|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2009-12-15                                    |
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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 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Darlene Lewis, (512) 389-8745, darlene.lewis@tpwd.texas.gov ]
Dec. 15, 2009
CO-OP Grants Awarded To 18 Schools, Nonprofits Across Texas
Funding Will Provide Youth Outdoor Recreation, Environmental Education
AUSTIN, Texas -- Young people and families across Texas will get to experience overnight camping, fishing, and environmental education opportunities thanks to 18 Community Outdoor Outreach Program (CO-OP) grants of up to $50,000 each. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department awarded the grants totaling $627,678 to schools and nonprofit organizations in various cities.
CO-OP grants help fund outdoor recreation activities and the purchase of equipment and supplies for youth outings. Each year, TPWD makes available $1.25 million to tax exempt organizations around the state to introduce children and families to the world of nature and the outdoors. Funds are appropriated by the Texas Legislature for this purpose using a dedicated portion of the state sales tax attributed to sporting goods.
The next grant application deadline is Feb. 1, 2010. Eligible organizations can download an application and instructions on the CO-OP program Web page, or contact the TPWD Recreation Grants office at (512) 389-8224. To receive notification of upcoming grant writing workshops, click the link "sign up for email updates" in the top left corner of the grants Web page.
Below is the list of fall 2009 grant recipients, listed alphabetically by city.
(Arlington) Texas Junior Anglers, Inc. -- 13 community-based fishing events are planned for local municipalities allowing participants to learn about fishing laws and the sport of fishing. ($40,975)
(Austin) Friends of McKinney Falls State Park -- Seven day-camps will be offered at the park to allow participants to experience swimming, hiking, archery and geocaching. The Junior Ranger Day campers will also participate in a service project to pick up trash and litter in the park. ($11,907)
(Austin) Girl Scouts of Central Texas -- 200 teens will experience weekend skill trainings in camping, outdoor cooking, backpacking, canoeing/kayaking and mountain biking. ($42,450)
(Austin) National Audubon Society -- 6th grade students will participate in Eco-investigations, an expedition field trip providing inquiry-based, hands-on nature education. Other activities include kayaking, hiking, camping and fishing. Service project will include making seed balls for a native prairie restoration project. ($39,303)
(Austin) One Blood Initiative, Inc. -- The Youth Education Leadership Program will partner with Cedar Hill State Park to provide outdoor recreational experiences for youth, which will include biking, kayaking, camping, and backpacking. Participants will also assist with trail and shoreline clean-up at the park. ($48,570)
(Austin) San Juan Diego Catholic High School -- Students will learn outdoor skills such as camping, fishing, kayaking and orienteering. Their service project will include creating a new walking path at Lockhart State Park. ($41,700)
(Dallas) Dallas Bass Hookers -- Youth and senior citizen outings are planned as well as the Texas Buffalo Soldiers experience. Activities include hiking, archery and camping skills. ($16,622)
(Dallas) Education in Action -- Participants in the Lone Star Leadership Academy will get a chance to develop their leadership role in conserving and protecting the wildlife and natural resources around them through trips to state parks and a hands-on environmental educational curriculum. ($50,000)
(Dallas) Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas -- 250 young girls will experience "Adventures in Nature" through kayaking, fishing, archery, nature studies and ecology. Their service project will include trail restoration and construction of bird feeders/houses at Camp Whispering Cedars. ($30,085)
(Dallas) YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas -- Students from three area schools will participate in Texas Outdoor Family camping, learn how to fish and participate in Project Wild activities. They will also learn about prairie management and help remove invasive grasses at Camp Grady Spruce. ($44,094)
(Dawson) Dawson ISD -- Students will visit state parks, the Texas Freshwater Fisheries and participate in wildlife photography, outdoor cooking and fishing. ($32,333)
(Lancaster) City of Lancaster Parks & Recreation -- 5th graders from Lancaster ISD will participate in the Environmental Education Academy at Bear Creek Nature Park. Activities include a family fishing day, camping, Buffalo Soldiers and wildlife conservation. ($13,955)
