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Wild Times November 2021

For nearly a quarter-century, the Edwin L. Cox, Jr., Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) in Athens has brought together avid anglers, curious school children, dedicated conservation professionals, and many generous supporters in their passion for Texas’ freshwater resources. From fish hatcheries to recreational fishing ponds, over 300,000 gallons of indoor and outdoor aquariums, and exhibits featuring fish, alligators, and other native species, TFFC showcases the diverse inland waterways that connect all living creatures.

TFFC’s fish hatchery is a visitor favorite, and it plays an important role in the conservation of one of Texas’ most sought-after sportfish. In addition to producing 3 to 4 million Florida largemouth bass annually for stocking in Texas lakes, the facility is home to the renowned Toyota ShareLunker program.

TFFC holds another important distinction: It was the first major public-private partnership between Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (TPWF) and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). The 106-acre site came to life in 1996 through the generosity of many organizations and individuals who supported the landmark project. After 25 years of operation, TFFC’s aquariums and exhibits are due for an update, and TPWF is once again raising private funds for the project.

“Our fundraising goal is $3 million, and so far, we’ve raised more than $2 million,” said TPWF Executive Director Susan Houston. “Every donation makes a difference and we’re hoping all who love Texas’ freshwater resources will chip in to get us over the top."

Funds raised will be used to renovate outdoor aquariums and tanks, and add new features, including a 10,000-gallon Sharelunker tank. Looking forward to the next 25 years, these enhancements will ensure that Texans can learn about and enjoy healthy populations of bass, trout, and other freshwater fisheries resources for generations to come.

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  Story #2: CCA Interns Help Protect Texas’ Coastal Resources  


Justin Barrow had the time of his life this past summer as he worked as an intern with Texas Game Wardens stationed on the upper coast. He did water safety checks, checked for fishing violations and even chased down a couple of bad guys, which is all in a day’s work for a Texas Game Warden.

“Internships provide the opportunity for an individual interested in becoming a Texas Game warden to get a firsthand look at what it’s like,” said Lt. Rachel Kellner, who leads recruiting efforts for TPWD’s Law Enforcement Division. “It’s probably the best recruiting tool we have."

Barrow was one of six interns funded this year through the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) and TPWF. CCA has been funding interns for five years now, and many previous interns have gone on to become Texas Game Wardens. That’s what Justin Barrow is hoping for.

“This internship experience has deepened my resolve to do everything it takes to become a Texas Game Warden,” said Barrow. “I am finishing up my bachelor’s degree, and I look forward to applying for the Texas Game Warden Academy when I am done. It would be a dream come true for me."

CCA is pleased to partner with TPWF to make the internships possible.

“CCA Texas has had an excellent, long-standing partnership with Texas Game Wardens. They play an absolutely critical role in protecting our Texas wildlife resources for everyone to enjoy,“ said Robby Byers, CCA Texas Executive Director. “Our members are proud to fund these internships each year to encourage young people to pursue a career in fish and wildlife law enforcement."

 
 
 
  Story #3: We Will Not Be Tamed: Meet Josh Crumpton  


Josh Crumpton is a seventh-generation Texan and calls himself the Chief Executive Outdoorsman of his company Spoke Hollow Outfitters in Wimberley, Texas. He is also the primary steward of Spoke Hollow Ranch, a 1,000-acre spread nestled within the city limits of the fast-growing Hill Country town he calls home. He is a passionate advocate for hunting, fishing and land stewardship, and has made it his life’s mission to connect more people to the outdoors.

"What I have observed is that there's a high demand for not just outfitting but education,” he said. “I'm passionate about being a mentor and educator, someone who opens the doors, and literally opens the gates for people to come and step into this space and become true conservationists who understand the larger picture."

Josh was honored to be asked to join the ranks of Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation’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.

“Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation's mission of conserving the wild things and wild places of Texas is central to everything I believe in. I’ve been involved with Stewards of the Wild and the Foundation for more than a year now, and I’ve seen its impact firsthand. I want to help further that impact and hopefully leave a lasting mark." 

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  Story #4: Help us help the Wild Things and Wild Places of Texas  


Upland hunting is one of the true shining stars at Spoke Hollow Outfitters, and We Will Not Be Tamed ambassador Josh Crumpton wants to you experience the best the Texas Hill Country has to offer! 

If you join or renew your membership with TPWF by November 19, you will be entered in a TPWF drawing* for a chance to win an upland hunt at Spoke Hollow Ranch in Wimberley for one TPWF member and guest with Josh as your guide. The hunt will include lunch and an early round of clay shooting.

By joining or renewing your TPWF membership* between January 1, 2021 to November 19, 2021, you are automatically entered to win the giveaway.

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*The price of membership pays for TPWF membership only and not for the chance to win the upland hunt at Spoke Hollow Ranch. Members who join or renew between January 1 and November 19 are automatically entered in the drawing. Click here for additional details.
 
 
  Story #5: Texas Couple Gives Back to the Parks they Love  


Elaine and Bobby Cowley’s romance began in 1988 in the cool clear waters of the spring-fed pool at Balmorhea State Park in West Texas. More than 30 years later, the couple is still going strong, and they’re still visiting Texas State Parks together with their dogs.

Their love for the parks led them to make a planned gift to TPWF, and since October is estate planning awareness month, it’s a good time to share their story.

“If you enjoy and use our state parks, a planned gift is a way to ensure they will stay a part of Texas for all to enjoy,” said Elaine.

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  Story #6: Thank You for Supporting Gear Up  

 

A Texas-sized thank you to all of our donors, brand partners and supporters for making TPWF’s Gear Up for Game Wardens online auction a huge success! Thanks to you, the auction raised $129,233 to support the Gear Up for Game Wardens program and ensure TPWF can continue its work to get much-needed equipment in the hands of your Texas Game Wardens.

On behalf of the best-trained corps of conservation officers in the nation, thank you again for your support!

 

  Story #8: WWNBT Podcast: Craig Bonds and Tom Lang  

 

The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center has been delighting visitors for close to 25 years now. The signature facility is the nexus for all of the public outreach efforts of TPWD’s Inland Fisheries Division. Listen in on our latest podcast with Inland Fisheries Director Craig Bonds and TFFC Director Tom Lang to find out more about TFFC, and why outreach is such an important part of the work of the Inland Fisheries Division.

“Listen

 
 
 

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