|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2004-09-20                                    |
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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 ] [MM]
Sept. 20, 2004
Texas Kids Headed to Parks and Wildlife Expo
AUSTIN, Texas -- Hundreds of young people from cities across Texas will board buses for the 13th annual Texas Parks and Wildlife Expo here on Oct. 2-3.
"We are going to be able to help hundreds of deserving youngsters come to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Expo, kids who might not otherwise get the chance to learn about outdoor sports and recreation opportunities," said Peter M. Holt, Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission member from San Antonio, who is also chairman of this year's Expo advisory board.
"Although these buses are already full with organized groups, including inner city young people that we are particularly trying to reach, we encourage other groups to organize on their own and come join us at Expo. For that matter, anyone is welcome to hop in the car and join the caravan to Austin for this free event on Oct. 2-3, " he said.
At this year's Expo, visitors of all ages will be able to try fishing, kayaking, shooting sports, rock climbing, mountain biking and more at no cost, with expert guidance and gear provided. The event runs 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, and more than 40,000 are expected to attend.
Houston and San Antonio are sending the most youth on the buses. Ten Houston buses holding 55 people each will leave the morning of Oct. 2 and return home that night. San Antonio will also send 10 buses. Other cities sending young Expo-goers include Abilene, Beaumont, Brownsville, Copperas Cove, Huntsville, Prairie View, and Terrell.
Though the Expo itself is free, transportation and insurance create financial obstacles for many potential out-of-town visitors, thus the need to bus in kids who otherwise might not be able to go.
Because of high demand in participating cities, the TPWD-funded buses are already at capacity. However, several groups, such as AVANCE and the Phoenix Outreach Centers, are looking into providing their own transportation to Austin.
And also, at least six Community Outdoor Outreach Program grantees will be heading to the Expo. About 300 people from these groups will attend. The CO-OP program awards funding to tax-exempt organizations who introduce their participants to outdoor recreation, environmental and conservation programs.
Groups sending youths include Abilene Independent School District, America's Drug Free Production, Boys and Girls Scouts Clubs, Asian Chamber of Commerce, Huntsville Parks and Recreation, Prairie View A&M, Texas Southmost College, Turning POINT, Chatauqua Foundation, Houston Neighborhood Centers, Hester House, Christian Outdoor Coalition, Houston Independent School District, Buffalo Soldiers, Phoenix Outreach Centers, Barerra Group, and Houseman Group.
Dawn Bello, Urban Outreach Specialist emphasized that Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and its supporters are not always able to provide group transportation to Expo every year, but this year's effort represents the event's largest group transport program ever.
Major Expo sponsors this year include Anheuser-Busch, Toyota, Dow Chemical Company, La Invasora radio, Canon, HOLT CAT and Clear Channel radio in Austin. Other sponsors include Academy Sports and Outdoors, Mossy Oak Apparel Company, Winchester Ammunition, ChevronTexaco, Careco Multimedia, Inc., Sportsman's Warehouse, Weyerhaeuser, Weatherby Foundation International, Boone & Crockett Club, Gary Grant Sales, Inc., Omni Austin Hotel-Southpark, Shikar Safari Club International Foundation, Arby's of Central Texas, National Shooting Sports Foundation, CEMEX and Austin Coca-Cola Bottling Company.
Out-of-towners looking for a place to stay during Expo can call the Austin Convention and Visitor's Bureau at (512) 478-0098 for hotel and motel information.
To make reservations at a Central Texas state park, call (512) 389-8900 or book online (http://tpwd.texas.gov/park/admin/res/). For more information about Expo, including maps and directions, visit the Web site (http://tpwd.texas.gov/expo/) or call (800) 792-1112.

[ 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 ] [MM]
Sept. 20, 2004
New 'Science by The Horns' Program Serves Austin Schools
AUSTIN, Texas -- Starting this fall, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is partnering with the University of Texas College of Natural Sciences to enhance science education in Austin Independent School District elementary schools. The program is called "Science by the Horns," and reaches students through professional development and resources from TPWD.
The program began when Pat Forgione, Ph.D. and superintendent of AISD, first contacted the University of Texas concerned about low science scores on the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TAKS). In turn, the University of Texas contacted TPWD to explore educational resources the state agency could offer. Three AISD elementary schools will receive professional development and resources from TPWD specialists.
The target schools participating in "Science By the Horns," are Zavala Elementary, T.A. Brown Elementary and Campbell Elementary. They are all urban schools.
"The ultimate goal is to increase college readiness for students in schools with the most need," said Mary Miller, the program's coordinator at University of Texas. "The program focuses on the fifth grades at these schools and we are seeing increased enthusiasm generated for teaching science. The support of the District and the principals in these three schools has been amazing and we look forward to the relationship with Texas Parks and Wildlife."
Project WILD coordinator Cappy Manly at TPWD says the program's coordinators anticipate serving another 10 schools next year and hope to increase that number by the third year. TPWD will be working with the staff of Science By The Horns to facilitate the integration of some of the Project WILD, Project WILD Aquatic, and Texas Nature Trackers lessons into the curriculum.
TPWD will transport participating school students, teachers and their families to this year's Expo by bus. For the kids, this will connect outdoor activities to questions on the TAKS test. Spanish-speaking interpreters will be provided at Expo.
Funding and support for Science By The Horns is made possible by Applied Materials, AISD, The University of Texas College of Education and The University of Texas College of Natural Sciences.

