|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2008-02-18                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than nine years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [LH]
Feb. 18, 2008
Fly Fish Texas Coming to Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center March 8
ATHENS, Texas -- Fly Fish Texas is a family reunion, fly fishing school, tackle show and fishing trip all rolled into one.
The annual event takes place this year March 8 at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center. Show hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. All Fly Fish Texas activities are free with regular paid admission to the center.
Since 2000, Fly Fish Texas has introduced thousands of people to fly fishing, many of whom shared two common misconceptions: one, that Texas is not a fly fishing state, and two, that they could not learn to fly fish.
Neither notion could be further from the truth, say the seasoned fly anglers who volunteer each year to teach everything from knot-tying to two-handed casting.
"I've seen this happen a lot at Fly Fish Texas," said casting instructor Steve Hollensed. "People take a casting lesson for the first time and start forming a loop, and you can almost see the light come on in their heads. They suddenly realize they can cast a fly, they can fly fish, and they are smiling really big. That's the best thing I can think of, and that's why I feel good about Fly Fish Texas."
"Fly Fish Texas is a great show and the only event of its kind," said Walter McClendon of Dallas, who has organized the show since its beginning. "Other shows cater to people who are already fly fishers, but we try to introduce fly fishing to the public, and we think that is better."
"We take people from 'This is a fly' to 'This is a fish-you've caught one,'" explained Allen Crise, who co-chairs the casting lessons. "What amazes me is it all comes together with volunteers, instructors who know every kind of fishing in Texas, from Lake Texoma to the coast."
Fly Fish Texas focuses on helping people master the set of skills required for fly fishing. Instructors hold classes throughout the day on everything from fly-casting to fly-tying to knot tying. This is a hands-on event, and visitors are encouraged to participate. True beginners can join one of the casting classes where rods and reels are provided. Classes are offered on particular casting problems, how to set up tackle, fly selection and more. Seminars give information on subjects ranging from how to fish specific bodies of water to tips and techniques for fishing for different species. Skilled fly-tiers make flies all day long. Anyone wanting to learn how can give it a try themselves or simply watch.
One of the things that makes Fly Fish Texas so popular with beginners and experts alike is that the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center has several ponds and streams stocked with rainbow trout, largemouth bass, sunfish and channel catfish, and you can tie a fly, walk 50 steps and catch a fish with it.
On the Net:
Complete schedule, more information: http://tpwd.texas.gov/flyfishtx/

[ Note: This item is more than nine 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]
Feb. 18, 2008
TPW Magazine Offers "50 Ways to Get Kids Hooked on the Outdoors"
Article Connects With Research Documenting Child-Nature Disconnect
AUSTIN, Texas -- The March cover story in Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine offers 50 simple, fun ways for children and families to reconnect with the natural world. But it tracks a growing body of books and studies that reveal a serious mental, emotional, physical and educational issue: today's kids are losing touch with nature.
"Kids don't develop a relationship with nature by watching it on the Discovery Channel," begins the article. "They need to feel the wind, smell leaves and wildflowers, run their fingers over rocks and make personal contact with other living things. Pristine wilderness is not required: Ask any of today's dedicated outdoorsmen, and you may find that his favorite childhood memory involves a backyard tree house or fishing in an irrigation canal. Encourage children to get outside wherever they can, as often as possible, and start building their own memories."
Simplicity is the beauty of the 50 Ways to Get Kids Hooked on the Outdoors article. Captured in brief paragraphs, most of the 50 Ways don't cost anything, don't require advance reservations and don't necessitate loading the family car with equipment. Many can be done in the backyard or down the block, things like Walk in the Rain, Go Barefoot, Make Mudpies or Watch Fireflies. But implicit in the 50 Ways is a continuum of natural experience, starting with simple things and building to more ambitious and richer activities. It's a menu to pick from with something for everyone.
The article ends with references to book and Web resources for families to take things to the next level. First on the list is Richard Louv's groundbreaking Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. This book rocked the wildlife conservation world and reverberated on through child health and education and many other circles when it came out in 2006. A new edition is due out this spring that adds a user's guide for parents and grandparents. It carries a message of hope, but it also reviews a growing body of research that link the nature-deficit problem to issues like childhood obesity, educational and developmental challenges and other ills.
