Outreach and Education Committee

Wednesday, 9:00 a.m., Jan. 16, 2002

Commission Hearing Room
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
Item
No.
Subject Public Hearing
Agenda Item No.
  Approval of the Committee Minutes from the previous meeting  
  Summary of Minutes  
1. Chairman's Charges (Oral Presentation) Committee Only
2. Hunter Education
Staff: Dr. Larry McKinney, Steve Hall
Committee Only
3. Texas Parks and Wildlife Outreach – Status Report
Staff: Steve Hall
Committee Only
4. Community Outdoor Outreach Grant Program
Staff: Darlene Lewis
Committee Only
5. Buffalo Soldiers Outreach Program Update
Staff: Ken Pollard
Committee Only
6. Other Business  

Summary of Minutes
Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Outreach and Education Committee
November 7, 2001

BE IT REMEMBERED that heretofore on the 7th day of November 2001, there came on to be heard matters under the regulatory authority of the Parks and Wildlife Commission of Texas, in the commission hearing room of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Headquarters complex, Austin, Travis County, Texas, beginning at 4:36 p.m. to wit:

I. COMMISSION ATTENDANCE:

Katharine Armstrong Idsal, Chairman
Al Henry, Committee Chair
Ernest Angelo, Jr.
John Avila, Jr.
Joseph Fitzsimons
Phil Montgomery, III
Donato Ramos
Carol E. Dinkins (absent)
Mark Watson, Jr. (absent)

II. APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES: Minutes approved.

Motion: Vice Chair Ernest Angelo, Jr.
Second: Commissioner Ramos

III. THE FOLLOWING ITEMS WERE PRESENTED TO THE COMMITTEE FOR CONSIDERATION:

1. BRIEFING – Chairman’s Charges

Mr. Sansom had no comments on the charges. However, Chairman Idsal informed the Committee that she had formed an Education and Outreach advisory committee to assist Commissioner Henry in this full committee of Education and Outreach.

2. BRIEFING – OUTDOOR KIDS ADVENTURE AND OUTDOOR KIDS CHALLENGE

Presenter: Steve Hall

Mr. Hall briefed the Committee with an overview of two new initiatives that were implemented at Wildlife Expo in October within the overall scope of the Outdoor Kids (OK) program -- the OK Adventure and OK Challenge.

The goal of the OK Adventure was to bring inner city kids to Expo. The result was over 2000 visitors from Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Laredo.

Supporting partners include:

Nature Heritage Society
Buffalo Soldiers Hunting and Fishing Club
Stephen F. Austin High School
Monica Lamb Wellness Foundation, Dallas, Houston, and Laredo partners, and,
TPW education and outreach efforts

The Outdoor Kids Challenge held at Expo combined several previous activities at Expo --the poster, poetry and essay contest and the scout’s checklist. Six prizes were awarded which included camping, hunting, and fishing prizes.

Future strategy is to continue recognizing OK partners and to continue the OK Challenge --reaching more kids in the process. A second strategy is participation by the agency at existing local and statewide events. A third outreach strategy is to create local OK Expos via the regional coordinators in Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston -- pre-fall promotions of TX Wildlife Expo.

Additional comments were made regarding people with physical disabilities. TPW is working with state organizations such as P.O.I.N.T and national programs such National Wild Turkey Federation’s Wheelin’ Sportsmen. In addition, working on trails like the Brazos Bend State Park Trail, will increase opportunities and interpretive services for people with disabilities including the blind and the deaf. Staff will continue to seek new partners to assist in these efforts.

Commissioner Montgomery’s inquiry regarding the link of the kids’ program with regard to the flattened growth in hunting and fishing license sale. Mr. Hall and his staff are working to try to get this issue in terms of the sunset charges. One is to link with the license database.

Committee Chair Henry took a moment to express his gracious comments in regards to Expo and the staff. The excitement of the event and the generosity of the sponsors.

3. BRIEFING – Hunter Education

Presenter: Steve Hall/Terry Erwin

Mr. Hall briefed the Committee with the status and success of the mandatory hunter education program for the 30 years of its existence – where it’s been, where we are, and where we are headed. Texas is a leading state in the number of certifications with over 33,000 per year. Texas also has led North America in an effort to use alternative delivery methods including home study and the Internet.

Mr. Hall briefed the Committee on the history of the hunter education program. Highlights included the voluntary effort that began 1971 to certify Texans going out of state to try to comply with other states’ laws. Passage of the mandatory statute in 1987 began a mandatory program requiring Texas hunters to complete hunter education.

