Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

The Real Winners of the Birding Classic: Birds

Friday, April 7th, 2017
Bill Baker and Andy Dietrich, accepting the 2015 Statewide Weeklong Tournament winners trophy for the NRG Eco-eagles.

Bill Baker and Andy Dietrich, accepting the 2015 Statewide Weeklong Tournament winners trophy for the NRG Eco-eagles.

This is Passport to Texas

For the past 20 years, the Great Texas Birding Classic has been the world’s biggest, longest, and wildest birdwatching tournament in the U.S.!

Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that I would do it for 20 straight years.

Bill Baker’s been participating in the Classic since the beginning, even though he says his team was an embarrassment their first time out.

Over the years Bill’s team improved—a lot. And the NRG Eco-Eagles won the Week Long tournament 8 times, came in second one year and third another year for total winnings of just over $170K, which went toward avian habitat enhancement.

Texas has such diverse habitats, and such diverse birds. One of our team members lives in Pennsylvania. And the highlight of his year is coming down here, traveling Texas, to get to see the different species of birds that we have throughout the regions of Texas. We are blessed to have such habitat in our great state.

Bill’s passionate about the Classic, and thinks you can be, too.

If you’ve never participated in this event, it will change your life. It’s exciting. It’s fun. You do this with friends. You learn. It contributes to enhancing avian habitat in the great state of Texas.

The Great Texas Birding Classic gets underway April 15. Registration for this year has ended, but keep up with the action at, and start planning for next year.

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

Lionfish Symposium to Host Public Forum

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017
Lone Star Lionfish Symposium February 15 & 16, 2017, with a public forum on the 15th at Moody Gardens. in Galveston.

Lone Star Lionfish Symposium February 15 & 16, 2017, with a public forum on the 15th at Moody Gardens IMAX Theater in Galveston.

This is Passport to Texas

The second Lone Star Lionfish Symposium convenes later this month in Galveston. In addition to a closed-door session where experts from a variety of disciplines will review a report generated from last year’s gathering, there will also be an opportunity for public participation.

We know the public is interested, and they’re the only people that can help us. We can have all the ideas we want, but if the public’s not with us—doesn’t get our message—then we’ve lost.

Leslie Hartman is Matagorda Bay Program Leader and one of the symposium’s organizers. The public event will be at Moody Gardens Imax.

We usually do about a 20 minute review of the lionfish program so that everybody has that same level of knowledge. And then, all the experts are there, so you get that baseline—which is me—but you get the real experts. And you can ask them any question you want.

Topics reviewed last year included: Priority Areas, Outreach, Research, Policy, Control & Management, Funding, and Markets & Uses. Everyone is welcome to the public event.

Just show up. The event starts at 6 p.m. We will have light hors d’oeuvres, so not only will you be able to feed your mind, you’ll be able to feed your body. Will you be serving lionfish? We are actually discussing that possibility. We make no promises.

The Lone Star Lionfish Symposium is February 15 & 16 in Galveston. The public event is the 15th at Moody Gardens IMAX Theater.

The Sport fish restoration program supports our series.

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

Encouraging Native Bees with Flower Power

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016
Miss Kitty on the lookout for native bees.

Miss Kitty on the lookout for native bees.

This is Passport to Texas

Fear of being swarmed by bees keeps some of us from adding flowering plants to our landscapes. Although native solitary bees are small in stature, that doesn’t stop us from being nervous when they’re nearby.

You know, folks have concerns about bees flying around in the yard and planting more flowers. The thing is that, even social bees, like honeybees, when they’re away from their nest and they’re foraging on flowers, they have no interest in you.

If you are allergic to bee stings, you may wish to err on the side of caution. Yet, Michael Warriner, non-game and rare species program leader for Texas Parks and Wildlife, says for the rest of us, embrace flower power.

If you plant more flowers, you don’t have to worry about these bees attacking you. Unless, you were to directly harass them. Let’s say, by grabbing them…or…something like that. But, otherwise, there’s no danger.

Pollinator populations are in decline because of habitat loss. Flowering plants help furnish food for them.

A robust population of solitary bees helps to ensure a thriving native ecosystem.

If you live in a condo or apartment, you can still help native pollinators by cultivating containers of flowering plants on your patio, balcony, or rooftop.

Find a list of plants for pollinators on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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

Zika Virus and the 2016 Olympics

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016
A health worker fumigates an area in Gama, Brazil, to combat the Aedes aegypti. Image courtesy

A health worker fumigates an area in Gama, Brazil, to combat the Aedes aegypti. Image courtesy

This is Passport to Texas

The Summer Olympic Games set for this August are causing some concern, as host country, Brazil, is the epicenter of a Zika virus epidemic.

We don’t really know when it came to Brazil. I think it was first identified in May 2015; it may have even started earlier than that.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito spreads Zika, which has been linked to birth defects in newborns when expectant mothers are infected. Austin-based entomologist, Mike Quinn, says reported cases of the virus in Texas are travel related only. And, if you plan to travel to Brazil for the Olympic Games—what precautions should you take?

The same precautions you would take here in Texas: wearing long sleeves, long pants, applying some mosquito repellent. But, if you’re pregnant, you mighty talk to your physician. And…ah…you know…they show most of it on TV, so there is that. So, assess your own risk and take precautions.

Using products containing DEET may prevent mosquitoes from landing on you for up to five hours.

But just wearing long sleeve shirts and long pants—you can just put a little mosquito repellent on the back of your hands, and the back of your neck so you can have a few exposed areas. So, you don’t have to put it all over your arms and legs and everything.

Citronella and Eucalyptus oils are also said to deter biting insects. Safe travels.

That’s our show for today… Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

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

Ask A Game Warden

Thursday, May 12th, 2016
Texas Game Warden and canine partner.

Texas Game Warden and canine partner.

This is Passport to Texas

Texas Game Wardens are part of the communities they serve. They’re accessible and ready to answer your questions. With that in mind, our show is beginning a new feature in June called Ask a Game Warden.

We’d love to hear from some of your listeners on the radio show.

Grahame Jones is chief of special operations for Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Law Enforcement Division.

We have a very robust social media platform, both the department’s social media and then our division’s social media as well; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Or submit your questions on your radio show.

No matter where you are in the state, questions submitted to the radio show will receive answers, and some will be answered on the show, during our Ask a Game Warden feature.

We have game wardens all over the state. Most counties have game wardens assigned to those particular counties. We have some counties in far west Texas and some counties in the panhandle that have one game warden assigned to a couple of counties. But, for the most part, we’re assigned to every country throughout the state.

Submit your question at; send it via our contact page.

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.