Presenters: Lydia Saldaña

Commission Agenda Item No. 2
"Keep Texas Wild" - Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine in Schools
August 21, 2008

I. Executive Summary: ExxonMobil Corporation is providing $250,000 to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation which will fund subscriptions to Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine for public and private school libraries in Texas, with additional classroom copies for 4th grade science and social studies teachers. Beginning with the September issue, the magazine will feature a new "Keep Texas Wild" student section for teachers and families to introduce children to the world of the outdoors and nature.

II. Discussion: This funding will provide three copies of Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine every month to elementary schools in Texas. The special section, "Keep Texas Wild", will focus on fourth grade learning standards. Because nine-year-olds possess enough mastery of reading skills to pursue more complex subject matter, it is a wonderful age to inspire future hunters, anglers, conservationists, biologists, photographers and nature writers. The kid-friendly, four-page section will include fun facts presented with a lively writing style, eye-popping photos and a creative, whimsical design. Each topic will be Texas-specific, with special attention to conservation issues. The section will also include hands-on activities that cross the spectrum of curriculum (such as art, math, science and social studies) and a call to action that encourages students to get outdoors and get involved.

"Keep Texas Wild" will also be available in printable PDF format in the "Teacher Tool Kit" resource area on the TPWD Web site. Added value on the Web site includes lesson plans, additional activities and supplemental information for students and teachers who want to delve deeper into the topic. Teachers can also sign up to receive monthly e-mail links to the PDF sections. In late fall, an online survey will be added to gauge success and solicit advice for improvement. Additional classroom copies and subscriptions are available to teachers at the lowest price possible.

In May 2008, the June 2008 issue was sent to the schools with fourth graders to let the teachers know the section was coming. Topics of each issue were included so that teachers could incorporate them into lesson plans for 2008-2009 school year, and an order form was included for subscriptions or to buy single issues for classroom use.