|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2014-02-05                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than three 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: Kimberly Sorensen, Outdoor Education Diversity Specialist, Texas State Parks, 512-576-1357, kimberly.sorensen@tpwd.state.tx.us ]
Feb. 5, 2014
Texas State Parks Announce Spring Camping Workshops for Houston Families
Workshops Address Common Concerns and Removes Barriers to Enjoying Outdoor Recreation
HOUSTON - Texas Outdoor Family, a Texas State Park family camping program, will host spring and summer family camping workshops at Brazos Bend, Huntsville and Galveston Island state parks to teach families the basics of camping and enjoying the great outdoors.
The overnight programs provide a low-cost weekend to help families "unplug" and reconnect with nature and one-another. Families can learn more about the Texas Outdoor Family experience by watching the newest TPWD YouTube video titled "Tent Revival" The Texas Outdoor Family Program.
"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," Harkey says.
The cost of workshops starts at $65 per family (up to six people) and includes camping fees, instruction from rangers, equipment and all camping gear except food and bedding. Families with no experience can show up with a few recommended household items and program staff can help setting up the campsite and will coordinate the rest of the weekend activities. Call (512) 389-8903 to make a reservation.
Spring workshop schedule (Houston Area)
--3/22/14 - Brazos Bend
--3/29/14 - Brazos Bend
--5/17/14 - Huntsville
--5/31/14 - Huntsville
--6/28/14 - Galveston Island
Find a workshop near you!
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 three 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: Jim Booker, (903) 670-2266 or james.booker@tpwd.state.tx.us ]
Feb. 5, 2014
Fly Fish Texas March 8 at Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center
ATHENS--Learn to tie a fly, cast a fly and catch a fish all in one day during the annual Fly Fish Texas event at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center March 8.
Throughout the day, experienced fly-tiers will be demonstrating and teaching fly-tying in the Anglers Pavilion on a one-on-one basis. In addition, group instruction in beginning fly-tying will be offered in the Hart-Morris Conservation Center beginning at noon. Both are offered on a walk-up basis.
Beginning casting instruction will take place all day in the Conservation Center parking lot, again on a walk-up basis. Scheduled sessions will teach single- and double-hand Spey rod casting.
For a complete schedule of activities and seminars, visit tpwd.texas.gov/tffc and click on the Fly Fish Texas link.
Vendors will be displaying and selling fly-fishing gear, and seminars will brief visitors on where and how to fly-fish in fresh and salt waters for a variety of species. The program will include presentations on fly-fishing the Llano River and Colorado's backcountry canyons and high-meadow streams.
Other sessions will focus on caring for fly-fishing equipment, choosing a fly rod, fly-fishing for carp, tying flies for spring bass fishing, tying trout flies, tying flies to take advantage of fish senses and rigging for trout.
Kayaks and instruction on how to use them for fly-fishing will be available on the casting pond. Do-it-yourself fly-fishing for rainbow trout, sunfish and catfish will be available all day in TFFC's ponds and streams. Bass and rainbow trout fishing will be available in the fly-fishing pond at the end of the Wetlands Trail.
Food service will be available onsite, or attendees may bring a picnic. TFFC's regularly scheduled dive shows will take place in the dive theater at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. and will be followed by tram tours of the hatchery.
Event sponsors include Sabine River Authority, Dallas Fly Fishers, Temple Fork Outfitters, Red Hat Rentals, Best Western Royal Mountain Inn--Athens, Friends of TFFC, Cripple Creek BBQ, Danny's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que, First State Bank and Super 8--Athens.
Show hours are 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. All Fly Fish Texas activities are free with regular paid admission to the center.
On the Net:
Event information and schedule: http://tpwd.texas.gov/tffc
Event video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHMGXp5jpqg

[ Note: This item is more than three 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]
Feb. 5, 2014
Wild Turkey "Super Stocking" Project Under Way in East Texas
TENNESSEE COLONY, TX - More than two dozen Eastern wild turkeys from Tennessee and Missouri will call the Gus Engeling Wildlife Management Area home as of today, thanks to the efforts of the National Wild Turkey Federation and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
The birds were captured earlier this week and transported to a TPWD facility in Tyler, where they were inspected, tagged with metal ID leg bracelets and fitted with GPS tracking devices. The transplanted turkeys then traveled to the Gus Engeling WMA an hour away and released into the wild as part of a "Super Stocking" initiative to restore this majestic bird on its historic range in East Texas.
The Gus Engeling WMA is among three sites identified for stocking this year. The "Super Stocking" plan calls for stockings of 80 turkeys on each site - three hens for each gobbler -- about 240 birds in total. By next week, nearly 100 turkeys will have been released thus far.
"It's the same old story," Hardin said. "The birds were essentially wiped out by subsistence and market hunting along with extensive habitat loss in the later parts of the 19th century, but with the help of the NWTF, we have been able to bring the birds back all across the country. Although more than 50 counties in East Texas were stocked during the 1980s and 1990s only 28 counties are open for turkey hunting today. So we had to start looking at why we were not as successful in keeping the Eastern wild turkey population flourishing as other states in its historic range."
The NWTF's Texas State Chapter is playing a significant role in footing the bill for transferring the birds. Help with the gas bills and plane tickets have been a real boost, Hardin said. "We couldn't do what we do without NWTF volunteers and employees. This is all part of NWTF's new Save the Habitat, Save the Hunt Initiative. Hopefully, one of these days we'll have enough birds so we will not need to rely on other states for our Eastern wild turkey restoration efforts."
More Eastern wild turkeys are on the way.
Alabama, Missouri, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia are providing wild trapped Eastern turkeys for the Texas project. The states are compensated $500 for each turkey they provide, the restitution is funded by TPWD's Upland Game Bird Stamp program.
Researchers will use the GPS transmitters to track movements of the birds, effectively "ground-truthing" the models biologists have created to identify preferred turkey habitat needs throughout the year. This data will help in assessing future stocking sites.
This restoration effort in Texas is unique," said NWTF Assistant Vice President for Conservation Programs Tom Hughes. "It's an area where we helped with trap and transfer work in places years ago. Maybe there was a change in the habitat, you had less prescribed fire than was needed, too much rain or not enough. Whatever the reason, we are going back to the area and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is really committed to getting it right this time."
Hughes says it's an unusual circumstance in Texas, since most wild turkey populations did well following earlier trap and transfer efforts.
"This one did too, for a while," said Hughes. "But, from our standpoint, we are still committed to making sure turkeys have the best chance they can for survival. We are still practicing what we preach and have been since 1973."