A monthly newsletter from Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation

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Wild Times April 2024

These last six weeks have been stressful times for us all, especially with park closures and stay at home orders that have prevented us from visiting our favorite Texas State Parks. Thankfully, Governor Abbott has re-opened our parks, and Texas State Parks staff have implemented new operational measures to ensure visitor safety. It’s a blessing to be able to visit our beautiful state parks again, where so many of us find solace in nature.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (TPWF) is proud to support Texas State Parks across the state, through generous supporters and members. Thanks to you, Texas State Park visitors can enjoy improved hiking trails across the state, bird blinds, renovated Nature Centers, and many other improvements to enhance the visitor experience.

As you make plans to safely visit Texas State Parks in the coming weeks and months, we hope you will join us in giving thanks for our beautiful parks.


  Story #2: Texas Game Wardens on the Front Lines of COVID Response  

In times of trouble, Texas Game Wardens are on the front lines. Emergency response efforts kicked into high gear as COVID-19 spread throughout Texas, and our game wardens have been an integral part of the response by local and state law enforcement and military forces.

Early on, Texas Game Wardens stationed around the state were instrumental in making sure that Personal Protective Equipment and other medical supplies were delivered where they were needed, especially in rural areas. As testing sites were being set up by the Army Corps of Engineers, Texas Game Wardens pitched in to make sure that needed equipment was delivered, and are now providing traffic control and security for medical personnel. They are also transporting medical samples, often driving many hours to get the samples to labs.

“We’ve been called the “Swiss Army Knife” of Texas law enforcement, and we take that to heart,” said interim Colonel Ronald VanderRoest, who leads the Law Enforcement Division at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “Our Game Wardens continue to work tirelessly with our other state and federal agencies to keep Texans safe, and we are proud that Texas Game Wardens are ready for anything. We know our game wardens are successful in adapting, and we pride ourselves on community-oriented policing. That is the foundation of how we operate.”

VanderRoest says Texas Game Wardens are continuing their normal patrol and water safety duties, and are also assisting their colleagues in Texas State Parks, as needed. He encourages all Texans to heed the guidelines put forth by state and federal officials to keep us all safe.


  Story #3: WWNBT: We Will Not Be Tamed: Meet Hector Astorga  

Professional nature photographer and avid outdoorsman Hector Astorga sees photography as another doorway to the outdoor adventures that he loves. He started photo guiding in 2009 and is the ranch manager for the Santa Clara Ranch, a nature tourism operation that focuses on photography. In 2010, he ventured to New Mexico for his first out-of-state photo workshop. Now he leads 17 workshops every year, all over the world.

This year he is serving as one of TPWF’s We Will Not Be Tamed ambassadors. We Will Not Be Tamed calls us to appreciate the wildness of Texas, the vastness of our Texas spirit and why we should be inspired to conserve it.

He hopes his work will help Texans appreciate the wild thing and wild places of our state.

“Wildlife photography opens people’s eyes to what we need to protect,” he said. “That leads to conservation and preserving the habitat these wild creatures need to survive.”

Find Out More

  Story #4: Protecting Powderhorn Forever  

The endangered whooping crane is one of Hector Astorga’s favorite photo subjects. Thanks to TPWF members, there’s another place in Texas to view and photograph this majestic bird. The acquisition of Powderhorn Ranch in 2014 forever conserves a pristine tract of rapidly vanishing coastal prairie, thanks to partnership efforts made possible, in part, by TPWF members.

Powderhorn now serves as a wildlife management area that currently offers public hunting opportunities.  A portion of Powderhorn Ranch will become a state park in the future.

By becoming a member today, you can help conserve places like Powderhorn Ranch.

Join Now

  Story #5: Become a TPWF Member, Win a Photo Workshop with Hector Astorga  


We Will Not Be Tamed Ambassador Hector Astorga’s photo workshops are so popular that they fill up 18 months in advance. But now you can have the chance to win one of these coveted slots. If you join TPWF as a member or renew your membership by June 9, you will be entered to win a slot in a Fall 2020 or Spring 2021 photo workshop of your choice.*

JOIN NOW to support TPWF and to be entered into a drawing to win.

 *The price of membership pays for TPWF membership only and not for the chance to win the photo workshop slot. Members who join or renew between January 1 and June 9 are automatically entered in the drawing.
  Story #6: We Will Not Be Tamed Podcast: Hector Astorga, Earl Nottingham and Jonathan Vail  


Capturing the beauty of Texas and the wonder of Texas wildlife is all in a day’s work for photographers Hector Astorga, Earl Nottingham and Jonathan Vail. Their work has been featured in magazines far and wide, including our own Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine. Listen in on a conversation as they reflect on what inspires them… and how they inspire each other.



  Story #7: Lone Star Prize to Grant $10 million to Improve the Lives of Texans  


Lyda Hill Philanthropies has launched the Lone Star Prize, a Texas-based competition for a $10 million grant to improve the lives of Texans. In these unprecedented times, finding long-term solutions to improve the lives of Texans is more critical than ever. Lone Star Prize is looking for proven solutions that strengthen health outcomes, protects the environment and/or boosts the workforce to improve the quality of life for Texans.

Learn more at www.lonestarprize.org.


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