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TPWD News Release — Oct. 1, 2008

Outdoor Family Weekend Workshops Added Near D-FW, San Antonio

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Outdoor Family program is adding new weekend workshop dates in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Hill Country/San Antonio regions for the upcoming winter and spring months, after expanding into state parks around Austin and Houston this past summer and fall.

Workshops in state parks cost $55 per family (up to six people), and include individual car camping sites for each family, restrooms with hot showers, professional Park Ranger-led programs and instruction, overnight state park police officer public safety and security, a curriculum developed specifically for use and enjoyment of a state park, and state park Junior Ranger certification programs. The entire approach is ’Leave No Trace’ Certified so it’s environmentally friendly.

"There’s no experience or equipment necessary for these workshops," said Chris Holmes, a state park regional interpreter who is organizing the new workshop series. "We recognize that many people in today’s increasingly urban culture don’t have the same skills or backgrounds as earlier generations of Texans. These weekend workshops offer a supportive environment where families can get started in safe and comfortable settings."

For example, the schedule for one upcoming state park weekend includes pitching tents, fire starting and outdoor cooking, and morning and night-time guided talks or tours with park rangers. Most workshops also include activities such as introductions to fishing, kayaking and trail adventure and exploration through GPS and geocaching.

In addition to the basic camping skills workshops, several sites will host special themed events. An introduction to backpacking workshop will be hosted at Enchanted Rock State Natural area. At Lake Casa Blanca State Park near Laredo, an interpreter for Spanish speaking campers will be available. Other special activities, such as river kayaking, sea kayaking, caving, and Dutch oven cooking, are offered as well.

For workshops in state parks, families are expected to bring their own food for the two-day workshops, and a suggested shopping and packing lists for meals and personal items will be provided.

These Texas Outdoor Family workshops are also offered at partner sites such as city and county parks. Fees for these workshops vary, but include all meals and typically the fee for a family of four is $150.

Toyota has come on board as a sponsor of Texas Outdoor Family, helping provide funding for equipment to make the weekend workshops possible, and more sponsors are being sought who want to help introduce families to nature and the outdoors.

Visit the Texas Outdoor Family Web page for more information, including the complete schedule of weekend workshops. Check the web pages regularly, as new workshops continue to be added to the schedule.

Families can register by calling (512) 389-8903 and speaking to a Texas Outdoor Family representative Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-to-6 p.m., or send e-mail to anytime. After registration, a confirmation packet with directions and details will be sent.


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