Outreach and Education Committee

Wednesday, 9:00 a.m.
March 30, 2011

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

Commissioner Margaret 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
    • State Parks Are Outdoor Classrooms
    • 2011 Chihuahuan Desert Dirt Fest
    • State Park Public Hunting Program
    Staff:  Carter Smith
  2. 175th Anniversary of Texas Independence
    Staff:  Cynthia Brandimarte
  3. Email Communications Efforts
    Staff:  Darcy Bontempo

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
March 30, 2011

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 2002, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (the Commission) adopted the first Plan.  A revised Plan was adopted by the Commission in January 2005.  In November 2009, the Commission approved a new Plan effective January 1, 2010.  The 2010 Plan is available on the TPWD web site.  Executive Director Carter Smith will update the Ad Hoc Infrastructure Committee on TPWD’s recent progress in achieving the Plan’s goals, objectives and deliverables as they relate to the Outreach and Education Committee.

The Plan consists of the following four goals:

  1. Practice, Encourage and Enable Science-based Stewardship of Natural and Cultural Resources
  2. Increase Access To and Participation In the Outdoors
  3. Educate, Inform and Engage Texas Citizens in Support of Conservation and Recreation
  4. Employ Efficient, Sustainable and Sound Business Practices

Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Presenter:  Cynthia Brandimarte

Outreach and Education Committee
175th Anniversary of Texas Independence
March 30, 2011

I.       Executive Summary:  State Parks Historic Sites and Structures Program Director, Cynthia Brandimarte, will discuss the commemorative festivities that are taking place at state parks and historic sites to celebrate the 175th anniversary of Texas declaring its independence from Mexico.

II.      Discussion:  Several major celebrations have been planned for this important anniversary.  The first took place at Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site and Barrington Living History Farm State Historic Site during the event-filled weekend of February 27-28, 2011.  Photographs and a short video of the celebration will be shown.  Upcoming on April 16, the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site will host festivities to mark the April 21, 1836 victory over the Mexican army by Sam Houston’s troops.  In addition to these celebrations, sites throughout the state are joining in to help Texans remember our distinctive history.  These events demonstrate the ways that TPWD encourages the enjoyable use of the state’s historic resources.

Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Presenter:  Darcy Bontempo

Outreach and Education Committee
Email Communications Efforts
March 30, 2011

I.       Executive Summary:  Staff will brief the Outreach and Education Committee on efforts to cost-effectively communicate with and market to our customers and constituents via email.  Email communication is a direct response medium that can help the agency increase awareness of conservation and outdoor recreation and drive visitation to the TPWD website so that constituents can easily get information, purchase hunting and fishing licenses, or make online reservations at state parks. 

II.         Discussion:  Currently, Texas Parks and Wildlife’s email service has approximately 120,000 subscribers.  TPWD contracts with email service provider GovDelivery, a company that specializes in providing email services to government organizations.  Subscribers opt-in to receive emails on topics of their choosing and have the ability to unsubscribe from emails at any time.  The department employs best practices in email communication and has begun to track some of its email marketing efforts that demonstrate its success in generating revenue.  For example, email efforts for Big Time Texas Hunts that could be tracked back to the license point of sale (POS) system generated $26,700 in net revenue, which is more than what the annual contract with GovDelivery costs the agency.

Outgoing email communications fall into four different categories:  e-newsletters, regular updates, business communications and revenue-producing and promotional communications.  The department produces four multimedia e-newsletters (State Parks Getaways, Hunt Texas, Fish Texas, Life’s Better Outside) that leverage existing content in an effort to retain and increase the level of engagement of the agency’s customers.  There are also a number of regular updates, including the weekly news digest, weekly fishing reports, and migratory bird hunting report. Constituents can also sign up to receive emails about doing business with the agency, such as information on job, grant and bid opportunities.  The agency is also able use email to promote high-profile statewide events and increase sales of revenue generating programs such as Conservation License Plates.

Staff will continue to test various strategies to build the number of email subscribers.  Strategies include emailing invitations to other agency customer databases such as our overnight state park visitors, hunters, anglers, boat registrants and collecting emails at events. Staff projects a continued healthy growth in subscribers of between 15-25% by the end of FY 2012.