Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Outreach and Education Committee

April 7 , 2004

Commission Hearing Room
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Headquarters Complex
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744

BE IT REMEMBERED, that heretofore on the 7th day of April, 2004, 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 Department Headquarters Complex, beginning at 2:00 p.m. to wit:

APPEARANCES:

THE TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION:

THE TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT:

Robert L. Cook, Executive Director, and other personnel of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

P R O C E E D I N G S

CHAIRMAN HENRY: First order of business is the approval of the Committee minutes that have been distributed. Is there a motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER WATSON: So moved.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Second.

CHAIRMAN HENRY: Any in favor, aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

CHAIRMAN HENRY: Opposed, nay.

(No response.)

CHAIRMAN HENRY: It passes.

Scott, are you going to do this one, too?

MR. BORUFF: The Chairman's Charges relative to the Outreach and Education Committee are development of strategic plan.

The plan is in implementation. Twenty—two project management charters from across the agency have been developed for selected programs to be analyzed.

The charters include an evaluation component, and we intend to report the results to the Commission at the end of the year.

The Outreach and Education Committee met most recently last week. GSD&M, the advertising agency that created the "Don't Mess With Texas" campaign has offered their time and expertise to work with us on some key messages, relative to outreach and education.

We hope to have those messages developed and tested by early summer.

CHAIRMAN HENRY: Lydia Saldana?

MS. SALDANA: Good afternoon. I'm Lydia Saldana, director of the communications division. I'm also the primary tourism point of contact for the agency, and I serve as a member of the board of the Texas Travel Industry Association.

The purpose of this presentation is update this Commission on the memorandum of understanding between the five primary state agencies in tourism marketing in Texas.

The MOU has been in place for several years now but had to be updated due to the sunset of the Texas Department of Economic Development.

That agency went away and was recreated and placed in the Governor's office and renamed the Governor's Office of Economic and Tourism.

Besides the Governor's office, there are four other agencies involved.

The Texas Department of Transportation's primary role in tourism is management of the state's travel information centers and the production of the Texas Highways magazine, which is the official state travel publication for the state of Texas.

They also publish many other tourism—related documents, brochures and publications. TxDOT is also involved in grants that support various tourism, highway related projects, including our own wildlife trails.

Of course our role in tourism in varied. And we're interested in tourism as it relates to fulfilling our mission of managing and conserving the natural and cultural resources of Texas and providing hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation opportunities.

To this end, some of our communication efforts do promote travel to TPWD sites or other travel destinations.

State parks and a few of our other sites, like the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center also do some limited marketing to encourage travel. For example, next week a group of travel writers will be hosted at TFFC.

We hope that will result in some good press across the country about the Center and about what Athens has to offer there.

Now the Texas Historical Commission's major marketing efforts are focused on their Heritage Trail program, such as the Independence Trail that you may be familiar with.

They have an identified marketing budget that does specifically to promote those trails.

The Texas Commission on the Arts provides funding for various arts related projects, programs and arts festivals throughout the state which also promotes tourism.

Now we have been working a lot more closely together with all of these agencies, most specifically with the Texas Historical Commission, because many of the sites along those trails are parks and are historic sites that are managed by us.

We've also done some cooperative advertising with both the Texas Historical Commission and the National Parks Service to kind of stretch the few dollars that we have.

And you may have seen some of the ads recently in both Texas Coop Magazine and also in Texas Monthly. We have a barter arrangement with them. And we've been using some of that for this kind of advertising.

Now one of the major requirements of the MOU that we're all working right now, is identifying the total state tourism marketing investment.

Now this question has come up repeatedly in legislative sessions. What we've done is we've worked together, these five agencies, to come up with criteria to identify the tourism—related funds that are spent by each agency.

We've agreed to identify only those dollars that are spent actively promoting travel to a specific destination or event.

For example, the park rec cards that are outside in the lobby and that you might find in the Travel Information Center that would promote travel to that specific site, would be included.

But when you get to the park, and you're handed a site map or interpretive brochure, those would not be included. It made a pretty good distinction about what we are actually counting as this tourism marketing investment.

Now another important question that we need to answer is what's the return on the investment that's been made or the ROI.

We've all been working closely with the Governor's office to develop the methodology.

For many years now, the Economic Development and Tourism office has calculated this ROI on their out of state marketing efforts through statistically valid telephone surveys.

They do them every year, and they report the results to the legislature.

We've all agreed that it's best to use the same method all across the board. And we believe that this is going to be the best way that we're going to get some consistent data about all of these key tourism marketing efforts.

We're working now with the Economic Development folks in the Governor's office on the survey design.

