|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2008-04-07                                    |
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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 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Rob McCorkle (830) 866-3533, robert.mccorkle@tpwd.texas.gov; Dianne Powell (210) 824-9474, dpsellmark@aol.com ]
April 7, 2008
Re-enactment of Battle of San Jacinto, Festival Slated for April 26
LA PORTE, Texas -- The San Jacinto Day Festival and Battle Re-enactment on Saturday, April 26, celebrate Texas' independence won at the famous Battle of San Jacinto.
The admission-free San Jacinto Day Festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the San Jacinto Monument on the 1,200-acre San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site. There will be a full day of music, entertainment, food, games and fun set amidst living history.
On April 21, 1836 -- in 18 short minutes -- Gen. Sam Houston led his Texian soldiers to victory over the Mexican Army, officially securing Texas' independence from Mexico and leading to the addition of one million square miles of territory to the United States.
Each year on April 21 the official State of Texas ceremony marking the anniversary date of the San Jacinto Battle takes place at 11 a.m. on the steps of the San Jacinto Monument. The commemorative ceremony is open to the public.
Also, at 9:30 a.m., the Battleship Texas Foundation will stage a small ceremony aboard Battleship TEXAS to commemorate the ship's being moored at the San Jacinto Battleground for 60 years.
The April 26 Battle of San Jacinto re-enactment -- one of the largest in the state -- recreates one of the most important battles of American history. The day's most popular event begins at 3 p.m., complete with thundering cannons, musket fire, horses, pyrotechnics and hundreds of re-enactors.
The re-enactment replicates the Runaway Scrape (Texians 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 resulting cannon duel, and the final battle between the two forces. Mexican Army Gen. Santa Anna's surrender to Texian Army Gen. Sam Houston completes the re-enactment. A laying of wreaths to honor the sacrifices of both armies follows.
The festival celebrates this special day in Texas history with entertaining and educational activities:
--Blacksmiths, basket weavers, weavers, spinners, quilters and other demonstrators will give visitors a full sense of how life was in the early 1800s. Sutlers (civilians who sold provisions to military posts) will be on hand to sell or show their wares.
--On the Main Stage, popular local and regional entertainers will perform. Liz Talley, a European Country Music Awards 2008 Female Vocalist of the Year nominee, and her band will play traditional acoustic country. Also performing will be K.R. Wood, a native Texan, singer, songwriter and historian. He brings along a historic chuck wagon and performs his "Camp Cookie" review and other Old West shows. Woods has been adopted by the descendants of Davy Crockett for his dedication and continuing efforts to keep the Alamo hero's legend alive. Woods also is a member of the Texas Commission on the Arts, one of only a handful of Texas artists chosen for this elite membership. Austin rising stars Sam Sliva and The Good combine southern rock, Texas country and alternative music sure to entertain.
--From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department interpreters will offer guided tours of the restored marshlands and answer questions about wildlife inhabiting the park, such as otters, diamondback terrapins, peregrine falcons, wood ibises, brown pelicans, reddish egrets, roseate spoonbills, great blue herons, ospreys mottled ducks and American avocets. Guests can now more easily see the marsh as a result of the ADA-accessible boardwalk expansion project funded in large part by Shell Oil. The marsh is historically important because it hindered the escape of many of Santa Anna's troops during the decisive 1836 battle.
--Battleship TEXAS, the nation's first battleship memorial museum, is open for visitors.
--Inside the San Jacinto Monument lobby will be an exhibit of recently restored artifacts on display. The free exhibit includes artifacts restored thanks in part to funding from the Summerlee Foundation, Mrs. William T. Kendall, Betty and Bill Conner and the San Jacinto Museum of History Association. The display includes military uniforms believed to have been worn at the Battle of San Jacinto, a 19th century rifle used by Jesse Walling who served under Sam Houston at the Battle of San Jacinto, and Thomas Jefferson Chambers' dress uniform. Visitors also can view several recently acquired printed items showing the Mexican point of view of the Texas Revolution.
--Last Chance Forever's "Birds of Prey" demonstrates such magnificent birds as hawks, owls, eagles, falcons and vultures.
