Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

TPW TV: All in the Family

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

This is Passport to Texas

Since 1885, Albert Giles’ descendants have preserved the heritage of Texas through stewardship of his Hillingdon Ranch in Comfort. Biologist, Richard Heilbrun, nominated the site for a Lone Star Land Steward Award.

10— Over 97 percent of Texas is privately owned [and] managed, so without private landowners and good stewards like these folks, we don’t stand a chance in making strides toward better wildlife habitat.

Four families, all descendants of original owner, Albert Giles, oversee the property: great grandson, Robin Giles.

08—I actually own 4.8 acres but we run from 14 to 18,000 acres; we have to answer to about 50 family members who are the owners.

In addition to running cattle, goats and sheep on the land, they have a fiber business, and do outreach in the community. Cousin, Myrna Langford, a master naturalist, says habitat for wildlife like deer and turkey is always top of mind.

08—It is our job to see that the habitat continues to be conducive to these particular species.

Giles says balance in all things is critical.

16— I think the most unique thing about the way we produce meat and fiber is also an environment for a tremendous amount of wildlife, too. It can coexist. You can make a living producing, and you can preserve the land and the wildlife.

View a segment on the Giles family next week on a segment of the PBS TV Series. Check your Local listings.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series and works to increase fishing and boating opportunities in Texas.

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

Hunting/Regulations: HIP Certification

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Duck hunting in Texas

Duck hunting in Texas

This is Passport to Texas

If you plan on hunting migratory game birds in Texas this fall, you need to be HIP – HIP certified, that is. HIP stands for Harvest Information Program.

15—It’s purpose is to gain information on waterfowl and migratory bird hunters nationwide. Basically a name and address and a little bit about their previous year’s hunting activity—as well as what they plan on hunting what they plan on hunting in the upcoming year.

Kevin Kraai is Waterfowl Program Leader. He says the HIP program helps wildlife professionals improve resource management practices as well as track various waterfowl populations throughout the country.

05—It’s a very useful tool in setting the future year hunting regulations and management decisions.

Being a HIP certified waterfowl hunter isn’t just a good idea—it’s the law.

11—Officially it is a requirement by law that every individual that plans on hunting migratory birds in the state of Texas us HIP certified. If you are not HIP certified and you are hunting migratory game birds, you are subject to game violations.

Become HIP certified; find information on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife and sport fish restoration program supports our series and is funded by your purchase of fishing and hunting equipment and motorboat fuel…

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

Wildlife: Become a Bumblebee Watcher

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Texas Bumblebee Poster, Mike Warriner

Texas Bumblebee Poster, Mike Warriner

This is Passport to Texas

Do you like the idea of bird watching, but don’t have the patience to learn about every bird species? Then, maybe you should try bumblebee watching, instead.

12— Bumblebees could be a new kind of hobby for folks. Birdwatchers have to learn hundreds of birds. There are only nine bumblebees [species] in Texas. And so it’s just a matter of learning their color patterns.

Michael Warriner is an invertebrate biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife, and curates the website

18— In Texas, we have nine bumblebee species. And, fortunately, bumblebees are large bees; they’re pretty noticeable because they have a pattern of black and yellow. But, each one of the nine differs a little bit in terms of how much yellow they have on – let’s say – on the front part of their body versus the rear….

Tracking these insects – and reporting back to biologists like Warriner – can provide needed information about the status of bumblebees in Texas. What you may not know is …these native bees are facing threats.

16—They’ve lost habitat. Pesticide use is another concern. And also, there’s been the importation of bumblebees from Europe into this country, which has brought in parasites and diseases that may be impacting them. So, there’s a lot of concern how they’re faring in North America.

Find a chart on bumblebee identification and where to report sightings at

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

Wildlife: Texas Bumblebees

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Texas Bumblebee, photo Jessica Womack

Texas Bumblebee, photo Jessica Womack

This is Passport to Texas


Bumblebees are the bomb—or per their genus: bombus. Texas has nine native species of this big, slow-flying, black and yellow insect. They’re effective pollinators of our native plant species, and many food crops, too.

This is the time of year when they start to wind down.

18— At the end of the summer, the queen that started the colony gives birth to new queens. The old queen dies and all her workers die. But the new queens mate, find a hole in the ground, spend the winter there, come back out in the spring, and she starts a whole new colony.

Michael Warriner… an invertebrate biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife… tells us how this queen bee does it.

36— In early spring—February and March—the new queen comes out, and she’s foraging. [She] finds a nest site, and she starts making what’s called a “honey pot.” It’s a little waxen thimble, and she fills that with food. Then she accumulates pollen and makes a big pollen ball. Then she lays eggs, and she stays there [tending to the nest and larvae tht hatch]. And those are her first workers. Once her first worker daughters mature, she stays there [in the nest] full time—her main business is laying eggs. But, getting started is pretty much all on her: getting all the food and having the reserves to stay put and raise that first batch [of young].

Learn more about Texas Bumblebees at

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.

Invasives: Tilapia

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Blue tilapia

Blue tilapia

This is Passport to Texas

When you hear the word tilapia, you may think of a savory meal with lemon butter sauce, but you probably don’t think of the term “invasive species.”

11—Tilapia are great to eat. They’re raised as a food fish, and they’re quite tasty. They’re quite popular in restaurants. But the problem is when they’re in our natural waters they are upsetting the ecosystem.

Originally established in fish farms as a food source, Tilapia eventually ended up in Texas waters.

Gary Garrett, a former Texas Parks and Wildlife fisheries biologist, says tilapia pose a threat to large mouth bass and other native species.

16—They build big pit nests and in doing that they stir up a lot of the sediment. And it’s been shown, for example, with large mouth bass, all that sediment stirred up and settling back down will often kill large mouth bass eggs.

And because of the delicate nature of the food chain, this behavior has the potential of damaging the entire ecosystem.

Texas Parks and Wildlife has regulations for tilapia, but because they’re widespread statewide, they are difficult to control. But if you like to fish, Garrett says, there’s one way you can help.

02 – Don’t throw them back. If you catch them, keep them.

So, next time you reel in tilapia, turn on the grill and get cooking.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series… For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.