To date, Hunter Ed has certified 600,000 students and trained about 10,000 instructors. Volunteers donate over $500,000 of in-kind service each year to the effort.

Mr. Terry Erwin has taken the lead on several things to try to improve the convenience and fun of the courses such as developing home study and Internet materials where a person can receive the knowledge objectives. And follow up the home study and Internet materials with a hunter skills course which is a hands-on opportunity, i.e., shoot firearms or sporting arms, and to be tested in the likes of a simulation trail. Staff has developed a brochure that helps instructors set those trails up. And there is a home study package in partnership with Outdoor Life and the Nevada Division of Wildlife that is being sold in Wal-Marts and other license outlets. In addition, staff is leading a group internationally to develop the same model in North America.

Another big push will be the increase of minorities and women as instructors. The outdoor woman program has given a boost in the effort along with POINT and regional outreach efforts. And finally, the increased recruitment into youth hunting opportunities will play a valuable role.

Discussions and questions ensued.

Commissioners discussed making hunter education even more convenient, at least to Texans through a possible tiered system. Commissioners discussed barriers to hunting. Mr. Hall pointed out that hunter education is not a barrier to hunting, but that we can always improve on convenience, especially for those who wait until the last minute to request information about a course. Mr. Erwin pointed out that over 4,000 courses are offered each year in virtually every county, and he will be hiring additional staff to ensure course availability is even better in the future.

Commissioners asked to continue this discussion at the next meeting in January 2002.

IV. ADJOURNMENT: 5:15 pm


Committee Agenda Item No. 1

Outreach and Education Committee
Chairman's Charges
January 2002

(This item will be an oral presentation.)


Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Presenters: Dr. Larry McKinney, Steve Hall

Outreach and Education Committee
Hunter Education
January 2002

I. Discussion: This briefing provides the Committee with facts about hunter education in North America and in Texas and a recommendation for enhanced convenience. The hunter education program in Texas is currently considered one of the best by peer states and provinces according to David Knotts, Executive Director, International Hunter Education Association.

II. Background: Hunter Education works!

The purpose of hunter education is to: 1) develop safe, responsible, knowledgeable and skillful shooting and hunting practices, 2) to improve hunting accident and compliance rates, 3) improve the image of hunters and hunting and 4) perpetuate the hunting heritage. It has accomplished all of these and more. As lands become more fragmented and crowded, as more wildlife habitat is lost, and as more people either oppose or ignore hunting’s role in wildlife management and outdoor recreation, hunter education becomes even more important to future generations – adults as well as youngsters.

North America - Mandatory hunter education laws have been in existence since 1949, and the federally supported system is touted as one of the key conservation successes of the 20th century. All 50 states, 10 Canadian provinces and Mexico have statutes in place requiring hunter education of some to many of its hunters, especially youngsters hunting for the first time. Over 700,000 hunters are trained each year in North America by over 45,000 instructors, most who are volunteers providing states with millions of hours of in-kind service.

Texas - In fiscal year 2001, over 2,700 instructors taught over 33,000 students in over 4,100 courses in over 46,000 hours (actual course hours), providing an in-kind value of over $511,000 dollars to the department and additional $150,000 of direct program income. The department matched those dollars administering the program and providing other hunting and shooting outreach opportunities (See Exhibit A – Hunter Education Facts)

Problem – Hunter education administrators have heard from hunters who, for whatever reasons, express frustration in the system administered by state and provincial fish and wildlife agencies. Reasons run the gamut, but mostly, hunters are caught in a situation where they need the course, and they can’t find one prior to their hunt. Most are requests within one week of the scheduled hunt – putting them and the agency in an impossible situation.

Procrastination by the hunter is the main cause. Ignorance to the law is a secondary cause. As public servants, however, staff wants to be in a position to help, no matter what the reason or cause – even at the last minute.

Hunter education, while perceived by some to be a barrier to hunting, is an expressed barrier to 2% of all hunters; however, hunter education also recruits a total of 2% into hunting (Responsive Management, 1998).

Considering that the target audience in hunter education are those that might have a tendency to be unsafe, unskilled and/or violate hunting regulations, a mandatory approach has been the best method by which to get people into a course; and remedial education (e.g. Delaware makes violators go through a hunter education re-training course) the best approach to penalize habitual violators of hunting regulations.

