IN THIS ISSUE Every brush with nature translates to art in the hands of TPWD artist Clemente Guzman. Each winter adventurous climbers head to Hueco Tanks to scale boulders and short walls without ropes – really! With no predators and an indiscriminate appetite, the voracious, invasive lionfish is a terrifying model of success in the Gulf of Mexico. Carter Smith welcomes his first-born – a son – with a promise of outdoor play and a lifetime of adventure. A weekend in Uvalde yields a cornucopia of wildlife viewing, historical sites, and outdoor fun. Learn how to save a bison herd and grow a Christmas cactus. Be inspired to visit Estero Llano Grande (one of the birdiest places in the U.S.), choose stocking stuffers for photography and birding lovers, and take the family outside for holiday adventure.
TPWD artist Clemente Guzman inspires conservation with his wildlife paintings.
By Louie Bond
He moves the fine tip of the brush lightly, but with confidence.
With each small, silent stroke, a bit of golden light touches the curved horns of the bison, and a few pieces of straw appear on the coarse brown hide. Puffs of steamy breath dance from flared nostrils, while the beast’s luminous dark eyes reflect the snow-tipped winter grasses under his hooves. In the distance, the muted blues and reds of the mountains give the scene a sense of place — this landscape could be none other than West Texas. Read more.
Hueco Tanks is home to world-class bouldering.
By Russell Roe
The parade of black mats marches through the desert, bobbing up and down through craggy rock outcrops and swerving to avoid cactus and other prickly plants.
The unusual parade takes place several times a day at Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site as rock climbers, carrying “crash pads” on their backs, hike from crag to crag to test their skills on some of the world’s best rock. Every winter, climbers gather at Hueco, east of El Paso, to go bouldering, a type of rock climbing in which climbers scale boulders or short walls without a rope. Read more.
Can we eat our way out of the latest invasive problem?
By Melissa Gaskill
Limits and size restrictions are a way of life for those who fish. But there’s one fish that scientists and authorities hope everyone will catch and eat as much as possible: invasive lionfish.
Blame the aquarium trade for introducing the fish, native to the Western Pacific, to U.S. waters, says Keri Kenning of the nonprofit marine education organization Reef Environmental Education Foundation, or REEF.
“It wasn’t Hurricane Andrew, as some have theorized, because lionfish had arrived before then,” she explains, although damage from that 1992 storm likely liberated additional lionfish. “And it wasn’t ship ballast water, which is the source of other invaders. If released ballast water contained lionfish, they would be present all along shipping routes.” That isn’t the case. Read more.
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