|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2004-04-19                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than 13 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [KE]
April 19, 2004
Park Staff Helps Save Life After Lightning Strike
HUNTSVILLE, Texas -- On Saturday, April 10 a storm had arrived in the area, and Huntsville State Park boathouse supervisor Jessica Rosalez radioed her bosses that she had just seen a man get struck by lightning under a pine tree in a public use area behind the boathouse.
It was 5:05 p.m. and the victim, a 49-year-old man from Houston, had been standing near the base of the tree. Park Manager Oscar Carmona and Assistant Park Manager Dennis Smith immediately responded. Park employee Kevin Wilkinson was at the victim's side. He reported that the man had a very weak heartbeat and was not responding. Then, at 5:15 p.m. they were unable to detect a heartbeat anymore and they began to administer CPR. Smith was giving rescue breaths and Wilkinson was giving chest compressions. During this time, Carmona was talking and translating for the family into Spanish and he and another employee, Brad Grier, were attempting to console them. Park employee Kerry Roberts assisted them by monitoring for any sign of life from the victim while CPR was being performed.
The man's heart was stopped for at least eight minutes, according to park staff. EMS arrived at 5:22 p.m. and used a defibrillator. The rain and lightning continued. EMS transported the victim to Huntsville Memorial Hospital at 5:50 p.m.
He went home late last Thursday. He said through an interpreter on Friday that he remembers his family getting off the lake when it started storming and he sent the kids up to the car to shut the windows. That is all he remembers. He is using a walker right now and will start physical therapy next week. He says God-willing, he will go back to his construction job soon. "It is like a miracle," he said.
Wayde Sullivan, EMS director for Walker County, said what the CPR did was sustain the victim until the defibrillator could be used.
"He was clinically dead when we got there. Had it not been for the CPR, I can't say that he would have responded to the defibrillation the way he did. His heart was in full-blown seizure and was not beating to sustain life. Had that continued, he would have been unable to be resuscitated. But with CPR, you keep the circulation going and the blood flow to the heart."
Carmona said it was a very emotional time. "Everything was happening so fast and you have to keep your calm. I did go home at the end of the day kind of shaken up about the whole thing. But the staff feels good in knowing we had a part in helping save this man's life."
Smith, who gave the mouth-to-mouth, said everything just came together. "We are a team and we just did what needed to be done. I am just glad we were able to help." Smith encourages everyone to take a CPR training course. "The one time you need it makes it worthwhile."
Carmona offered special thanks to Walter Clarkson, Karrie Jones and Stephanie Argueta who managed traffic at the park during the incident and volunteer Amy Morowski who called 911.

[ Note: This item is more than 13 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [SL]
April 19, 2004
New Angler Awards To Recognize Fishing Elite
AUSTIN, Texas -- Catching a big fish can be just as much a matter of luck as skill. But it takes more than luck to catch several different big fish.
There is an elite group of anglers who prove their ability regardless of the water they fish, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department wants to recognize their achievements through a new Elite Angler Awards program.
A component of TPWD's Angler Recognition Awards program, the Elite Angler Awards honor anglers who attain five different freshwater or saltwater big fish awards. Separate categories will recognize freshwater and saltwater anglers.
The program begins May 1 and is open to anyone. There is no time limit to gather the required five different fish species to qualify.
Anglers who achieve this ranking will be announced at the end of the year and will receive a special certificate commemorating their accomplishment.
For more information about the Elite Angler Awards program, contact Joedy Gray, TPWD Angler Recognition Awards Coordinator, 4200 Smith School Road., Austin, TX 78744 or by phone at (512) 389-8037 or by e-mail at joedy.gray@tpwd.texas.gov. Information about the program is also available online at (http://tpwd.texas.gov/).

