Outreach and Education Committee
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
9:00 a.m.

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. Zebra Mussels Public Awareness Campaign
    Staff:  Darcy Bontempo
  2. Conservation Education Strategy
    Staff:  Nancy Herron
  3. Aquatic Education
    Staff:  Karen Marks, Nancy Herron

Committee Agenda Item No. 1
Presenter:  Darcy Bontempo

Outreach and Education Committee
Zebra Mussels Public Awareness Campaign
March 28, 2012

I.       Executive Summary:  This item will brief the Commission on the status of the zebra mussel’s public awareness campaign which launched in summer 2011 and will continue this spring, in time for the Memorial Day holiday.

II.      Discussion:  In 2009, TPWD announced that invasive zebra mussels (dreissena polymorpha) had been confirmed in Lake Texoma and experts fear they could eventually spread to other water bodies throughout the state.  Zebra mussels have the potential to inhabit many of the fresh waters of Texas and impact a variety of native aquatic species and eventually entire aquatic ecosystems as well as boats and boating infrastructure.  Zebra mussels are known to clog water pipes and treatment systems and cost millions of dollars to remediate, which eventually would be passed on to the consumer in higher utility bills.

In August 2011, TPWD implemented a public awareness campaign, “Hello Zebra Mussels, Goodbye Texas Lakes: Clean, Drain and Dry” to better educate boaters in and  around Lake Texoma about the dangers zebra mussels pose to the state’s aquatic ecosystems, private property and water-related infrastructure such as water supply systems.  The campaign’s call-to-action asks Lake Texoma boaters to help prevent the spread of zebra mussels by cleaning, draining and drying their vessel before heading to any other body of water in Texas.  Campaign tactics included billboards, ads at gas stations around the lake, online advertising, stencils, print ads, radio news features, direct mail postcards, wallet cards, posters, display banners, brochures and buoy.  To date, the campaign has resulted in more than 41.8 million impressions.

The campaign is supported and funded by a coalition of partners, including North Texas Municipal Water District; Tarrant Regional Water District; Trinity River Authority; City of Dallas Water Utilities Department; Sabine River Authority; Canadian River Municipal Water Authority; San Jacinto River Authority; Brazos River Authority; the Angelina and Neches River Authority; and Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

With the continued support of these partners as well as marinas and boat dealers around Lake Texoma, the campaign will be continued this boating season, with media launching in time for the Memorial Day holiday and running through the summer.

Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Presenter:  Nancy Herron

Outreach and Education Committee
Conservation Education Strategy

March 28, 2012

I.       Executive Summary:  This briefing will provide an overview of the agency’s conservation education strategy, including research models for recruitment, retention and stewardship and department key messages.

II.      Discussion:  The department’s conservation education strategy to recruit and retain new constituents is based on sound research and coordination with outside partners.  The research models for adoption of outdoor activities, recruitment and retention, and stewardship behavior guide program design, initiatives and partnerships.  The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ North American Conservation Education Strategy follows these models as well, and provides additional tools the department has adopted including “core concepts.”  An interdivisional team at Texas Parks and Wildlife used the core concepts to develop department key messages and three agency themes for conservation education.

Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Presenters:  Karen Marks
Nancy Herron

Outreach and Education Committee
Aquatic Education

March 28, 2012

I.       Executive Summary:  This briefing will provide an overview of the agency’s Aquatic Education programs which include fishing and aquatic stewardship.

II.      Discussion:  Last year the department’s Aquatic Education program introduced over 50,000 youths and adults to fishing skills and ethics.  The program train-the-trainer hold special events, employ creative partnerships with schools and community groups and has launched a new initiative on aquatic resource stewardship which builds on the ten years of media products on water.  Staff will also provide a brief update on a volunteer’s successful, year-long “catch a fish a day” quest that ends March 31.