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Wild Times May 2024

2023 marks 100 years of Texas State Parks, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (TPWF) is raising $2 million to fund much-needed projects at all state parks during their centennial anniversary. A generous group of Texas philanthropic leaders have come together to champion our state parks with a Texas-sized gesture: a dollar-for-dollar match—doubling the impact of each and every gift.

The Fondren Foundation was the first of a select few big-hearted Centennial Champions to offer matching dollars, a generous gesture to catalyze this statewide grass-roots effort. For 75 years, The Fondren Foundation has made it their mission to give back to their local community of Houston and the great state of Texas. Based on this commitment to philanthropy and a legendary family history of conservation, the foundation has long supported our wild things and wild places, including Sheldon Lake State Park, the Texas Game Warden Training Center, and fishery recovery efforts following Hurricane Harvey.

Rob Fondren, great-grandson of Walter W. Fondren, currently serves on TPWF’s board of trustees, and he understands just how important our Texas State Parks system is to the people of Texas. “One hundred years ago, our parks system was built upon the idea that every Texan should have access to nature and the wide open spaces for which Texas is known,“ said Fondren. “Nature offers respite, relaxation, and the recreation we all need to live healthy lives, and The Fondren Foundation fully supports TPWF’s efforts to fund thoughtful projects at each and every park in 2023."

For 100 years, our state parks have been places of awe and discovery. We want to keep them that way for future generations of Texans. Thanks to the leading efforts of The Fondren Foundation and our other Centennial Champions to match every dollar donated, all gifts will have double the impact. Will you give back to the park closest to your heart?

Give to State Parks

  Story #2: We Will Not Be Tamed: Xochitl Rodriguez  

El Paso native Xochitl Rodriguez is an artist deeply rooted in the Franklin Mountains desert landscape that she treasures. Her life is driven by family, philanthropy, and a relentless desire to show her daughter just how big and breathtaking the world can be

From the time her daughter Calista was just a few months old, Xochitl has shared her passion for the world around her, toting her daughter in a backpack in the arroyos around their home and to the peaks of the Franklin Mountains.

Now that Calista is growing up, she is leading her mother to new adventures.

"She’s older and she’s stronger and she has developed new interests,” said Xochitl. “Hiking was no longer enough, and I’ve had to up my game."

A visit to the Big Bend region of Texas with a group of friends introduced both mother and daughter to a new wild adventure: paddling the Rio Grande.

"It was mind blowing and beautiful, and it definitely pushed my boundaries because I’ve always been a little afraid of water,” said Xochitl. “I’ll never forget one specific stunning moment on the river when the moon was peeking over a canyon, the sky was super pink and the river and the canoe was pointing to the moon. Calista looked back at me and said, ‘I can’t believe the world is even bigger than it was yesterday.'"

Xochitl is pleased to share her passion for her home ground as a We Will Not Be Tamed ambassador for Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation. 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.

Read more about Xochitl and find out how you can live the wild life.

  Story #2: Join and Win a Solo Stove Bonfire Backyard Bundle 2.0  

P.S. As you head outside to experience the spring season come to life, TPWF’s trailblazing partner Solo Stove wants to keep you warm next to their Bonfire Backyard Bundle 2.0 during this temperate time of the year!

Join or renew your membership with TPWF by April 5, and you will be entered in a TPWF drawing* for a chance to win Solo Stove’s Bonfire Backyard Bundle 2.0.

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 Solo Stove Bonfire Bundle. Members who join or renew between January 1 through April 5, 2023, are automatically entered in the drawing.
  Story #3: Field & Future by H-E-B is made for Texans and Texas  

H-E-B has a well-deserved reputation for being customer-focused. The Texas grocery retailer’s customers are fanatically loyal, and recent new store openings in North Texas have drawn thousands of folks who waited hours in line, sometimes overnight, for the chance to shop at Texas’ favorite grocery store.

H-E-B’s owned brands are part of the package that fuels customer loyalty. One of the newest offerings is Field & Future by H-E-B™, a new line of household, personal care and baby items that are made without harsh chemicals and are designed with the environment in mind. According to Caroline Reeve, who was integral to the brand and product’s development at H-E-B, Field & Future started with a simple question: What do our customers want and need?