We're basically going to be going along with their survey, so we're not creating a new one, we're just adding on at a very nominal cost. So we think this is going to be an efficient way to get this information.

The surveys are going to be fielded through the '05 fiscal year with results available and due early in 2006.

Finally, the MOU requires that the Governor's office direct the development of an annual strategic tourism marketing plan. That's due September 1 of each year.

This year will be the first year that we've done it. And it will be forwarded to the legislature.

This plan will role up all of the individual marketing plans of each agency and will include goals and performance measures.

Now this will be the first time all of this information will be consolidated in one place. And we hope that's it's going to help the legislature really get full picture of the state's marketing effort, and what the return on that is.

Now the last MOU had to be adopted by the Commission by rule, but due to changes in the code, this one can adopted by reference.

You will be hearing about the MOU one more time, because you all approved the last one by rule. We're going to have to repeal it.

So you'll hear about that later on this year.

I'll be happy to answer any questions if you have them.

CHAIRMAN HENRY: Thank you. Are there any discussion?

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: A couple of questions. Asking about this area last year, I understood we had a tourism coordinator in the Wildlife Department. Will that function coordinate with this kind of global effort through your department. Has that changed since last year?

MS. SALDANA: No, it hasn't. We work very closely across the different divisions, most notably with state parks, certainly the nature tourism folks.

So this information that was gathered, was gathered across the Department to make sure that we covered everything.

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: I don't know quite how to what I'm asking, but I was really impressed last year with the Canadian and Rock Springs, both with the park department and the work that department had done with Rock Springs.

Their sales tax revenue went up 47 percent in the year we opened the sink hole to get people coming there. Because they had an education outreach grant money.

It built a great little micro tourism industry there around the prairie chickens.

I don't know if we have a list of candidate projects, but to me we're building the best possible constituency for conservation in those areas through the nature conservation tourism that's generated there.

I don't know how we're proactively looking to create those or other opportunities beyond what we have right now, but to the extent that that macro effort can turn in to a micro effort, tying back to our conservation goals would seem to me to warrant good proactive thinking and planning between you and the Wildlife Department.

MS. SALDANA: We work very, very closely with Wildlife. Linda's kind of moved on to another position. So I think there's a little transition in the leadership of that.

But we work very closely with them on all of the efforts in the Wildlife Division.

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: It seems like those communities need a jumpstart and they need a catalyst, and we can provide that role. It would be a big impact once we do.

Have we developed a candidate list of projects throughout there? Or how are we going about seeking projects to start, for our groups to help?

MS. SALDANA: I don't know can answer that question.

This is Darcy Bontempo, marketing director in the communications division.

MS. BONTEMPO: My name is Darcy Bontempo. I'm the marketing director at Parks and Wildlife. Nice to see you again.

I was just going to mention that the Agriculture Department is actually involved right now in developing workshops.

They're going to be holding, I think, 14 workshops before the end of the fiscal year. They're going to be meeting with rural communities.

Part of the initiative is to provide funding for worthwhile communities. And also to provide marketing expertise.

That's more the product development side you're talking about, which is also very important.

A lot of what we're focusing on is more of the marketing as opposed to product development, but we will be incorporating mention of our initiatives and how we can best assist them.

MS. SALDANA: That's the "Texas Yes" program that you started —

CHAIRMAN HENRY: You're giving a much more professional explanation than I could come up with.

The product development is what I'm wondering about. How we help people come up with a product. Clarendon was doing it. Canadian's done it. Rock Springs is struggling a little bit, but getting there.

It seems to me, to the extent that we could get to the product development stage, we know a lot.

MS. SALDANA: That's a major role which I know that the nature tourism coordinator has played. I believe that continues to be a key part of what his/her responsibility will be.

It's to meet with communities, help them understand, to identify. And what you're suggesting is that maybe we can actually identify opportunities.

And that's more proactive, I guess.

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Something calls for an effective business plan for the product development piece of that puzzle that fits are goals, to the extent we could do that.

I think we'd be doing a real service to a lot of small communities and certainly champion the goals we've got without spending a lot of money. That's the beauty of it.

MS. BONTEMPO: We can certainly bring that up in the next state agency council meeting, which will involve A&M, the Department of Agriculture. That's a very good idea.

We can bring it up, because really it should be a cooperative effort. And they are a member, as you know, with A&M and their nature tourism effort there.

We can certainly bring that up and see if we can get some steam behind that.

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: I'll be cheerleading from the side if you all can figure out how to do that in a more systematic, proactive way. That would be great.

CHAIRMAN HENRY: Any other questions?

CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS: Does this involve you in any way? Will it work into the Outreach and Education Advisory Committee?

We're trying to get a uniform message among all these different agencies as far as outdoor recreation and conservation.

