|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2010-04-15                                    |
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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: En Español: Jim Booker, (903) 670-2266; En Inglés: Larry Hodge, (903) 670-2255 ]
April 15, 2010
Tyler Dance Group to Headline Cinco de Mayo at Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center May 8
Event celebrates Mexican-American heritage and lifestyles of Texans
ATHENS, Texas -- Athens will celebrate Cinco de Mayo at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) May 8 with food, music and dancing in addition to the normal TFFC activities such as fishing, tram rides and dive show presentations.
Featured entertainment will be Tyler Ballet Folklorico, directed by Cecilia Salgado, with performances at 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. The accomplished dance group will be returning for its third performance at TFFC.
Other popular attractions will be dance performances by Athens elementary students and a salsa contest featuring hot sauces from local restaurants.
Smokey the Bear will make a special appearance and pose for photographs and give hugs. Kids are invited to have their pictures made with Smokey.
In keeping with the Texas-Mexican heritage theme of the event, Texas State Parks interpreters from the Rio Grande Valley will be offering bird walks and other outdoor activities as well as sharing information about state parks located near the border with Mexico.
Music will also be provided for public dancing in the Hart-Morris Conservation Center by DJ Will from 4:30 until 9:30 p.m.
Event hours will be from 1:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Saturday. Reduced admissions prices of $2.50 for adults and $1 for students ages 12 to 18 will be in effect after 1:00 p.m. Children under 12 will be admitted free after 1:00 p.m.
Food will be available for purchase, and persons or businesses interested in selling food or other items at the event should contact James Booker at (903) 670-2266.
Cinco de Mayo is one of two Mexican national holidays celebrated throughout Texas. According to The Handbook of Texas, these celebrations originated in Mexico in the nineteenth century. Cinco de Mayo (May 5) commemorates Gen. Ignacio Zaragoza's victory on May 5, 1862, over the French expeditionary forces at Puebla, Mexico. The second holiday, Diez y Seis de Septiembre (September 16), commemorates Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla's grito de Dolores ("cry of Dolores") on September 16, 1810, at the village of Dolores, near Guanajuato. Diez y Seis is Mexico's national Independence Day.
The Cinco de Mayo festival was second in importance only to Diez y Seis. This event recalled the Mexican defeat of French forces in Mexico in 1862. Exiled Mexican conservatives had invited Napoleon III of France to send the Maximilian and his wife, Carlota, to rule Mexico, in opposition to the reform movement led by Benito Juárez.
Cinco de Mayo has a special relationship to Texas in that the leader of the Mexican army that defeated the French troops at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, was a native Texan, Ignacio Zaragoza, who was born in Goliad.
Many Texas cities developed a fiestas patrias tradition. In Houston the celebrations began in the 1920s, when the Hispanic population grew large enough to require a Mexican consulate.
In 1973 Mexican-American leaders clashed with the Mexican consul in Houston, declaring that the true function of their fiestas patrias was to promote their own unique Mexican-American heritage and lifestyle, and not that of Mexico. It is in that spirit that the Cinco de Mayo celebration at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center is held.
Cinco de Mayo at TFFC is sponsored by Red Hat Rentals, McDonald's, Schneider Electric, ETMC -- Athens, FutureMatrix, Inc., Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites -- Athens, First State Bank, Virtual Communication Specialists and Citizens National Bank.

[ 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; Tom Harvey, (512) 389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov ]
April 15, 2010
CO-OP Grants Help Kids Get Outdoors, Despite Economic Times
AUSTIN -- As organizations across the nation face budget cuts, groups in Austin, Dallas, Brownsville, San Antonio, Houston and other cities are still finding ways to get more kids and their families outdoors. Sixteen such organizations have been awarded grants from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to introduce participants to environmental education, conservation and outdoor recreation.
"Not only are these participants experiencing education and fun in the outdoors, many are also participating in outdoor service projects which will benefit state and local communities," said Darlene Lewis, Community Outdoor Outreach Program coordinator with TPWD in Austin.
Funds for the CO-OP grant program come from a portion of state sales tax attributed to sporting goods. Such funding allows tax-exempt organizations and local governments to provide outdoor recreation and environmental education activities to participants who may not otherwise be able to do so. A total of $1.25 million is available each year and is given out in two funding cycles, with application deadlines Oct. 1 and Feb. 1.
Below are organizations receiving grants in the current round, listed by city.
(Austin) -- American Youthworks -- More than 250 drop-outs who have decided to return to school will participate in the Service and Outdoor Leadership program which will occur in local, state and national parks. Projects include trash pick-up, trail building and habitat restoration. ($50,000)
(Austin) -- Campfire USA -- Children and their families from school districts and housing communities will learn about conservation and participate in outdoor recreational activities such as fishing, backpacking, camping and outdoor cooking. Service projects include building and installing birdhouses in Travis County. ($36,290)
(Beaumont) -- Environmental Learning & Research Center -- The Neches River will be the classroom for student and teacher workshops where water quality testing will be conducted. Cleaning up litter along the river will be the outdoor service project. ($28,001)
(Bloomington) -- Bloomington ISD -- Fishing, camping, outdoor cooking and orienteering are just a few of the activities to be experienced by students and their families in this district. ($44,166)
(Brownsville) Texas Southmost College -- College mentors will partner with high school students in the Lower Rio Grande Valley to introduce them to kayaking, biking, birding and state park visits. (42,844)
(Cleveland) Wright-Way Community Development Center -- 250 students in the Cleveland and Liberty communities will get a chance to experience overnight camping, fishing, kayaking and environmental education programs. ($43,333)
(Dallas) -- Launching A Dream, Inc. -- 250 low income students will get to go hiking, fishing, camping and backpacking. ($30,250)
(Dallas) Student Conservation Association, Inc. -- High school students from Dallas and Houston will provide 500 hours of service to state and local land management partners. Students will experience nature photography, canoeing, birding and camping. ($38,510)
(Dallas) -- Today Foundation -- 193 Karnack ISD students and their families will participate in the Healthy Habitats program at Caddo Lake. Activities include camping, canoeing, Project Wild, Texas Outdoor Family and inventorying invasive plants in the Caddo area and replacing them with native plants. (47,233)
(Groesbeck) Old Fort Parker Inc. -- Students from four different schools and two scout groups will get to experience Pioneer and Indian life during a campout at the park. They will fish, learn about shooting sports, and cook outdoors. ($25,356)
(Houston) -- Houston Parks and Recreation -- The Houston Parks Adventure will target minority youth, women and seniors. They will be exposed to nature education, conservation and outdoor recreation. ($46,500)
(Houston) -- Precinct2gether -- Kids in this summer youth program will take trips to several state historic parks/sites, go fishing and observe wildlife. ($42,773)
(Houston) -- Youth Outdoor Unity -- Students and their families will participate in trail rides, backpacking and outdoor cooking. Their service project will include trail maintenance and restoring native grass prairie at Sheldon Lake State Park. ($48,829)
(San Antonio) -- City Kids Adventures -- Nearly 400 students will have an opportunity to experience archery, overnight camping in state parks, kayaking, offshore fishing and mountain biking. ($40,279)
(San Antonio) -- San Antonio River Authority -- Students in the San Antonio school districts will get hands-on experiences that will teach them about the function of a naturally restored ecosystem. Activities include geocaching, birding, hiking and an outdoor service project. ($13,295)
(Terrell) Turning POINT -- Physically challenged participants and their families will get to kayak, fish, camp, learn about water safety, ecology and conservation. ($44,673)
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