Outreach and Education Committee

Wednesday, 9:00 am, May 27, 2009

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Commission Hearing Room
4200 Smith School Road, Austin, TX 78744

Commissioner Martin, Committee Chair
Lydia Saldaña, Committee Liaison

Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes

  1. Update on TPWD Progress in Implementing the TPWD Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan
    • Texas Parks & Wildlife Expo in Austin Suspended
    Staff: Carter Smith
  2. Take Me Fishing Houston
    Staff: Nancy Herron, Kevin Cunningham (Keiko Davidson, Hutsell Elementary Principal)
  3. Texas AgriLife Extension Hunter Education Partnership
    Staff: Steve Hall (Dr. Jim Cathey and Larry Hysmith, Texas A&M University)
  4. Texas Paddling Trails Program
    Staff: Shelly Plante

Committee Agenda Item No. 1
Presenter: Carter Smith

Outreach and Education Committee
Update on TPWD Progress in Implementing the TPWD Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan
May 27, 2009

I. Executive Summary: Executive Director Carter Smith will briefly update the Commission on the status of the agency's efforts to implement the Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan (the Plan).

II. Discussion: In 2001, the 77th Texas Legislature directed that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) develop a Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan (Tex. Park & Wild. Code §11.104). In November 2002, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (the Commission) adopted the first Plan. A revised Plan was adopted by the Commission in January 2005. The Plan is available on the TPWD web site. Executive Director Carter Smith will update the Outreach and Education Committee on TPWD's recent progress in achieving the Plan's Goals and Objectives as they relate to the Outreach and Education Committee.

The Plan consists of 8 Goals and a total of 56 Objectives. The Goals stated in the Plan are as follows:

Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Presenters: Nancy Herron
Kevin Cunningham
Keiko Davidson

Outreach and Education Committee
Take Me Fishing Houston
May 27, 2009

I. Executive Summary: Kevin Cunningham, Houston Aquatic Education Specialist, and Keiko Davidson, Principal of Hutsell Elementary in Katy, will update the Commission on a fishing program integrated in schools that has produced remarkable results for students, staff and the community.

II. Discussion: Kevin Cunningham will describe the Take Me Fishing Houston effort, a comprehensive partnership program to bring fishing to the minority community in Houston. Keiko Davidson will describe how her school integrated outdoor experiences and the Take me Fishing Houston education program, and its positive impact on student performance, staff motivation and community involvement in the school.

Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Presenters: Steve Hall
Dr. Jim Cathey
Larry Hysmith

Outreach and Education Committee
Texas AgriLife Extension Hunter Education Partnership
May 27, 2009

I. Executive Summary: Dr. Jim Cathey and Larry Hysmith, Texas AgriLife Extension Service (Extension), will brief the committee on a longstanding hunter education partnership between our agencies, a partnership that is over 15 years old. Like Texas Master Naturalist, the Service has successfully taken hunter education to its vast networks of county offices and agents and merged it with 4-H Shooting Sports, Field and Stream and Wildlife Habitat Evaluation. It also has elevated the quality of the hunter education experience through advanced programs, camps, extravaganzas, college coursework, community events, club activities and youth hunting programs.

II. Discussion: The Extension model is one that employs professional teaching staff, county extension agents, community-based project leaders and 4-H volunteers to maintain programs at the local level. It is one that promotes responsible use of the land, while bolstering land and agricultural practices and businesses – including conservation, hunting and the shooting sports. Like the department, the Extension also is involved in numerous outreach initiatives to involve more diverse and urban audiences.

The centerpiece of the Extension model is youth development – allowing young people not only to participate in its many opportunities – but to lead them as well. The partnership has fortified the relationship between the department's short-term hunter education program and the long-term programs and efforts of the Extension Service.

Extension staffs annually train 1,100 participants in programs such as 4-H Shooting Sports and Field and Stream, Prairie View A&M Youth Camps, Agricultural Science classes, camps held at the Texas 4-H Center, and Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society Youth Conservation Camps. Staffs train over 1,000 adults and youth in master leader workshops and advanced hunter education programs that are species and method specific extensions of the basic hunter education course. Staffs reach over 6,300 people annually in various hunter education outreach events and activities such as at county fairs, rodeos, festivals, shows, school career days, teacher training camps and university-level courses.

Committee Agenda Item No. 4
Presenter: Shelly Plante

Outreach and Education Committee
Texas Paddling Trails Program
May 27, 2009

I. Executive Summary: This item seeks to brief the Commission on the cross-divisional Texas Paddling Trails Program, including an explanation of the streamlined certification template which has allowed us to serve the surge in community interest.

II. Discussion: The Texas Paddling Trails Program began in 1999 with the mapping of the first coastal trail at Lighthouse Lakes. At that time, Coastal Fisheries mapped seven different trails along the Texas Coast. Then, in March 2006, the first inland paddling trail was launched in Luling (the Luling-Zedler Mill Paddling Trail). Since that time, TPWD has created a fully-coordinated initiative in partnership with local communities to promote public awareness of existing trails and develop new public inland and coastal paddling trails throughout the state. This initiative encourages paddling, angling, wildlife viewing and public access to Texas rivers, lakes and bays and builds and fosters a constituency for environmental flows and river conservation. Through the Texas Paddling Trails Program, additional public water access sites and improvements have been made in partner communities. The Texas Paddling Trails are also a sustainable economic development tool for local communities.

TPWD supports these trails with marketing and promotion, maps, signage and other technical support. These trails provide well-mapped accessible day trips in a variety of settings and for all levels of paddling experience. There are currently eight coastal paddling trails and ten inland paddling trails, with several communities in the process of applying for participation in this program. Our initial goal and commitment was to launch two to three new Paddling Trails each calendar year. We have easily met that goal, launching three trails in 2007 and four trails in 2008. So far we have launched three new trails in 2009 with eight additional trails slated to launch by the end of the calendar year.

This program is a cross-divisional project involving staff from Communications, Inland Fisheries, Coastal Fisheries, Wildlife, and State Parks. Additionally, every paddling trail involves the local community and other organizations as appropriate. Within communities we have partners as diverse as convention and visitors bureaus, chambers of commerce, county commissioners, local river groups, and more. Each trail may have different partners, but the consistent theme is community partnership with TPWD.

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