Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Outreach and Education Committee
November 5, 2003Commission Hearing Room
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Headquarters Complex
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
BE IT REMEMBERED, that heretofore on the 5th day of November, 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 Wildlife Department Headquarters Complex, to wit:
THE TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION:
- Ernest Angelo, Jr., Midland, Texas, Vice-Chairman
- Joseph B.C. Fitzsimons, San Antonio, Texas
- Ned S. Holmes, Houston, Texas
- Alvin L. Henry, Houston, Texas
- Peter M. Holt, San Antonio, Texas
- Philip Montgomery, Dallas, Texas (not present)
- Donato D. Ramos, Laredo, Texas
- Kelly W. Rising, M.D., Beaumont, Texas
- 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
P R O C E E D I N G S
MR. HENRY: The first item on the agenda has to do with our minutes from the prior meeting. I would ask for a motion that those minutes be approved.
MR. FITZSIMONS: So moved.
MR. HOLMES: Second.
MR. HENRY: I have a motion and a second. All in favor, aye.
(A chorus of ayes.)
MR. HENRY: Opposed, nay.
MR. HENRY: The motion carries.
We are waiving Chairman's Charges and going directly to Item Number 2, Outreach, Education and Interpretation of the TPWD Program Charters.
Ernie Gammage and Steve Hall?
MR. HALL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee. My name is Steve Hall, Education Director. And I've got with me today Ernie Gammage. And Ernie is more than just an Expo coordinator now; we've reorganized a little bit in our shop, and Ernie's going to take on more of the Outreach duties, as well. We figured he didn't have enough to do with Expo year round, so we recruited him.
MR. HALL: And he's obviously very capable in terms of outreach, Expo being our Number 1 venue in that area.
Also, I want to mention that Phil Hewett [phonetic] of the parks division is spear-heading interpretation involvement in both internal and external education and outreach affairs. So I don't think Phil is here today, but Phil will be actually taking Bill Dolman's place. And Bill was instrumental before retirement in terms of helping us with interpretation.
The purpose of this presentation is to brief the Commission on the implementation of the Outreach, Education and Interpretation Strategic Plan. You all received a revised version of this plan in early October, and that incorporated the changes that you had and the recommendations that you made at the last Commission meeting.
We have two groups working on these strategies. One is the external group, and that's our advisory committee. And the next is the internal group. We have a management team internally that is both inter-divisional and does include, of course, both headquarter and field staff.
The advisory committee has three action teams, as they've called them, and the action teams of Outreach, Education and Marketing mirror our efforts internally of outreach, education, interpretation and marketing efforts, as well. That's a good strategy in the sense that when they give us advice, we've actually got staff on the ground working in each of those areas, as well.
Their last meeting was October 21 at Bright Leaf here in Austin, and their next meeting is scheduled for February 18, 2004. That's a tentative date, but mark that on your calendar. I know Dick Bartlett, the chairman of that committee, will be anxious and will send out an invite to the Commission on that meeting.
Now, the three action teams that I've mentioned have essentially created some charges at this last meeting that they're going to be working on, and one is a coalition of partners, and they term it the Stewardship Council. Certainly, this is to just make sure we get ‑‑ both identify the partners and get the partners on board in this effort in terms of implementing these strategies.
And the second one and the one that has gotten most of the discussion at their meetings is the key messages: What is it that the public will understand: "What is it that we deliver in each of our education and outreach and interpretation efforts that's consistent across the board," those broad messages that help solicit both conservation and stewardship.
The education action team will be working to try to integrate more closely the efforts between the two agencies of Parks and Wildlife and the Texas Education Agency. Certainly, the essential standards in the education agency are critical to our efforts. If we're going to be a force in the school system and if we're going to be a curriculum in the school system, meeting those standards is certainly the challenge.
And Number 2 on the education action team venue would be to work with our field sites in interpretation. There's various efforts going on, and I know Walt Dabney has investigated a program in Michigan. There are so many efforts going on that better connect our sites ‑‑ and, in this case, mostly the Wildlife management Areas and the visitors centers ‑‑ with the curriculum in the schools. So we'll be working heavily on that action item, as well.
And, finally and one of the more important aspects, too, is a marketing approach that gets the word out in a bigger and a better fashion. One of the members of the advisory committee is with GSD&M. And certainly, with the campaigns like "Don't Mess with Texas," they'll try to help us help ourselves in the effort of getting out the word to try to produce at least the awareness end of conservation and stewardship.
Now, with that, I'll turn it over to Ernie. He's going to describe a little bit our internal efforts.
MR. GAMMAGE: Yes. Steve has described to you the functions of the external team.
Internally, we put together a group that we call the OEI Management Team, and their job really is to look at the implementation from a Department level of this plan. They will review each one of the OEI projects ‑‑ and we'll look at what those are; in fact, you're looking at them right now ‑‑ the project charters, and they'll look at the annual accomplishments. They'll also serve as consultants in data collection and evaluation and best practices and really see where the rubber meets the road for each one of these programs and activities.
Key to that is the project charter. This is a project management tool that we developed. I say, We. The management team when it was called the task force last year developed it, and it is in place.
We have gathered these up for the 22 programs and activities that we refer to when we say, outreach, interpretation and education. This will be on an annual basis approved by executive management after recommendations by the task force, and each one has a project manager. And the project charter is actually where any of us can go to get key information about the project itself.
Here's a list of the 22 TPWD projects that we've identified. Where there's an ampersand, that means that there are two of them together, for example, angler and boater education. Some of them are one-time events like the Texas Wildlife Expo. Some of them are ongoing like state park interpretation or inland fisheries presentations. There are literally thousands of events and activities contained in this list that we're looking at here, and these are all for 2004.
There are a number of components to the charters. I'm going to look at some of them, and then Steve will pick up. The first one is, How does this program relate to the mission of Texas Parks and Wildlife? The Sunset Commission asked us to tie all of these activities directly to our mission.
And so that's up at the top of the page, followed by a description and the purpose of the program, who the target markets are, the programs and various activities that take place within the umbrella of the program and then, finally, a list of any formal partnerships that the Agency has that support the program through MOAs or MOUs.
And Steve will pick up right there.
MR. HALL: And, certainly, key to the project charters are the goals and the measures. Everyone identifies the exact goals that they want to accomplish through their project and how they measure those goals. Most of those goals, obviously, relate to the strategic plans of the Department. And there's various strategic plans, of course.
And the assumptions and the constraints and risks are certainly always a factor when you're out there doing hands-on activities, especially with youth. You've got to think of things like, you know, PFDs around the water, and you have to think about child-protective laws and put some proactive thought into something like that, versus getting out there and then trying to manage risk or chaos in the case of the Boy Scouts and some of the other groups that we get involved with.
The cost and in-kind value that's given to the program ‑‑ many of our programs do utilize volunteer labor. That's a significant value of in-kind service to the Agency.
And the cost of the program, the direct costs, the operating and salary costs are ‑‑ we're going to ‑‑ I think this is one area in the project charters that we've really got to take a hard look at with each of the project managers. We're all over the spectrum when we ask, "What does it cost you in your program," or, "What does it cost you in your project." And that's not such an easy answer at times.
You wish you could just take it right from the budget ledger, but when you consider, for example, all the biologists, inland fisheries, coastal fisheries, law enforcement and game wardens, most of them are just simply responding to the thousands of requests that they would get each year for these kinds of efforts. And, you know, coding those, that time and stuff, is one of the keys to determining what the costs are, but they wear many hats.
I mean, certainly, just with a game warden visit, every visit that they make, they do education first and then prevention and then apprehension, in that order. So is that considered education, or is it considered law enforcement? And those are the kinds of things that we will visit with each of the project managers about in trying to determine the actual cost of each of those projects.
Finally, evaluation is certainly important. Again, I think we run the gamut in terms of the types of methods and tools that we use to evaluate our projects. Most are short-term evaluations; very few are actually long-term looks at what we really are doing to impact behavior. And that's again where we sit down in a consultation role and try to figure out how can we look at the long-term benefits and/or the changes in behavior.
Certainly, a lot of those efforts are costly, but we've got to identify the tools and we've got to help the project managers with tools that are easy to use and be able to extract some of that data from each of their efforts.
And finally, an approval process. And this, obviously, is where executive management and staff and you all are on the same page in terms of knowing exactly what kinds of programs and efforts our Department is performing out there.
The goals and measures are tied to the strategic plan. Most of you know, of course, that various types of strategic plans exist. Certainly, three of the ones critical to this effort are the outreach strategic plan, the land and water conservation plan, which, obviously, was what Larry McKinney alluded to today, and then, certainly the future of hunting plan for all of those projects that have hunting as one of the missions.
We look at the goals and strategies during this plan, and we put those on the charters as the ones that we would like to tackle in our various projects. And then we also look, of course, at the legislative budget board measures that we're required to have each year; most of those are the ones that currently drive the measures of each of these projects.
One of the key measures that we've reported on year in and year out is the number of fish and wildlife events that we perform out there and then the number of participants reached in the targeted market area. So those are key measures in terms of quantity; I think the evaluation part is going to try to get a better handle on the quality. And then each project has its own program goals germane to that activity or program.
And with that, what I'd like to say before we address questions is that I think that we have the opportunity, Mr. Chairman and this Committee, to bring you at future meetings at this Committee session any of the projects that you want to learn more about on those listed 22. Certainly, feel free to ask us for a briefing on the projects that maybe you know little about or you want to know more about or that maybe we want to examine the costs or evaluation methods, or however. And I think that's an opportunity for this Committee in the future.
With that, Ernie and I would be happy to address any questions.
MR. HENRY: Thank you.
Any questions or comments?
MR. HENRY: Thank you.
MR. HALL: Thank you.
MR. HENRY: Mr. Chairman, before we move further, I'd like to get permission to make just a couple of comments with regard to a matter that I believe we've reported on to you before, and that is the Sheldon campaign, just a couple of words about it.
It is active and underway. It's being conducted by a
seven- ‑‑ I'm sorry ‑‑ a six-member steering committee and 25 other citizens who've given us the use of their names and have been available for special considerations or directions when needed.
The campaign is set up in three parts, one to contact the five major ‑‑ when I say, "Major," I mean the larger five foundations in Houston. And we've already had visits from the campaign team with three of those. We have another scheduled for next Wednesday, and the final is being set up as we speak.
We've been extremely well received by those foundations. We're looking forward to continued visits.
The second group will be the ‑‑ about 50 smaller foundations. And when I say, "Smaller," I mean not as big as the big ones in that area.
MR. HENRY: I've made all of them so far, and I'm going to try to make all of them. But I'll just make as many of them as possible. And we have teams broken down to visit different ones where there is some known contact or an individual knows another individual, et cetera. That will be the second part of it.
The third part of it will be going to corporate foundations and corporations. We've been advised to hold off on that pending, hopefully, turnarounds in the economy that will make that a little better next spring and on into summer.
And the last item there is ‑‑ Liz Grace [phonetic], who has agreed to come on as a co-chairman has recruited Nancy Ames to work with us. And I've talked to Nancy, and she has agreed to chair a special event sometime toward the end of next year. Some of you may know her. She just produced the Texas gala in Washington the other night. And the form of entertainment and ‑‑ Ned can tell you all about it. She's a friend of his.
And to be a major fund-raising event to close it out ‑‑ Ophelia Van Den Bosch informed me that she had talked to ‑‑ she talks to, as she says, "The boss," occasionally, and said she had mentioned this to him and has already requested his coming in for this event, whenever it's held. And he said if at all possible, he's going to certainly try to do so since he was the one that got us going on this whole outreaching to children effort to start with.
And finally, I'd like just to go on record ‑‑ and I know Joseph will join me ‑‑ in thanking Commissioner Holmes, who hosted the reception for the Parks and Wildlife Foundation last week. It was outstanding.
MR. ANGELO: Hear, hear.
MR. FITZSIMONS: We should all join in that appreciation.
MR. HENRY: It was. And the focus beneficiaries for that event were Sheldon, San Jacinto and Sea Center. So there's certainly an ancillary benefit that we received from that event, and that was outstanding. And a number of people ‑‑ we talked to a number of people there that night about our event. A number of them are either on or associated with foundations that we are seeing or going to. And that has to ‑‑ that's a big boost.
So, Ned, all of us are indebted to you and to Ben Robinson for that event. It was outstanding.
And with that, Mr. Chairman, I'd like to turn it back to you.
MR. ANGELO: Thank you, Al.
(Whereupon, at 2:28 p.m., this Outreach and Education Committee 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: November 5, 2003
I do hereby certify that the foregoing pages, numbers 1 through 15, inclusive, are the true, accurate, and complete transcript prepared from the verbal recording made by electronic recording by Ben Bynum before the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.
On the Record Reporting, Inc.
3307 Northland, Suite 315
Austin, Texas 78731