Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Outreach and Education Committee
May 28, 2003Commission Hearing Room
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Headquarters Complex
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
BE IT REMEMBERED, that heretofore on the 28th day of May, 2003, there came on to be heard matters under the regulatory authority of the Parks and Wildlife Commission of Texas, in the Commission Hearing Room of the Texas Parks and Department Wildlife Headquarters Complex, beginning at 1:55 p.m. to wit:
THE TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION:
OUTREACH AND EDUCATION COMMITTEE:
Katharine Armstrong, Austin, Texas, Commission Chair
Joseph B.C. Fitzsimons, San Antonio, Texas
Ernest Angelo, Jr., Midland, Texas, Committee Chair
Alvin L. Henry, Houston, Texas
Ned S. Holmes, Houston, Texas
Philip Montgomery, Dallas, Texas
Donato D. Ramos, Laredo, Texas
Kelly W. Rising, M.D., Beaumont, Texas (absent)
Mark E. Watson, Jr., San Antonio, Texas
THE TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT:
Robert L. Cook, Executive Director, and other personnel of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Next is Outreach and Education.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: Thank you, Madam Chairman.
I want to ask for approval of the minutes of April 2.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: So move.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: I have a motion. A second?
COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Second.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: A motion and a second. All in favor?
(A chorus of ayes.)
COMMISSIONER HENRY: Opposed, nay?
COMMISSIONER HENRY: They are approved.
The Chairman's Charges, please?
MR. COOK: No, sir. We're in good shape, I believe.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: Thank you, very much.
MR. COOK: We have nothing to report.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: Madam Chairman, we have the education interpretation – I smile, and I'll get into that in a few moments. We have the outreach plan that the committee has been – I'll tell you what it is. We've had some discussions concerning what this thing should be called – what happened to Outreach and Education or – interpretation.
These – some of these names have gotten moved around a little bit. And my concern has been, as I expressed to the advisory committee at its meeting, that, generally, the way things are listed has a bearing on the priority that they are assigned. And I want to be sure that we don't get lost in our actions, as opposed to our definitions.
Is that what I'm concerned about?
COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Ms. Saldana?
MS. SALDANA: I'm Lydia Saldana, Director of the Communications Division. And I'm here with Steve Hall, the Branch Chief for Education and Outreach, to present the strategic plan that we've been working on for some time.
The strategic plan we will present today has been in the works since late last year and reflects input from a very broad group of folks from both within and outside of the Department. The plan is designed to be a living document and will guide our efforts through the next four to five years.
The first draft was developed by a task force composed of folks from – people across all divisions at Parks and Wildlife. That committee was co-chaired by Steve Hall and by Bill Dolman in the State Parks Division. This is a plan that we're all comfortable will meet the diverse needs of all of the divisions' education and outreach efforts.
The division directors and executive management have reviewed it, as has Commissioner Henry and the Education and Outreach Advisory Committee appointed by Chairman Armstrong. I'd like to introduce two members of that committee who are with us today. Chairman Dick Bartlett is here with us, as is David Langford, both members of the Education and Outreach Advisory Group. That group has worked really hard in the last couple of months and really spent a lot of time with the plan.
We incorporated input from the advisory committee into the plan. And in a letter that Chairman Dick Bartlett sent to committee members, he said, "This is a solid plan, one that even if only partially implemented will result in profound improvements to outreach, education and interpretation at Texas Parks and Wildlife. More importantly, it should lead to a generation of citizens who are more able to take care of Texas and to whom stewardship of our natural and historic heritage has become more important."
MR. HALL: Good afternoon, Commissioners. My name is Steve Hall. And for the record, I'm going to tag-team this with Lydia, and – so you'll hear a different voice every now and again.
The components of the plan itself include these division and key messages that bind all of our efforts with the mission. I couldn't help but – noticing that – Steve doing a great job tying the building of facilities with the mission.
And we have to do a better job at tying all of our education, interpretation and outreach efforts with the mission and with essentially the goals and the objectives of this plan. This will enable us to achieve the success in taking care of Texas.
