Archive for the 'Volunteering' Category

Landscaping for Wildlife

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018

Wildscapes are beautiful and beneficial.

This is Passport to Texas

Whether you have an apartment balcony or large backyard, you can take simple steps to help improve habitat for wildlife. It’s called “wildscaping.” Texas Parks and Wildlife provides online resources to help Texans begin landscaping their property for wildlife. And, really, you can start small. As small as a pot of native flowering plants.

The information can guide you with things like creating a humming-bird or butterfly garden; you can also find recommended plant lists for your part of the state.

Even a small patch of butterfly attracting flowers is a great way to start. Speaking from experience… there is nothing more magical than rolling up your driveway after work to see your garden alive with butterflies. Makes me smile every single time.

Essentially, what you’ll want to do is to provide food, water and shelter for the critters that come calling. And the more of this wildscape habitat that you provide, the more wildlife you’ll attract.

One of Texas Parks and Wildlife’s urban biologists, Kelly Simon, wrote an informative book on the subject, aptly titled: Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife.

Also check out the calendar section of the Texas Parks and Wildlife website for classes, tours and demonstrations featuring wildscapes.

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

Volunteers Help Texans Connect to Nature

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017
Americorps Vista

Americorps Vista

This is Passport to Texas

Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Americorps Vista program got underway this year.

Yeah. It’s actually a brand new project that we started in April; we’ve never had AmeriCorps Vista members at Parks and Wildlife.

People volunteer in communities to work on a wide array of projects. Kris Shipman, developed the TPWD program.

I looked at a lot of the initiatives that we were trying to do in our efforts to get children outdoors; trying to increase the public use of green spaces—and all our conservation efforts. [I thought] that this really could tie in with getting VISTAs to come in.

VISTAs like Erin Freiboth, who is the team lead, and coordinates 12 program volunteers statewide.

So, I get to share with my VISTAs, and with the program, about developing project, networking with communities, and maintaining a diverse portfolio, while working on several different projects.

Erin says one of the main goals of the program includes expanding user groups.

We want Texas Parks and Wildlife to be able to represent all of Texas, and all of Texans’ diversity. So, we want everybody from every economic sphere. Every diverse sphere. And every sphere possible to be represented in the use of these resources.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation supports our series and helps keep Texas wild with support of proud members across the state. Find out more at

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

Become a Volunteer Angler Education Instructor

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016
Bullfrog Pond Family Fishing Event.

Bullfrog Pond Family Fishing Event.

This is Passport to Texas

You don’t have to be a pro to teach angling to others.

I used to be a school teacher, and you just need to know a little bit more than the person you’re instructing. We have people come that have no background knowledge whatsoever in fishing. Picture a scout troop in which none of the leadership has a background in fishing, and yet they want to extend that to their scout troops.

A dedicated volunteer base allows Texas Parks and Wildlife aquatic education training specialist Caleb Harris and his crew to reach a larger audience than they otherwise would.

That’s exactly why we need them. They extend our outreach efforts to hundreds of places a weekend. We’re a staff of four in our outreach office, and so they really multiply our efforts as a department to get the word out.

Harris says becoming a volunteer angler education instructor begins with a weekend workshop.

Our instructor workshops are normally on Saturdays, and they’re held all over the state. They’re listed on our Texas Parks and Wildlife calendar of events, and they’re free for anyone that wants to attend them. And they normally last about six hours, five hours. They’re, I’d say, about half classroom time and half playing the type of games and learning the type of fishing skills that we’d like our instructors to pass on. So, they’re pretty active workshops.

Find an angler instructor workshop near you in the calendar section of the Texas Parks and Wildlife website…and get ready to get hooked.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

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

Become a Partner with Nature

Thursday, March 17th, 2016
Master Naturalists in their element. Photo courtesy Texas Master Naturalists' Facebook Page

Master Naturalists in their element. Photo courtesy Texas Master Naturalists’ Facebook Page

This is Passport to Texas

When you’re a certified Texas Master Naturalist you learn to understand the natural world and share it with others. Writer, Sheryl Smith Rogers, says increasing public awareness about the nature benefits everyone.

You know, our state’s undergoing so much growth, and we’re losing so much of our natural ecosystems to subdivisions and shopping centers. People like master naturalists who have more of an awareness of how important those elements are to our overall lifestyle, they’re going to share what they know with others and just raise awareness that we need to protect these areas.

Master Naturalists undergo weeks of training, says Smith Rogers, who, herself, is a certified Master Naturalist.

The classes cover geology, native grasses… Last spring I took my training from March into May. We went to different places. You don’t just sit in a classroom. You have field outings; you go out and actually look at the native grasses. We went to Jacob’s Well near Wimberley and talked about hydrology. You just cover a whole lot of different topics.

Once certified, citizens volunteer in their communities. There are more than 40 chapters statewide. Find more information on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

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

Texas Master Naturalists

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016


Become a Texas Master Naturalist,

Become a Texas Master Naturalist,

This is Passport to Texas

They say you never forget your first love. For writer Sheryl Smith Rogers, her first love had eight legs.

Spiders are my first love, and from there I grew into plants and animals.

Eager to fully understand the natural world around her, Smith Rogers completed Texas Master Naturalist training.

I’m with the Highland lakes chapter, which is based out of Burnet. So you learn about your own ecosystems in your region. I’m learning about the plants that are indigenous to this area. Whereas, if you live on the coast, you’ll be learning about those kinds of plants. So, we’re all learning what’s important to our

Trainees learn about living things in their ecosystem, as well as their region’s geology, hydrology and more. After receiving certification, Smith Rogers says Master Naturalists volunteer in their communities where needed.

Volunteers go to ranches and survey the plant species, and they offer land management advice. In a city, volunteers might go into a city park and create a butterfly garden. For instance, here in Blanco – at Blanco State Park – the Master Naturalists help put on program every May for third graders. They do so
many different things [laughs].

Find details on becoming a master Naturalist on the Texas parks and Wildlife Website.

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