshops in the calendar section of the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our show.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

Get Campy with the Kiddos

Monday, November 26th, 2018
Family camping trip at Bastrop State Park

Family camping trip at Bastrop State Park

This is Passport to Texas

When Ryan Spencer worked for Texas Parks and Wildlife, he connected people with nature through the Texas Outdoor Family Program.

I work out of a trailer and we go all over the state. It’s a unique office, but I really love it.

Ryan currently manages the Children in Nature Collaborative in Austin. But when he was with Texas Parks and Wildlife, he would…

…go from park to park and show people how to go camping for the first time.

Studies prove that when children spend time outside with their families they are healthier, happier and smarter. In addition, the family bond grows stronger.

They have better family cohesion. So that means, that children who spend more time with their parents outside, become nicer teenagers when they grow up.

Rally the family around outdoor fun and caring for our environment.

We teach about “Leave No Trace” and how to protect the environment while you’re out there enjoying it. We want to give them some skills that they can repeat on their own when they come back from the state park. So, things like cooking on a camp stove; setting up a tent.

To find a Texas Outdoor Family Workshop near you, visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

Out show receives support from RAM Trucks. Built to serve.

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