(Manor) Manor ISD -- Six outings are planned for students to state parks to learn about camping, outdoor cooking, fish identification and regulations. ($36,667)
(Mason) Texas Equestrian Trail Riders Association -- Kids will learn first-hand about trail riding and Texas forts. The Outreach Trail Rides Program will include overnight camping and hands-on demonstrations such as outdoor cooking, fishing, archery and wagon rides. ($40,920)
(Navasota) City of Navasota Parks & Recreation -- 4th and 5th grade students will participate in cycling, orienteering at summer camps at Washington on the Brazos State Park including a Texas Outdoor Family event. Trail rehabilitation is also a part of their experience at the park. ($50,000)
(Royse City) Gospel Association of Dallas -- Sabine Creek Ministries will conduct several day and overnight camps for refugees recently relocated to Dallas by the United Nations to introduce them to the Texas outdoors. Activities include archery, nature photography, canoeing, environmental education and rock climbing. They will re-introduce native plants and grasses critical for bird, insect and other wildlife habitats as part of their service project. ($6,625)
(San Antonio) Alamo Children's Advocacy Center -- Families of Childsafe will participate in Outdoor Adventure Therapy with trips to state parks where activities will include rock climbing, archery, camping, kayaking and environmental education. ($31,472)
(San Antonio) Forever Foundation for Texas Wildlife, Inc. -- Hunting scholarships will be available to students from low-income and minority populations to allow them to experience the outdoors. They will learn about wildlife, habitats and their service project will include brush control and removal at a Hill Country Ranch. ($50,000)
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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 ] [SL]
Dec. 15, 2009
Durocher Leaves Legacy of Cultural Change at TPWD
AUSTIN, Texas -- There was a time not long ago when Texas bass were small and ended up battered and fried alongside catfish and bluegills. Phil Durocher had a hand in taking bass off the dinner table and putting a national spotlight on quality largemouth fishing in Texas.
During his 35-year career with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Durocher has been a key player in a conversion of bass fishermen from consumptive users to recreational anglers. Catch and release fishing.
"The biggest change, and it doesn't seem that significant now but it was then, was when we made a change with bass from a consumptive resource to a recreational resource," said Durocher, who retires from the department at the end of the year. "It was the only way we could ensure bass fishing for the future."
As director of TPWD's Inland Fisheries Division during the last 18 years, Durocher has also led a cultural change in fisheries management in Texas.
"People forget, we used to have nets in our rivers," he recalled. "We got permission to bring grass carp into the state to help landowners address aquatic vegetation problems."
Durocher began his career with the department in 1974 as a research systems analyst in the Data Processing Division. He transferred to the Inland Fisheries Division as a research analyst in 1977, where he helped develop the standardized Resource Monitoring Program still being used today.
From 1984 to 1991, Durocher worked as the director of fisheries management for Inland Fisheries and during that time many of the length and bag limits still used today were implemented. The 14-inch minimum size limit on bass, the current statewide standard, made the black bass a sport fish in Texas, and dramatically changed the face of bass fishing in Texas and the rest of the nation.
"Because of Phil Durocher, Texas is viewed on a national level as the gold standard in freshwater fisheries management," said Ross Melinchuk, TPWD deputy executive director. "His leadership and commitment to fisheries conservation helped guide Texas through some tough battles and the anglers of Texas owe him a debt of gratitude."
Durocher has also been a mainstay in two major initiatives: the creation of the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, and the passage of the Freshwater Fisheries Stamp Legislation during the 78th Legislative Session. The monies from that stamp are being used to update the freshwater hatchery system, including the new John D. Parker East Texas State Fish Hatchery.
"The little part I played in building the national reputation of Texas' program, that's what I'm proud of," he said. "The battles we fought were hard but the people coming after us are going to have tougher battles, particularly with water allocation issues. The population is growing and we don't have any more water. To maintain the fishery is going to be difficult, but we have dedicated professionals and some passionate supporters, so I feel good about leaving with a solid foundation to face the road ahead."