[ 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 ] [MM]
Sept. 20, 2004
Funding Available For Coastal Habitat Restoration
AUSTIN, Texas -- For the fourth year in a row, a regional partnership between the Gulf Ecological Management Sites (GEMS) Program and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Community-Based Restoration Program is inviting preproposals for habitat restoration projects.
The Gulf of Mexico Foundation, a nonprofit organization, manages the partnership funds and seeks projects that restore marine, estuarine and riparian habitats to benefit living marine resources and to provide educational and social benefits by significantly involving the community.
GEMS represent ecologically significant areas along the Gulf of Mexico, including several Texas Parks and Wildlife Department wildlife management areas and state parks. TPWD GEMS sites include Candy Abshier WMA, Guadalupe Delta WMA, Matagorda Island WMA, Murphree WMA, Mustang Island State Park, and Sea Rim State Park. A complete list of Texas GEMS is online (http://tpwd.texas.gov/landwater/water/conservation/txgems/).
GEMS include barrier island habitats, seagrass beds, saltwater marshes and swamps, freshwater marshes and swamps, tidal flats, oyster and other mollusk reefs, coral reefs and artificial reefs. Projects proposed within GEMS will be given priority for the Gulf of Mexico Community-Based Restoration Program Partnership funding.
Kay Jenkins, Texas State GEMS Coordinator and biologist with the TPWD Coastal Fisheries Division, represents GEMS located in Texas and promotes support for those 24 sites as a member of the partnership's interagency steering committee that reviews and selects projects for funding.
"The Gulf of Mexico Community-Based Restoration Program Partnership represents a great opportunity for site managers, including federal, state, local governments and nonprofit organizations to apply for funds to implement coastal habitat restoration and educational programs," Jenkins said, reminding applicants that a non-federal match is required for the funds.
Preproposals are due Sept. 24 and will be reviewed in October and full proposals will then be invited for selected projects. Projects are required to result in actual habitat restoration, not simply planning and engineering.
The GEMS Program is a 1991 initiative of the federal Gulf of Mexico Program (GMP) in partnership with the five Gulf of Mexico states. GEMS provides a regional framework to conserve ecologically important Gulf habitats. The Gulf of Mexico Program and the five participating states each support a GEMS manager to participate in and serve as a point-of contact for the program. These partners meet at least annually to exchange information and to formulate annual objectives to guide the program.
The GEMS Program now includes more than 100 unique habitat areas from Texas to Florida.
Proposal formats can be obtained from the Texas GEMS State Coordinator, Kay Jenkins, at (361) 825-3245 or kjenkins@tpwd.texas.gov or from the Gulf of Mexico Foundation's Web site (http://www.gulfmex.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 ] [KE]
Sept. 20, 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 more than 100 Texas stations. Airing Sept. 20-24, caring for injured or abandoned wildlife takes more than just a love for animals. We'll meet one group of dedicated volunteers. Plus, if snakes had a Garden of Eden, it might be at one Panhandle state park.
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.
"Texas Parks & Wildlife" is a weekly half-hour television series seen on PBS affiliates around the state.
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 (http://www.tpwmagazine.com/).

[ 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 ]
Sept. 20, 2004
International Pilot Program To Fight Salt Cedar
PRESIDIO, Texas -- Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is teaming up with the Rio Grande Institute, the National Park Service, and Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas in Mexico to help control a nemesis of the Rio Grande.
Salt cedar, a species of tamarisk tree, was first brought into the U.S. in 1837 to protect streambanks from erosion. The mature trees, which can grow up to 30 feet tall, infest more than one million acres along rivers and streams throughout the American West and parts of Mexico. The Rio Grande and its tributaries have been hard hit; native cottonwood trees and desert willow are being choked out, and stream flow has been diminished.
The Rio Grande has become lined with salt cedar in Big Bend Ranch State Park, Big Bend National Park, and on the adjacent riverbanks in Mexico. Therefore, two pilot control and native habitat restoration studies are planned at two locations in the Big Bend Area to remove salt cedar and to re-vegetate the areas with native plants such as cottonwoods, willows and mesquites. The site located in Big Bend Ranch State Park will be at Colorado Canyon River Access Area, and in Boquillas Canyon in Big Bend National Park. The outcome will be two-fold: first, demonstration sites for the general public to learn how they can help restore areas they live in with native vegetation, and second, more pleasant and ecologically sound places to visit. The two pilot projects are being funded and supported through a number of organizations, including the World Wildlife Fund, the Meadows Foundation, the Trull Foundation, and the Friends of Big Bend National Park.
The project will also be an educational and community service project for Presidio High School environmental science students who will help with removing salt cedar and planting replacement native vegetation. Additionally, the Presidio students may be able to conduct pre- and post-monitoring of the site in Big Bend Ranch State Park to study the effects of salt cedar removal on bird populations and neighboring vegetation.
Anyone who would like more information on the collaborative project may contact Big Bend Ranch State Park at (432) 229-3416 or (432) 424-3327.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department manages natural and cultural resources in Texas for recreational, hunting, and fishing opportunities. The Big Bend Ranch State Park complex comprises more than 300,000 acres in Presidio and Brewster Counties and operates as part of TPWD. This acreage makes up almost half the state park land in Texas, which includes more than 120 state parks, state historic sites, and state natural areas spread throughout the state.