|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2012-08-23                                    |
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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 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Ky Harkey, Texas State Parks (512) 705-9388 or ky.harkey@tpwd.texas.gov ]
Aug. 23, 2012
Texas State Parks Announce Fall Camping Workshops for Outdoor Families
Workshops address common concerns and removes barriers to enjoying outdoor recreation
AUSTIN - Texas Outdoor Family, a Texas State Park family camping program, announces 26 new workshops at state parks across Texas to teach families the basics of camping and enjoying the great outdoors. The program offers low-cost weekends to help families "unplug" and reconnect with nature and one-another.
"It’s not unusual to be a little intimidated to take the first step," says Ky Harkey, Outdoor Education team lead for Texas State Parks. "But once you do, it can open up a lifetime of adventure for you and your family."
During the overnight workshops, families learn the basic skills of pitching a tent and cooking outdoors, but workshops also focus on how to enjoy the parks through activities like kayaking, fishing, and geocaching - an outdoor treasure hunt using GPS technology. Participants also learn how to protect their state parks through good stewardship and "Leave No Trace" principles.
"Our first family camping trip was an overwhelming success," says Tony Williams, TOF graduate and father of two from San Antonio. "My family now has the camping bug! It keeps the boys away from the 'screens' and gets them more active."
"In a time when kids are six times more likely to play a video game than ride a bike or play outside, we're proud to offer the first step to helping families get outdoors and enjoy their state parks," says Harkey.
The cost of workshops starts at $65 per family (up to six people), and includes camping fees, instruction from rangers, equipment rentals, and all gear except food and bedding. Families with no experience can show up with a few recommended household items and the rest of the weekend will be coordinated by program staff.
About Texas Outdoor Family
Texas Outdoor Family is a proactive program aimed at encouraging children and their decision makers (parents or guardians) to get outdoors and enjoy state parks. The Texas Outdoor Family Program began in 2006 as an outreach and education effort offered by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to address "Nature Deficit Disorder," a term coined by author Richard Louv to describe the growing disconnect between families and nature. The Texas Outdoor Family program has helped more than 2,500 families reconnect to state parks since its inception and has been replicated by several other states.

[ 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]
Aug. 23, 2012
$10,000 Grant to Fund Bastrop State Park Trail Building
BASTROP - Bastrop State Park will use a $10,000 grant from Coca-Cola to underwrite the continued building of new park trails.
Bastrop State Park is receiving the grant in connection with Coca-Cola's "America Is Your Park" campaign, in which parks nationwide competed to win the most votes for a top grant of $100,000. Bastrop State Park came in 12th with 661,565 votes.
"The tremendous support we received from people and companies for Bastrop State Park is testament to the special place this park holds in the minds and hearts of Texans," said Brent Leisure, Texas State Parks director. "We are very appreciative of Coca-Cola's $10,000 donation that will allow us to hire America's YouthWorks to complete new trails in the park."
Bastrop State Park has been making a strong comeback since last Labor Day Weekend's horrific wildfire that burned most of the park.
Since last year's tragic Labor Day fire that hit 96 percent of the 6,500-acre state park, more than $200,000 in donations for Bastrop State Park recovery have come from a variety of sources. The donations have helped TPWD initiate a contract with American YouthWorks to assist with restoration efforts that include clearing downed trees and other debris, restoring park trails and constructing hand-hewn pine log bridges.
Despite the destruction of much of its loblolly pine forests, Bastrop State Park is seeing the growth of some vegetation and the return of park customers who are coming to camp, rent a cabin, fish, play golf and picnic. Visitors can stay at all four campgrounds and the 13 climate-controlled cabins, which are sporting new shingle roofs, and most of the park trails have been reopened.
For more information on the America Is Your Park campaign, visit http://www.livepositively.com.

[ 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 ]
Aug. 23, 2012
TPWD Law Enforcement Awards Honor 39 Texans
AUSTIN - From a state game warden who rescued an elderly woman in shock sitting dangerously close to her burning house to a federal agent who obtained convictions in a major case involving illegal importation of deer, 39 persons were honored Thursday by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Law Enforcement Division.
