Some good friends of Texas Parks and Wildlife - dedicated nature lovers all – take a shot at choosing the best places in Texas in the third annual “Best of Texas” list. Texas Master Naturalist volunteers live by the theme “everyone plays a part” in stewardship of the natural world. Going green takes on a special meaning at TPWD facilities, and Carter Smith remembers Don Kennard, a lawmaker and naturalist who helped parks. Then it’s on to Marfa, the expanded statewide Great Texas Birding Classic, water- and warbler-wise Government Canyon, the whooping cranes' fragile comeback and more.
TPWD partners share their love of Texas’ natural wonders.
By Louie Bond
From the indomitable peaks of the Franklins to the Big Thicket pines, from the dusty plains of the Panhandle to the swaying Gulf palms, Texas has natural wonders to suit all tastes. For the past two years, we’ve shared some of our favorites here in our annual “Best Of” feature. This year, we’ve asked some of our friends to join in the fun. These aren’t just casual acquaintances. Hand in hand, we work with these partners to preserve these treasures for generations to come. Read more.
Master Naturalists volunteer their time to conserve and educate.
By Sheryl Smith-Rodgers
The man hadn’t meant any harm. He’d simply found three horned lizards last April while working in West Texas and carried them home to Wichita Falls to show his kids. Naturally, they’d oohed and ahhed over the spiny reptiles. But then the family didn’t know what to do with the trio. Nor were they aware of state wildlife regulations that prohibit the possession or transportation of the threatened species without a special permit.
When news of the problem reached Texas Master Naturalists with the Rolling Plains Chapter, an official partner in the state’s Horned Lizard Watch program, several offered to help. Read more.
TPWD ‘walks the walk’ by using environmentally friendly building designs.
By Rob McCorkle
When the City of La Porte expressed interest several years ago in purchasing the old bank building on Main Street occupied by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department staff since the 1970s, the agency jumped at the chance to sell. The flat-topped roof leaked and needed replacing, quarters were cramped, and the poor insulation resulted in monthly summer utility bills that topped $600.
TPWD used $450,000 from the 2009 sale as seed money for design and construction of a new 7,500-square-foot, eco-smart facility located just north of Sheldon Lake in Houston. Read more.