News of the WILD Back-to-School Issue-August 2016

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A TPWD newsletter of Conservation Education for educators, interpreters, trainers, and outdoor enthusiasts.

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Archived editions of this eNewsletter can be found here.

In This Issue:

Program Spotlight: Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center


Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center Celebrates 20th Anniversary by Looking to the Future

The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) marks its 20th year of operation on November 19, 2016. For two decades, the combination of an operational fish hatchery and interactive visitor center has provided visitors a unique opportunity to experience environmental education within the context of a scientific research and fisheries management facility. 

TFFC currently offers a dive show, spectacular aquatic exhibits, tram tours of the hatchery, wetlands trail and year round fishing in a fully stocked pond. The Center also provides classroom facilities and plays host to a variety of educational events including pre-service teacher training, hunter education, angler education as well as a variety of other educational programs.

As TFFC celebrates the first 20 years of operation, it looks forward to the future with a five year plan to improve existing offerings.  The expanded effort will focus on improving student achievement and supporting school teachers and their efforts to educate students. 

Todd Witt, former Director of School Programs at Sky Ranch, has joined the TFFC team and will be leading the expansion effort. “TFFC has always been an incredible educational experience for families and school groups,” explained Witt. “While continuing to maintain a quality experience for families, our focus in the five year plan will be on developing new resources and facilities specifically designed to enhance formal classroom learning with an eye toward student science achievement as well as teaching quality environmental education.”

TFFC is currently developing working groups of stakeholders such as k-12 educators, education service centers, home school groups, universities and any other individuals or entities that have an interest in collaborating on the redesign and expansion of TFFC. Interested parties should contact Todd Witt at 903.670.2247 or e-mail to

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    Teacher Resources

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    Texas Aquatic Science

    As you're planning your school year, we want to remind you that Texas Aquatic Science is a comprehensive aquatic science curriculum, from molecules to ecosystems, and headwaters to ocean, for middle school and high school students. This free curriculum consists of an online student textbook, a teacher guide, specially produced videos, and supplementary materials and is 100% available online.

    Texas Aquatic Science Video Contest

    Plan to challenge your students to work together to create a video that explains a specific concept or topic in the Texas Aquatic Science curriculum. Students will plan the concept of their project, develop a script/storyboard, and create their video in a logical format which communicates their point. Video projects may include interviewing a professional in an aquatic science field. Successful presentations should include appropriate content such as photographs, video, music, animation, graphs, and other visual aids. Students upload the final project to YouTube. Using the Texas Aquatic Science Video Contest scoring rubric, schools may submit one winning project per school to Texas Parks and Wildlife for competition by sending the YouTube link to Where classes are one semester long, schools may submit one project per semester. Each submission must be accompanied by 1) a transcript of the finished video, 2) school obtained student photo/video releases and, 3) a link to the winning video project. TPWD will select and post winning videos on the Texas Aquatic Science website as supplementary material to the curriculum. RSVP to if you would like to participate.

    Loaner Trunk

    Loaner Trunks

    Want some extra resources for your classroom this coming year? Educator Loaner Trunks are available for loan free of charge to formal and informal educators, and youth leaders. Each trunk contains activities and materials appropriate for multiple age level groups. 

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    More Resources

    Texas Children in Nature has compiled a list of useful resources for formal and informal educators which include- lesson plans, on-demand teaching videos and loaner trunks from various partner organizations from around the state.

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    Upcoming Events

    Texas Pollinator BioBlitz

    Coming Soon!

    The Texas Pollinator BioBlitz is a statewide effort to observe and identify as many pollinators as possible between October 7th and October 16th. Texans of all ages can venture outdoors to find pollinators and nectar-producing plants, and then sharing observations by posting a photo or video to Instagram or iNaturalist. A daily challenge will keep participants on the hunt and add to the fun. All will be encouraged to plant pollinator gardens. In the coming days, watch the TPWD website, for more information.

    • Sep 17

    Aquatic WILD Workshop

    Plano, TX - Plano Environmental Education Center

    Learn to share conservation with children: Professional Development for anyone who works with children

    • Sep 19

    Project WILD/Growing Up WILD Combo Workshop

    San Antonio, TX - Phil Hardberger Park - Urban Ecology Center

    Learn to share conservation with children: Professional Development for anyone who works with children

    • Sep 20

    Project WILD/Growing Up WILD Combo Workshop

    San Antonio, TX - Phil Hardberger Park - Urban Ecology Center

    Learn to share conservation with children: Professional Development for anyone who works with children

    • Sep 21

    Project WILD/Growing Up WILD Combo Workshop - in Spanish

    San Antonio, TX - Phil Hardberger Park - Urban Ecology Center

    Learn to share conservation with children: Professional Development for anyone who works with children. This session is presented dual language - Spanish/English and is designed specifically for bilingual teachers.

    To learn more about other fun events and recreational activities, we invite you to sign up to receive our free email updates.  Preview archived copies of these and other e-newsletters here:

    • Life’s Better Outside e-newsletter, featuring stories and news on hunting, fishing, state parks, and conservation efforts
    • State Parks Getaways e-newsletter and State Parks Promotions and Offers, highlighting ideas for your next park visit, news of park events, and fun seasonal activities  
    • The Award winning Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine
    • Specialty Newsletters, such as Eye on Nature and Texas Hummer, including topics on wildlife diversity, conservation and statewide volunteer opportunities

    You can change your subscription preferences or unsubscribe at any time by clicking on the “Manage Subscriptions” link at the bottom of any email you receive from us. 

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    Program Links

    Angler Education | Boater Education | Buffalo Soldiers | Coastal EXPO

    Hunter Education | Recreation Grants | Save Water for Wildlife | Teacher Toolkit

    Texas Archery in the Schools | Texas Children in Nature | Nature Rocks Texas

    Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center | Texas Master Naturalist

    Texas Nature Trackers | Texas Project WILD | Texas State Parks