To improve on convenience, states have employed various system changes, especially within the last decade, to improve access to course information and to the learning process itself. Hunter education administrators realize that to improve quality of courses, they must improve the amount of time the student is involved in fun, hands-on learning activities – tasks that take more time than the traditional lecture approaches. At the same time, states also are cognizant that upon realizing the requirements, most people do not want to spend a whole lot of time finding and taking a course they perceive as one huge lesson in the “ten commandments of hunting safety.”

Even though hunter education has one of the highest course satisfaction rates (95%), and even though law enforcement, military and 40-year veteran hunters admit to learning much more than their backgrounds would otherwise suggest (i.e. hunting ethics, wildlife conservation, primitive sporting arms and outdoor skills are among the topics many so-called veterans purport to know little about), hunter education administrators are faced with having to find even more convenient ways to deliver knowledge and skill-based objectives (Exhibit B – IHEA Adopted Standards - to ensure reciprocity between states) to thousands of potential students within a proximal location and, many times, within a week of the request.

Texas Alternative Delivery Methods - Texas has paved the way for other states by improving convenience in terms of hours spent with an instructor. By developing both a “home study/independent” package (Outdoor Life Hunter Education Training Course sold in sporting good outlets) and an Internet Course (wwww.tpwd.state.tx.us/education/hunter education), students are able to opt to take Part I (knowledge-based objectives) at home via these methods, before completing a shorter, more hands-on, 4-6 hour Hunter Skills course under the guidance of a trained instructor (Part II – skill-based objectives)*.

* Keep in mind, when hunters of all ages, state fish and wildlife employees and conservationists come together in a facilitated fashion (hunter education course), the hunting heritage is strengthened (i.e. future of hunting and it’s image). Therefore, convenience alone should not be considered an accomplishment of the state fish and wildlife agency, especially towards the very future of the sport itself.

Even though the following exist in Texas:

1) Alternative delivery methods are in place and increasing in availability

2) Hunter education is not a barrier to hunting

3) Hunter education graduates (adults and youth) express a high rate of satisfaction

4) Hunter education requirements of other states must continue to be met

5) Hunter education provides a forum that strengthens the hunting heritage

Discussions have ensued to somehow make the Texas course more convenient to Texas hunters, especially those age 21 years and older (Most hunters and non-hunters alike agree that youngsters and teenagers, because of knowledge, skill and attitudinal development processes should complete the training).

Texas employed many conveniences when the state statute was passed in 1987. They include:

How can we improve on being the most flexible, convenient system in the nation (short of not having a mandatory hunter education law)?

Staff has polled other states (via listserv) and recommends the following as a way to improve convenience even more for those who have expressed the most frustration in the system.

PILOT PROGRAM:

Applied to Texas Law Only:

{Note: Compliance to other state or provincial laws is not applicable. For example, Texans born on or after January 1, 1949 hunting in Colorado or who are born after July 1, 1957 hunting in Kansas, must still complete the Texas Hunter Education (minimum 2-day, 10 hour) course – Part I and II Alternative Delivery methods accepted}

Those under age 21 would continue to be required to complete the regular course as prescribed in current law.

Commission action in the future would be required for fee changes and/or to provide an exemption for those 21 years of age and older to complete Texas certification in this manner.

Attachments – 2

1. Exhibit A – Hunter Education Facts

2. Exhibit B – IHEA Adopted Hunter Education Standards


Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Exhibit A

Hunter Education

FACTS:


Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Exhibit B

Hunter Education Standards/Outline

(As adopted by the International Hunter Eucation Association 1998)

I. INTRODUCTION

1. Purpose/Benefits
2. Sponsors

II. HUNTER SAFETY

1. Primary Safety Rules
2. Loading/Unloading
3. Matching Ammunition
4. Safe Transport and Handling
5. Crossing Obstacles
6. Safe Zones of Fire and Carries
7. Shoot/Don’t Shoot Scenarios
8. Obstructions in Barrels
9. Hunter Orange
10. Alcohol and Drug Avoidance
11. Safe Cleaning and Storage
12. Primitive Sporting Arms Safety
13. Safe Shooting of Modern/Primitive Sporting Firearms

III. HUNTER RESPONSIBILITY

1. Hunting Regulations
2. A Responsible Hunter
3. Hunter Ethics
4. Public Image
5. Shot Placement
6. Care of Game

IV. OUTDOOR SAFETY

1. Physical Conditioning
2. Hunt Planning
3. Outdoor Exposures
4. Signaling When Lost
5. Survival Kit
6. Wilderness First Aid and CPR
7. Water Safety