The goals and objectives lay the groundwork for the long-term strategies to be folded into the operational plans each year. The implementation of this strategic plan begins September 1 of this year. Much of the plan has already been underway, as you know, with the advent of the advisory committee and, also, of course, the task force working diligently this past year on the effort.
As project manager, my staff and I will annually review and assess Agency and program accomplishments and, also, serve as the liaison between the advisory committee and staff. Our vision is one of participation, action, understanding and acceptance of stewardship, conservation and management of the state's natural and cultural resources.
That's big, but, obviously, a lot of those terms are key and are defined in this plan. And they're key to, really – if we're going to bridge the gap, obviously, between reaching the next generation, new audiences, diverse audiences and those kinds of things, we're going to have to figure out a way to engage those groups. And key also to this opportunity is the recreation aspects, for them to enjoy the outdoors, to learn about the outdoors and take care of the outdoors.
And so, therefore, we've decided as our theme "Take Care of Texas." This is a continuation of many of the conservation themes in the conservation task force of the governor, but it simply speaks to the fact that if we don't take care of it, we won't have it for future generations. Much like the "Don't Mess with Texas" campaign, the theme invokes action and is the peg on which we'll hang our strategies.
David Rockwood [phonetic] with GSD&M is also on the advisory committee. He has expressed his excitement over the theme and working with us to market such a theme to attract both the traditional audiences, but, also, new audiences, as well.
MS. SALDANA: We identified several key messages that we feel are important to deliver consistently in all of our programs and activities. These messages can be delivered under that umbrella theme of "Take Care of Texas." One key message is that every person should have the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate the natural and cultural resources of Texas.
We will also be stressing our role in helping private land owners actively manage and conserve the natural and cultural resources of Texas. In the words of one of the more enthusiastic members of the Education and Outreach Committee, Ramona Bass, as she puts it, Management is not a spectator sport.
Another key message is personal responsibility. Every Texan should play a role in taking care of Texas. And finally, all Texans should enjoy our resources responsibly: Be safe, obey the law and use resources wisely. We've already begun incorporating these types of messages into some of our activities and events, most notably, the Texas Wildlife Expo.
MR. HALL: We've identified six major goals that will achieve our mission and measure our success. An integral assumption here is that we must focus our effort in the metro areas of Texas, where 85 percent of the citizens live. With that in mind, we must aggressively promote and market our efforts, especially to new and diverse audiences.
We must also continue to work with private land partners, as well as local public land partners, to bring more opportunities to the 85 percent. That's essentially working smarter and not necessarily harder.
Outreach is the main focus of the plan.
Commissioner Henry, outreach is the main focus of this plan.
And it will continue to be so. And the outreach to urban areas and new audiences is critical to accomplishing the strategies for conservation.
You all know the demographic picture that we'll face in the year 2020. And so I don't need to tell you that going down the path to reaching more diverse audiences, we must seek out the best practices that successfully engage these new audiences.
Another focus of the plan, obviously, is conservation. This ties us with the land, water and conservation plan.
Outreach, education and interpretation efforts must be grounded in science, as you indicated at the last meeting, Ms. Armstrong, and should consistently promote and address conservation issues.
More importantly, activities should help people better understand and get more actively involved in the conservation and management of the resources.
MS. SALDANA: Another underlying assumption of the plan that is articulated in this next goal is that all of our efforts must be tied to our mission and our mission statement and that we have a unique opportunity to deliver this message in venues and programs and activities. With that in mind, we must do a better job of delivering that message to all visitors to all of our sites.
We also need to improve our efforts to target urban and underserved populations with strategies to bring them to our parks, wildlife management areas, fishery centers and other venues. When appropriate, we must improve and tie our programs more closely to educational curricula standards, like the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, and partner with schools and universities to do a better job of this. And we must be proactive in identifying new needs and partners to deliver our message to the broadest possible audience.
With 94 percent of Texas in private lands, we recognize that private land owners play a critical role in our efforts. We must do a better job of increasing awareness of the benefits of private land conservation and the opportunities on private land. That means increasing awareness especially in urban areas of what private land owners are doing to conserve wildlife.
