Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine - December 2011

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TPW Magazine header Dec 2011

December 2011 - Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine

Remember the most brutal Texas summer in memory, summarized in this issue in photo and text. Then refresh your mind with a dive into the nation's deepest cave system right here in Texas.  Executive Director Carter Smith reflects on the impact of the drought. And you can check out some Texas specialties: parks, plants and wildlife species. 

Feature Articles


If it wasn’t the drought, it was the heat. If it wasn’t the heat, it was wildfires. Texas has suffered through a brutal year of severe weather and destructive blazes.

Photos by Chase A. Fountain and Earl Nottingham Text by Mike Cox

All summer long and into the fall, the weather records toppled like so many flaming trees. Except for an occasional taunting sprinkle, it seemed as if Mother Nature had forgotten how to make rain as Texas baked in what climatologists labeled an “exceptional” drought.
Bastrop fire

Meteorologists characterized the drought as the worst one-year dry spell Texas has seen since records began to be kept in 1895 and pointed to the grim prospect of a continuing dearth of precipitation for the foreseeable future. It was the state’s hottest summer ever. On top of that, for a time it seemed as if the whole state was on fire. Our photographers captured the devastation. (See additional photos of drought and fire in this photo gallery.) Read more.

Deep, Dark and Dangerous

The nation's deepest known underwater cave system lures expert divers.

By Rae Nadler-Olenick

Positioned on the choppy surface of Lake Amistad, at 29° 32.21’ N, 101° 15.18’ W in Val Verde County, a simple white and blue buoy marks the location of a geographic feature few will ever see. The mouth to Goodenough Spring lies some 165 feet below the reservoir’s normal pool level, beckoning the way to an environment so harsh that most divers — even the highly experienced — turn back. But not all. Read more.
underwater cave

Angels of Mercy

At wildlife rehab centers across the state, injured animals get a second chance.

By Rusty Middleton

It’s late May and “baby season” is in full swing at Austin Wildlife Rescue. As a new wave of young animals arrives in the natural world, the pace of animal rescue shifts to hectic. An emaciated fawn with an IV lies on the treatment table in the front room, tongue drooping listlessly. It can hardly move.
wildlife rehab hawk

“It’s probably not going to make it,” says wildlife rehabilitator Preston Doughty, shaking his head as he adjusts the drip. “Somebody dropped it off a little while ago. They said the mother was badly wounded on a fence post and ran off. This is really a last-ditch effort, but we’re not going to give up on him. As long as he keeps trying, we’ll keep trying to help him.” Read more.

More Articles




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