Archive for the 'Education' Category

Bay Seining in Texas

Tuesday, July 10th, 2018

Examining marine life in sein net.

This is Passport to Texas

We call searching the Internet surfing. But, we call searching a net that’s been in the surf, seining.

Seining is dragging a long net through the water, catching small fish and aquatic animals.

Hans Haglund is superintendent at Galveston Island State Park. He says the bay waters are teaming with all kind of life. And he’s taken more than a few visitors seining in Galveston Bay.

We do it to help educate about the bay, the wetlands, the environment out here; to show people how important they are, how productive they are, what these areas do for us, why we might need to protect them and look out for them.

Abundant, healthy wetlands can help to mitigate potential flood damage, as well as serve as nurseries for marine life. Haglund describes visitor reactions to what they catch in their seine nets.

Oh, I never know that was out there, and I never knew you could get so much in a little area. Even people that have been using the bay a lot – a lot of fishermen – don’t realize how productive these areas are.

Some of the more unusual fish Haglund says they see include the pipe fish and lizard fish.

Summer’s here, and Galveston Island State Park offers a great coastal getaway. Learn more at texasstateparks.org.

The Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series…and works to increase fishing and boating opportunities in Texas.

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

Bassmaster University During Texas Fest

Thursday, May 17th, 2018

Answering questions at Bassmaster University. Photo: James Overstreet

This is Passport to Texas

Fishing for largemouth bass is more satisfying when you have the skills and know-how to reel them in. Anglers can acquire both during the annual Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest May 17th – 20th on Lake Travis.

And you ask why.

Dave Terre is chief of fisheries management and research, and coordinates the tournament for the agency.

Well, some of the world’s best bass fishermen are going to be at this event. And they have an event called the Bassmaster University. And here you can come and listen at no cost to you, a seminar from these bass anglers. And they’ll teach you have to cast, they’ll teach you how to fish with particular kinds of baits—in a seminar format. You’ll be able to hear seminars from some of our favorite bass fishing pros. Maybe Mike Iaconelli, or Kevin VanDam. And actually hear them talk about: how do they fish a crankbait, how do they fish a top water; what strategies do they use to fish for bass during high water, or low water, or during the springtime, or whatever. It’s an opportunity to hear how the best fish. That’s a window of opportunity you don’t want to miss.

The Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest is May 17th -20th on Lake Travis. It’s free to attend. Find details at bassmaster.com.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, Cecilia Nasti.

Become a Texas Waters Specialist

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017
Learning about Texas water.

Learning about Texas water.

This is Passport to Texas

Water is a precious resource, and a new Texas Parks and Wildlife program helps citizens to become certified Texas Waters Specialists.

It comes down to appreciation for the natural world – to realize that everything’s connected. From humans to wildlife; we all need water to survive.

Colin Findley, an AmeriCorps Vista Volunteer, oversees the program, which covers ecosystems to water law.

There’s a curriculum, and also there’s webinars. It’s really just a matter of going to the Texas Parks [and Wildlife] website: tpwd.texas.gov. Search for Texas Water Specialist, and it will take you to that page.

Anyone may register for the course.

There are specific requirements for Texas Master Naturalist, so if you are a Master Naturalist, you go through the representative for Texas Waters for your program to log those hours. But if you’re from the general public, it’s completely free. It takes eight hours of different program requirements to get your certification. To renew it – it’s all about community service. You have to do ten hours of water related community service each year.

Many volunteer opportunities exist for certified waters specialists.

Texas Stream Team. Texas Parks and Wildlife has different volunteer opportunities in terms of water quality, habitat conservation, restoration and management, freshwater inflows. And then, you know, there’s a lot of different coastal restoration projects as well.

Find information on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

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

Texas Aquatic Science Program

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017
Texas Aquatic Science

The Texas Aquatic Science teaches educators how to present the topic to their students.

This is Passport to Texas

The Texas Aquatic Science curriculum covers a lot of ground, I mean, water. AmeriCorps Vista Volunteer, Colin Findley, coordinates the program for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

It’s getting people access to the outside world, and understanding the outside world in terms of water.

The program helps middle and high school teachers raise students’ awareness of the importance of water to life, aquatic ecosystems, and the effort necessary to conserve it all.

With Texas aquatic science, there’s the classroom capacity, and then there’s also what are called Texas Aquatic Science Certified field sites, which are state parks and other organizations that have access to water tied to the curriculum. So, you know, once an educator teaches the curriculum in the classroom, they can then go out and get full support from these aquatic science field sites.

Findley says Texas Aquatic Science is a full curriculum.

From sixth grade all the way up to twelfth. It’s TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) aligned. The greatest thing is that it’s completely free. So, the student textbooks online at texasaquaticscience.org, the teacher guides on the Texas Parks (and Wildlife) education page – it’s all there for any educator to have.

The program starts by identifying communities of greatest need, and then cultivates a core of facilitators.

That then teach workshops to spread the curriculum to educators throughout the state.

Find more information on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

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

Big or Small, WMAs Are Places to Learn

Friday, September 29th, 2017
Entrance to Justin Hurst WMA

Entrance to Justin Hurst WMA

This is Passport

Texas Landowners learn how to manage their acreage by emulating wildlife biologists who keep the state’s Wildlife Management Areas in top form.

Wildlife biologists go out on the WMAs and they take a look at what we have; what the baseline is. And then they take a look at historically what has been there in terms of vegetation and wild animals. They’ll determine what it takes to restore that habitat, or to enhance that habitat.

Dennis Gissell is Wildlife Management Area facilities coordinator. Texas Wildlife Management Areas’ encompass about three-quarters of a million acres.

[The] largest WMA is in east Texas – the Sam Houston National Forest, which is actually a US Forest Service Property that we lease/license from them to manage. It’s over 160-thousand acres. The smallest is near Corpus Christi.

And that WMA is only 36 acres! The aim is to have WMAs for teaching and research in each of the state’s 10 ego-regions. Every one provides opportunities for discovery and learning, even when they are small.

These smaller tracts of land have really unique features. In this case – this particular property – has a wetland and a pond that has historically, been very attractive to waterfowl.

Find more information about WMAs on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife restoration program supports our series and helps to fund the management of Texas’ 50 Wildlife Management Areas.

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