|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2007-04-16                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than 10 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 16, 2007
Great Texas Birding Classic Takes Place April 15-22
LAKE JACKSON, Texas -- The world's longest bird watching competition is changing to a new "big weekend" format this year, marking the first year the Great Texas Birding Classic will hold the majority of competitive categories and events all on a single day. Also, thanks to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grant, prize money for conservation projects has increased this year from $52,000 to $73,000.
Since 1997, the Classic has raised more than a half million dollars to conserve wildlife habitat on the Texas coast, protecting critical stopover spots for songbirds that migrate between the Americas. Winning teams get bragging rights, plus they help allocate prize money to projects that protect or improve bird habitat.
Each spring, the Classic draws hundreds of birding competitors from across North America. Thousands of birding tourists also come to experience the phenomenon of spring migration at companion events held along the coast.
The event's impact extends far beyond Texas, because the Lone Star coastline is important stopover habitat for birds that continue up the Central, Mississippi and Atlantic flyways. These include many neotropical migratory songbirds, among the nation's most colorful and popular species, which migrate huge distances between South and Central America (the neotropics) and North America. Many of these birds are believed to be declining, and many experts suspect habitat loss to human development is a key factor.
This year, the Big Sit! competition took place Sunday, April 15 and the weeklong tournament starts Tuesday, April 17, with the rest of the competition taking place on the weekend of April 21-22. (Big Sit! Teams compete to see who can count the most bird species from within a 17-foot in diameter circle during 24 hours.)
On Saturday, April 21, youth competitions will take place for Roughwings (ages 13 and under) and Gliders (ages 14-18), as well as adult sectional tournaments and the Outta-Sight Song Birder Tournament for birders with visual impairments. This means sectional teams that have traditionally competed on separate days on the upper, central and lower Texas coast will all go out on the same day. Roughwings and Outta-Sight team checklists are due by 10 p.m. that day. Gliders, adult sectionals and weeklong teams are all due by midnight that night.
Because of the new big weekend format, the annual awards event will be held later in the day to give judges time to make it through all of the checklists. The Awards Lunch will take place from noon-to-2 p.m. Sunday, April 22 at the Plantation Suites in Port Aransas. Anyone may attend, but tickets must be purchased in advance--call ahead for tickets by Monday, April 16 to the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory at (979) 480-0999.
This year, a grant from the USFWS Texas Coastal Program has allowed organizers to increase the Conservation Cash Grand Prizes. In previous years, the event has generated $52,000 for on-the-ground habitat projects. This year, organizers plan to give away $73,000, allocated as follows:
--1st place sectional categories will increase from $3,000 to $10,000 each (the most significant change, enhancing regional conservation efforts)
--Lone Star Bird Award for the Big Sit! category will increase from $1000 to $3,000
--1st place weeklong category prize remains the same, $20,000
--2nd place weeklong category will decrease slightly from $12,000 to $10,000
--3rd place weeklong category has increased slightly from $9,000 to $10,000
The Classic continues to illustrate the connection between wildlife and habitat. To excel in this type of competition, birders say you have to know where to find the birds; habitat diversity is the key to species diversity. Some birds are found in coastal marshes, others on the beach, on prairies, or in woods. Texas has a large range of habitat types, which is why a wider variety of bird species is found here than in any other U.S. state.
The Classic pairs teams of birders with corporate sponsors to raise conservation funding. This year's major sponsors include the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service -- Texas Coastal Program, ConocoPhillips, Reliant Energy, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, AEP Texas, and Swarovski Optik. Other sponsors include BASF, Chaparral Energy, Corpus Christi Convention & Visitors Bureau, The Dow Chemical Co., Eagle Optics, Freeport LNG, McAllen Chamber of Commerce, McRee Ford, NatureViewing, NBID Associates, Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce/Tourist Bureau, and Rockport-Fulton Area Chamber of Commerce.
Complete information about the Classic is on the Web sites of the two host organizations. Or, phone the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory at (979) 480-0999.
On the Net:

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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [SB]
[ Additional Contacts: Sarah Bibbs 512-389-4577, sarah.bibbs@tpwd.texas.gov; Tom Harvey 512-389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov ]
April 16, 2007
Outdoor Kids Adventure Day Offers Free Fun
AUSTIN, Texas -- Take a break from the T.V. and get outside.
That's the message for kids from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Austin Parks and Recreation and local community organizations and sponsors, who are inviting Austin area youth and their families to the free Outdoor Kids Adventure Day Saturday, April 21, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Martin Pool and Playscape Area.
