Archive for the 'Shows' Category

Texas Outdoor Story – The Squirrel and the Snake

Friday, September 22nd, 2017
Paddling Ladybird Lake.

Paddling Ladybird Lake. Image: Texas River School

This is Passport to Texas Outdoor Stories

Ginger Turner enjoys paddling on Lady Bird Lake in Austin. Over the years, she says she’s witnessed her share of unusual incidents on the water.

The one that was really funny and sticks out in my head. My friend and I were paddling and we saw something swimming and we couldn’t figure out what it was. We get over there and it’s a squirrel swimming over one of the widest parts of the lake. We’re like, “let’s get closer; get closer.” So we follow him over and he ran up this tree that was leaning over in the water. As he was running up he ran smack dab into a snake that was curled up sunning on the tree. And it startled the squirrel, and it startled the snake and they both jumped about 10 ft. up in the air! And the snake plopped in the water and the squirrel we couldn’t even find. Later we heard a rustling and we saw the squirrel had made it over to the shore. But it was hilarious, it was funny. But I didn’t know that squirrels swam, but I guess they do. [laughs]

Thanks, Ginger. You never know what you might see when you get outside.

Do you have a funny or memorable Texas outdoor story to share? Go to, and let us know. We love to hear what you do outside!

That’s our show… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

The Ecosystem Functions of Wildlife

Thursday, September 21st, 2017
Bobcats serve an ecosystem function.

Bobcats serve an ecosystem function.

This is Passport to Texas

Golf courses, cemeteries, creeks, parks and greenbelts, all common in urban areas, provide habitat for wildlife.

In a typical greenbelt [for example], you’ll find owls and hawks and songbirds and lizards and snakes and coyotes and bobcats. And all of those put together form a functional ecosystem that only exists in those urban areas.

Richard Heilbrun is team lead for the urban wildlife technical guidance program. These biologists work with communities to ensure humans and wildlife coexist comfortably.

Most people recognize that seeing wildlife is a great thing, and they feel fortunate to see that wildlife. Every once in a while we get folks who are nervous, but once they talk to our urban wildlife biologists, and are told this is a good thing, they change their perception fairly quickly. So, someone that might be nervous about seeing a coyote, when they call an urban wildlife biologist and are told that coyote populations perform an ecosystem function – they keep those rats at bay, or they make sure that the skunk populations don’t go haywire. So, when they realize there’s a benefit, their perception changes fairly quickly.

Find your urban biologist when you log onto the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife restoration program supports our series and helps fund Wildlife technical guidance and assistance to urbanites of Texas.

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

Trash to Treasure

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017
It's Your World -- let's make it beautiful.

It’s Your World — let’s make it beautiful.

This is Passport to Texas

A project in El Paso, has HS students and the local art community turning roadside trash to treasure.

It’s called It’s Your World, and it’s a really, really cool project.

Nicole Roque, an AmeriCorps volunteer with Texas Parks and Wildlife, based in El Paso, heard about El Dorado HS art teacher, Candace Printz who, with her students, created the project to improve their community.

She started It’s Your World, and what they do is they go into the community and they do cleanups. They adopted a portion of highway and they went out a few months and cleaned it completely. And they kept statistic on what they found, and then they took all this trash back to their school, they cleaned it up, they separated it, and then used it as art supplies.

It’s Your World compliments AmeriCorps’ mission of improving the human condition. Nicole partnered with the project to develop art workshops.

And they’ve created some of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. They recently had an art exhibition; I went to go see it, and it floors you to look at some of these really amazing things [made from trash]. And one of my favorite things that Candace told me is they opened their portable where they had all the supplies, and local artists were coming in to collect supplies for their art, and people were fighting over the trash.

One man’s trash…. Learn more about It’s Your World…we have a link to their website at

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


Some of the students working on art projects made from trash collected along a two-mile stretch of road in El Paso.

It's Your World workshop.

It’s Your World workshop.


A Brighter Future Starts Outdoors

Monday, September 18th, 2017
Entrance to Franklin Mountains State Park, and location of an AmeriCorps Vista program.

Entrance to Franklin Mountains State Park, and location of an AmeriCorps Vista program.

This is Passport to Texas

They say you can never go home again. Just don’t tell that to Nicole Roque. After graduating college, she moved back to El Paso; in March, she took a job as an AmeriCorps volunteer with Texas Parks and Wildlife.

AmeriCorps is a national service program designed to alleviate poverty.

Headquartered at Franklin Mountains State Park, Nicole says a question she usually gets is:

How are you alleviating poverty [via] parks?

Research supports the theory that people who engage the outdoors 30 minutes to one hour a day are happier, healthier and smarter.

Kids do better in school, they have higher self-esteem. They’re just more confident in general. It’s more than just going out and hiking.

A solid education, a high level of confidence and good self-esteem are all tools that help people to move beyond barriers and to lean into success.

We’re definitely looking to help kids feel more welcome by environmental science careers and STEM careers in general – and strengthen them in that way.

Tomorrow Nicole tells us about a program where El Pasoans turn trash into art while learning about environmental stewardship.

That’s our show for today… Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

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

TPW TV — Parks Ranch, a Lone Star Land Steward

Friday, September 15th, 2017
Parks Ranch -- Lone Star Land Steward Regional Award Winner for Gulf, Prairies and Marshes region.

Parks Ranch — Lone Star Land Steward Regional Award Winner for Gulf, Prairies and Marshes region.

This is Passport to Texas

Before we domesticated livestock, the land and water belonged to wildlife. Cattle took a toll on this habitat; but thanks to the efforts of landowners like David Crow, cattle and conservation coexist.

The ranch is our factory. The cattle are a part of the factory. The wildlife’s part of the factory. And everything has to click together.

Crow operates the 5,600-acre Parks Ranch in Goliad County, and keeps the needs of wildlife top of mind.

I think one of the biggest detractors to wildlife is fragmentation of habitat. To be able to hold this ranch together is extremely important.

A 2016 Lone Star land Steward award-winner in the Gulf Prairies & Marshes region, Crow uses a variety of techniques to create greater density of native grasslands, which supports better diversity of native wildlife.

I’m pleased that my son has chosen his career in this business as well, because that means at least we’re good for another generation.

Witness the success of Parks Ranch on the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series next week on PBS. Check your local listings.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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