Archive for the 'Shows' Category

Forgotten Species: Javelina

Thursday, December 26th, 2019
Javelina Happy Hour

Javelina Happy Hour

This is Passport to Texas

Javelina, also called Collared Peccary, is a Texas native and lives in scrubby and arid regions of the state. Similar to hogs in appearance, they are not related. But mistaken identity doesn’t change their value in the ecosystem.

Javelina play a great role in nature, because they are an additional prey species for some of the predators out there.

Texas Parks and Wildlife biologist Froylan Hernandez explains why it’s important to keep track of the Javelina population.

Having Javelina out on the landscape is a sign of a healthy ecosystem. When you see declining populations that could also be a sign of declining habitat or degrading habitat and so they play an important role not just as a prey species but also an indicator of a good healthy system.

While Javelina act as an important indicator species, Froylan believes Javelina don’t always get the respect they deserve.

I like to call them the forgotten species, because they are seen often times as a pest or a nuisance species. You know they deserve the same type of respect as lets say a big whitetail would or a big mule deer.

Javelina have gained a stable population in Texas. Perhaps they’ll gain a little more respect as well.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series and funds Javelina research in Texas

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

Forest Bathing

Wednesday, December 25th, 2019
A moment of medication at Lockhart State Park

A moment of meditation at Lockhart State Park

This is Passport to Texas

An inspired Park Ranger at Lockhart State Park is introducing visitors to a Japanese practice called Shinrin yoku, or forest bathing.

Forest bathing is bathing in the forest atmosphere.

Lauren Hartwick first offered the program this past February.

So, we’re going to be soaking in the leaves and the trees and the sunshine and doing activities centered on your five senses. We’ll explore the sights of the forest the touches and smells of the forest and, at each of the stops, we’re going to have an activity to get us in tune deeper with the woods around us.

At each stop, a few minutes of guided meditation is followed by observation and quiet reflection without the noise, glare and distractions of modern life.

More and more research comes out every day that there are tons of benefits to spending time in nature. That forest bathing can reduce your blood pressure, lower stress, lift depression, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera

The practice has been gaining popularity around the world since the 1980’s.

I’m hoping that it continues to catch on and people start really becoming aware of all of the health benefits. People need nature to be happy and you can be your best self by spending some time regularly in nature.

Go to our website and check the calendar for this and dozens of interesting programs at state parks near you.

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

Designing with Nature in Mind

Tuesday, December 24th, 2019
Nature's Playscape

Nature’s Playscape

This is Passport to Texas

Thoughtful design plays a key role in meeting the conservation goals of Texas Parks and Wildlife.

We are an agency that says: “Life’s better outside.” So, how does that translate into how we make buildings and sites.

Christy Seals is an Architect with Texas Parks and wildlife

Building less, building simpler, this idea of a building as “shelter” instead of a hermetically sealed envelope … I had a professor at school that talked about climate control in a building as: “Well, you should start first by putting on your jumper” … and, then go to condition systems.

Park structures must also be long-lasting, robust and low maintenance.

I would say, sustainability and resiliency is really at the core of how we need to be thinking about our facilities. It starts with these passive solutions. What is the building made of? Is it sited appropriately? Do we use the wind and sun and rain to our advantage?

There’s also an opportunity to educate.

We also, I think, have a duty to interpret these things that we do for sustainability or resiliency so that we are showing the visitors something that they might do in their own lives or something we are doing for a reason of energy conservation.

Astute choices can conserve resources, reduce utility costs and create more resilient facilities.

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

Consider the Golden-Cheeked Warbler

Wednesday, December 18th, 2019
Golden-cheeked warbler

Golden-cheeked warbler

This is Passport to Texas

Hear that? That’s the Golden-cheeked warbler.

The Golden-cheeked Warbler is only in about 33 counties of Texas. It breeds nowhere else on the planet.

Texas Parks and Wildlife state ornithologist Cliff Shackelford says we can be very proud that this bird is endemic to Texas. But the Golden-cheeked Warbler remains on the federal endangered species list.

It’s been on the list for quite some time. There’s been talk about revisiting that. The data we have suggests that it’s fairly stable but not on a huge incline. There’s still a lot of challenges.

Challenges like the expanding human population into the Texas Hill Country. All too often the tall stands of Ashe-juniper and oak trees Golden-cheeked Warblers depend on are completely removed for development. But preserving native vegetation benefits both the species and the landowner.

Property value is greater when you leave old trees. When we leave that habitat we’re also protecting those hillsides from erosion. You’ve got vegetation holding the soil together. And so you’re not just leaving the habitat for this bird, you’re also helping your property in general.

Sounds like a win-win Cliff.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series and funds Golden-cheeked Warbler research in Texas.

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

Keep Your Distance from Colonial Waterbirds

Tuesday, December 17th, 2019
Roseate spoonbills & Woodstorks

Roseate spoonbills & Woodstorks

This is Passport to Texas

Colonial Waterbirds gather on tiny islands dotted along the Texas Coast. Their beauty and diversity is attractive, but their populations have struggled over the years.

Colonial Waterbirds in the past experienced some pretty significant population declines.

Trey Barron is a Wildlife Diversity Biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife.

A lot of the populations were down to almost nothing. Mainly due to overhunting. You know their feathers are very attractive and they were using them in stuff like hats.

Regulation changes and habitat improvements allowed many of the species to recover. But today there are new challenges like island erosion and exotic vegetation. Trey says one of the larger impacts, however, is human disturbance. Boaters, anglers and even photographers can get too close.

And they are disturbing these birds off of their nesting sites. Anytime that the birds get up, the young or the eggs are susceptible to predators. And some of those predators are other birds.

The more we can do to avoid disturbing these island habitats, the more successful Colonial Waterbirds can be.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series and funds research for Colonial Waterbirds in Texas.

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