Commission Agenda Item No. 2
Presenters:  Tom Harvey

Darcy Bontempo

50th Anniversary of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
January 24, 2013

I.       Executive Summary:  The year 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, which came into being on Aug. 23, 1963 when the Texas Game and Fish Commission and the State Parks Board merged.

The last five decades have seen many changes, including the growth of the Texas population to more than 25 million residents and the dramatic urbanization of our state.  TPWD professionals have worked with dedication to meet these challenges, partnering with diverse entities to conserve the natural and cultural resources of the state and provide outdoor recreational opportunities.  The past 50 years demonstrate the breadth of what is possible when scientific management of the resources is carried out for the benefit of conservation.  TPWD’s opportunity in its 50th anniversary year is to share how these accomplishments are relevant for every Texan who cares about wildlife and about public natural places for outdoor recreation.

The agency has prepared a communication plan to educate stakeholders and customers about department achievements that have made “life better outside” in Texas in the past five decades, and to invite them to become ambassadors to support the department’s mission into the future.

A website portal will go live in mid-January to invite people to share their personal stories and photos from times in the outdoors to help inspire others.  In March, an online advertising campaign will drive people to the website to view and share a 1-minute 50th anniversary video highlighting ways TPWD makes “Life better outside.”  Web visitors will also be invited to complete an online ambassador pledge to help make “life’s better outside” in Texas, pledging one or more actions such as introducing a child to fishing or hunting, visiting a state park, or volunteering.  Ambassadors will receive a free “Life’s Better Outside” window decal as a thank you for their pledge.

The 50th anniversary will be reinforced on our social media channels and our website, as well as in radio, e-newsletters, on our TV show, and in Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine, with a special magazine issue in July dedicated to the 50th anniversary.  This anniversary offers a unique opportunity for TPWD to share some of its most noteworthy success stories while also looking forward to meet the next 50 years of challenges and opportunities.