|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2009-10-16                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than seven 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]
Oct. 16, 2009
World Birding Center Receives SATW's Phoenix Award
AUSTIN, Texas -- The World Birding Center, a network of nine Rio Grande Valley parks and nature centers dedicated to avian conservation and education, has won national recognition from the Society of American Travel Writers for promoting eco-friendly travel.
SATW, at its recent national convention in Guadalajara, Mexico, awarded one of five Phoenix Awards to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. TPWD spearheaded a 10-year effort by the state and local governmental entities to boost nature tourism by preserving critical birding habitat and developing nine WBC sites stretching from Roma to South Padre Island.
"Congratulations to everyone who has worked so hard to make the World Birding Center a world-class project," said Scott Boruff, TPWD's deputy executive director of operations. "Obviously, others are recognizing it as a creative and innovative model to promote conservation and recreation through broad-scale partnerships."
SATW judges complimented the WBC project for "excellence in all areas" and its success at building community relations and stimulating tourism in an area of low employment.
"The World Birding Center is presented as an outstanding environmental, conservational and educational project ...," one judge wrote. "This is an ambitious project worthy of international recognition for preserving wetlands conducive to birdlife and impacting the migratory ease of birds."
SATW, the nation's premier travel organization, established the Phoenix Award 40 years ago to recognize individuals, communities or organizations that have contributed to a quality travel experience through environmental, beautification, conservation and preservation efforts. SATW member Kathryn Straach, a former Texas-based freelance travel writer, nominated TPWD and the WBC for the Phoenix Award.
TPWD operates the $7 million World Birding Center headquarters at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park near Mission, as well as two other WBC sites -- Estero Llano Grande State Park in Weslaco and Resaca de la Palma State Park in Brownsville. Six other WBC sites are operated by local communities in Edinburg, Harlingen, Hidalgo, McAllen, Roma and South Padre Island.
The Rio Grande Valley has, arguably, the greatest biodiversity of any area in North America with 519 bird species having been recorded there. Nature tourism is one of the Valley's top economic engines, generating roughly $125 million in revenues annually for local communities.
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[ Note: This item is more than seven 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]
Oct. 16, 2009
Texas Parks Make Finding Halloween Fun Easy
AUSTIN, Texas -- No matter where you are in Texas, more than a dozen nearby state parks and fisheries centers have a variety of family-themed Halloween activities and attractions to offer.
The fun kicks off a full week before Halloween, with seasonal events at three state parks on Saturday, Oct. 24. From 6-10 p.m., Purtis Creek State Park near Eustace will host a Halloween carnival featuring games with prizes, campsite trick-or-treating and a Halloween hayride. Games are only 25 cents and the hayride is only 50 cents, and park admission fees will be waived for those participating in Halloween events. Call (903) 425-2332 for more information.
On the same night from 7-9 p.m., Houston's Sheldon Lake State Park will host its annual Natural Halloween, featuring Halloween hiking, night fishing and campfire tales. Call (281) 456-2800 for more information.
From 6-10 p.m. on the same night, Estero Llano Grande State Park, a World Birding Center site in Weslaco, will host its fourth annual Halloween Spooky Science Fest. Activities will include a kids' costume contest, night hikes, spooky stories, candy treats and science experiments. Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for children 12 and under. Call (956) 565-3919 for details.
The fun continues on Sunday, Oct. 25, with events at Guadalupe River State Park and Sea Center Texas. From 1-3 p.m., Sea Center Texas in Lake Jackson will host the Sea Center Spooktacular, a free event featuring costumes and trick-or-treating. Then, from 6-10 p.m. Guadalupe River State Park will host its annual evening of fun, stories, food and fright of the fun kind. Admission is $5 for adults and $2 children 12 and under.
The festivities kick into high gear Halloween weekend, with nine events planned at different state parks across the state. The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center's Halloween at the Hatchery will be held in Athens on Oct. 29 from 6-8:30 p.m. Then, on Halloween night, Caprock Canyons, Fort Richardson, Lake Somerville (Birch Creek Unit), Lake Texana, Martin Dies, Jr., Purtis Creek and Ray Roberts Lake (Isle du Bois Unit) state parks will all host Halloween hikes. Finally, Government Canyon State Natural Area in west Bexar County will host a true Halloween extravaganza from 6-9 p.m. The festivities will include a costume contest, ghost stories, pumpkin carving and treats. Reservations are required: to R.S.V.P, e-mail reservations@friendsofgc.org.
For more information and a complete listing of Halloween events at state parks, visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Web site.
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