--Texas Independence Square Dancers will demonstrate square dancing and give lessons.
--Music from the North Harris County Dulcimer Society and Celtaires will entertain folks as they walk along the reflection pool.
--Instead of 1836 fare, such as possum and cornmeal mush, vendors will offer Texas-style food prepared to be more pleasing to modern palates.
-- The Children's Area features a stage with family entertainment throughout the day sponsored by the H-E-B Tournament of Champions. Activities and shows in the Children's Area include:
--Phydeaux's Flying Flea Circus, billed as a "family-friendly, audience-interactive, historically accurate, educational street theatre."
--Two young entertainers-Kalei Dodson from Seguin on accordion and singer Caitlyn Norris from Houston-will perform separately to dazzle kids and adults alike.
--For $2, kids can hop aboard a 55-foot-long train complete with train whistle and Texan and American flags.
--Make-and-take history activities and crafts for children will be available as well.
--The Houston Zoomobile, Armand Bayou Nature Center and Bar Mollys Place will be on the grounds with native Texas animals, interesting demonstrations and nature games.
--Marsha's Petting Zoo brings in animals for an up-close and personal look at nature.
--Children can hunt for artifacts at a dig site hosted by the Houston Archeological Society.
During the day visitors can wander freely among the Mexican and Texian military camps to learn what the soldiers of that day were doing prior to the battle and to see how civilians lived in 1836. Visitors will learn how to perform the close-order drills of the day and a few lucky children will be part of the cannon crew.
The historically accurate encampments and the Battle Reenactment are presented by hundreds of members of the San Jacinto Volunteers and other living history organizations from across the state.
Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and/or blankets to the festival and re-enactment.
"Each year we work hand in hand with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to coordinate this event," said Larry Spasic, president of the San Jacinto Museum of History Association. "This year members of the 1st Battalion Texas Maritime Regiment (TMAR) of the Texas State Guard will assist us."
Visitors enjoy free admission to the festival, battle re-enactment and the exhibit in the Monument lobby. For a modest fee, festival goers can take the famous 489-foot elevator ride to the top of the Monument and enjoy the digital presentation "Texas Forever!!: The Battle of San Jacinto." Combo tickets can be purchased: $12 for adults, $8 for children. 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.
The San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site is located 22 miles southeast of downtown Houston. To reach the site, take State Highway 225 east to Battleground Road north, approximately three miles from the freeway.
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 more information on the Battleship TEXAS, please contact the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department at (281) 479-2431.
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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 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Lydia SaldaƱa, (512) 389-4557, lydia.saldana@tpwd.texas.gov ]
April 7, 2008
State Parks Host Meetings Regarding Feral, Exotic Species
AUSTIN, Texas -- The State Parks Division of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will host a series of public meetings across the state in April and May concerning natural and cultural resource management activities on state park properties, with a particular focus on management challenges at Big Bend Ranch State Park.
Following a short informational presentation, the public will be invited to comment on current management strategies for removal of feral animals such as burros and exotic species such as aoudad sheep from the park and may offer alternative solutions. All meetings begin at 7:00 p.m.
Meeting Schedule:
--Tuesday, April 22 -- Government Canyon State Natural Area, 12861 Galm Rd, San Antonio
--Wednesday, April 23 -- Texas Parks & Wildlife Headquarters, 4200 Smith School Rd, Austin
--Thursday, April 24 -- Richardson Civic Center, Heights Room, 411 W. Arapaho Road, Richardson
--Wednesday, May 14 -- Southwest Command Center, 9011 Escobar Dr, El Paso
--Thursday, May 15 -- Presidio, Presidio Activity Center (PAC), 1200 E. O'Reilly St.*
--Thursday, June 12 -- Bellaire City Hall Auditorium, 7008 South Rice Avenue, Bellaire**
* Update, May 1, 2008: The address of the Presidio meeting was undetermined when the news release was first issued. The new information has been added. (Return to updated item.)
* Update, May 23, 2008: The time and place of the Houston area meeting was undetermined when the news release was first issued. The new information has been added. (Return to updated item.)