We must also continue our efforts to promote and grow partnerships with land owners so they can help deliver these same conservation messages. And we must encourage more land owners to get involved with our programs and with the programs of our partners.
We've done a fairly good job of delivering programs to several million people a year, but our Achilles heel in the past has been evaluation. That's the one thing we were dinged pretty hard by the Sunset commission on. And that's – one thing that we must do a better job on is evaluating all of these efforts.
So the final but perhaps most important goal is to evaluate all of our outreach efforts and education efforts and interpretation efforts to make sure that we're getting the most bang for our buck. We'll do that by increasing internal oversight, by implementing a more businesslike project management process for our efforts, we'll regularly evaluate all existing and any new proposed programs before continuing them, and develop partnerships to assist us in these efforts.
MR. HALL: Implementation strategies will help us begin to achieve these goals, and the five that are listed here are certainly some of the more important strategies. One is to improve the statewide coordination and management of our efforts. Much of that is internal, but a lot of it is external, as well. And through the advisory committee, we'll be able to begin to effectively partner with other groups that we haven't even partnered with before.
We want to emphasize outreach particularly in the urban areas and to new audiences, and we've emphasized this over and over. We've established and want to establish even more partnerships, such as with schools, other agencies and business, but, down below, also, with private land partners, to include education and interpretation types of events and activities on private lands.
And the creation of the master plans, which Steve alluded to even earlier, on every state park and every state facility is, again, critical to reaching some of the outreach goals that we have, because those are also identified in those master plans, as well.
As I've indicated earlier, we will use a project management approach and philosophy to coordinate these Agency-wide strategies. The key took in this approach is known as a program charter. This charter assigns essentially a program manager to each of the outreach, education and interpretation programs throughout the Department and grants that manager authority to implement or to continue such an activity or program.
The charter identifies the operational goals, objectives, approaches and evaluation and accomplishments. That's – where the rubber hits the road essentially is that when we look at the goals and objectives of this strategic plan as they go into the operational sense, this program charter should tie those goals and objectives together with activity goals and objectives, i.e., exactly what that program does, what it wants to achieve, what the need is for that program and, certainly, how we're going to evaluate that program.
The tool is used by executive management and project management staff to review and assess the programs – all of the programs annually. And, again, it helps assess whether they meet the goals of this plan or not.
We plan to report the accomplishments to you annually. And, certainly, we'll make recommendations at that time, as well, for improvement of either the programs themselves or the process. I'd like to add that the advisory committee has worked hard on this plan and has been involved in reviewing the plan, and they think it's a good plan and it's a good start.
I do want to mention on behalf of David Langford and some of the Outreach Subcommittee members, who met last week, that they also wanted to reserve the right as we go forth with the implementation to also make recommendations or guidance or give us advice of their role in the process in terms of helping us even adapt along the way, because we realize that some of the goals and the strategies haven't yet been thought of. And they're certainly going to be and are willing to be engaged in that process, as well.
MS. SALDANA: We said that at the top. This is a living document. I mean it's going to – we're going to need to continue to tweak it as needs change, as programs change and as what's out there in Texas changes. So it is a living document and one that we'll be continuing to take a look at as we move forward.
In the same letter that Dick Bartlett sent out to committee members about the plan, he also stated, "The only significant flaw is its sheer bulk." And I have to agree with that. There's a lot here. We've set the bar very high. It's a big task trying to corral everything that we're going and try to get it down on paper and really set our goals, but I think this is a good start. And I think we're up for the challenge.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: Thank you.
MS. SALDANA: Any questions or comments?
COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Mr. Chairman?
COMMISSIONER HENRY: Yes, sir?
COMMISSIONER ANGELO: In view of the fact that everybody has been stressing the importance of sticking to or trying to promote the mission of Texas Parks and Wildlife, I noticed, though, what might be a little bit of an oversight here. It doesn't – you – part of the mission is emphasis on hunting and fishing activities. And I don't see that mentioned in either the vision or the goals and objectives, and I wondered if that might not – maybe that should be a part of it specifically, as opposed to just kind of assumed.
CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: I've got a comment here. I think that all of the hard work you all have put into this is to be commended, but I was struck, also, by, One, the lack of any mention to – I mean in my cursory review of this –
COMMISSIONER ANGELO: I didn't see it either.
CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: – of any mention of hunting and fishing. And in addition, in the presentation today, I heard absolutely no mention of hunting and fishing.
And you've heard us often say that we believe that hunting and fishing may be the most effective conservation management tool at man's disposal. And we don't – we – I think I'm speaking for the Commission. We mean that when we say that. And it's going to be very difficult to educate our citizens and have them be responsible stewards if they don't have a wholesome appreciation for the value of hunting and fishing. I think it's absolutely fundamental.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: And let me just – I agree with you wholeheartedly.
One of the things that I've – I really did some kids a disservice the first time I went to Sheldon. And a group of kids from the Fifth Ward and Hester [phonetic] House that Ned knows about came out there. And I was amazed at the interest and the excitement of those kids, most of whom had never held a fishing pole before, and how excited they were about having the opportunity to do this.
A few weeks later, I attended a meeting of a group there, a black group, of young men that are interested in – the Buffalo Soldiers Hunting and Fishing Club. And they work with kids, you know, eight to 15 years old, teaching them to hunt and fish. And I was amazed again at the level of excitement of these kids just to learn some of the basics about hunting and all.
So I think you make an excellent point. Contrary to what a lot of people believe, I think this one – this is one of the biggest things we can do to increase our presence in – among urban audiences, particularly young urban audiences.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: If I may? The – we went to the trouble of changing our mission.
COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Yes. That's exactly what I was thinking.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: And our mission statement has become – and, again, I've just seen this document for the first time. And I want to say – before I make my recommendation, though, on what could be different, let me say what I think is, I'm sure, among other things, very good about this is that need to describe always monitoring and evaluating yourself against the real criteria.
But I think one of those criteria has to be our mission, and don't run around those two words, "Hunting and fishing." I mean, because that's a living document –
MS. SALDANA: Well –
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: – put it right there in the front.
MS. SALDANA: If I could say that certainly was not our intention? And I – there –
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: When you're here all day, you sort of assume that.
MS. SALDANA: Well –
MS. SALDANA: And that's exactly right.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Right.
MS. SALDANA: It's implicit, but it needs to be stated.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: It needs to be explicit.
MS. SALDANA: And I think, you know – yes. It just needs to be stated, and it will be.
COMMISSIONER ANGELO: It should be explicit, as we change the mission statement to be explicit.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: And this is a draft, I – more or – well, close to final draft?
MR. HALL: Yes. September 1, we'll essentially launch this. So we've got about three more months in the sense of working that out.
CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Well, that living document is starting to live right now.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: That's right.
MR. HALL: It has been living for a long time.
CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Alive.
MS. SALDANA: A lot of eyes have been on this. And I've just –
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Yes. In my law office, three months is plenty of time.
CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: You know, I kind of jumped on that because I have a – I'm somewhat passionate, as many of our Commissioners are –
MS. SALDANA: Yes.
CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: – because we really do believe that.
MS. SALDANA: Well –
CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: And – but having said that, I know all the hard work that has gone into this. And I know that the Outreach and Education Advisory Group, which is one of the most charged-up groups I have ever seen, have all really just rolled up their sleeves and just gotten into this. And I don't want to discourage that at all, but we're really pretty much in the beginning stages of this. And let's get that real clear up front.
MS. SALDANA: I would like to make it clear that there was never any discussion of not including it or including it. I mean I want everyone to understand that.
CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Oh, we do.
MS. SALDANA: I mean we – you know, who's on the committee. You know who has been involved.
COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Well, Lydia, you know, in no way was I making the comment as a criticism. I think it's just something that needs to be emphasized, as opposed to implied.
MS. SALDANA: But I know that kind of discussion has happened before. But it did not happen as it relates to this document.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Well, I admit I – you deserve a reprieve here, because you do have the mission statement, which, obviously, states, "Hunting and fishing," at page 4 of the – in the introduction. And I just think it needs to be stated in the goal and the vision and be carried through with it there.
COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Bob, this is memory time. When we go forward when we – before you go through the evaluation process, can we have a discussion at the Commission level looking at the dollars and talking about the objectives so that we can hash among ourselves through the trade-offs of taking a thousand kids out once versus ten kids out ten times over ten years so they really become hunters or fishermen or whatever we're trying to train them to be?
And I've never understood the total dollars and total scope of the programs. You list them here, but the dollars aren't attached, nor are the results as we measure them attached. And I really would like to have a discussion at the Commission level so we can try to develop a consensus for how we're going to judge the results and what criteria we want to set at the policy are.
As you go – before you start the process, I want us to look at it at the beginning, as well as at the end, and not just at the end, so we have some input on exactly what those criteria are and what the trade-offs are going to be. Is that – am I making sense?
MR. COOK: That's fine.
COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Okay.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: I think you make a really interesting point there, because that's a question that I've heard over and over again, which is, Are we really making an impact by taking a lot one time, or – and then – or a few, really making them mentors to other kids? And I think – you know, this is something Al has been working at for a long time –
COMMISSIONER HENRY: A long time.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: – trying to break that code.
COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: I raise the point knowing there is no perfect answer, but I would like us collectively to have a strategy as we go through the funding and project or – and turn it over to the policy staff so that as they go through project allocation, funding and that kind of decision making, we've at least voiced our –
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Is there a component in this plan –
COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: -- strong preferences.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: – of testing these? I looked in the appendices at these models, which I find fascinating, you know: Positive initial experience, access to equipment, access to the resource and access to the mentor. I mean, obviously, there has been a lot of thought put into this. Is there a component in here where you test and monitor these different approaches to see what works?
MR. HALL: Yes. There's evaluation instruments that go along with some of those models. And Appendix 1 is a valuable thing, because there is no perfect cookie cutter. By the way, you know, whether you take one person for ten hours or ten people for one hour is – the best answer and the best research show that diversity – a diverse approach is usually the best approach whereas in – you might try both depending upon the situation.
But those models kind of help guide us in our thinking and, certainly, the allocation of those dollars. All that's tied in the program charter, as are the evaluation instruments that would be used for that program. Again, you can't use the same evaluation method for each program; you might use various or different methods.
And so the charter has really tied all this together and, I hope, answers the questions that you've just posed. When you – if you want to look at 40 program charters in depth, that would be a good move by more than just those of us extremely close to it, but – in looking at those, you'll get a sense for what the best practices are, what the achievements are, what the needs are, what their goals are. And, hopefully, of course, they're all tied in with these goals and the strategic plan.
So it's going to be an interesting set of documents when we pull that together because that is the toughest part. Evaluation has to start the process. And the only thing I can say is as we set these program charters up and understand how they're going to evaluate their program, then I think that starts to provide the answers and, certainly, in the charters as to the cost of the program and, you know, the FTEs associated with it, and that kind of thing.
COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Well, I'd find it very helpful to run everything we're doing right now through that sieve this month. And just let us read them.
MR. HALL: Okay. Well, it's –
COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Just let us read them.
MR. HALL: – about two or three months.
COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: What?
MR. HALL: It's two to three months. But I would say it's –
COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Well, just give everybody that and say, "Fill it out and give it back to us in a month," as best you can.
MR. HALL: Okay.
COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: It doesn't have to be perfect, but let it – give us a template to start from. Show us the dollars, show us the programs, and show us what everybody thinks the results will be.
CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Sort of like a baseline kind of deal that would compare –
COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Yes, a baseline: Just where are we today.
MR. HALL: That's our plan. And we hope, obviously, that we can get that to you within a couple of months.
MS. SALDANA: First, we're going to do some editing, though.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: Another thought that I wanted to convey and I have already to the staff and to the Commission is that when we talk about outreach and its significance, we should not only be concerned when we say, "Urban areas," about the major metropolitan areas of the state. I'm constantly reminded by my county judge and commissioner in Smith County that we need to do outreach, as well, to the smaller towns and communities because their kids in Tyler and Nacogdoches and Lufkin and cities of that size and smaller – Henderson – I'm going to up 59 and 259 now.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: Their kids also have lived in urban settings all of their lives. And many of them aren't familiar with urban – hunting and fishing and outdoor activities. These are kids who – they go in from the television to the game boards and things. So we need to think in terms of what we can do to reacquaint them with Parks and Wildlife activities, as well, when we talk about urban outreach. Here's – it's another form of it.
Any other questions of staff?
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: I have one. And, again, it's probably answered here when I read it. But my experience is that there's a lot of duplication and lack of coordination in this area. I mean I'm very involved, as some of you know, with Boy Scouts of America and the council here in Texas. And I see what they do. And then I see what the Texas Wildlife Association and the youth hunting – and I see what Parks and Wildlife does. And I don't see a lot of coordination.
And it seems to me that if – you know, with limited resources and – we're competitive – essentially, we're competing in an entertainment venue for people's time, especially with kids – that we would benefit by reducing the duplication and increasing the coordination with all these different groups.
COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Yes. Can – I've had that experience in other areas, though, but I think, on the one hand, we want to allocate our dollars to maximize the impact. Pluralism is great. Six groups doing the same thing to accomplish our mission is fine if they're all overlapping. It's a question of the effectiveness of the dollars we put in.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Well, I agree. And –
COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: It's okay if they're all doing the same thing. We're not talking about that many things in our mission.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: But my problem is I see a lot of them doing it halfway.
COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Oh. That's an effectiveness –
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: And somebody –
COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Effectiveness is what you're talking about.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Yes.
COMMISSIONER RAMOS: One natural partner, though, that we have are these ag teachers that have all these kids in the 4-H programs and so forth. I think there's an avenue that we ought to look at, because these ag teachers are already touching a lot of kids that are interested in the outdoors. If we could incorporate some wildlife management and the judging of white-tailed deer and habitat as part of that, we can reach a lot of kids through that because that's a natural. And it's at an age when they're tender, as you might say, and where they can simply –
MR. HALL: We call it a sponge.
COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Of course, you know, Lydia, I've talked to you about possibly in our magazine – I know it would be very cost-prohibitive, but I would like to see us have a youth section in our magazine and, ideally, to get the magazine to every library in the state. I know it's very expensive, but perhaps we could get someone to sponsor that. That way, we get them at the junior high level –
CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Lydia –
COMMISSIONER RAMOS: – and high school level.
CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: I think – it has been my understanding that the idea from the get-go of making outreach and education a priority first by making a full committee of the Commission – Sunset pointed in that direction – an Outreach and Education Advisory Board to help in that process. All of these issues that are being discussed around the table today and the questions that are being asked today have been asked by all of us before. And I want to tell you I have lot of confidence in the process that we're presently in the middle of.
The Education and – the Outreach and Education Advisory Group is working with you all. So every issue that has been raised here is supposed to be addressed by these people. And at some point, we hope, not – in the not-too-distant future, some of these questions will be answered: "Where are we most effective; where do we need to expand; where do we need to get out of; are the messages that we're sending clear and accurate; do they adhere to our mission, and do they adhere to good science," and so on and so forth.
It's going to take a little time to do that. And this document, as Lydia said, is a living one. So suggestions are welcome, and we will make them.
But I think your analysis of the effectiveness of each individual program and – where are we really seeing results; how can we supplement the really good ones and reallocate our resources and move forward? I'm a little bit frustrated because it's something that's real – that I feel strongly about. I know Al does and a lot of the Commissioners do. And we're just chomping at the bit, I think, to get on down the road. And I'm confident of the people that are leading us in that effort.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: Finally, I want to thank the staff for the work they've done in this area.
Bob, it's a pleasure working with these people.
I would like to apologize because I'm probably more at fault than anyone about getting back to the question of hunting and fishing not being mentioned, because I've seen this two or three times. In fact, Lydia and Steve and I had a conference call while she was driving down the highway to Dallas, and we were making corrections there. And then, when I got into the hotel last night, they had a copy waiting for me. So instead of watching television, I ended up reading the document and didn't see it again.
So I apologize for that, as well. But it's a – they've done some good work, and I think we can feed it all in.