Ten city, state, and federal officers, 26 TPWD employees, one fire fighter and two civilians from around the state who have performed exceptionally for the greater good of Texas were presented awards by TPWD Executive Director Carter Smith at TPWD Headquarters.
Receiving the Marine Safety Officer of Year award was Chatt Cottle, a Lower Colorado River Authority ranger. Cottle was recognized for his promotion of safe boating practices through the detection and enforcement of intoxication laws on public waters. The LCRA ranger also hosts both formal and informal training sessions for his fellow officers, prosecutors, and the public.
Director's Awards went to: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agent Michael Merida for his role in the obtaining convictions on seven individuals for illegal importation of live deer and harmful fish into Texas; Ray Cartwright for his role as a security professional for TPWD for over 20 years and for providing training, planning, logistics and executive protection for many TPWD commissioners, as well as providing security at many TPWD facilities and special events; former TPWD employee Phil Riggs, the owner of Texan Scuba, for assisting with the department dive team's development, training and equipment acquisition; and Sgt. Paul Bonnar, Officer Glen Mayo, Officer Dave Owings, and Officer Mark Thorsen of the Houston Police dive team for providing extensive advanced public safety diver training, consultation and support at no cost to TPWD.
Also receiving director's awards were: TPWD Internal Affairs Captains Chris Davis and Joe Carter, Texas Ranger Randy Aguirre, Mathis Police Sgt. Francisco Sanchez, Investigator Nicole Delagarza, and Investigator Byron Smith for their role in the recovery of a stolen TPWD rifle from a game warden's truck, and the arrest of two individuals; Groesbeck Volunteer Fire Department Capt. Adam Collett for his role in the rescue of a victim from a flooded ditch south of Ben Hur in Limestone County; TPWD Creative Services employee Chris Hunt for her role in the creation of the Law Enforcement Division's publications including the law enforcement awards certificates, the radio handbooks, leap books, and justice of the peace handbooks; and TPWD regulations coordinator Robert Macdonald for his role in the interpretation process of TPWD code, statutes and proclamations relating to the enforcement of fish, wildlife, and water safety laws, as well as for his role in editing the department's Outdoor Annual.
Other receiving director's citations were: Game Warden Will Plumas for creating a map book of the Rio Grande Valley and the Rio Grande that has assisted multiple agencies in reporting incident locations quicker by shedding light to the river and adjacent land formations that are located in that area; Game Wardens Steve Stapleton, Kurt Kelly and Derek Spitzer for their investigation that uncovered an extensive killing spree of white-tailed deer by four individuals that occurred in Wood and Rains counties in northeast Texas; Special Operations Sgt. Chad Ellis and Sgt. Josh Koenig for their assistance, along with several others, in the recovery of a stolen patrol rife from a game warden's truck; and Capt. Henry Balderamas for his work facilitating the ability of Spanish speaking individuals to report game violations.
Receiving the director's life saving citations were: Game Wardens Lerrin Williams and Shaun Bayless for their role in saving a kayaker, from Cedar Park, without a life jacket whose kayak was sinking; Game Warden David Vannoy for the rescue of two hunters and their dog whose boat had capsized on Lake Grapevine; Garza/Lynn County Game Warden Drew Spencer for apprehending an armed man suspected of suicidal tendencies; Game Warden Gary Self for rescuing an elderly woman from a burning house in Hall County; and Game Wardens David Pellizzari and Kirk Permenter for the rescue of a man on Lake Palestine.
Also receiving the director's life saving citations were: Game Wardens Brent Satsky, Michael McCall, Kathleen Stuman and Brian Scott for the rescue of a female swimmer having a seizure in Canyon Lake; Game Wardens Sergio Bazaldua and David Bosecker for the rescue of a man on Joe Pool Lake; Game Warden Randy Harper for his assistance, along with Captain Adam Collett, in the rescue of a man trapped in his truck in a flooding ditch in south of Ben Hur in Limestone County; and Lt. Robert French for performing CPR and employing a portable AED to stabilize a cadet who began to convulse and lost consciousness.