Archive for the 'Outdoor Stories' Category

Texas Outdoor Stories: Time in a Bottle

Monday, February 29th, 2016
Message in a bottle. Photo credit: flickr

Message in a bottle. Photo credit: flickr

This is Passport to Texas’ Outdoor Stories

Terri McDonald of Rockport, responded to our request for listeners’ stories about their favorite Texas State Parks, historic sites or wildlife management areas. Her favorite is Matagorda Island Wildlife Management Area.

Absolutely love it. There’s no cars…very few people…it’s just like going back in time to a beach a hundred years ago.

The slow pace leaves a lot of time for one of Terri’s favorite pastimes — beach combing.

We’ve found tons of seashells, beautiful driftwood, four messages in bottles…. You just never know what you’re going to find out there.

Terri says she’s contacted three of the people whose message she found in the bottles.

The oldest one was from 1969. A soldier in the Vietnam War had dropped it off of Cape Canaveral. And we found it at the bottom of a dune that had been sheared off by a storm. So it had been buried under sixteen feet of sand for years and years. So we got in touch with him through the help of the Corpus Christi Caller Times Military Reporter. And the poor guy almost had a heart attack. It was a long time ago – he had almost forgotten doing it.

Now it’s your turn. Visit the Outdoor Stories link at and send us an email with your memory of the Great Texas Outdoors.

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

Outdoor Story: From Birds to Bugs

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016
Mike Quinn on Central Texas Gardener with Tom Spencer. Photo credit: KLRU-TV, Austin

Mike Quinn on Central Texas Gardener with Tom Spencer. Photo credit: KLRU-TV, Austin

This is Passport to Texas Outdoor Stories

Mike Quinn is an entomologist whose interest in bugs developed through his family’s interest in birds.

My parents were birdwatchers, and I had an interest in outdoors as a child. But it wasn’t until I was in my twenties… I was helping ornithologists at UT study painted buntings at McKinney Falls State Park, and walked around the bend, and we saw this large butterfly there sunning itself – absolutely gorgeous in the sun – and Anita Fauquier says, “I think that’s a giant swallowtail.” And it hit me like a ton of bricks. It was an epiphany for me that you could put a name on an insect. Why that was a revelation to me I still don’t quite don’t know, because I could identify birds by sight and sound, and plants and herps and etcetera. But putting a name on an insect was somehow a foreign concept. And I went home and I borrowed my mother’s butterfly field guide (which I haven’t quite returned yet), and just from that point on I started paying much closer attention to insects, and that led me to my degree now that I have in entomology.

Do you have an Outdoor Story? Go to, and share it with us…and we might share it with Texas.

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


A YouTube video of Mike Quinn on the KLRU-TV Austin (PBS affiliate) show Central Texas Gardener with Tom Spencer


Outdoor Story: Snorkeling the San Marcos River

Monday, August 17th, 2015
Texas wild rice flows in the current of the San Marcos River in San Marcos, Texas TPW photo by Earl Nottingham

Texas wild rice flows in the current of the San Marcos River in San Marcos, Texas, photo by Earl Nottingham

This is Passport to Texas Outdoor Stories

It’s a rare individual who—once introduced to the outdoors at a young age—doesn’t continue their relationship with nature long into adulthood.

Lisa Korth is no exception. With a lifetime of outdoor adventures to draw from, she’s chosen a recent memory to share with us today.

35—Well, I grew up around water, and one of my favorite memories is a recent memory: snorkeling in the San Marcos River. It’s one of my favorite places to snorkel because the clarity of the water is just so magnificent. It’s just really clean and pristine. And, when you snorkel, it’s like being in another world. And just being under water and getting an up close view of that underwater world is just really magical. A friend of mine recently compared it to riding a roller coaster. And I agree. Just that exhilarating feeling of being in the water….pushing you downstream…seeing all of the plants and fish. It’s just really, really amazing.

Now it’s your turn. Visit and share your outdoor story with us.

We record our series at The Block House in Austin, Texas and Joel Block engineers our show.

Funding for passport to Texas provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

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

Outdoor Story: The Cablers

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Box turtle

Box turtle

This is Passport to Texas Outdoor Stories

Ask Claire Cabler about a memorable time in the outdoors and she’s got plenty.

12—We were at Guadalupe State Park. I was busy playing in the sand. My dad said, “Look up there’s a water snake!” and I looked and I saw this sticking thing and I thought that was the water snake.

It seems that Claire’s dad, Dru Cabler, is always pointing out wildlife to her. Even at home.

16—We point ‘em out as soon as we see ‘em if we think she’s never seen one before. We got all kinds of creatures just around our house. Deer that come through our backyard. Lots of rat snakes, grass snakes, a couple of rattlesnakes. Frogs that jump into our swimming pool. Big Texas spiny lizards, and green anoles.

And venturing out to state parks together, they find other creatures that aren’t as close to home.

20—We like to go to Guadalupe state park, like she said.

How about Port Aransas?

We like Port Aransas. We’re going next weekend. So we’ll spend a lot of time outside there on the beach. She likes to collect dead fish; stack ‘em up with her friends. Remember that?

I don’t really remember catching the dead fish but I remember picking up a bunch of shells. I found a full sand dollar.

We love hearing about your outdoor discoveries and adventures. Share them with us at

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

Outdoor Story: A Father’s Commitment

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Father and son fishing at sunrise on jetty at South Padre.

Father and son fishing at sunrise on jetty at South Padre.

This is Passport to Texas Outdoor Stories

Fort Worth native, Ryan Spencer says his father made a conscious commitment to spend time outdoors with him and his brother, even though his dad wasn’t much of an outdoorsman.

15—He wasn’t a lumberjack, you know. He didn’t know everything about the outdoors or anything like that. But, he made a commitment to my brother and myself that we were going to get outside. So, for the next seven years every single month we went camping as a family. It was amazing.

This exposure to nature had a profound impact on Ryan, and caused a ripple effect; today Ryan is a Park Ranger with the Texas Outdoor Families program.

36—If you’d asked me maybe three years ago, I probably would have told you I was going to be a lawyer. I managed to get an internship with Texas Parks and Wildlife; I worked out at Guadalupe river State Park for a good while. While I was there I just really developed this profound sense of accomplishment from helping people enjoy state parks. They’re such a wonderful resource, and they’re all over the state of Texas, and they can do so much for a family that it was just a no brainer. And as soon as I got the opportunity to get on board with Texas Outdoor Family – I jumped at it. Because, I knew that it was going to give me a chance to really make a difference in a lot of people’s lives, and I’ve been blessed to be able to do that ever since.

For Ryan, Life’s Better Outside.

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