|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2011-04-19                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than six 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]
April 19, 2011
Wildfire Battles Continue at Possum Kingdom State Park
Nearby Possum Kingdom Fish Hatchery Operations Affected
AUSTIN - Wildfires around Possum Kingdom Lake today covered more than 150,000 acres, continuing to threaten Possum Kingdom State Park and Palo Pinto County communities, forcing the evacuation of several communities and closure of Possum Kingdom Fish Hatchery located just below the reservoir dam.
Late Monday as wildfires crept closer, eight hatchery employees were not allowed into the restricted area. Two other staff members who live and work at the hatchery were required to leave the hatchery that is located 13 miles west of Graford. A skeleton crew was allowed to return this morning to the 103-acre facility where fingerlings are produced for stocking Texas waters.
Possum Kingdom State Park was evacuated last Friday ahead of wildfires that burned 90 percent of the 1,500-acre park on the south shore of Possum Kingdom Lake and slightly damaged two buildings and two of three sewage treatment system liners. No one was injured.
Several hot shot crews consisting of U.S. Forest Service firefighters, assisted by 14 trained Texas State Park firefighters, continued today to monitor the park for re-burns that have been occurring in thick stands of juniper and help fight fires near the fish hatchery and nearby communities. In addition, six state park law enforcement officers and four park rangers are on the scene to assist.
Jeff Sparks, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's state parks wildland fire program manager, says numerous air resources continue to pound the fire. He says TPWD employees not fighting the flare-ups continue to clear juniper away from the state park structures to reduce the burn risk.
The PK West Fire that hit Possum Kingdom State Park has merged into various other fires in Palo Pinto and Stephens counties and has been renamed the PK Complex Fire by the Texas Forest Service. The PK Complex Fire, which now covers almost 150,000 acres, continues to threaten more than 600 homes and has destroyed at least 31 residences.
Two other state parks that have been threatened by the raging wildfires in north and west Texas in past days - San Angelo State Park and Lake Arrowhead State Park - remain open. Davis Mountains State Park, which suffered wildfire damage last week to 675 acres last week in the Rockhouse Fire, remains closed, as does historic Indian Lodge that is located inside the park. A base camp for hundreds of firefighters has been set up inside the state park.

[ Note: This item is more than six 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]
April 19, 2011
Outdoor Grants To Texas Groups Focus on Education and Service
Austin - Thousands of Texas children will explore and learn more about the states' cultural and natural resources thanks to more than $622,000 in Community Outdoor Outreach Program (CO-OP) grants from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
"New research suggests that 95 percent of the science learned by most students is learned outside of the traditional classroom." said Darlene Lewis, CO-OP director. "It suggests that outdoor classrooms, parks, museums and other informal settings such as those targeted by our grantees are where kids learn best. Nature camps, state parks, woodlands and birding centers are just some of the areas targeted for these programs."
The following grants have been awarded:
(Austin) Shield Ranch Foundation - 100 youth will learn about conservation by making seed balls, building bird houses and doing trail work at the El Ranchito camp. Other activities include camping, outdoor cooking and hiking. ($47,904)
(Austin) Life Support Counseling and Research - Foster children and their families will get to experience wildlife and nature education such as fishing, shooting sports, camping and rock climbing. ($47,703)
(Brenham) Brenham ISD - Students in grades 3-5 will participate in hands-on field investigations of ecosystems, explore how pioneers used our natural resources and identify wildflowers and wildlife as part of this outdoor classroom program. ($11,121)
(Corpus Christi) Youth Odyssey - 275 participants will explore Texas state parks kayaking, fishing and camping. ($25,677)
(Galveston) The Artist Boat - Students and volunteers will restore six acres of coastal dune habitat at Galveston Island State park that was destroyed by Hurricane Ike. ($49,975)
(Georgetown) Williamson County Juvenile Services - This adventure-based counseling program will allow 300 at risk kids and their families the opportunity to kayak, fish, rock-climb, and backpack and more in state and local parks and along Texas rivers. As part of their service project, they will build and install benches at Mother Neff State Park. ($14,500)
(Houston) The Woods Project, Inc. - These year round service projects will allow students to learn more about the state's natural resources and leadership development. Eight outdoor service projects have been identified including trail maintenance at Huntsville State Park. ($41,540)
(Laredo) Big River Foundation - 249 Students in Laredo will develop science skills and experience kayaking, fishing, outdoor cooking and more. ($34,717)
(McKinney) The Heard Museum -- 348 participants will experience native ecosystems through scientific investigations and native plant restoration projects. They will also learn how to paddle a canoe, camp and cook outdoors. ($49,992)
(Nacogdoches) Stephen F. Austin State University - This after-school, summer and family program includes a series of service projects for participants, information on career and educational opportunities beyond high school and outdoor activities such as archery, fishing and camping. ($42,042)
(New Braunfels) Ravenstar Inc. - 1250 kids will participate in this environmental education and service learning initiative which will allow them to go canoeing, orienteering and remove invasive plant species around local parks in New Braunfels. ($49,170)
(Pharr) Boys & Girls Club of Pharr - 250 participants will visit the nine sites of the World Birding Center as part of a nine-week outdoor curriculum on birds in Texas. ($44,500)
(Port Arthur) Port Arthur Historical Society - Summer camp for students in 2nd through 5th grade in the Port Arthur school district. They will study plant life, wildlife, weather, environmental issues and pollution as well as conservation and outdoor recreation. ($5,440)
(San Antonio) Epilepsy Foundation - Children with epilepsy will experience summer camp where they will learn about camping and conservation and weekend family trips are planned to state parks. ($19,903)
(San Antonio) SA Youth - More than 500 inner-city kids will get away to experience nature through outdoor experiential learning activities such as birding, environmental education, nature photography, hiking, canoeing and fishing. ($46,753)
(Seguin) Seguin Outdoor Learning Center - Students from Seguin and Navarro ISDs will participate in the following: hunter education, boater education and Jr. Angler programs. ($14,430)
(South Padre Island) Fishing's Future - 45 statewide Kids Fish Camps will expose more than 2,000 participants to fishing, kayaking, camping, conservation programs as well as environmental stewardship. ($48,424)
(Stephenville) Stephenville ISD - This Outdoor Adventure Program allows students to experience the outdoors while learning about the environment and stewardship. These students will also continue to work on developing woodlands around the school into an Outdoor Nature Trail and Learning Center. ($29,315)
For more information about this grant program, contact the grant office at 512-389-8224 or visit the program website.
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