Archive for the 'Camping' Category

Partner with Texas Outdoor Families

Thursday, December 10th, 2015
Texas Outdoor Family Workshop.

Texas Outdoor Family Workshop at Inks Lake State Park

This is Passport to Texas

Being popular is a good problem to have for the Texas Outdoor Families program. It means lots of people want to learn how to engage the outdoors. To accommodate as many families as possible, program director, Robert Owen says Texas Outdoor Families is recruiting and training nonprofit community partners to facilitate the weekend campouts.

13 — We’re setting up these partners to run an event with some ranger guidance in the beginning, and then turning them loose after we feel confident in their abilities to have a safe, low, impact and fun time in a state park.

After a successful 3-year pilot program in Houston, Owen says they’re expanding to Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio.

14—We’re looking to grow by quite a few partners. In order for folks to get on board, would encourage them to give me a call to talk over the program and the opportunities and just hear where this organization is coming from—to see how our goals overlap.

Owens says the program needs at least 10 nonprofit community partners in each region.

24— We hope that organizations see the return in time spent outside. Some recent research has suggested that youth benefit from time spent outside through unstructured play, but also through the opportunity to make their own decisions and find themselves in a challenging environment. And camping does provide that. It’s very much a growth experience.

Find Robert Owen’s contact information and details about the program at

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

Texas Outdoor Family Reboot

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015
How to put up a tent.

Robert Owen demonstrates putting up a tent at a Texas Outdoor Family Weekend Workshop.

This is Passport to Texas

The Texas Outdoor Family program from Texas Parks and Wildlife introduces families to the outdoors. Program coordinator, Robert Owen, says the program is entering a new phase, casting a wider net to encourage overnight park use by diverse audiences.

12 — We noticed that state park visitation did not represent the diversity of Texas, and we wanted to see that change. So, we Started to partner with community organizations that represent under-served audiences.

Using grant money, they created a 3-year pilot program in Houston, and worked with partner non-profit organizations that shared the goals of getting folks outdoors to enjoy healthier, happier lifestyles.

08—Houston is a wonderful melting pot. It represents cultures from all over the world, and a great diversity of Texas.

Owen and staff trained their partners how to facilitate an outdoor family experience.

12— We’re not just going to ask people to get out into the field and lead a workshop for a hundred people with no training. Instead, we like to set folks up for success with our master outdoor leadership training.

Robert Owen says, Texas Outdoor Family is now expanding the program to include DFW, Austin and San Antonio, and is looking for a few good partners.

12— We’re growing in those new markets. So, we are looking for those non-profit organizations that serve an audience that’s 50% free or reduced lunch. Or, a recipient of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Co-op grant program.

Find contact information at

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

Before Summer Ends, Take the Family Camping

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015
A family camp out at lake Somerville State Park and Trailway.

A family camp out at lake Somerville State Park and Trailway.

This is Passport to Texas

It seems summer just got rolling, and now August and the new school year is nearly here. It’s time to make the most of what’s left of summer, and camping is the perfect way to do that. With state parks throughout Texas, your destination is just a short drive away.

Most state parks have campgrounds, and some of those have water and electric hook-ups. Some parks even accommodate RVs for those who wish to bring a little piece of home with them to the great outdoors. Check ahead to see what RV connections are available at your campsite.

For the pampered camper, check out state parks that offer cabin and lodge rentals. Historic landmarks and secluded ranches make for a relaxing getaway.

When tent camping, remember to properly dispose of food waste to discourage unwanted animals visitors; and always pack out what you pack in.

Whenever you’re outdoors, remember you are not just a visitor, you are part of the natural world, and as such, it is your responsibility to keep it healthy and inviting to others.

If you’ve never been camping before, consider attending a Texas Outdoor Family workshop where Texas Parks and Wildlife staff teaches you and your family the basics in a fun-filled weekend.

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

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

Outdoors with Dad on Father’s Day

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015
Enjoying the Texas Hill Country.

Enjoying the Texas Hill Country.

This is Passport to Texas

Spend time with Dad outdoors this Father’s Day, June 21.

03-You never know what’s going to happen outside; it’s the wide open spaces.

Ernie Gammage is former Outreach and Education Director for Parks and Wildlife.

10-One of the things that I remember from my childhood is having the opportunity to fish with my dad. And it’s just such a quiet, special time. I mean, I can still visually see everything that we did back then.

Sharing the outdoors with dad on his special day will make lifelong memories.

08-A lot of the distractions of the work-day world, family obligations, and so forth are put aside and it’s just you and somebody that you love, somebody that you respect.

As we like to say: Life’s Better Outside.

12-I think spending time outdoors with your son or your daughter, or whoever it is, is an opportunity, especially for fathers that already spend time in the outdoors, to pass on some of the things they love and value to their kids.

That’s our show, which I dedicate to the memory of my father who during summers when mom worked weeknights, cobbled together picnic meals from leftovers, then loaded his 7 rambunctious kids and a couple of bikes into a station wagon–that had seen better days–and took us to the nearby forest preserve for al fresco dining and exploration. Thanks, Dad.

Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

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

Building a Campfire

Friday, June 12th, 2015
Singing around a campfire.

Singing around a campfire.

This is Passport to Texas

Campfires at state parks enliven your overnight camping experience. Yet, Terry Erwin says before building a blaze–ensure the site is suited for the purpose.

19-When you want to build a fire you certainly have to find a location to build it. You want the ground or the level where you’re going to build the fire to be dry. You clear the leaves away and if possible, gather some rocks to make a fire ring that will contain that fire.

Erwin is and avid outdoorsman and former Hunter Education Coordinator for Parks and Wildlife. Unless authorized by the park manager, he says you may not collect firewood at the park. Therefore, campers must pack in what they need.

23-Start with a bird’s nest of material so if you put your spark in there, gather some cedar bowls or cedar bark and when you spark it, you can blow on the spark and that will enhance the fire. Start with little sticks and graduate to bigger sticks until you add twigs, grass and bark shavings and things like that on the fire to get it started. Then you can add the larger sticks and get it going at that point.

Extinguish your campfire by drenching it with water, and repeat this step until all embers are dead. Alternatively, cover the embers with a thick layer of soil.

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

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