V. WILDIFE CONSERVATION

1. Hunting’s Role in Wildlife Conservation and Management
2. Wildlife Identification

VI. HUNTING OPPORTUNITIES

1. Where and what species to hunt in Texas
2. Additional Hunter Education Opportunities – Texas Youth Hunting Program


Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Presenter: Steve Hall

Outreach and Education Committee
Texas Parks and Wildlife Outreach – Status Report
January 2002

I. Discussion:

The Sunset Report and subsequent legislation has helped us take a step back and look at our agency’s outreach efforts. Initiatives to address the directives in the Sunset Bill are occurring at all levels. This briefing gives the commission a status on those initiatives.

Commission’s Outreach and Education Committee – This committee provides a forum for Texas Parks and Wildlife Commissioners to pass rules and give direction to the agency relating to the education and outreach goals, objectives and strategies.

Education and Outreach Advisory Group – A new constituent advisory group will be appointed to give direction and provide advise to the agency regarding its outreach efforts and how to break down barriers for everyone’s participation in the outdoors. Nominations for group representation are currently being sought and commission recommendations are certainly welcome.

Education and Outreach Leaders Team – A Natural Leaders program team consisting of six members from five divisions are currently working on outreach strategic issues as their FY02 Leaders project. This team will specifically look at the internal coordination issue addressed in the Sunset Bill. This team will review and revise the Outreach Strategic Plan (Exhibit A) and make recommendations to the agency through the Education and Outreach Team.

Education and Outreach Team – Begun formally in1998, a multi-divisional team meets monthly to communicate the needs, strategies and schedules of all statewide outreach efforts and program. The team addresses non-duplication of effort and partnerships as it relates to sunset recommendations.

Education and Outreach Branch – Under the leadership of Larry McKinney, the branch oversees the administration of statewide education and outreach efforts including aquatic education; mandatory boater and hunter education programs; education services such as the webcasts and Internet web site maintenance; department-wide outreach including the regional staff efforts, Outdoor Kids and Outdoors Woman programs; target range construction and mobile shooting ranges (hunter education outreach); and the Parrie Haynes Youth Conservation Ranch and youth camp partnerships such as with the Police Activities League’s Summer Youth Camp.

Education and Outreach Evaluation – Education Services Coordinator, Nancy Herron, has been appointed to look at where we are and where we are headed with our outreach efforts. She will inventory agency outreach efforts, consult with agency staff and partners to determine the need and effectiveness of programs, and recommend evaluation instruments for use by program and activity coordinators and volunteers. She will make final reports to the commission and to the Texas legislature prior to September 2002 regarding sunset bill recommendations.

Education and Outreach Measures/Scorecard – A multi-divisional team meets with the department’s LBB Strategic measures coordinator to coordinate and evaluate the forms and guidelines used to capture the number of fish and wildlife events, participants and events held for target user groups. A new form and process was implemented beginning in September 2001.

Outreach Regional Efforts – Three Outreach Specialists were hired in FY01 and placed in Houston, Dallas and San Antonio to coordinate efforts in the three largest urban areas of the state. These employees coordinate regional teams representing all agency field divisions, coordinate Outdoor Kids and other urban outreach initiatives and partnerships and assist field staff with their outreach efforts. The department’s outreach coordinator within the education and outreach branch supervises the specialists as part of the statewide outreach strategic plan.

Outreach Coordinator – Bob Murphy was appointed Outreach Coordinator for the agency in FY01 and oversees regional efforts, the Outdoor Kids program and the Outdoors Woman program that has been in existence since 1993. He leads the Education and Outreach Team and is responsible for the administration and implementation of the Outreach Strategic Plan. He also oversees the Kids Area at Wildlife Expo including the Outdoor Kids Adventure and Outdoor Kids Challenge.

Attachment

1. Exhibit A – Texas Parks and Wildlife Draft Outreach Strategic Plan


Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Exhibit A

Texas Parks and Wildlife
Outreach Strategic Plan
*DRAFT*
December 2001

Definition of Outreach:

The process of identifying, attracting and engaging new users to Texas Parks and Wildlife sites and programs.

Mission:

To introduce and involve new users in relevant, enjoyable experiences facilitated by TPW that result in lifelong interest and support for our mission.