I just want to go on the record, as the Chairman said, and, particularly since he's here, about Dick Bartlett and his group. I attended part of their meeting down at Sheldon a few weeks ago. And that's an exciting group, and they're really into it and are doing some good things.
Finally, Madam Chairman, I'd just like to briefly bring the Committee up to date on the Sheldon activities with regard to the campaign. I asked that they hand out to you a list on what will be the official stationery. We finally committed or finished the group of people who are going to be formally associated with us in this campaign.
I think – for those of you who may not be from the Houston area, I think Ned will tell you that these are some very distinguished citizens from the Houston area. And they are really excited about this project.
One of the first things that I asked – that I did when I heard that Ned was coming on board was ask him to join this group. And he graciously agreed to do so.
MR. HOLMES: That's right.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: So we are very excited.
Since our last meeting, Nancy Ames, the former singer, who heads a production company in Houston and has been very active with the Bush campaigns over the years and other campaigns and special events – and she's already beginning to work toward arranging one for Sheldon down the line. She has joined our group.
David Gochman, who is the president of Academy Sports and Outdoors. Paul Hobby, who is with the Hobby Foundation, is one of them. Jack Blanton gave the initial election to get Sheldon kicked. And Ned, as I mentioned, and Howard Horne are very great fund-raisers and have been active in the real estate and business community in Houston for many years, have joined us, as well. So we've got an outstanding group of people here.
Our first group of requests went out about two weeks or – after the last meeting to several foundations, one of which was the Strake Foundation. And I should have mentioned that in our minutes, we mentioned, "George Strait," and that should be, "Strake," S-T-R-A-K-E, who is with the Strake Foundation in Houston, who has already promised to do something here.
One of the things that we've – we are stressing is the naming opportunities listed in the documents. We're going to prepare – drop back and prepare for the fall grant season. We were informed by several that – to give them a request for the September and for the October meetings.
So we're going to lay off pretty much sending them out during the summer, although specially targeted requests – for example, the Department of Education's – Ned and I are going to hook up with Rod Paige and see if we can't do something there to get something going with them. And I'm going to be calling him to help us design – we're going to be doing some other things that will be specifically targeted for specific things.
I'm going to St. Louis, for example, to meet with the Budweiser people. John Jacob – I've been invited to come up there. John Jacob, who is the executive vice president in charge of worldwide communications for Bud, is a local Houston boy that – we went to college together and have remained good friends over the years. And nothing in the area is named for John, so we're going to see if we can get something going there.
We will go to local foundations as well as private partnerships, but we'll be holding off still at the request of Liz Ghrist, who is the – is our chief fund-raising volunteer here – holding off on the corporate foundations until the economy's bottom line has improved a little bit.
Paula Peters from the foundation is working with us. In fact, she's coming down for a strategy meeting with the executive committee on the 10th.
We've made contact with several of the media, including the papers, as well as some other business magazines, and we're going to get special consideration from The Chronicle. I did one op ed piece on this a while back. I've been invited to do another once we get the campaign going, as well as – we're contacting other media, as well, to do the – basically the same thing.
So we're excited about it, and we think it's going to happen. It's just a matter of how much – we know it's going to – we're already raising money. It's just a matter of how much – how far we can take it. We're going to give it our best shot.
With that, Madam Chairman, that's all of the business to come before the Committee unless there's something special.
CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Well, I'm very impressed with this list. These –
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Well done, Al.
CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: – very well done. And I know how much time you're devoting. And you've pulled in a great team here. It's very impressive. Thank you.
I believe that there's no other business.
Gene, that's it?
CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Who has got that gavel?
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Here it is.
CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: The meeting is adjourned.
(Whereupon, at 2:35 p.m., this meeting was concluded.)
C E R T I F I C A T E
MEETING OF: Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Outreach and Education Committee
LOCATION: Austin, Texas
DATE: May 28, 2003
I do hereby certify that the foregoing pages, numbers 1 through , inclusive, are the true, accurate, and complete transcript prepared from the verbal recording made by electronic recording by Penny Bynum before the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.
On the Record Reporting, Inc.
3307 Northland, Suite 315
Austin, Texas 78731
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