Archive for the 'Events' Category

Every Day is Earth Day

Monday, April 16th, 2018

Happy Earth Day

This is Passport to Texas

On April 22, 1970—48 years ago—tens of millions of people worldwide demonstrated for a healthy, sustainable environment. Thus began the annual observance called Earth Day.

The demonstration evolved into a celebration—but the message is the same: let’s keep the planet healthy.

Celebrating our environment once a year is meaningless if that’s where it ends. So, let’s challenge ourselves to do something every day to care for our planet.

What can we do? Reduce, reuse and recycle comes to mind. So does upcycle—which is like reuse 2.0. It’s when you repurpose a product and create new value. Such as when we turn old truck tires into beautiful containers for ornamental gardens.

If you do plant a garden, use native species. They require less water and provide food and shelter for pollinators and other wildlife.

Leave the outdoors better than you found it. Pick up and discard trash you see. When fishing, be sure to properly dispose of monofilament fishing line. And choose to spend time outdoors with your family. Get in the middle of nature instead of just watching nature programs on television.

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.

Help Your Region Win the City Nature Challenge

Thursday, April 12th, 2018

Join the City Nature Challenge.

This is Passport to Texas

Seven Texas regions will square off as teams against the world and one another during the City Nature Challenge. Teams try to document more plant and animal species than their competitors. Marsha May is a biologist and coordinator for Austin.

And we are using a format called iNaturalist, which is a real easy way of collecting data. You don’t even have to know what it is, because other people will come in and help you identify it through the program.

Last year DFW, Austin and Houston were in the challenge, igniting friendly competition.

Austin and Houston competed for the greatest number of species. We were going neck-and-neck for a while. And it looked like Austin was going to win, but then on the final count, Houston won—by five species. Dallas/Fort Worth, though, had the most observers and the most observations, So, they won with observations, but they had a very, um, gung-ho urban biologist up there.

That gung-ho DFW urban biologist was Sam Kieschnick.
Download the app to your smart phone from iNaturalist.org. Observations made in the metro areas of each city during the challenge will be counted. Any last words, Marsha?

Sam! We’re coming. We’re going to beat you this time. [laughter]

The City Nature Challenge is April 27-30th. There’s more information on the Texas Nature Trackers Page on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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

Texas Competes Against the World

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

Join the City Nature Challenge in your region.

This is Passport to Texas

The first City Nature Challenge took place in 2016 between Los Angeles County and the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2017, 16 additional cities joined in, including Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin and Greater Houston. This year…

There are over 60 cities worldwide that are involved in this challenge.

Marsha May is a biologist and coordinator for the Austin region. Seven Texas regions will compete this year; the goal: document more species than other regions using the iNaturalist app.

We are competing against the world, and we’re also competing against one another. DFW is competing against Austin, competing against San Antonio, Houston—all seven of the regions that are involved in this project. It’s fun competition.

Go to iNaturalist.org to download the app to your smart phone. All observations made in the greater metropolitan area of each city—and uploaded to the app—will count during the challenge.

Then, all that data is collected in iNaturalist; it will be evaluated a week after the challenge is over, and a winner will be announced. Really, all you win is somebody beat somebody. So, everybody will be trying to get as many species as possible in their own regions.

The City Nature Challenge is April 27-30th, and a Nature Challenger rivalry is brewing in Texas. That’s tomorrow.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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

Join in the Great Texas Birding Classic

Friday, March 16th, 2018
On the lookout for birds during the Great Texas Birding Classic.

On the lookout for birds during the Great Texas Birding Classic.

This is Passport to Texas

During The Great Texas Birding Classic, birding teams raise money for conservation while they compete for bragging rights against other teams…if there are other teams.

If you wanted to know where I really feel like people need a challenge, I think the Panhandle. They want some competition up there.

Shelly Plante is Nature Tourism Manager for Texas Parks and Wildlife. While the coast hosts a multitude of birding teams during the classic, regions like the Panhandle barely have any, and they aren’t alone.

Far west Texas—they want some competition. The DFW area only has a couple of teams participating. They could use some great competition. It would be wonderful to see those areas grow by leaps and bounds this year, and to see a real shift in people seeing birdwatching as an activity that they can do with their friends and family in spring as the Birding Classic.

There are tournaments suitable for nearly every experience level. So, c’mon Panhandle, Far West Texas and DFW Metroplex, step up to the challenge and put together a team. You other regions, too. I’m not trying to bird-shame anyone, but you can all do so much better.

When you register, the fee you pay supports conservation, and you’ll have fun outdoors with friends and family. Doesn’t that sound better than watching The Real Housewives of wherever?

The Birding Classic is April 15 through May 15, and the registration deadline is April 1. Do it for the birds.

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

Evolution of the Great Texas Birding Classic

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018
2018 Great Texas Birding Classic Poster.

2018 Great Texas Birding Classic Poster.

This is Passport to Texas

Twenty eighteen marks the 22nd anniversary of the Great Texas Birding Classic. Shelly Plante, Nature Tourism Manager for Parks and Wildlife, has been involved for 21 of those years.

In the beginning, Plante says most participants were “hard core” birders. Since becoming a statewide event, she says it’s evolved into a tournament for everyone.

We have a lot of different categories. There are categories for beginners; categories for kids who are just getting started; categories families can take part in—or bird clubs can take part in. And so, I’ve seen this really huge growth in the generalist, which I think is fantastic. That’s who we would love to connect with nature. They may not have a connection. So, we’re hopefully making that connection for them with an event.

The Great Texas Birding Classic is April 15 through May 15; registration deadline is April 1st. Money raised through fees and sponsorships goes toward conservation grants.

The more money we raise through registration fees and sponsorships, the more money we are able to award to conservation grant projects throughout the state. So las year, we gave out 36-thousand dollars’ worth of grants. And, some of the winning teams got to pick which projects received that funding. So, it’s really a fun way to take part in conservation, and maybe even get to choose who gets those conservation dollars.

Put together a team and register before April 1, at birdingclassic.org.

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

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti