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Wild Times June 2024

The Centennial Celebration of Texas State Parks is right around the corner, and park lovers are invited to get outside and join celebrations across the state. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), in partnership with Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (TPWF), will celebrate 100 years of Texas State Parks beginning January 2023.

H-E-B is the Presenting Sponsor of the Centennial Celebration and donated $1 million to help Texas State Parks engage all Texans in discovering and exploring their parks.

"In a state rich with majestic landscapes, our support of this effort aims to provide access to our parks and the beauty of our great state for all Texans to enjoy,” said Winell Herron, H-E-B Group Vice President of Public Affairs, Diversity and Environmental Affairs. “Only a very small fraction of land in Texas is public land, and it’s our commitment to work alongside organizations, such as our longtime partner Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, to protect these precious resources so Texans can use them for generations to come."

TPWD, TPWF, and H-E-B staged a special event last week at Palo Pinto Mountains State Park to make the big announcement, and reporters and photographers from media outlets across the state covered the news and shared it far and wide. Writer Dan Oko, who is a We Will Not Be Tamed ambassador, was also on hand and covered the story for TPWF.

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  Story #2: Speak Up for Wild Things and Wild Places  

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 our state annually to help protect our wildlife, restore land and give Texans more ways to enjoy the outdoors.

But help is still needed to get RAWA across the finish line. With the bill awaiting a vote in the U.S. Senate, the public is encouraged to contact their U.S. senators 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. 

Learn more about how the Recovering America's Wildlife Act can help Texas and how you can help get this important legislation across the finish line.

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  Story #3: Gear Up for Game Wardens Auction Nets Record Results!  

This year’s Gear Up for Game Wardens online auction was one for the record books! Our online auction raised over $175,000 for the Gear Up for Game Wardens program, ensuring TPWF can continue its work to get much-needed equipment in the hands of your Texas Game Wardens.

Bidders by the thousands joined us online, all jockeying for the top bid on over 60 prized items, including custom gear and more than 20 outdoor experiences in the Texas wild (and beyond!)—many accompanied by our very own Texas Game Wardens. Some items even garnered 5-figure bidding battles reminiscent of Texas’ Wild West, and we were thunderstruck by the collective show of support for the Gear Up program.

THANK YOU to all of our donors, brand partners, supporters and staff for making TPWF’s Gear Up for Game Wardens auction a record-breaking success! Looking for other ways to support the best-trained corps of conservation officers in the nation? Become a Friend of Texas Game Wardens today!

Become a Friend

  Story #4: New TPWF Program Helps Buffer Protected Lands from Development  

TPWF is supporting the protection of Texas’ rural lands and wildlife habitat by helping private landowners voluntarily protect their land through conservation easements. TPWF’s new Buffer Lands Incentive Program awarded its first grant this September, and now the 11,800-acre Birdwell and Clark Ranch in Clay County is forever protected by a conservation easement.

The new program’s goal is to “buffer” existing protected areas, including lands owned or managed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the federal government, or private lands already protected with a conservation easement. “This North Texas ranch is in an ideal location relative to other protected state and federal land,” said Zach Spector, TPWF Director of Conservation Programs. “It’s a hub within a wheel of protected land, which is a boon for migratory birds that move along the Central Flyway.”

While many landowners are interested in conserving their property, due diligence costs can be financially onerous. Thanks to generous support from the Knobloch Family Foundation and The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, TPWF is able to provide grants to land trusts to reimburse landowners, up to $50,000 per project, to defray some of these costs. The easement on the Birdwell and Clark Ranch is held by the Texas Agricultural Land Trust (TALT).

“This successful land transaction exemplifies how Texas conservation organizations work together to achieve meaningful outcomes,” said TALT CEO Chad Ellis. “We’re grateful to our partners at Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation for helping us conserve our rural land heritage where Texas wildlife thrives."

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  Story #5: WWNBT: Meet Catherine and Cory Kruse  

Catherine and Cory Kruse love the outdoors and are raising their 7-year-old daughter Claire as a free-range kid. The family lives in the Texas Hill Country, and Claire is enjoying an idyllic childhood.

“We love when she sits still long enough to see the sun rise and bugs move around, and hear the birds wake up,” said Catherine.  “Any time she asks to get involved in something new, we steward that interest.”

As a result, Claire has experienced all manner of outdoor adventures, including learning how to shoot a shotgun. That shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows the Kruses. Cory Kruse is a World and National Sporting Clays Champion who has shot competitively since he was a teen. In fact, later this month, he will be inducted into the National Sporting Clays Association Hall of Fame. Like his wife, Cory is pleased their daughter is growing up comfortable in the outdoors.

“As a dad, I want my daughter to grow up to appreciate the world around her, and I want her to be resourceful, too,” said Cory.

As Cory and Catherine nurture their daughter’s love of the outdoors, their passion for the natural world has deepened. So, when Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (TPWF) reached out to the couple to enlist them as We Will Not Be Tamed ambassadors, it was a no-brainer. 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.

We think it's so important that people understand not only the harvesting aspect of hunting and fishing, but the conservation aspect that keeps hunting and fishing alive. We want to make sure that people understand there is a dire need for conserving these outdoor experiences that enrich us all."

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  Story #5: Join TPWF for a Chance to Win McKenna Quinn  

Hunting season is here, and We Will Not Be Tamed ambassadors Catherine and Cory Kruse and Amber Haynes, founder of McKenna Quinn, want to prepare you for the field. Become a TPWF member and be entered for a chance to win a family clay shooting package with Kruse Shooting AND a McKenna Quinn shirt and wool beanie of the winner’s choosing! 

By joining or renewing your TPWF membership* by November 21, 2022, you are automatically entered for a chance to win the giveaway.

Join TPWF today and help support the wild things and wild places of Texas!

Join Now

*The price of membership pays for TPWF membership only and not for the chance to win the Kruse Shooting and McKenna Quinn packages. Members who join or renew between January 1 and November 21 are automatically entered in the drawing. The clay shooting lesson with Kruse Shooting will take place on a mutually agreed upon date.

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