"This is a great opportunity for families to see what fun outdoor activities are available in the Austin area," said Tim Spice, TPWD urban outreach coordinator.
Rock climbing, fishing, kayaking, mountain biking, rafting and archery will all be available. Necessary gear for each activity will be supplied, and no outdoor recreation experience is required.
"Just show up with a parent or bring the whole family," said Spice.
Hands-on nature discovery activities will also be available. Youth will have the opportunity to learn about Global Positioning Systems, land conservation, sea life and local Austin wildlife.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Outdoor Kids program strives to introduce the outdoors to urban families throughout the state who might not otherwise be engaged in outdoor activities. Both male and female youth of every ethnicity and background, especially minorities, are encouraged to attend. Spanish speaking volunteers will be present at the event.
Martin Middle School Playscape is located at 1602 Haskell Street, Austin, Texas. For more Outdoor Kids Adventure Day details contact Don Goerner, Director, Camacho Activity Center, Austin Parks and Recreation at don.goerner@ci.austin.tx.us or (512) 391-1863.
More information on the Outdoor Kids program can be located on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Webpage. Outdoor Kids is one element of an umbrella communication effort TPWD started last year called Life's Better Outside, which has a Web page linking to a broader array of opportunities for families and children, including Outdoor Kids.
On the Net:

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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [RM]
[ Additional Contacts: Judit Green, (210) 688-6444, judit.green@twpd.state.tx.us ]
April 16, 2007
Go Wild Outdoors at San Antonio's First-Ever WildFest
SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- In this day of electronics and virtual reality, it's known by many that regardless of age, most of us just don't get outdoors as much as we once did in the "good ol' days." WildFest San Antonio, scheduled the first weekend of May, intends to change all that.
The City of San Antonio, Los Vecinos de las Missiones, Medina River Natural Area, Mitchell Lake Audubon Center, San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, San Antonio Area Tourism Council, San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau, San Antonio River Authority, San Antonio Water System, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department along with many local organizations are teaming up to present San Antonio's first-ever birding and nature festival May 4-6. More than 70 WildFest events -- field trips, seminars and workshops -- are scheduled during the three days.
WildFest San Antonio celebrates Bexar County's world-class historical sites and natural areas and extensive park system that offer opportunities for the young and the young at heart to get outside and enjoy nature, regardless of their interests.
Advanced registration is required for all festival events, even the ones being offered at no charge. Mailed-in registration must be postmarked by April 27. For more information and to obtain registration forms online visit the WildFest San Antonio Web site or call (210) 886-9991.
"WildFest is designed to permit individuals and families to see millions of bats emerge from Bracken Cave, bird watch along the Medina River, or learn about people and plants of early San Antonio," said WildFest San Antonio Planning Committee chairman Dwight Henderson.
An integral part of the festival, according to Texas Parks & Wildlife Department's Judit Green, an urban wildlife biologist based in San Antonio, will be guided field trips to city and state parks, and other natural sites and facilities in the area to share with participants the many places available locally where they can get outdoors and enjoy biking, hiking, birding and other activities that allow them to experience nature close up.
Comanche Park, for example, offers opportunities to get wet as you learn how to fish and climb into and explore one of two local caves; get out in darkness to experience calling up owls or finding night critters at Medina River Natural Area; or explore the newly renovated Botanical Garden in the heart of downtown which offers a taste of some of the different ecoregions found throughout Texas.
Recent rainfall, Green noted, should ensure a proliferation of wildflowers and blooming plants that attract butterflies, birds and other wildlife. She said Bexar County's location at the crossroads of ecological regions results in an impressive diversity of plants and wildlife species.
"This means you'll have a good chance to see coyotes in the distance, turkeys strutting their stuff in a nearby field, or lizards cocking their heads giving you a once over as you bend over them to get a closer look," Green said. "Participants may also have the opportunity to see or hear the endangered golden-cheeked warbler especially at Government Canyon State Natural Area, one of the Hill Country's most sought out specialty birds, part of an impressive bird list that numbers almost 500 species for this area."
Also on the festival planning committee, Linda Winchester of the San Antonio Area Tourism Council, believes that WildFest San Antonio not only will help educate local residents about the area's natural resources, but also enhance the visitor experience for out-of-towners while boosting the economy.
"Ecotourism has been growing rapidly as a niche market for many destinations," Winchester said. "We are fortunate to be in South Central Texas, which is home to and a crossroads for many birds, plants and animal species."