Louv's book and tireless speaking schedule have spawned a nationwide movement called No Child Left Inside. The Children and Nature Network is bringing politicians, pediatricians, educators, architects, environmentalists, wildlife scientists and an astounding diversity of others into an expanding circle of supporters. For example, car manufacturer Subaru recently devoted the cover of its quarterly magazine Drive to promoting the children and nature movement. Policy-makers in Connecticut, New Mexico, California and Washington have created programs and legislation encouraging outdoor time for school children. The Environmental Alliance of New Mexico is proposing the Leave No Child Inside Act, which would generate revenue for an outdoor educational programming through a 1 percent tax on new TVs and video games.
In the Lone Star State, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department partnered with advertising agency GSD&M, which worked pro bono to create an initiative called Life's Better Outside, motivating urban parents to make time to enjoy state parks and other outdoor activities with their children. Print ads, radio spots and billboards ran in support of this effort beginning in 2005, with the headline "Do Whatever It Takes to Get Your Kids Outside." Under the Life's Better Outside brand, TPWD promotes its many outdoor recreation and education programs. For example, the department partners with city parks to offer Outdoor Family weekend workshops where parents and kids learn to pitch tents, cook over campfires and reconnect with nature.
The Children and Nature movement is also gathering steam in Texas, where The Conservation Fund, Houston Mayor Bill White and others are involved in a national fundraising effort to support the cause. Also, the Texas Pediatrics Society has developed a Childhood Obesity Toolkit for health care providers. The toolkit encourages limiting the time children spend on TV, video games, and computers and promoting physical activity, including a "healthy lifestyle prescription" that recommends one hour of outdoor play every day.
Meanwhile, the 50 Ways article offers a simple place for families to get started. The March issue of TPW magazine is available on newsstands at most major retailers. Anyone can also visit the magazine Web site to order a copy of the issue or see the article, or subscribe to the magazine online or by phoning (800) 937-9393.
On the Net:
Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine: http://www.tpwmagazine.com
Life's Better Outside™: http://www.lifesbetteroutside.org
Becoming an Outdoors Family: http://tpwd.texas.gov/learning/bof
News Images: http://tpwd.texas.gov/newsmedia/news_images/
News Roundup: http://tpwd.texas.gov/newsmedia/releases/news_roundup/

[ Note: This item is more than nine years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [AR]
Feb. 18, 2008
Game Warden Field Notes
The following are excerpts from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
Warrant Uncovers More Than 100 Stolen Items: Feb. 6, a Young County game warden received a call from a hog hunter who reported seeing two suspicious looking all-terrain vehicles on the road. When the warden and several Young County deputies arrived on the scene, the suspects fled the scene in their vehicles. A high-speed chase ensued. After an extensive search, the suspects were not located, but the evidence was seized. The investigation determined that both ATVs were stolen. The warden remained in the area until 11:00 p.m., when he observed a vehicle leaving a nearby pasture. Upon receiving backup, a felony vehicle stop was made. Four subjects were arrested without incident. After searching the property with warrants, the officers recovered more than 100 stolen items, including: stolen hunting equipment, commercial tools, TVs and guns. The ongoing investigation has resolved numerous cases in several counties. Felony charges up to $20,000 were filed for possession of drug items, evading arrest, deadly conduct and stolen property.
Eight Deer Heads in a Shed: Feb. 5, a Potter County game warden and a Randall County game warden went to an Amarillo home to investigate a city clean-up crew member's claim that there were eight deer heads in a shed behind the home. After inspecting the deer heads, the wardens determined them to be fresh, noting that deer season had ended two months ago. The occupant of the home invited the wardens inside and showed them the fresh deer meat that filled his freezer. The occupant said the last deer was brought home two days ago. Soon after, the main suspect arrived at the home and confessed to killing eight mule deer during the last seven to eight months.A hunting rifle that had been stolen 10 years ago was also found in the home. Cases are pending.
Get Your Own License: Jan. 19, a Val Verde County game warden inspected the kills of a hunting camp and found several misdemeanors. The warden found two deer to be tagged with a female's hunting license, as well as a 6-point buck in violation of the spike and antlerless season. Upon returning to the camp, one hunter said there were no female hunters in the group. Shortly after, another hunter said his wife killed the two does, but left camp to return home. After a short visit with the warden, the hunter said he had used his wife's tags and that she had not been hunting. Another hunter stepped forward and claimed ownership of the 6-point buck. Appropriate charges were filed on both hunters. Cases and restitution are pending on the three deer.
