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Wild Times May 2024

As part of the 100 Years of Texas State Parks Celebration, Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (TPWF), in partnership with Rambler Sparkling Water and Tecovas, has introduced Texas Wild—an album featuring Texas musicians as they pay tribute to iconic Texas tunes that showcase the untamed spirit of Texas music. Texas Wild blends the sounds of traditional Texas genres with modern mixes that are sure to please old-school country fans and new listeners alike.

The uniquely Texan project has already garnered a lot of buzz, including a rave review from Texas Monthly. The compilation cover album Texas Wild, which includes pairings such as Adrian Quesada and Destiny’s Child’s ‘Say My Name,’ was curated by a mad Texan genius,” said Peter Blackstock. “Texas Wild feels like one revelation after another: Texas artists reshaping and redefining Texas music, all for the love of their state parks."

But don’t take our word for it. Listen today! The album, which features 11 remarkable covers of Texas-bred songs, is streaming now on Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon. Listen and download here.

Pre-orders for the limited edition vinyl album are also now available. Own a piece of Texas and pre-order your copy of Texas Wild today.

Sales from the album will benefit TPWF!

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  Story #2: A New Golden Age for Texas State Parks  

Yesterday, Nov. 7, Texas voters turned out to vote on 14 constitutional amendments, including Proposition 14, the $1 billion Centennial Parks Conservation Fund, which would provide stable, long-term funding for new park land purchases and development of new parks. Voters easily passed the measure, a monumental win for the wild things and wild places of Texas, which need our support now more than ever.

“Today marks the beginning of a new chapter for Texas State Parks thanks to the unwavering support from the Texans who voted to adopt Proposition 14. This historic vote confirms the value Texans place on conserving outdoor spaces for the enjoyment of all Texans,” said Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Executive Director David Yoskowitz, Ph.D.

“We are grateful for devoted advocates like Texas Coalition for State Parks for their continued support of this important legislation. I also want to thank the Texas Legislature – especially Senators Tan Parker, César J. Blanco, Sarah Eckhardt, Lois W. Kolkhorst and José Menéndez, and Representatives Armando Walle and Justin Holland– for making this a priority and putting the amendment on the ballot. Thank you for helping us protect future spaces to hike, bike, swim, and conserve the natural heritage of Texas."

This historic vote is a fitting tribute to our Texas State Parks during this milestone centennial anniversary, and we are forever grateful to all who voted to ensure a bold new era of wilds for all Texans to enjoy.

  Story #3: Gulf of Mexico Trust Advancing Coastal Conservation  

A new organization has been launched to provide Texas-based, science-backed solutions that support a vibrant and resilient Texas Coast and Gulf of Mexico.

Through an innovative partnership with Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M – Corpus Christi and relevant stakeholders, Gulf of Mexico Trust has been created to promote long-term, research-based solutions to the Gulf’s most pressing challenges.

“We’re working with scientists, businesspeople, public policymakers, philanthropic concerns, non-governmental organizations, and communities to develop policy strategies that will improve the Gulf for all,” said Jay Kleberg, who is executive director of Gulf of Mexico Trust. “We aim to bring together those who love our coastal treasures and amplify our partners’ voices to advance Texas’ legacy of balancing economic growth with natural resource conservation."

Gulf of Mexico Trust is focusing on five focal areas: Building coastal resiliency; facilitating strategic energy development; improving coastal habitats, promoting applied research; and scaling science-based solutions for coastal challenges.

The newly established organization is led by a dynamic team of well-versed and well-respected lifelong Texas conservationists. Along with Jay Kleberg, who previously served as director of conservation initiatives for TPWF, Gulf of Mexico Trust board of directors includes TPWF Executive Director Anne Brown, Coastal Conservation Association National President Pat Murray, and ardent philanthropists Rod Sanders and Will Harte.

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  Story #4: Forever Protecting a Coastal Treasure  

Renowned for its untouched natural beauty, the barrier island on Matagorda Peninsula provides critical habitat for myriad fish and wildlife species, including nesting sites for sea turtles, foraging and nesting habitat for wading birds and shorebirds, and near-shore marine habitat for redfish and other valued sportfish. The peninsula also serves as critical storm surge mitigation for East Matagorda Bay and the mainland. This vibrant Gulf of Mexico salt marsh ecosystem is an emblem of Texas’ wild things and wild places.

Acquiring the last remaining inholdings is a conservation priority, and thanks to TPWF and partners, a critical 492-acre tract has been purchased this year. The acquisition was funded through North American Wetlands Conservation Act and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grants, with private funding from The Trull Foundation and The Elkins Foundation providing matching funds.

Thanks to this partnership, this rare coastal treasure will be protected forever.

  Story #5: Meet WWNBT Ambassador JT Van Zandt  

If you ask JT Van Zandt what’s new in his life, his answer is simple.

“Nothing, really,” he says with a laugh. “I just take people fishing. Then, on my days off, I go fishing. Family is priority. I have young children, so I have to balance it all. The same as everyone else out there, just trying to live my best life."

JT Van Zandt has been fly fishing for more than 30 years. His calling card is sight casting to redfish on the Texas Coast with occasional breaks hosting destination trips around the world.

“Sight casting ruins people on other types of fishing because it's much more like hunting. If you can picture yourself stalking through the forest with a bow and arrow, patiently waiting until you get within close range of your prey, that's exactly what sight fishing is. You get the same buck fever from spotting and approaching an active fish in shallow water. It's just a very exciting way to go about it."

JT is dedicated to conservation and serves on Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Coastal Resource Advisory Committee.

“I've entered the preservation / conservation phase of my life, and I want to do all I can to give back to the habitat that has supported me and my family all these years. I think if more people understood just how magical the Texas Coast is, they would do more to get behind any effort to conserve it."

That’s one of the reasons JT Van Zandt answered the call to be a TPWF We Will Not Be Tamed ambassador. We Will Not Be Tamed encourages us to appreciate the wildness of Texas, the vastness of our Texas spirit and why we should be inspired to conserve it.

“This is a sensitive aquatic wilderness that needs all of us to help protect it. We all depend on clean air and water to survive. We should get behind every effort to conserve what we have for future generations."

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Join JT and countless other Texans who are keeping Texas conservation efforts afloat by becoming a member of TPWF today. And when you join, you’ll be entered to win an exclusive We Will Not Be Tamed-branded YETI Hopper Flip 18 soft cooler!*

  WWNBT Membership Giveaway  

Join TPWF today… because our wild things and wild places need your help now more than ever!

Join Now

*The price of membership pays for TPWF membership only and not for the chance to win the YETI cooler. Members who join or renew between January 1 and November 30, 2023, are automatically entered in the drawing.
  Story #6: TPWF Earns 4-Star Rating 11 Years in a Row  

TPWF is proud to report that for 11 consecutive years, we have achieved Charity Navigator’s 4-Star Rating. And with over 30 years of experience stewarding our wild places and conserving our wild things, you can be confident TPWF will use your donation carefully and effectively to fund impactful projects that support Texas’ wildest natural treasures.

We invite you to learn more about our Charity Navigator rating today! 

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