A monthly newsletter from Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation

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Wild Times July 2022

Thanks to a new partnership with H-E-B, Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (TPWF) will be able to do more to conserve the state’s wild things and wild places. The Texas grocery retailer’s Field & Future by H-E-B™ line of sustainable products will support TPWF’s efforts to conserve the state’s wildlife, habitat and natural resources.

Field & Future by H-E-B, which the company launched last year, is an environmentally minded brand of household, personal care and baby products designed to be clean and green. The brand is made with recycled or recyclable content, biodegradable formulas or plant-based ingredients, and without over 165 harsh chemicals.

"We know H-E-B and our customers have a shared commitment in protecting the land, water and air of Texas for generations to come,” said Winell Herron, H-E-B Group Vice President of Public Affairs, Diversity and Environmental Affairs. “With our Field & Future by H-E-B line, we are able to deepen our long-standing partnership with Texas Parks and Wildlife and further our shared goals of environmental sustainability and conservation of our beautiful state."

Field & Future is part of H-E-B’s Our Texas, Our Future commitment to environmental sustainability. Field & Future will support projects such as coastal conservation along the Texas Gulf Coast, black bear restoration in West Texas, and the establishment of Palo Pinto Mountains State Park in North Texas, the state’s newest state park.

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  Story #2: Recovering America’s Wildlife Act Up for Vote  


The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA) is gaining steam. The bill is currently winding its way through Congress with unprecedented bipartisan support. If passed, RAWA would bring over $50 million to the state annually to help protect wildlife, restore land and give Texans more ways to enjoy the outdoors.

Help is needed to get RAWA to the finish line. The public is encouraged to contact their U.S. senators and representatives about this important legislation. 

On a national level, RAWA would provide $1.4 billion in dedicated annual funding for proactive collaborative efforts by state and tribal wildlife conservation initiatives to support at-risk wildlife populations and their habitats. The funding would come from existing revenues without new taxes or government programs.

View this video from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Executive Director Carter Smith about RAWA.

Learn more about how the Recovering America's Wildlife Act can help Texas.

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  Story #3: Private Lands Conservation Near TPWD Protected Areas  


Texas is losing rural land faster than any other state in the nation, fragmenting available wildlife habitat into ever-smaller “islands of conservation.” Texas State Parks and Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) are bastions of protected habitat providing critical shelter for all manner of fish and wildlife. But, as Texas continues to grow, these havens are at risk of being hemmed in by development.

With over 95 percent of Texas’ land under private ownership, landowners are vital partners in the effort to protect wild places for the sake of our wild things. TPWF’s Buffer Lands Incentive Program seeks to permanently conserve wildlife habitat by facilitating the creation of voluntary conservation easements on private lands near state parks and WMAs.

“We’re hoping this program will incentivize private landowners who are interested in conservation easements to take that next step,” explained Zach Spector, TPWF’s Associate Director of Conservation Programs. “Thanks to generous private donors, including the Knobloch Family Foundation and the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, we have funds available to help cover due diligence costs associated these transactions, which can be tens of thousands of dollars or more."

Priority will be given to projects that are adjacent to or that strategically benefit land owned or managed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, but easements that enhance federal or other conserved lands will also be considered.

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  Story #4: We Will Not Be Tamed: Meet Jako Lucas  


When Jako Lucas visited Texas for the first time a few years ago, he knew he would make it his home.

“I serve as a brand ambassador for YETI, and they took me and my wife around Austin, and we loved it,” said Jako.

Born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, Jako figured out early on that he wanted to spend his life fishing. He has taken clients all over the globe for fly fishing adventures for the last two decades. His move to Texas connected him to the fly fishing community here, including J.T. Van Zandt, a guide on the Texas coast.

“It seems to me that it is a beautifully kept secret. There's some amazing fish to be caught on the Texas coast."

Jako was so enamored that he began guiding there, along with the international destinations his clients request. He’s in the process of building a guest house in Port O’Connor.

Now, Jako is proud to join the ranks of We Will Not Be Tamed ambassadors for TPWF. 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.

“For those of us who have been guiding for years, there comes a point when it really hits home how precious these resources are. If we don’t stand together and look after these resources, they will disappear."

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  Story #5: Stewarding the Future of Hunting & Fishing  


Stewards of the Wild, TPWF’s young professionals program, is inspiring the next generation of conservationists through mentored hunting and fishing opportunities.

The experiences offer young professionals the opportunity to learn about conservation and ethical hunting and fishing while advancing Texas’ proud outdoor traditions and conserving our state’s wildlife, habitat and natural resources. 

Last month, spring turkey hunting was the focus, and several Stewards members served as mentors to show others the ropes. The group bonded over learning about turkey habitat and hunting tactics and enjoying the great outdoors together.

Special thanks to SITKA Gear and Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute for making this hunt, and all of the Stewards’ mentored hunts in 2022, possible. Thanks as well to Spoke Hollow Outfitters for their sponsorship and outfitting services and the Texas Wildlife Association (TWA) for helping lead this hunt.

Only Stewards of the Wild members are eligible to participate in the mentored hunting program.

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  Story #6: Orvis Give Back Days for TFFC  


Our friends at Orvis are celebrating the month of May with Orvis Giveback Days!

During the month of May, $10 of any purchase made in an Orvis store will support the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) and the needed updates and improvements to TFFC’s aquariums and exhibits.

All nine Orvis-owned stores in Texas are supporting TFFC..

Funds raised will be used to renovate TFFC’s 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 newcomers can catch their first fish and learn about and enjoy healthy populations of bass, trout, and other freshwater fisheries resources for generations to come.

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