On the Net:

[ Note: This item is more than 10 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]
[ Additional Contacts: Brett Johnson, (972) 293-3841; Tom Harvey, (512) 389-4453 ]
April 16, 2007
Workshop To Offer Tips for North Texas Landowners
AUSTIN, Texas -- A workshop to be held in Mesquite April 28 will help rural landowners based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area learn about available tools to manage wildlife habitat and diversify income on their property.
The workshop is part of a statewide series designed to address the growing problem of Texas rural land being fragmented into smaller tracts, often involving urban-based owners who are interested in wildlife conservation but may lack experience in wildlife or land management.
For more than a century, rural Texas land has been owned mainly by farm and ranch families who lived on it. In recent decades, the countryside has been fragmented into smaller tracts owned increasingly by urban, absentee owners looking for a weekend retreat or retirement home. In 1999, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a report showing that Texas led the nation in the loss of undeveloped land from 1992-97.
Land fragmentation is one of the main threats to wildlife in Texas. It crowds wildlife into smaller spaces, blocks travel corridors and disrupts access to feeding areas.
The Mesquite workshop will discuss tools, expert advisors and funding programs available to help landowners achieve conservation and financial goals when managing property for wildlife.
Morning and early afternoon workshop sessions will include Wildlife Tax Valuation, presented by Dallas Central Appraisal District; Setting Realistic Management Goals by Texas Cooperative Extension; Urban Wildland Interface: Management of Invasive Species by the Texas Forest Service; and Ponds 101: Plant, Soil, & Water Relationships by the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
From 2-4 p.m., two separate workshop tracks will run concurrently. Track I will cover Pasture/Range Management for Production Purposes, including grazing management, soil fertility, and pond/water management. Track II will cover Pasture/Prairie Restoration Management for Wildlife Purposes, including using native plants, wild life habitat, and riparian (river and creek corridor) restoration.
Other workshop partners include Texas Forest Service, Bluebonnet Resource Conservation & Development, Incl, Dalworth Soil and Water Conservation District, North Texas Master Naturalists, Dallas County Farm Bureau, the Noble Foundation and Samuell Farm.
The workshop will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Samuell Farm at 100 East Highway 80 in Dallas. Originally owned by W.W. Samuell, a prominent Dallas physician, the 340-acre farm was willed by Dr. Samuell to the City of Dallas in 1937 as an educational resource for young people.
For two decades, Samuell Farm served hundreds of thousands of children and adults, until budget cuts recently compelled the City of Dallas to close the farm. The non-profit group Friends of the Farm was formed in 2001 to reopen and manage the farm. The property includes meadows, wooded areas, ponds, and creeks. Many varieties of native plants and non-native grasses are found on this remnant of disappearing Blackland Prairie.
The cost for the workshop is $40 per person, which covers lunch, refreshments and materials. To register, send a check made out to "Bluebonnet RC&D" to Bluebonnet RC&D, Attn: Stephanie Harrison, 504 N. Ridgeway Dr., Suite C, Cleburne, TX 76033. For more information, contact Fred Burrell at F-burrell@tamu.edu or (214) 904-3050.

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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [TH]
April 16, 2007
TPWD Grant Funds Programs To Connect Children With Nature
AUSTIN, Texas -- Giving kids hands-on outdoor educational and recreational opportunities to help them connect with nature and improve test scores seems to be the common theme among this year's recipients of Community Outdoor Outreach Program grants from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
"Many organizations feel that today's children are losing touch with nature and the environment," said CO-OP Program Director Darlene Lewis, "and they are designing programs that help them and their parents reconnect with the outdoors."
Since 1996, the CO-OP program funded grants to assist more than 400 organizations with money to help pay for equipment, transportation and materials to give children hands-on experiences. Currently, there is $470,000 per year available for the program. Grant applications are accepted Feb. 1 of each year. Grants range from $5,000 to $30,000.
