Archive for the 'Events' Category

Dispose of Derelict Crab Traps

Thursday, February 7th, 2019
Picking up crab traps in Texas bays

Picking up abandoned crab traps in Texas bays

This is Passport to Texas

Sometimes commercial crab traps end up missing due to storms, or they are simply discarded. Yet, these traps continue capturing fish and other marine creatures, including endangered species. They take an environmental and economic toll on gulf fisheries.

During a 10-day period in February volunteers like you, join Texas Parks and Wildlife staff and partners, in removing these derelict traps. More than 35,000 crab traps have been removed from the gulf since 2002, saving tens of thousands of marine organisms.

Texas Parks and Wildlife facilitates roughly 20 coastal sites, and provides disposal facilities, tarps, gloves, crab trap hooks and other items to help volunteers remove troublesome traps.

This year’s cleanup is February 15th through the 24th.

Zack Thomas who coordinates the program for Texas Parks and Wildlife, encourages the public to go out on their own during this 10-day period. The cleanup is the only time citizens may legally remove these traps from gulf waters.

Meanwhile, the big cleanup “push” is Saturday, February 16 from 8 to noon. It’s a big crab trap removal party.

To volunteer for this year’s program visit the Abandoned Crab Trap Removal page on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Sport Fish restoration Program supports our series.

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

Making Backyard Birds Count

Wednesday, February 6th, 2019

Finches at feeder.

This is Passport to Texas

The Great Backyard Bird Count provides citizens a chance to collect data to help researchers understand birds.

You’re basically counting all the birds you see at that spot on the planet; and the best part is it’s in your backyard. You’re starting to really pay attention to what birds are there in the wintertime. And, it’s just a lot of fun – it’s a learning experience for everybody.

Texas Parks and Wildlife ornithologist, Cliff Shackelford, says the count, February 15 through 18, is like a snapshot of bird life.

You’re counting both the number of species and the number of individuals per species. So, you’re getting two different numbers. Both kinds of information are very valuable.

Register at birdcount.org or ebird.org. It’s free. Cliff suggests doing your “homework” before getting started.

Crack your field guide open and start learning what species are even possible for your area – which ones would be in big numbers and which ones might be something rarer that you would want to get a photograph of. So, if you had, say, a Rufus hummingbird in February that might be something you might want to get a picture of just in case.

When you participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count, you help expand the knowledge base of the fascinating world of birds.

Our show receives support in part from RAM Trucks: built to serve.

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

Backyard Bird Count Coming Up

Tuesday, February 5th, 2019

Bluebirds in a backyard nesting box.

This is Passport to Texas

You want to take part in a citizen science project, but you can’t get away to spend time in the field. What do you do?

Count the birds that are coming to your feeder and in your backyard all day long.

That may sound random. Yet, Cliff Shackelford, Texas Parks and Wildlife non-game ornithologist, says the Great Backyard Bird Count, organized by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, is far from random. They combine data submitted by citizens with other surveys, which helps scientists understand how environmental changes affect bird species.

And what’s really neat is after thousands of people do it, and in the country tens of thousands people, you see: Wow, look at where black capped chickadees are versus Carolina chickadees. And you can see where the invasion of – say – red breasted nuthatches are that winter.

The event is February 15 through 18; it’s easy to participate. Just choose a day and register your location on birdcount.org or eBird.org.

So, you just count the birds and submit online. It’s really easy and doesn’t cost anything.

Count for at LEAST fifteen minutes and keep track of the species you see and how long you watched.

And, you might have chores throughout the day, but you’re constantly walking by the window. Just look and see what’s out there, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be at your bird feeder; it’ can be at your birdbath; it can be in the trees in the backyard.

We’ll have tips on making birds count…tomorrow.

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

Start 2019 with a First Day Hike

Thursday, December 20th, 2018
First Day Hike at Palo Duro Canyon.

First Day Hike at Palo Duro Canyon.

This is Passport to Texas

When it comes to making New Year resolutions, some folks are all talk. And then, there are other people walk their talk. For the past several years, the folks who walk their talk have been using the New Year as an excuse to bust a move on state park trails during First Day Hike events.

First Day Hikes is a nationwide initiative that Texas State Parks has been participating in for the last several years.

Thomas Wilhelm, with state parks. He says most state parks throughout Texas host First Day Hike Events. First days hikes have become a great way for Texans to begin the New Year in a healthy fashion.

Essentially, it’s the concept of getting outside on January first, and doing something to kick the year off right. So, almost all of our parks have some sort of first day hike. A few of our parks take it a unique way. But many of our parks do have those first day hikes. And they’re, of course, guided hikes with a park ranger. And it’s just a way to start the year off right on the good foot. Literally.

Find First Day Hike events at texasstateparks.org. While you’re there check out other healthy opportunities like yoga in the woods, women only hikes, hikes with shelter dogs, and more.

That’s our show for today… We record our series at the Block House in Austin, Texas…Joel Block engineers our program.

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

Catch (and Eat) the Rainbow (Trout)

Friday, December 14th, 2018
Catching Rainbows

A happy angler shows off a rainbow trout caught in a Dallas-area community fishing lake stocked annually by TPWD.

This is Passport to Texas

If you’re an angler who likes to eat what you catch, then now’s the time to reel in a rainbow trout.

We stock them at a catchable and eatable size. They are good fighting fish; they’re relatively easy to catch. We usually stock them in smaller bodies of water, so they’re a good fishing, catching opportunity and good eating opportunity as well.

Carl Kittel is a program director for Inland Fisheries, and oversees winter trout stocking in Texas, which began this month.

We’ve been stocking [rainbow] trout around Texas for almost 40 years. One interesting note about trout is that we often say there are no established populations of trout in Texas, but actually, way out west in the Davis Mountains there’s a small, tiny stream at high enough elevation that there is a reproducing population of rainbow trout.

That’s why we stock them in winter; most of Texas is too hot for the. Inland fisheries will distribute 250-thousand rainbows in 150 locations.

And we have a special program; we actually stock somewhat larger trout in urban areas in our Neighborhood Fishin’ Program. And that’s something that you can specifically look for on our web page.

With the winter holidays here, it’s is a great time go fishing with the kids. Find the stocking schedule on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Sport fish restoration program supports our series and funds rainbow trout stocking in Texas.

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