Hunters for the Hungry, Part 1

December 12th, 2007

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Wildlife Restoration Program

One thing you can say about food banks is…

They’re always needing meat.

Karen Meyer coordinates the Hunters for the Hungry program through the Texas Association of Community Action Agencies. Started in 1990, Hunters for the Hungry encourages outdoorsmen to donate deer they have harvested.

It’s gradually grown significantly over time. In the early years, there was probably less than fifty thousand pounds of meat donated a year. And now we’re reaching near two-hundred thousand pounds a year.

The donated meat goes to hunger relief agencies across Texas where, says Meyer, approximately six million, quarter pound servings of nutritious venison has been distributed to hungry Texans.

Different agencies that receive the meat use it in different ways. Some give it out directly to families; some use it in their kitchens. I know that one organization makes use out of it in their soup that they prepare every day. And so, that probably serves a lot more people than a quarter pound serving per person.

If you’re a hunter with a freezer full of venison, but who still has a deer tag, consider harvesting an animal for Hunters for the Hungry. Find a link to details at

That’s our show… we receive support from the Wildlife Restoration Program, which fund our Private Lands and Public Hunting Programs…

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


Operation Orphans

December 11th, 2007

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Program

Be it fishing, hunting, bird watching, what we need is children to be away from the TV’s and outdoors.

That’s the goal of Operation Orphans. The group–founded by Game Warden Gene Ashby in 1960–mentors children by taking them hunting. Tom Hewitt, is the organization’s director.

We bring in children from homes all over the state. All of these are disadvantaged children. And all of these children are able to spend a day with a mentor, having a day of fellowship. The harvesting of the animal is just land-yap and it is something special.

Volunteers with this unique organization have worked with over sixteen thousand children. Hewitt says the child, not the hunt, remains top priority.

The main focus of our program is number one, safety. Teaching the children the love of the outdoors, introducing them because so many of these children are city children. They have never been in the outdoors. So our day, again, is mentoring of the children, teaching them about the outdoors and having a day of fun.

Operation Orphans have harvested nearly sixteen thousand animals. They donate every animal they harvest to the home where the child came from.

It’s a win – win situation.

Find out more about Operation Orphans at

Our series receives support from the SFWR program, working to increase fishing, hunting, shooting and boating opportunities in Texas. We had research and writing help from Kate Lipinski… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Cut and paste the following link into your browser for more information on Operation Orphans:

Holiday Events in State Parks

December 10th, 2007

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife

Most Texans live within ninety minutes of a state park… and many state parks offer holiday events to get you in the spirit of the season.

Throughout the month, Monument Hill & Kreische Brewery State Historic Site, in Central Texas, invites visitors to walk a glittery quarter mile long trail of lights that overlooks the quaint town of La Grange. Get a sense of how German settlers in the area celebrated the holiday in the 1850s. Admission is $3 for adults and a dollar for children.

On December 15, celebrate the “nature” of the season at Sheldon Lake State Park in the Gulf Coast region. Kids of all ages get a chance to create wildlife-inspired ornaments to take home, or to use as decorations on trees at the site.

A trip to the Hill country on December 16 is in order for the annual tree lighting ceremony at LBJ State Park and Historic site…an event started 38 years ago by President and Mrs. Johnson…and made more poignant with the passing of Lady Bird Johnson earlier this year. It’s a step back in time, and it’s free.

Finally, on December 21, a visit to Government Canyon State Natural Area will put you in touch with how Native Americans celebrated special occasions. This is part one of a three-part series.

Find complete details about these and other holiday events when you visit our website

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

TPW TV — Todd Imboden

December 7th, 2007

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife

Todd Imboden, manages Palmetto State Park in Gonzales County, and performs a daily balancing act between the park and his personal life. Ron Kabele tells Todd’s story this month in a Texas Parks and Wildlife TV segment.

So, how does he balance that and being a dad? People think like a park manager, you’re out there in the park all day. You’re not. It’s not an easy job. It’s not a particularly glamorous one, either.

A perfect example of this is toilet paper. The average Joe doesn’t think about how much toilet paper the park uses, but we use a lot of it!

In addition to being the park manager, he’s very involved in the community, and in his sons lives. He’s one of the coaches on the little league team. He talks in his kids’ schools. He’s great at show and tell.

This is a Kemp’s Ridley shell. That’s a big turtle, isn’t it? See how big his head is? It’s almost as big as yours. See? Look at that! (laughter).

And, another neat thing about Todd, he started here when he was twenty hears old as a janitor.

I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do, or where I wanted to go. A friend of mine, he told me he could get me a job. I showed up that day. And they gave me a janitor’s cart to clean the bathroom.

So he came up through the maintenance areas, then he became a park ranger, then he became an assistant manager, and now he’s a manager. Someday he’ll probably be a division chief. When people think about Todd, he’s the epitome of what a park manager is.

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

Waterfowl Stamp & Conservation

December 6th, 2007

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Program

Non-hunters may not approve of hunting. Perhaps this will offer a new perspective: hunters fund conservation efforts in Texas.

There’s no question. Because there’s an excise tax put on sporting arms and ammunition that goes into conservation that states use to manage WMAs [Wildlife Management Areas] and run programs.

Dave Morrison is waterfowl program leader. The various stamps hunters need to harvest certain species fund conservation.

If you look at the duck stamp since 1937, look at all the land that has been purchased and is out there in perpetuity for wetlands.

Morrison adds you don’t have to be a hunter to buy a duck stamp.

If people may not necessarily agree with hunting, or they don’t hunt themselves, one of the smartest things they can do is go buy a duck stamp. Because that duck stamp goes into acquisition of habitat that certainly benefits ducks, but benefits a whole wide range of species. Even if you don’t hunt, buying a duck stamp will show that you, too, are concerned about conservation, and that you are doing your part by spending that fifteen dollars, which in turn, is going into purchase land for our grandkids to be able to watch waterfowl as they migrate south.

Learn more about hunting and conservation when you visit

That’s our show…with support from the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration program… funded by your purchase of fishing and hunting equipment and motor boat fuels.

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