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TPWD’s Ted Hollingsworth To Lead Final San Jacinto Tour
HOUSTON — For 11 years, Ted Hollingsworth has led an annual tour for school groups at the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site. But May 4 will be his last such tour, when he leads a group of 7th graders from the Seabrook Intermediate School’s science program on environmental tours of the site. This will be the last hurrah for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department employee, who is moving his family to Austin to take a new job with the agency.
Since 1993, Hollingsworth has worked to preserve the area’s wildlife diversity as one of the few remaining native prairie, tidal marsh and bottomland forests in East Harris County. By restoring wetlands and marshes to more like they were at the time of the battle, Hollingsworth has helped interpret and preserve the rich cultural history of the battleground and final resting place for many Mexican and Texan soldiers. Hollingsworth will continue supervising wetlands work at the site even after he moves from his Houston home to TPWD headquarters in Austin this spring.
"We were able to take a resource that was horribly degraded and restore it to an area that has incredible biological value," he said of his work to help conserve more than 2,000 acres of critical wetlands around Southeast Texas. "We are not just respecting the wildlife that lives there, we are respecting culture. There are still Mexican soldiers buried there."
A recent improvement to the Historic Site is a wheelchair-accessible boardwalk that winds through the wetlands not far from the San Jacinto Monument. Hollingsworth says the trail is so new — work is not yet completed — that visitors driving by the monument will do a double take and slam on their brakes when they see the boardwalk.
"It’s neat to see those people who have never gone out on the marsh on purpose before," he said. "They’re so excited to see wildlife that they’ve never seen before. That trail just attracts people like a magnet."
Growing busier with conservation issues and improvements like the boardwalk, Hollingsworth has had to cut down on outreach activities. He always continued with the annual tour "just because they are such a neat group of kids, a good group of kids."
On the final tour, Hollingsworth will lead with an hour-long lecture about water quality issues before the students go out on their own to catch fish, shrimp and other aquatic wildlife — "if it’s there, a kid with a dip net will manage to catch it," he said.
For more information about San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site, visit the Web (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/park/sanjac/) or call (281) 479-2431.
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