[ Note: This item is more than 13 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [TH]
April 19, 2004
South Padre World Birding Center Offers Deep Sea Trips
SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas -- Offshore here, the shallow continental shelf gives way to deep water and there are sights and sounds few nature lovers have a chance to experience.
Along with the sea turtles and dolphins, the schools of game fish, perhaps even an impressive whale shark, there are birds: "pelagic" birds rarely if ever seen on land, that spend almost their entire lives on, in and over the deep water.
South Padre Island, with its wing of the World Birding Center (WBC), is one of the best and easiest places on the Gulf Coast from which to launch a pelagic birding expedition, says WBC guide John Arvin. Terns, Storm-Petrels, Albatrosses, and Shearwaters are among the pelagic birds that may be spotted off the South Texas coast, and the relative closeness of deep water makes it quicker and easier to get to them.
The WBC is sponsoring three pelagic trips for the 2004 season, all aboard the 65-foot Osprey II excursion boat based here. These popular 12-hour expeditions are scheduled for May 21, July 16 (in conjunction with the Brownsville International Birding Festival,) and Sept. 24.
"If you live in Texas or near the Gulf of Mexico, this is about as good as it gets," says Arvin. "The continental shelf happens to be relatively narrow just off our area, so that we can reach the deepest waters where we're most likely to find the highest numbers and variety of pelagic birds."
Arvin explains that an upwelling of cold, nutrient-rich water from the deeper regions of the Gulf occurs at the edge of the continental shelf and at other topographical features like undersea mountains or canyons. This upwelling attracts the fish and other sea creatures that in turn attract birds. Using maps of the Gulf bottom, guides seek out these areas for the best bird-viewing.
Tropical pelagic birds like the Band-rumped Storm-Petrel are a specialty off South Padre Island, adds Arvin. On a good trip, watchers might spot as many as 10 different species, from the Magnificent Frigatebird and Cory's Shearwater, to the rarer Yellow-nosed Albatross and Red-billed Tropicbird.
While the West Coast also offers a relatively narrow continental shelf and rich pelagic bird life, the only other area in the United States where tropical pelagic birds are reliably viewed is off the coast of North Carolina.
Arvin urges interested birders to sign up as soon as possible, since the trips are popular as well as infrequent. The Osprey II comfortably holds about 30-35 people, with an enclosed, air-conditioned cabin, booth seats and tables inside and bench seating outside.
Meanwhile, new developments concerning South Padre Island's wing of the WBC promise to make the island an even more attractive destination for birds -- and birders. A new 7-acre acquisition of wetlands and uplands property south of the island Convention Center will protect more crucial habitat as well as open up exciting new possibilities for a planned visitors' complex, say island officials.
Headquartered in Mission, the WBC is a partnership between nine local communities, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Along with being a convenient launch-site for deep sea birding trips, South Padre Island provides an important refuge for the colorful warblers, tanagers and buntings that migrate through each spring. Its expansive saltwater flats, lagoons and marshes attract hundreds of species of shorebirds and winter residents as well.
WBC property near the convention center adjoins the Laguna Madre Nature Trail, with 1,500 feet of boardwalk over four acres of sea grass habitat. Visitors will have additional areas to explore once the new acquisition ties in, says Darla Lapeyre, executive vice president of the South Padre Island Economic Development Corporation.
"We're very excited because we're at the point where we're working on the site plan for the visitors' complex, which includes boardwalks, viewing blinds and the visitors' center itself," says Lapeyre. "With the new property, there's more we can do with the site, more wetlands and more viewing opportunities."
Richter Architects of Corpus Christi is working on the site plan, as well as the visitors' center design. "We just want to make it a better birding center," says Lapeyre.
For reservations and information about the WBC pelagic trips, please call (956) 584-9156, extension 21. For information online, visit the Web (http://www.worldbirdingcenter.org/).

[ Note: This item is more than 13 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
April 19, 2004
TPWD Game Warden Field Notes
The following are excerpts from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
Boat-Ropers 'R US -- After an all-night shift on Falcon Lake, wardens received a call about two cow dogs who had run a cow into the lake, which is a common occurrence. What is not common is the cow tried to swim to Mexico in the widest and deepest part of the lake. The wardens happened to be about a mile down the lake and went to assist. They were in a 17-foot boat and located the cow about 600 yards from the bank. The wardens made contact with the tired animal, and the rodeo began. After a lengthy battle between beast and boat, the boat won, and the cow was taken to shore without much incident.

[ Note: This item is more than 13 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [KE]
April 19, 2004
Stay Tuned
Information from Texas Parks and Wildlife is available on radio and television, as well as the newsstand.
Passport to Texas, TPWD's radio series of weekday, 90-second stories is broadcast on about 100 Texas stations. Airing the week of April 19-23, you can fish for fun and prizes and improve coastal fishing in the state; plus anglers are encouraged to share their love of the sport with a child.
For more information, visit the Web (http://www.passporttotexas.org/).
Video News
TPWD provides video news reports that run in newscasts on numerous Texas stations, as well as on cable and satellite outlets around the nation. This month's stories include: Spring turkey season is here and with it come many hunters from both in and out of state to try their luck at bagging one of these creatures; the Great Texas Birding Classic brings bird watchers from all over the country to compete in a week-long 'birdathon.' This year, however, some contestants will leave their binoculars at home; this spring there are two new ways to enjoy state parks; buy a new State Parks Pass to get into the more than 120 state parks and then fish free when you get there; and once they were cargo ships during World War II, now they are home to marine life in the sea.
"Texas Parks & Wildlife" is a weekly half-hour television series seen on PBS affiliates around the state. Stories airing the week of April18-25 are: largemouth bass are the most popular game fish in Texas, but they haven't always flourished on their own. We'll take a look at some of the research and work that's gone into helping today's Texas bass; a visit to the Battleship TEXAS near Houston reveals a living piece of American history; summer is here, and so are the sounds of the cicada; join a group of veteran birdwatchers as they travel throughout the Rio Grande Valley in search of their feathered friends; and finally, see some unusual and unique bugs.
For more information about this week's programs and where they can be viewed, visit the Web (http://tpwd.texas.gov/tv).
Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine is always available on newsstands throughout the state and by subscription for $19.95 a year. To subscribe, call (800) 937-9393 or order online at (http://www.tpwmagazine.com/).