Archive for the 'Volunteering' Category

Master Naturalists Share a Passion for Nature

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

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

This is Passport to Texas

When you’re passionate about something, it’s hard to keep it to yourself. And when that passion leads you to become a Texas Master Naturalist, you don’t have to.

We develop a corps of well-informed volunteers that provide education, outreach and service around the state in the beneficial management of natural resources and the natural areas within Texas.

Mary Pearl Meuth (MOYT) is Texas master Naturalist program coordinator. People of all ages and from all walks of life may train to become Master Naturalists, although retirees are strong within their ranks.

We do ask that each Master Naturalist provides 40 hours of volunteer service yearly along with their continuing education of 8 hours of advanced training every year to maintain that certification. That is difficult to do on a full-time employee based status – if you’re a full-time worker. But, we do have many master naturalists who are able to juggle the load. So, we do have young and old.

Since the program’s inception in 1997, Master Naturalists have given back to Texas in millions of meaningful ways. Find out how you can train to become a Master Naturalist at txmn.org.

We record our series in Austin at the Block House and Joel Block engineers our show.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

Texas Master Naturalist Program

Tuesday, January 15th, 2019

Become a Texas Master Naturalist. Image from: www.txmn.org

This is Passport to Texas

The Texas Master Naturalist program trains volunteers in all aspects of the Texas environment where they live.

All the way from the plants and why they’re named what they’re named in their local ecosystem, to the birds and the mammals and the fish and the invertebrates and everything.

Mary Pearl Meuth (MOYT) works for Texas AgriLife extension and is program coordinator for Texas Master Naturalists.

They [volunteers] are encouraged to share their knowledge, either through events with other local classrooms and youth education programs, working and volunteering at state parks or nature centers and natural areas.

Texas’ Master Naturalist Chapters train volunteers in the specifics of their local ecosystems once they’ve learned the universal basics.

Master Naturalists join the program because they’re excited about the environmental world in which we live and the diversity of Texas, which is just incredible. And, once they join, then they can give back to their community that needs that resource.

To remain in the program, volunteers agree to 40 hours of community outreach and eight hours of advanced training annually. Learn more at txmn.org.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

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 tpwf.org

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.