MS. SALDANA: I think in a broad sense, it could. And that is certainly something that I will be bringing to the table with both the Tourism Council that I'm involved in, will be providing those messages and providing the same kind of, hopefully, support that we're going to get from the organizations that were represented last week.

CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS: I think that's important. Because as I listened to that Advisory Committee, I was convinced that that's a very important issue is that we have TxDOT, TDA, ORCA. Everybody's out there.

They're giving the same message about conservation, hunting, fishing, recreation — driving conservation. And it's beautiful.

MS. SALDANA: And in the way that's it's accessible to the folks in Austin, San Antonio and Houston that don't necessarily know what our business is. That would certainly be our goal.

CHAIRMAN FITZSIMONS: So it's who was on that committee. Shouldn't matter to you that it's a TxDOT Visitor's Center.

When you drive into the state, you're going to hear the same message that you'll hear from Parks and Wildlife, TDA.

MS. SALDANA: We're very fortunate that David Rockwood with GSD&M is on that committee. And he is very excited about the project.

One of the top folks at GSD&M, Tim McClure, is very much an outdoors person. So they're jazzed about this.

I think we're going to get some real quality stuff, pro bono, basically. So that's going to be a good thing.

CHAIRMAN HENRY: Thank both of you, very much.

MS. SALDANA: Thank you.

CHAIRMAN HENRY: There's no action required by the Commission.

MR. HALL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee. My name is Steve Hall, education director.

I'm here today to present the hunter education action item for your consideration tomorrow.

In January we brought you a hunting recruitment proposal. And this we now call the Hunter Education Deferral.

It's based on the future of hunting plan and the strategies from that plan, in terms of addressing various objectives in the plan.

Three of the things that this deferral can do is that it grants a grace period to give adult hunters a try at hunting.

It also gives an extra option for us to handle last minute requests. And finally, it enhances convenience and customer service at the hunting end.

From a hunting recruitment standpoint, some of our target audiences include the military, corporate or lease invitees, adult mentors and non—residents, also residents that have recently moved into Texas.

The deferral itself allows persons 17 years of age and older to get a one—time extension to take the hunter education course.

This extension, now deemed a deferral, essentially grants them a time period, making sure that, if they like hunting, if they like what they see, if it's something that entices them more, then they can use hunter education as a tool and take the hunter education course from there on in.

How it works — it would be obtained through the point of sale vendor. Hunter Education Deferral is printed right after where it says Hunter Education Required, right there on the license.

The date of the license sale validates the deferral. Then it expires at the end of that license year, based on the time when they purchased the license.

They have quite a chunk of time to essentially seek and go and find a hunter education course. Meanwhile, it doesn't deter them from hunting or at least giving it a try.

The fee for the deferral itself is $10. And this will be used also as discount when they do take the hunter education course of $5.

The other $5 currently goes to the volunteer instructor, so we didn't figure out a way to discount it any further, since that's a fee that's established by legislation.

We have received quite a few public comments, all of these web—based comments. To date it's 85 that agree, 52 that do not agree — essentially 62 percent, 38 percent.

We also polled our hunter education instructors at one of our annual conference and got a high rate of approval there with the instructors themselves.

With that, we will be bringing forth the recommendation tomorrow for the deferral. This would involve Chapter 55 rule change — one amendment and a repeal of one of the rules.

And with that, I'll be happy to answer any questions.

CHAIRMAN HENRY: Thank you. Is there any discussion?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: What about a lifetime license — when it gets sent out, how would you do it if you get the lifetime license and all that.

MR. HALL: It is. It's a minor issue. We're going to either have a manual system to develop that, or work with point of sale on a way that essentially just prints a license that just says, Hunter Education Deferral.

It's a piece of paper with that information on it, but basically blank in terms of conflict with their lifetime license.

MR. BASS: Any other states do this?

MR. HALL: No, no other states do the system this way.

But I will point out that Texas is a unique state in that as far as hunter recruitment/hunter education combination, Texas is pretty well top on the list in terms of providing alternative deliveries.

But also this whole notion of getting out of a ticket, if you even got a citation, you've got 90 days to void it. It's like defensive driving. We're doing everything possible to recruit hunters but not to deter hunters from hunting.

And that's turned out since 1988 to be a good scenario for us. In fact a lot of the other states are trying to figure out — especially the ones that have declining hunting license sales — they're trying to figure out how to go back and rewrite some of the laws that exist.

All 50 states have mandatory laws at some point or another. Some states do have mandatory laws, though, that just go to 18 or 21.

In other words, their adult hunters aren't impacted. I expect some of those adult hunters moving into Texas, in the next especially 10 to 20 years.

If they move into Texas, and they weren't required to have it, but they might be required to have it in Texas, this gives them little bit grace period in the sense of finding and taking a course.

CHAIRMAN HENRY: Phil?

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Have we ever looked similarly to defensive driving courses, whether we should offer first—time violator to go back to hunter education, clean their record up?

MR. HALL: That exists now with the 90 days —

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Not the people that don't have the education credential but actually have hunting or fishing violations.

In defensive driving you get a ticket. You take a class and get the ticket off your record. But in theory, you're a better educated driver at that point. You're a better safety risk.

The question here is should we consider that for fishing and game violations of some kind.

MR. HALL: That's termed remedial education we call it in the pedagogy. Delaware has a great remedial education course that you're describing.

There's pros and cons about it. I would say that mostly that would have to be statutory within the code of 62.014, because of the way they've written some of the exemptions in that code.

Remedial education would have to be addressed at that level, rather than at this level, because you'd have to look at two of the exemptions that they placed in there.

One of the problems we have right now, for example, is those under 17 years of age. They get a lot of exemptions for taking hunter education courses, as long as they're accompanied with someone who is 17 and licensed to hunt in Texas.

As a result, we don't have a lot of control at the point of sale, for example, on whether somebody had to have it or not, even though we know their age.

But remedial education is certainly an option. The educators in us like that option. But much like this issue, it would be considered by some as a deterrence to hunting as well.

CHAIRMAN HENRY: Mr. Ramos.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: I was just wondering.

Just like we have driver education at the high school level, do you know whether there's any schools, where perhaps we could incorporate hunter education at the school level, where you have a captive audience of students that are there, or maybe even with AG teachers or 4-H teachers, we'd have more people out there promoting hunter education as compared to our having to fill that niche ourselves.

MR. HALL: We've been successful in AG science at the high school level, where we fully certified 12- to 15,000 of our students are from that curricula. It's AG science 285 and 385. And it's in the school system now.

Half of our volunteer instructors are teachers. We've been quite successful as a state doing that. Obviously there's more room for improvement. The battles are huge in terms of getting into any other types of curricula.

I think the next best opportunity for us — we have some marginal successes there — is in the physical education realm. But right now, that's about it, in terms of the possibilities.

Now firearm safety at the fourth and fifth grade levels is huge avenue for us. And we hope to continue the work that we originally started with Governor Perry's wife, Anita Perry, on the Gun Safe initiative, through the Texas Nurses Association.

We led the charge on that in terms of setting the standards. That's the kind of seed planting at the fourth and fifth grade level that sheds a little bit of positive light on the shooting sports, rather than always the negative side of it.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: And you get them at a tender age.

CHAIRMAN HENRY: Any other questions or discussion?

(No response.)

CHAIRMAN HENRY: Thanks, Steve.

MR. HALL: You're welcome.

CHAIRMAN HENRY: If there are no further questions or discussion or objection, I authorize the staff to place this item on the Thursday Commission agency for public comment and action.

Gentlemen, I promised you at the last meeting that I would keep you updated on the Sheldon Camp fund-raising campaign.

Very briefly the committee is in its active stage of contacting and visiting various foundations in the greater Houston area and will be doing it on a limited basis and others around the state in the fairly near future.

We made our first visit to the Wortham Foundation. I'm happy to report to you that we were recently notified that the Wortham Foundation's making a grant to us of $350,000.

As I mentioned, we will be visiting with others. All of Friday morning I was with Houston Endowment representatives. That was our third visit with them. I have one more with another board member.

We are hopeful. It's rough, as all of you know, with the cutbacks in governmental funding and other segments. Foundations are being besieged from all sides for requests.

Any assistance that you can be to assist us in a departmental effort — we would appreciate any suggestions that you may have for contacts or any contacts that you'd be willing to assist us with will be appreciated.

At the August meeting, we hope to have a more extensive report for you, since we will have visited several, if not most, of the major foundations in the Houston area. And then we'll extend it even farther.

Just wanted to let you know where we were in that regard.

Is there any other business to be brought before the committee?

(No response.)

CHAIRMAN HENRY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I'll turn it back to you.

(Whereupon the meeting was adjourned.)

C E R T I F I C A T E

MEETING OF: Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission

Outreach & Education Committee

LOCATION: Austin, Texas

DATE: April 7, 2004

I do hereby certify that the foregoing pages, numbers 1 through 24 inclusive, are the true, accurate, and complete transcript prepared from the verbal recording made by electronic recording by Penny Bynum before the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.

4/19/04
(Transcriber) (Date)
On the Record Reporting, Inc.
3307 Northland, Suite 315
Austin, Texas 78731


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