[ 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: Carol Jones, (979) 480-0999, cjones@gcbo.org; Tom Harvey, (512) 389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov ]
April 7, 2008
Great Texas Birding Classic Returns April 27-May 4
Birding for conservation attracts the hard-core
AUSTIN, Texas -- Spring is in the air, and so are birds migrating along the Texas coast. For 12 years, the Great Texas Birding Classic has capitalized on this natural phenomenon and turned it into a healthy competition to raise funds for avian habitat conservation projects.
For an entire week, people travel to Texas from across the U.S. to test their birding skills. Winning teams get to choose how prize money is spent, directing dollars to protect or restore coastal habitat that sustains birds and ecotourism. The Gulf Coast Bird Observatory partners with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and local communities to host the event.
"There is always something new and this year we added an 'Energy Saver' category," said Carol Jones with the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, tournament coordinator for the past four years. The new category rewards teams who can count the most bird species per mile, requiring they travel at least 50 miles.
The annual event involves adult and youth teams traveling through 41 Texas counties along the coast, spotting and recording as many bird species as they can. The winning teams in several tournament categories decide which pre-approved conservation projects will receive grant money. Last year, $73,000 was divided among seven projects for land acquisition, land restoration, or enhancements for birdwatchers.
"We attract hard-core birders, who travel extensively to see a single species, as well as casual birders who just want to have a good time with their friends while conserving nature," said Shelly Plante, TPWD nature tourism coordinator.
No expertise is required to compete in the various tournaments, and there are special events for children and teenagers, the "conservationists of the future." There is even an event called the "Big Sit," a kind of tailgating party for birders, where teams see who can count the most birds in one location.
Jones expects nearly 350 participants this year, coming from all across the United States and Canada. This makes sense as Texas has "four of the top birding sites in the nation, three of them along the coast," according to Plante.
To register for the 2008 Birding Classic, contact Jones at the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory or visit the event Web site. Birding visitors can also visit the Great Texas Wildlife Trails map section for more information on the types of birds in Texas and where to see them.
On the Net:

[ 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]
April 7, 2008
Budweiser ShareLunker: Lake Casa Blanca Fish Repeats
ATHENS, Texas -- A Lake Casa Blanca largemouth bass has made its second trip to Athens as a Budweiser ShareLunker.
Cesar Gomez of Laredo caught the 13.33-pound bass April 1. When Texas Parks and Wildlife Department personnel wanded the fish to see if it contained a passive integrated transponder (PIT) tag, the display lit up. All ShareLunkers are tagged, and a check of the number revealed this fish had been caught February 14, 2006, by Abilene angler Jay Stevens. At that time the fish became Budweiser ShareLunker 397.
Returned to the lake and caught again, the fish is now also ShareLunker 451.
Gomez was fishing in four feet of water with a Senko plastic worm.
The fish has grown since it was caught in 2006. At that time it was 26 inches long, 20 inches in girth, and weighed 13.2 pounds. The fish is now 28.25 inches long and 21.5 inches in girth.
Only two ShareLunkers have been longer than Gomez's fish, one from Lake Fork and one from Lake Amistad. One of those fish weighed 14.5 pounds, the other 15.68.
Apparently the fish is fond of shallow water and special days. In 2006 it was caught in less than three feet of water on Valentine's Day. This time it chose to bite on April Fools' Day. That fact caused TPWD employees to be suspicious at first, especially since Budweiser ShareLunker program manager David Campbell did get a prank call about a 14-pound fish from another lake. However, this lunker was for real.
Lake Casa Blanca has now produced five ShareLunkers. The 1,680-acre lake on the outskirts of Laredo was stocked with northern largemouth bass in 1966 and Florida largemouth bass since 1978.
The lake record is Budweiser ShareLunker 355, a 14.64-pounder caught January 31, 2004, by Richard Mims of Laredo. Mims pulled off a rare feat that year, catching two ShareLunkers in three days-both from Lake Casa Blanca.
The Budweiser ShareLunker program is made possible through support from Anheuser-Busch, Inc. Since 1991, Anheuser-Busch, in partnership with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, has contributed millions of dollars in funding to support conservation causes and fishing, hunting and outdoor recreation programs in Texas.
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