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Wild Times April 2024

David Yoskowitz, Ph.D., will take the helm as executive director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) on November 14.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission took action to hire him at a special meeting in October. Yoskowitz was most recently the senior executive director and endowed chair for socioeconomics at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

As an avid outdoorsman, David lives the mission of TPWD,” said Chairman Arch “Beaver” Aplin III. “His business and economic acumen in the field of our cultural and natural resources will suit TPWD perfectly. David will continue a culture of inclusion with stakeholders and staff at the agency. Sixteen years at the Harte Institute in Corpus Christi has been a wonderful training ground preparing David to be our new executive director. Carter Smith will be missed immensely, but I could not be happier handing off the baton to David Yoskowitz.”

Carter Smith, TPWD’s current executive director, announced his retirement in June after almost 15 years of leading the department. Smith’s retirement will be effective in January 2023. Yoskowitz will be working closely with Smith, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, and other TPWD executive staff on transitioning into the role in the coming months.

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  Story #2: Countdown to the Texas State Parks Centennial  

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. As the official nonprofit partner of TPWD, Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (TPWF) encourages all Texans to celebrate this 100-year milestone with us in 2023. Our Texas neighbors at H-E-B are also joining in on the fun as the presenting sponsor of the Centennial Celebration, donating $1 million to help engage and encourage all Texans to discover and explore their parks.

The year-long celebration will kick off on January 1, 2023. Centennial highlights include:

First Day Hikes: Step into 2023 with a New Year’s Day nature walk at your favorite state park. Celebrate 100 years with 100 steps, 100 miles, or anything in between!

100-Year Celebration Events: From sunrise nature walks to sunsets on the water, our park system will offer 101 ways to celebrate 100 years! Events at every state park and other exciting programs, activities and promotions will take place throughout the year.

H-E-B F-U-N: Throughout 2023, H-E-B will cook up exciting fun, including sharing campfire cooking recipes from H-E-B chefs, hosting Texas State Park Rangers in stores, stocking the aisles with Texas State Park-themed merch, and much s’more!

Centennial Edition of Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine: TPW Magazine’s May special issue will spotlight the diversity of Texas’ wildness within our parks and exciting future plans, including the soft opening of Palo Pinto Mountains State Park in late 2023.

Toyota Truck Sweepstakes: Celebrate 100 years and your next 100k miles in true Texas style! Coming soon—enter for a chance to win a Texas State Park-branded truck from Toyota, custom built for every outdoor Texas adventure.

Texas Wild Album: We are cueing up an album to benefit Texas State Parks, featuring well-known Texas musicians and rising stars to showcase that untamed spirit found only in Texas music.

The Art of Texas State Parks: To commemorate the Centennial, TPWD tasked 30 Texas artists to explore and paint 65 parks, natural areas, and historic sites in the state park system for the book, The Art of Texas State Parks: A Centennial Celebration 1923-2023. A travelling art exhibit of the same name will debut at the Bullock Museum in Austin on January 7, 2023, with other notable Texas stops throughout the year.

This is just a snippet of what’s to come in 2023. See TPWD’s Centennial Press Release for complete details or visit TexasStateParks.org/100years for a list of upcoming events. Hope to see you in the park!

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  Story #3: TPWF and H-E-B: A Match Made in Texas  

TPWF is proud to partner with H-E-B to conserve the state’s wild things and wild places.

H-E-B’s enthusiasm to serve as the presenting sponsorship of the Centennial Celebration amplifies their commitment to conserving our state’s wildlife, habitat and natural resources, but their support of our shared mission runs much deeper. Earlier this year, TPWF partnered with the Texas grocery retailer through their Field & Future by H-E-B™ line of sustainable products to support conservation efforts across the state.

Field & Future by H-E-B, which the company launched last year, is an environmentally minded brand of over 100 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 by H-E-B is part of H-E-B’s Our Texas, Our Future commitment to environmental sustainability. Field & Future by H-E-B will support projects such as coastal conservation along the Texas Gulf Coast, understanding black bear recolonization 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 #4: Operation Wild Web  

Thanks to support from Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation and the Dallas Zoo, a recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) law enforcement operation in North Texas conducted by Texas Game Wardens netted 15 citations and 10 warnings for the illegal sale of wildlife online.

Dubbed “Operation Wild Web,” the five-day proactive effort targeted the illegal sale of wildlife, wildlife products and invasive species via the internet. Texas Game Wardens searched a variety of websites and social media platforms to find persons selling wildlife and other items illegally.

“Just like many other forms of criminal activity, wildlife crimes thrive online,” said Texas Game Warden Major Brent Satsky, who heads TPWD’s Special Operations unit in the Law Enforcement Division. “These crimes threaten the health of native populations of wildlife, and as the perpetrators move online, so must law enforcement."

Through a grant to Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, the Dallas Zoo funded the operation to help stem the tide of the illegal sale and exploitation of wildlife resources in Texas.

"People often think of wildlife trafficking as a problem happening in other countries around the world, but the truth is that it is happening right here in North Texas,” says Chris Corpus, Director of Conservation at the Dallas Zoo. “We know not just international wildlife, but many of our American species of wildlife are being poached and traded at record numbers. It’s going to take all of us to protect these animals and our Texas ecosystems, so the Dallas Zoo is proud to support Texas Parks and Wildlife in their efforts to stop wildlife trafficking crimes."

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  Story #5: Go the Extra Mile for Texas Quail Conservation  

Did you know—four different species of quail hail Texas as their home? Did you also know--quail populations have suffered steady annual declines over the past five decades, falling a staggering 89% in the Cross Timbers region alone since 1978?

That’s why TPWF promotes the quail conservation license plate – to raise critical funding to enhance quail conservation efforts, including habitat conservation and education. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) biologists have partnered with experts across our state to find the best strategies for bringing back this beloved gamebird. And we can use your help!

For just $30, you can put one of these conservation license plates on your vehicle, motorcycle or trailer. For every license plate purchased, $22 goes to TPWF to support quail conservation.

Help us quell quail population decline in Texas. Order your quail conservation plate today.

Order Plate

  Story #6: Centennial Art Book to Benefit TPWF  

The holiday shopping season will soon be upon usand The Art of Texas State Parks is now available for the park lovers on your list!

Written by Andrew Sansom and Linda Reaves, The Art of Texas State Parks celebrates the rich tradition of our parks, offering an engaging visual arts survey of Texas State Parks, just in time for the 2023 Centennial Celebration. 

The Art of Texas State Parks offers readers increased awareness of Texas parklands and heightens their popular appeal through the elegant and inspired works of 30 of Texas’ finest contemporary artists.

Selected works from the book will be displayed at museums across Texas next year, beginning with the Bullock State History Museum in Austin in January.

Proceeds from the book will be donated to Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation. Purchase this page-turner today and support conservation efforts across Texas. Your coffee table will thank you!

Buy the Book

  Story #7: Shop AmazonSmile and Support Texas’ Wildlife  

Support the wild things and wild places of Texas while you surf wild deals on AmazonSmile!

Whether shopping for holiday gifts or everyday needs, you can support the lands, waters, and wildlife of Texas every time you fill your cart—at no cost to you! By shopping on AmazonSmile and choosing Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation as your charity of choice, you can support conservation efforts across the state with just a click of your mouse. 

AmazonSmile is available at smile.amazon.com and can be activated in the Amazon Shopping app. You’ll find the exact same low prices and shopping experience as Amazon.com, but AmazonSmile will donate 0.5% of your eligible purchases to the charitable organization of your choice, which we hope is us!

Go to AmazonSmile and earmark Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation as your charity of choice, and shop away!

Shop Here


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