The following organizations are this year's recipients of the grant:
(Corpus Christi) Youth Odyssey -- The Adventure Challenge program seeks to create behavior change through life-skills courses as well as outdoor adventure experiences such as rock climbing, kayaking and camping. ($28,150)
(Dallas) Dallas Bass Hookers - Minority youth will learn more about the sport of fishing, environmental conservation and safe practices at the Youth Fishing Derby. ($10,650)
(Dallas) Education in Action -- Some 400 outstanding students from around the state will get the opportunity to develop their leadership roles in conserving and protecting wildlife and natural resources. ($30,000)
(Dallas) Freshwater Anglers Association Inc. -- Some 2,000 students from inner-city Dallas will be transported from their urban environments into natural outdoor environments to gain awareness of the aquatic world. ($23,310)
(El Paso) Centro De Salud Familiar La Fe Inc. -- At-risk youth will participate in camping, backpacking, outdoor cooking, fishing, and outdoor survival skills. ($29,000)
(Freeport) Boys & Girls Club of Brazoria County -- 1300 youth will get hands-on environmental education experiences with field trips to Texas state parks and other wildlife facilities. Activities include birding, hiking, camping and kayaking. ($29,600)
(Georgetown) Williamson County Juvenile Services -- An adventure-based counseling program for at-risk youth and their families. Outdoor learning experiences will include rock-climbing, kayaking, orienteering, outdoor safety and environmental education. ($25,235)
(Houston) Buffalo Bayou Partnership -- Hands-on environmental education programs for community groups, teachers, students and civic leaders through interactive workshops and guided restoration projects. ($27,810)
(Houston) Youth Educational Support Services -- 600 at-risk students from Galveston and Harris counties will participate in water-borne educational fieldtrips to study marine habitats and natural resources. ($30,000)
(La Grange) City of La Grange -- Kindergarten -6th graders will head to the Great Outdoors Camp to gain a greater knowledge of careers available in the outdoors, a better awareness of conservation and a passion for outdoor activities. ($13,160)
(Port Arthur) Museum of the Gulf Coast -- A free summer camp for elementary students from Port Arthur to learn about plant life, wildlife, weather, environmental issues, conservation, pollution and outdoor recreation. ($12,225)
(Round Mountain) Westcave Preserve Corporation -- El Ranchito is a nature immersion camp designed to engage young inner-city children in the outdoors on this ecologically diverse private working ranch. (23,755.00)
(San Antonio) Audubon Texas -- Underserved youth in San Antonio will take part in Nature of Learning, a hands-on science education program which teaches ecology, nature observation and identification and resource management. ($27,487)
(San Antonio) San Antonio Youth Centers -- 300 inner city youth will experience nature through outdoor experiential learning. Activities include camping, backpacking, birding, hunting, fishing and more. ($29,900)
(San Antonio) Texas Wildlife Association Foundation Inc. -- Some 250 youth from minority and low-income populations will receive partial or full hunting scholarships to participate in programs designed to preserve the hunting heritage in Texas. (30,000)
(San Marcos) San Marcos Lions Club -- At-Risk students from schools in Hays, Caldwell, Bexar, Guadalupe and Travis counties will participate in the SMART Kids Program. (Stewards Mentoring Aquatic Resource Treasures) at Aquarena Springs. (28,750)
(Victoria) Victoria Boulevard Lions Club -- Aquatic education programs and camp-out is planned for about 500 residents. Activities include camping, hiking, outdoor cooking ad boating safety/instruction. ($5,000)
To find out more about CO-OP grants, visit the TPWD Web site or contact the Recreation Grants Branch via e-mail at rec.grants@tpwd.texas.gov or by phone at (512) 912-7124.

[ Note: This item is more than 10 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [RM]
[ Additional Contacts: Rob McCorkle (830) 866-3533 or robert.mccorkle@tpwd.texas.gov; Dianne Powell (210) 824-8474 or dpsellmark@aol.com ]
April 16, 2007
Battle Re-Enactment, Host of Activities Mark San Jacinto Day Festival Sat., April 21
LAPORTE, Texas -- The San Jacinto Day Festival and Battle Re-enactment on Saturday, April 21, marks the 171st anniversary of Texas' famous Battle of San Jacinto and the enduring spirit of the nation of Texas that was born that day. This year's celebration takes on additional importance because it is the 100-year anniversary of the designation of San Jacinto Battleground as the first Texas state park.
The admission-free San Jacinto Day Festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the 1,200-acre San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site at the San Jacinto Monument, with a full day of music, entertainment, food, games and fun set amidst living history.
The battle re-enactment, one of the largest in the state, draws the most onlookers. The battle begins at 3 p.m. with thundering cannons and muskets, galloping horses, pyrotechnics and hundreds of re-enactors.
The costumed re-enactors replicate the Runaway Scrape (Texans gathering the few belongings they could to flee the advancing forces of Santa Anna,) the march of the Texas army from Gonzales to San Jacinto, the cannon duel, and the final battle between the two forces. The re-enactment ends with the surrender of Mexican Army Gen. Santa Anna to Texan Army Gen. Sam Houston, followed by the laying of wreaths to honor the sacrifices of both armies.