H-E-B has an internal Customer Insights group, and we pulled together several segments of our customers to find out what they really wanted to see on our shelves,” said Reeve. “Field & Future is one of the most customer-driven brands we’ve created. We responded directly to what our customers told us, which was that they cared a great deal about the environment and opting for products that didn’t use certain ingredients. Our brand strategy is tied to our customers’ voices at every step."

The result is more than 100 different products that make it easier for Texans to live more sustainably. From cleaning products to personal care items like shampoo and conditioner, baby diapers and more, Field & Future is providing affordable options to help Texans live greener with eco-friendly attributes like post-consumer recycled content or recyclable packaging, biodegradable formulas or plant-based ingredients.

One of H-E-B’s top priorities is also helping support the Texas community. When developing their Field & Future line, another question H-E-B asked their customers is what environmental organization the brand should support. They provided choices of organizations that support the environment at the global, statewide and local level.

We were really surprised at the results,” said Reeve. “We thought it would be fairly divided, and we were pleasantly surprised that Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation was by far the number one choice because of the personal relationship they had with nature in their own backyard. That made our decision really easy. Customers cast their vote and said, ‘We want to see you partner with Texas Parks and Wildlife.’ It was a no-brainer."

The Field & Future partnership with Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (TPWF) is supporting efforts 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.

Read More

  Story #4: BRI, Researching the Bear Necessities  

Black bears once roamed the remote mountains of West Texas in large numbers but were extirpated from Texas by the 1950s. In recent years, this native species has begun to move back into their old Trans-Pecos habitat, with a steady uptick of black bear sightings in recent years.

TPWF is partnering with the Borderlands Research Institute at Sul Ross State University to raise funds for new research and outreach efforts to better understand and support the natural recolonization of black bears. A comprehensive multiyear study on black bears is now underway in far West Texas to understand the region’s current black bear population and habitat needs, monitor their range expansion in West Texas, and foster that expansion through science-based management strategies.

There is a growing need for current information about this charismatic species, and the return of black bears to Texas is giving us a second chance,” said Dr. Louis A. Harveson, who is the Dan Allen Hughes, Jr., Endowed Director of BRI. “We look forward to working with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, area landowners and residents, and our many partners to learn more about black bears in West Texas."

The study follows an initial 30 collared bears over a period of two to five years from locations surrounding Big Bend National Park, north to the Davis Mountains, and east to the Devils River corridor--a range of more than 4,600 square miles. The goal of the research is to better understand bear ecology in order to minimize human-bear conflicts and inform management decisions. A key component will be engaging with landowners, hunters, and communities on the results.

Initial funding for the BRI-led project, Understanding Natural Recolonization of Black Bears in West Texas, has been provided by Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, with additional grants from the Horizon Foundation, West Texas Chapter of Safari Club International, Dallas Safari Club Foundation, Coypu Foundation, the James A. “Buddy” Davidson Charitable Foundation, the Tim and Karen Hixon Foundation and the Stewards of the Wild Austin Chapter.

Learn More

  Story #5: Lone Star Serves Up Merch to Support Our Texas Wild  

Lone Star Brewing and Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation celebrated Texas Independence Day by announcing a Texas-brewed partnership to honor our beloved home state. As a toast to the “best views in Texas,” Lone Star has launched a limited-edition merchandise collaboration with Texas-based artist Emily Eisenhart. All proceeds from the merchandise sale will benefit Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation.

We are thrilled to partner up and give back to the foundation that works hard to conserve our state’s parks and wildlife for Texas Independence Day,” said Lone Star Brand Director Brandon Kieffer. “Texas is unlike anywhere else, so naturally we wanted to give a toast to the best views that Texas blesses us with every day. Our ambition is to celebrate Texas by showing off the natural beauty it provides us and encourage folks to go outside to enjoy it, but also do our part to help keep it beautiful for generations to come. We are thankful to have a partner like Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation enabling this to happen."

For more information, visit Lone Star’s website and follow along with the rest of the campaign on Lone Star’s Instagram and Facebook.


Learn More


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