Philosophy:

Texas Parks and Wildlife advocates a community-based approach for agency outreach efforts.

Audiences:

In the coming decades, our agency will strengthen its outreach efforts to attract new users to our facilities and programs. Our goal is to engage more youth, ethnic minorities, urban/suburban Texans, women, single parent households, senior citizens, rural Texans and people with disabilities.

GOALS:

GOAL 1: Increase new user participation in Texas Parks and Wildlife programs, activities and workforce.

OBJECTIVE 1: Increase diversity of users participating in agency programs and activities.

Strategy 1:

Strategy 2:

Strategy 3:

Strategy 4:

OBJECTIVE 2: Increase number of users participating in agency programs and activities.

Strategy 1:

OBJECTIVE 3: Increase workforce diversity to enhance our ability to serve diverse constituencies.

Strategy 1:

OBJECTIVE 4: Increase public and private support for and involvement in agency outreach programs and activities.

Strategy 1:

Strategy 2:

Strategy 3:

GOAL 2: Coordinate Agency Outreach Efforts

OBJECTIVE 1: Improve internal communication about outreach efforts.

Strategy 1:

Strategy 2:

OBJECTIVE 2: Coordinate agency outreach programs.

Strategy 1:

Strategy 2:

Strategy 3:

Strategy 4:

Strategy 5:

OBJECTIVE 3: Strengthen and increase community partnerships.

Strategy 1:

Strategy 2:

Strategy 3:

OBJECTIVE 4: Measure effectiveness of agency outreach efforts.

Strategy 1:

Strategy 2:

Strategy 3:

Strategy 4:

Duplicate successful programs where appropriate


Committee Agenda Item No. 4
Presenter: Darlene Lewis

Outreach and Education Committee
Community Outdoor Outreach Grant Program
January 2002

I. Discussion: Will update the Commission on the recent Community Outdoor Outreach Program Awards as well as update them on the Outdoor Ambassadors/TX Buffalo Soldiers Workshop.

*Number of projects requested vs. funded

*Types of projects funded

*Improvements in the types of projects requested/funded


Committee Agenda Item No. 5
Presenter: Ken Pollard

Outreach and Education Committee
Buffalo Soldiers Outreach Program Update
January 2002

I. Discussion: About 12 years ago, Ken Pollard and eight Texas Parks & Wildlife Park Rangers organized a way for TPW to reach minority youth and families across Texas. This was accomplished through an African-American volunteer group in Abilene, Texas the "Soldiers In Blue Committee", and outdoor educational programs about the Buffalo Soldiers, Vaqueros, Frontier Women, Native American Indians and other cultural groups in Texas. The Soldiers In Blue Committee assisted in the development of a statewide educational program for TPW that emphasizes our shared Texas Heritage through a minority historical theme. In 1995, the Texas Buffalo Soldiers Regiment became a recognized statewide group for the State Parks Division minority outreach initiative. From the beginning, this program was planned to be dependent upon joint collaborations and partnerships between branches and divisions of this Agency, along with outside individuals, groups, and organizations. Blending into existing TPW cultural, natural, historical and recreational programs and activities, our four programs, the Texas Buffalo Soldiers, Exploring Texas Roots, Blazing New Trails, and the Texas Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Trail, are adaptable to all divisions.

The mission of the Community Services Education & Outreach Program is to inform and involve new constituents in the activities and programs of TPW. This involvement provides these new constituents with a service and a tangible, long-lasting product that builds a solid foundation for social and economic prosperity. The goals of the program are:

The Texas Buffalo Soldiers Regiment leads the Community Services Education & Outreach Program. The Regiment is composed of a statewide network of Buffalo Soldiers, Black Cowboys, Mexican Cowboys, European Cowboys, American Indians, Frontier Women and other cultural groups from across Texas. The statewide network is divided into Outreach Project Areas and Outreach Target Areas. Outreach Project Areas are metropolitan statistical areas with a population of 100,000 or more and/or counties along the Texas Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Trail. Outreach Target Areas are rural sites where specific programming is focused. The Statewide network has twenty active Project Areas and several active Target Area projects. Each has independent objectives, actions, and measures, including primary TPW staff, volunteers and organizations to accomplish the outreach project objectives. The database of information and contacts created by the statewide network is the building block for future programs and projects.

The current primary objectives for the Community Services Education & Outreach Program and the statewide network is:


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