The Battle of San Jacinto, which lasted only 18 minutes, is truly one of the most important battles of American history. On April 21, 1836, Houston led his Texan soldiers to victory over the Mexican Army, officially securing Texas' independence from Mexico and eventually leading to the addition of one million square miles to the United States.
The San Jacinto Day Festival begins at 10 a.m. with the official State of Texas ceremony on the steps of the San Jacinto Monument. Congressman Ted Poe will address the crowd. Ron Stone will serve as the master of ceremonies.
The observance includes a reading of General Houston's battle report and the laying of a wreath in honor of those who fought at San Jacinto. The West Houston-Katy Children's Choir--a professional, non-profit community choir of over 40 children from the 3rd to 8th grades--will sing patriotic songs; historic re-enactors in period dress will act as honor guards and fire a gun salute.
Instead of 1836 fare such as possum and cornmeal mush, the Texas-style food and beverages offered for sale will be more pleasing to today's palates. Sutlers (civilians who sold provisions to military posts) will be on hand to sell or show their wares. Unique hand-crafted items by artists such as basket weavers and ironsmiths will be demonstrated and sold.
The festival celebrates this special day in Texas history with entertaining and educational activities, all of which are free:
--Entertainers will perform before and after the battle re-enactment, including The Legacy Band (classic rock-n-roll); Midland Express (gear-jamming bluegrass); Rich O'Toole (electrifying country rock-n-roll), Celtaire String Band, Harris County Dulcimer Society and the West Houston-Katy Children's Choir.
--During the day visitors can wander freely among the Mexican and Texan camps to learn what the soldiers of that day were doing prior to the battle and to see how civilians lived at that time. In the military camps, visitors will learn how to perform the close order drills of the day.
--Dan Barth's Old-Time Medicine Show. Using magic, ventriloquism and audience participation, Dan "Doc" Barth recreates the variety performances of early America. The pre-1920s antique box wagon used in this performance is a faithful reproduction of an original Medicine Show Wagon.
--Phydeaux's Flying Flea Circus. Described as "family-friendly, audience-interactive, historically accurate, educational street theatre" performed by the Flea Meister in period costume. The performance consists of "snake oil, comedy, tall tales, breathtaking feats of Phydeaux's world famous acrobatic fleas and shameless hyperbole that would have brought tears to P.T. Barnum's eyes."
--The children will love to ride the 55-foot long train complete with train whistle and Texan and American flags. ($2 fee.)
--Visitors can hunt for artifacts at a dig site hosted by the Houston Archeological Society.
--Presenting sponsor H-E-B Tournament of Champions will bring their Creamy Creations ice cream trailer and give out free samples. There will also be other fun prizes for children under their huge red tent.
--The Houston Zoomobile will be on the grounds with native Texas animals and other interesting demonstrations.
--Marsha's Petting Zoo, located in the Children's Area, will bring in animals for an up-close and personal look.
--Make-and-take history activities and crafts for children will be available, created by three Gifted/Talented specialists from Deer Park ISD. The San Jacinto Descendants, Daughters of the Republic of Texas and the Sons of the Republic of Texas will also have booths with children's activities.
--Texas Parks & Wildlife Department interpreters will offer guided tours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. of the restored marshlands and answer questions about the wildlife inhabiting the park.
--Blacksmiths, basket weavers, quilters and other demonstrators will give visitors a full sense of how life was in the early 1800s.
--Texas Independence Dancers--square dancers from various groups throughout Texas--will demonstrate square dancing and give lessons.
--Last Chance Forever: Birds of Prey demonstrates magnificent birds such as hawks, owls, eagles, falcons and vultures.
--Texas authors including Jim Crisp will sign copies of their newest books and "talk Texana history" with guests.
--Living history re-enactors come from the San Antonio Living History Association, Primer Batallon de México, Texas Army, Wharton County Time Walkers, Cross Roads Living History and the Alamo Legends & Missions Association.
--Battleship TEXAS, the first battleship memorial museum in the US, is open for visitors.
The admission-free San Jacinto Day Festival takes place at the 1,200-acre San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site at One Monument Circle, La Porte, just 22 miles east of downtown Houston. Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and/or blankets to the festival and reenactment.
"This event would not happen if it weren't for the hundreds of volunteers that return every year to bring this celebration alive," says San Jacinto Museum President Larry Spasic. "The re-enactors come out days in advance to set up camp, traveling from throughout the state--and even across the ocean! We especially appreciate H-E-B, Rohm and Haas Texas Inc. and the San Jacinto Day Foundation, who support us financially and with volunteers."
Other sponsors of the event include TPWD, the San Jacinto Museum of History Association and The San Jacinto Volunteers. Presenting Sponsor is H-E-B Tournament of Champions.
Visitors enjoy free admission to the festival, ceremony, re-enactment and museum. For a modest fee, festival goers can take the famous 489-foot elevator ride to the top of the San Jacinto Monument, enjoy the digital presentation Texas Forever!: The Battle of San Jacinto, and tour the museum's new exhibit: Drawn from Experience: Landmark Maps of Texas at the San Jacinto Museum of History. This exhibit features a unique collection of antique and modern maps of Texas and the Gulf Coast Region from the 16th century to the present and runs through March 2008.
Combo tickets for all three activities can be purchased: $12 for adults, $8 for children, $10.50 for seniors and $4 for school groups. Fees for the Battleship TEXAS are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors, $3 for school and youth groups with a reservation. Children 12 and younger are free.
For more information about the San Jacinto Museum of History or the San Jacinto Day Festival and Battle Re-enactment, please call (281) 479-2421. For additional information on the Battleship TEXAS, please contact TPWD at (281) 479-2431. The San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site, located just minutes away from downtown Houston, can be reached by taking Highway 225 east and heading north three miles on Battleground Road.
On the Net:

[ Note: This item is more than 10 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 16, 2007
Game Warden Field Notes
The following are excerpts from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
Frustrated captain catches extra citation -- On April 1, game wardens from Harris and Galveston Counties worked between the Galveston jetties and Galveston Bay looking for fishing violations. Several citations were issued, including two citations issued to oyster boats for having undersized catch. After returning his oysters to the reef, one captain began venting his frustration by throwing plastic jugs and burlap oyster sacks overboard as well. The wardens re-boarded the boat and cited the captain for littering.
A 'campful' of violations -- An Irion County game warden was checking turkey hunters April 1 when he located a camp containing several violations but no hunters. Before anyone returned, a Tom Green County warden was called in for assistance, and when the hunters got back to camp, they were greeted with 15 citations and 15 warning citations.
Warden wins bid on frozen animals -- A Coleman County game warden got a call in early April about someone selling a frozen bobcat and grey fox on eBay. The game warden registered on eBay and sent a few messages to the seller. The seller replied gave the warden his name and phone number. A brief meeting revealed the seller had a valid hunting license but no trapper's license.
Complacent campers get caught -- On March 15, a Young County game warden received a call regarding suspicious individuals on the Brazos River. Wildcatter Ranch owners were giving paid tours of the Brazos and offered to escort the warden for free on their airboat. A few miles down river, two individuals and a jon boat were located near a cave. The subjects, apparently camping on the river, assumed the airboat was just conducting another tour. They failed to realize that the "tourist" was a game warden. When approached, illegal drugs were still in plain sight.
Bothersome hog no match for game warden -- A Goliad County game warden responded to a call from a residential area mid-March. A wild hog had been rooting up small trees, flowers, plants, and fighting with neighborhood pets. The warden successfully tracked down the feral hog, and after a little wrestling, captured and relocated it to a ranch in Goliad County.
Make sure someone knows you're gone -- A Lamar County game warden received a call March 11 concerning a group of hunters who had not returned home. The caller was worried the hunters would get caught in an impending storm. The warden located the subjects unharmed. Their truck had gotten stuck in the mud, and their cell phone was dead. By the time the tow truck arrived, it had to pull the vehicle out several times until reaching the end of the very muddy road.
Shallow water isn't for speeding -- A McLennan County game warden and a Coryell County game warden were called to investigate a boating accident on Lake Waco March 2. Two men were operating their bass boat at a high rate of speed in a shallow, stumpy part of the lake. Inevitably, they struck a log and the boat overturned. One passenger was ejected from the boat, but both occupants escaped without any serious injuries.
Lucky boaters get water safety reminder -- A Hood County game warden was contacted in late February by the county sheriff's office about a boat on Lake Granbury that was in danger of capsizing in nearly 60 mph winds. The warden and a Brazos River Authority lake ranger responded to assist. The officers found four teenagers in a 12-foot Jon boat with only paddles as well as a man and two small children in a paddleboat. Everyone was returned safely to shore, where they received a water safety lesson from the warden.