Alligators Don't Make Nice Family Pets: Jan. 18, two Howard and Dawson County game wardens executed a search warrant for an alligator on a residence in Big Spring. Upon entering the bedroom of the house, the wardens saw a 4-foot long alligator in a round tank. The alligator was seized and was subsequently pressed into educational service, as it made an appearance in programs at three local schools. The alligator was released into an alligator-friendly environment Jan. 21.
Young Hunters Spotlight White-Tailed Deer at Night: In January, a Kendall County game warden filed multiple charges against two young hunters, after receiving information about their late night hunting activities. Upon being caught with a freshly killed buck at 2:00 a.m., the hunters said they didn't know spotlighting and hunting white-tailed deer at night is illegal. Ironically, they said they were aware that shooting deer without a hunting license is illegal.
Call it Game Warden's Intuition: In January, a Lamb County game warden testified before a grand jury concerning a case he filed against a Bailey County man for hunting without landowner consent. During the mule deer season, the warden received a call from a landowner saying a deer had been shot from the road. Upon the warden's arrival, an adjoining landowner said there had been a misunderstanding and that his hunters had shot the deer, causing it to run across the road and die. Feeling uneasy about the story, the warden began an investigation that proved that the story had been concocted by the hunters who had tagged and reported the deer.
Bragging About Illegal Activity Proves Unwise: In January, an Ellis County game warden concluded an investigation on a subject who illegally obtained a free military license. The subject denied knowledge of the illegality of obtaining the free license until he was shown transcripts of his bragging on an Internet hunting forum about how easy it was to get away with. After a thorough tutorial on the consequences of tampering with government documents, the subject wrote a statement of confession for illegally obtaining the free military license and for illegally killing five deer this past hunting season. The deer were seized and multiple cases and restitution are pending.
Annual Handicapped Youth Hunt: For the twelfth year, Kerr County game wardens participated in an annual January youth hunt for persons with disabilities. The hunt, which was sponsored by a local landowner, included 18 children. The children were permitted to hunt in a high-fenced, managed area with no restrictions on the taking of animals. Each child was assisted with the hunt by a parent or guardian and a representative of the ranch. Sixteen children successfully harvested bucks, including a 15-point buck, with a 23-inch spread.

[ Note: This item is more than nine years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Rob McCorkle (830) 866-3533 or robert.mccorkle@tpwd.texas.gov, or Ginger Moreland (979) 830-1824 or info@birthplaceoftexas.com ]
Feb. 18, 2008
Festival to Celebrate Texas Independence Scheduled March 1-2 at Historic Site
WASHINGTON-ON-THE-BRAZOS, Texas -- A free two-day festival on March 1-2 will celebrate the 172nd anniversary of Texas' declaration of independence from Mexico. The festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The annual event at Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site commemorates the signing of the Texas' declaration by 59 men elected by citizens of each municipality in Texas, who convened here March 2, 1836, in a drafty, timber building atop a Brazos River bluff as war clouds loomed.
Members of the Texas Army, skilled craftsmen, talented musicians and costumed re-enactors, portraying such Texian heroes as Sam Houston, Stephen F. Austin and Anson Jones, will be on-hand at the 293-acre park to bring the Republic of Texas era to life.
"Washington-on-the-Brazos has seen many changes since independence was declared here in March 1836," said Bill Irwin, historic site superintendent. "Most recently, additional park staff has been hired to better tell Texas' story. As Texans, we are all proud to be involved in preserving our Texas heritage."
As in past years, highlighting the two-day festival will be a ceremony at 2 p.m. Sunday featuring several Texas heroes and invited special guests and a performance of "Once Upon A Time in Texas" by Texas troubadour Brian Burns. The cutting of a Texas-sized birthday cake will follow.
Washington-on-the-Brazos features three attractions open year-round: Independence Hall, the Star of the Republic Museum and Barrington History Farm. All admission fees are waived during the festival weekend. Vendors will be selling food and drinks.
A new exhibit -- "Audubon's Creations: His Texas Legacy" -- will open Saturday at the Star of the Republic Museum. On display will be world-renowned artist John James Audubon's collection of mammal engravings, including the Texian Hare, Red Texan Wolf, Texan Skunk, which were drawn from specimens collected by Audubon and his party during their visits to Texas in the 1830s and 1840s.
Funding for the Texas Independence Day Festival comes from the Washington-on-the-Brazos State Park Association, Exxon-Mobil Corporation, Bluebonnet Electric Co-Op and Embarq.
The historic site is located on FM 1155 just off State Highway 105 midway between Brenham and Navasota, about an hour's drive northwest of Houston. For more information, call (936) 878-2214.
On the Net: