|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2005-04-18                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than 12 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [KD]
April 18, 2005
Texans Urged To Help Track Hummingbirds
AUSTIN, Texas -- For many Texans, the unique opportunity to view some of the 18 species of hummingbirds found in Texas is only as far away as the backyard. Now, experts are asking backyard birders to join a citizen effort to study hummers, plus offering tips to attract the tiny birds.
During the spring and summer months, the hummingbirds' nesting season, many Texans put feeders in the yard to attract birds. For those friends of the hummingbird, that time of year is here.
"Everyone loves hummingbirds," said Mark Klym, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Texas Hummingbird Roundup coordinator. "The best way to see more of them is to develop a habitat in your own garden."
Texans wanting to help the hummingbirds out can provide food through plants and insects, shelter consisting of a thick growth of native brush or trees, and reliable drinking and bathing water.
Although most Texans choose to feed the birds during the nesting season and the fall migration season, many of the birds can be found here year-round.
"There is no reason to ever take a feeder down in Texas," Klym said. "If you decide not to feed through the winter months though, you need to have the feeders back in place by mid- to late February."
This winter, multiple species were documented in many different locations throughout the state. Seven species were sighted in Houston between November and February, the most in the state, and both Austin and San Antonio each recorded six species.
As neighbors to more species of the hummingbird than any other state, Texans have the opportunity to help study the dainty birds. Texas Hummingbird Roundup allows residents to assist TPWD study the birds' feeding patterns, behavior, range and distribution.
The program provides participants with a kit that includes a survey form and "A Quick Reference Guide to Texas Hummingbirds" booklet, with information on Texas' species of hummingbird, how to clean and maintain feeders, and suggestions on additional plants for the garden.
For more information about the Texas Hummingbird Roundup, call (512) 389-4644 or visit the Web site.
On the Net:

[ Note: This item is more than 12 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [KD]
April 18, 2005
Katy Coach Uses Grant To Take Students Fishing
HOUSTON -- On May 6, more than 100 Golbow Elementary School students will leave the classroom behind, pick up fishing poles, and learn about nature and the outdoors through hands-on experience. It's an example of how conservation proponents statewide are trying to introduce urban youth to the outdoor environment through fishing.
Mark Fobian, the elementary school P.E. coach, uses fishing as a fun gateway for his students to learn about the environment. Fobian, a certified Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Angler Education Instructor, began teaching fishing basics to his students after receiving permission from his school district and a grant from the Future Fisherman Foundation in the summer of 2004.
"It's a grant to provide P.E. teachers with equipment that they need to provide a fishing experience for their kids and to teach fishing in the classroom," said Brenda Justice, TPWD Aquatic Education Specialist. "This is a national grant, and he's one of two teachers in the Houston area to receive it."
The May field trip for Fobian's fourth-grade class will be to the ranch of Herman Meyer, who allows Fobian to stock the ranch pond with fish using grant funds.
In this controlled environment, the students will have the opportunity to fish, and to participate in environmental science activities such as examining aquatic insects and learning to identify which ones are present in clean or contaminated water. Kids will also make fish print T-shirts, practice casting, and talk to local game wardens. Around 60 kids at a time will fish, while the other 60 rotate through the other activities.
Justice, the Houston-area Junior Angler program coordinator, said that the program's goals match those of the Texas Essential Knowledge & Skills -- the education standards set by the Texas Education Agency.
"Where it fits the best is in P.E. classes, because it fits with outdoor education, which worked out perfectly for Mark," Justice said. "He teaches kids in his fourth-grade class knot tying, fish identification, basic equipment, and environmental awareness. Once he goes through all of that, he uses his field trip and takes them on a fishing day."
Fobian, whose interest in fishing was instilled at a young age by his father, saw the opportunity in his school two years ago for a fishing club, before the sport was added as part of his classroom curriculum.
"I just noticed here at school there weren't a lot of kids playing sports. I thought it would be something that we could incorporate here at school and get more kids out fishing and spending time with their families," Fobian said. "When I wrote for this fishing grant last year, this was a situation where we had to get it into the classroom."
The $5,000 grant helped buy bait-cast rods, spin rods, fly rods and tackle, which kids can check out on the weekends for fishing with their families.
"I've had two families come up in the last week and check out equipment to take the family fishing," he said.
The Future Fisherman Foundation, in conjunction with partner organizations such as American Sportfishing Association, Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation and The American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, provides many grants to schoolteachers nationwide.
Three Texas schoolteachers were the recipients of grants last year, including Fobian and Sandra Sanchez, a teacher at MacArthur Elementary in La Porte. Sanchez will use grant funds for a fishing field trip to Sheldon Lake State Park & Environmental Learning Center for her fourth and fifth grade classes on May 4-5.

[ Note: This item is more than 12 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 18, 2005
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 April 18-22, the battle for Texas freedom is being retold this month in this week's episodes of Passport to Texas. Plus we'll tell you how a physical challenge is not getting hunters and anglers down -- it's getting them out. And every summer, thousands of teenagers head to summer camp for rest and relaxation away from school. But for some, camp is the ultimate learning experience. For more information, visit the Web.
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.
For more information, go to the Web.
"Texas Parks & Wildlife" is a weekly half-hour television series seen on PBS affiliates around the state. Airing April 17-24, tarpon populations have been in decline over the past few decades, but some marine biologists are hoping to bring this powerful fish back to the Texas Gulf. Coastal Fisheries personnel Ivonne Blandon and Camilo Chavez are just two of the many TPWD employees working alongside scientists and sportsmen to help restore the tarpon to Texas waters. Also this week: venture back in time at Fort Griffin State Park with Lester Galbreath; examine the mysteries of avian navigation with Wild Things host Ann Miller; technical guidance biologist Jimmy Rutledge works closely with Rene Barrientos of the La Golindrina, the 2004 Lone Star Land Steward winner; and finally, relax among the rolling hills and scenic vistas of the Texas Panhandle.
For more information about this week's programs and where they can be viewed, visit the Web.
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.
On the Net:
Passport to Texas: http://www.passporttotexas.org/
TPWD Video News: http://tpwd.texas.gov/news/tv/vnr/thismonth/
TPWD on PBS: http://tpwd.texas.gov/tv
TPW Magazine: http://www.tpwmagazine.com/