Archive for the 'Outdoor Stories' Category

Recreation: Toni Brown Goes Geocaching

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

Toni Brown, Texas Parks and Wildlife

Toni Brown, Texas Parks and Wildlife

This is Passport to Texas

Toni Brown is a systems analyst with Texas Parks and Wildlife, and she has a condition called Asperger’s syndrome, which is an autism spectrum disorder.

07— With Asperger’s syndrome, you don’t understand people and people don’t understand you. You know, you just don’t fit in.

Brown says her condition led her to live a secluded life. Until, that is, she discovered geocaching.

16— And so it was with geocaching that I was able to get out in the world; you know, I was able to have fun, and meet other geocachers who had the same interests that I did – because we all had this love of geocaching. So now I fit in somewhere. It’s just made it so much better. It’s fulfilled my life more.

Geocaching is like a treasure hunt that uses GPS coordinates to find hidden prizes. Brown says geocaching opened up new doors and new friendships she once thought impossible.

12— You know, I used to go to work and go home; and now I look forward to getting outside. It’s not just about finding a box. I met all these other geocachers, and that’s when I found out how much fun it could be.

Toni Brown is living proof that Life’s Better Outside.

That’s our show…with funding provided by Chevrolet, supporting outdoor recreation in Texas; because there’s life to be done.

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

Texas Outdoor Story: Michael Forstner

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Michael Forstner, Image courtesy

Michael Forstner, Image courtesy

This is Passport to Texas Outdoor Stories

An encounter with a rare Texas sea turtle inspired Texas State University Biologist Dr. Mike Forstner to pursue a career in the great outdoors.

52 – I can remember a day standing on a jetty just off of South Padre Island. We’d been fishing most of the day. As I stood on the jetty, and all of us have seen our coast in a situation like this, I realized that the water column had slowed down, the waves had slowed down and it had begun to clear. I saw a Kemp’s Ridley swim up ending an otherwise perfect day. I was 11 years old. Ultimately, I think that day led me forward to a career that I spend outside. That day was perfect. We caught fish, we had a good meal and I saw an animal that I knew was incredibly rare. It’s not just being outside, it’s knowing about the outside, and understanding it that brings you to the knowledge in which it’s one of the most important aspects of your life.

That’s our show for today…with funding provided by Chevrolet, supporting outdoor recreation in Texas; because there’s life to be done.

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

Outdoor Story: Shea and the Wild Boar

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Feral Hog, image TPWD

Feral Hog, image TPWD

This is Passport to Texas Outdoor Stories

Insert sfx of hogs roaming around

Opportunistic eaters, a campsite packed with trail mix and hot dogs would be prize winnings to a feral pig – except, they’re not always welcome.

Hearing a raid on his campsite one night, young camper, Shea Prihoda tells us about the scare his grunting visitors gave him.

21 – I was camping once and I was sleeping and I woke up because something fell beside my tent and it caved in. So I started hitting and it started growling like a boar. So I started screaming because I was scared cuz it was right by my head. Then, one of the adults, I heard his tent unzip and he threw something, and then we heard a bunch of boars stampeding through our campsite. Anyone that woke up from my screaming heard it.

That night, the pigs and the food were left unscathed; but another encounter is something Shafer…and the pigs…want to avoid

03 – I would kill a pig if I could these days. Let’s go hunting!

Before you go hunting, Shea, you’ll need to pass a hunter education class and purchase a license.

Frightening or fun: we want to hear your memorable outdoor experience. Share it with us at

That’s our show…we record our series at Block House Studios in Austin…the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Outdoor Stories: Mike Quinn and his Bugs

Friday, October 5th, 2012

Mike & Gloria Quinn,

Mike & Gloria Quinn,

This is Passport to Texas Outdoor Stories

Mike Quinn is an invertebrate biologist who used to ply his trade with Parks and Wildlife He says his interest in bugs developed through an interest in birds.

60 –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.

Go to, and share your outdoor story with us…and we might share it with Texas.

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

Legacies: Garaldine Watson

Friday, July 27th, 2012

This is Passport to Texas

Beginning in the 1960’s Geraldine Watson, a self-trained botanist from Silsbee, Texas, worked tirelessly with the Big Thicket Association to persuade government officials to pass a bill that would create a national park from land in southeast Texas known as The Big Thicket. Her path was fraught with twists, turns and roadblocks – some of which came from preservation proponents.

56—Well, like every other organization, everybody involved had their own ideas about what needed to be done. There was a faction that wanted ten thousand acres in what we call the traditional thicket – which is dense thickety wetland. And then there was another faction that was interested in the ecological Big Thicket. And it was sort of a war that went on between the proponents of the preserve at the time. And we all really wanted to see the bill passed. And we realized that it would never get passed as long as we were fighting one another. We did manage to get together and come to a compromise with something to present to the park service and to congress to where we could all stand together on it. So it came down to a plan of a number of different scattered units amounting to – oh, I forget – seventy-something-thousand acres. But we managed to work together in the end.

The Wildlife and sport fish restoration program supports our series and is celebrating 75 years of funding diverse conservation projects throughout Texas…

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