Outreach and Education Committee

Wednesday, 9:00am, Jan. 25, 2006

Commission Hearing Room
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
Item No. Subject Public Hearing Agenda Item No.
  Approve previous Committee Meeting minutes.  
1. Land and Water Plan Update
Staff: Robert Cook
Committee Only
2. Project WILD
Staff: Nancy Herron, Cappy Manly
Committee Only

Committee Agenda Item No. 1
Presenter: Robert L. Cook

Outreach and Education Committee
Land and Water Plan Update
January 2006

I. Executive Summary: Executive Director Robert L. Cook will briefly update the Commission on the status of the agency’s efforts to implement the Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan (the Plan).

II. Discussion: In 2001, the 77th Texas Legislature directed that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) develop a Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan (Tex. Park & Wild. Code §11.104). In November 2002, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (the Commission) adopted the first Plan. A revised Plan was adopted by the Commission in January 2005. The Plan is available on the TPWD web site. Executive Director Robert L. Cook will update the Finance Committee on TPWD’s recent progress in achieving the Plan’s Goals and Objectives as they relate to the Finance Committee.

The Plan consists of 8 Goals and a total of 56 Objectives. The Goals stated in the Plan are as follows:


Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Presenter: Nancy Herron
Cappy Manly

Outreach and Education Committee
Project WILD Program
January 2006

I. Executive Summary: Project WILD – “Wildlife In Learning Design” has reached a North American milestone – training its millionth teacher!

II. Discussion: Project WILD is a nationally award-winning wildlife and environmental curriculum, currently provided by the Houston-based Council for Environmental Education. Project WILD learning activities are designed to educate K-12 students in basic ecological concepts critical to the mission of this agency and to the management of natural and cultural resources.

Project WILD has been active in Texas since 1985. Texas trains over 2500 teachers a year (See Exhibit A – Project WILD Annual Report). Aquatic WILD, Proyecto WILD, Flying WILD and Science and Civics are all curricula that have been developed as enhancements and targeted efforts of the original program. Successful resource programs that have partnered with Project WILD include universities, schools, zoos, parks, nature centers and scout groups.

Evaluations at Exhibit B demonstrate that the curriculum is effective, and Texas Parks and Wildlife staff are regionalizing its use – taking general concepts and applying them to what the department and its partners do to specifically manage natural and cultural resources at local levels.

Attachments - 2

  1. Exhibit A - Annual Report
  2. Exhibit B - Evaluation(s)

Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Exhibit A

Project WILD
Summary of Texas Project WILD Activities: FY 2005
September 1, 2004 through August 31, 2005

Workshop Type Total Number of Workshops TotalEducators Trained
Project WILD Aquatic 49 453
Project WILD/Aquatic WILD Combo 63 656
Project WILD 109 1713
Spanish Proyecto WILD 1 10
Facilitator Training 4 64
Science and Civics 4 76
Totals 230 2,972

Project WILD workshops were included in pre-service teacher training at the following universities:

Project WILD workshops were taught in conjunction with the following institutions:

Project WILD workshops were taught in conjunction with the following Texas Parks and Wildlife Facilities:

Project WILD teacher training workshops were taught in conjunction with the following school sites:


Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Exhibit B

Of Special Note:

Project WILD Workshop Evaluation

An evaluation of Project WILD was conducted by Dr. Cheryl Boyette. The study evaluated the effectiveness of the Project WILD workshop in increasing teacher content knowledge and attitude changes in regards to wildlife and natural resources. The study was conducted with third and fourth grade science teachers in Cypress Fairbanks ISD (CyFair) and a group of Gifted and Talented (GT) certified teachers from the Houston, Texas area.

The evaluation revealed positive results demonstrating the ability of Project WILD to provide teachers with a significant increase in content knowledge. Interestingly it was the teachers with the greatest need (lowest pre-test scores) that had the greatest gains in content knowledge. Also, a majority of the study (71%) indicated that they intend to use Project WILD beyond the requirements of their school district.

In addition, the study examined the outdoor recreation habits and attitudes of the teachers attending the Project WILD workshops and the results were compared to a 2002 study done of Texas females, the USFS Survey on Recreation and the Environment. It was found that all WILD workshop participants demonstrated a greater interest in and generally a much greater participation in the outdoor recreational activities than the Texas female from the 2002 study.

Project WILD partners with Texas Regional Collaboratives

Project WILD partnered with the Texas Regional Collaboratives for Excellence in Science Teaching (Regional Collaboratives) to provide Facilitator training for collaborative leaders. The Regional Collaborative is an award-winning statewide network of K-16 partnerships that provide sustained and high intensity professional development to K-12 teachers of science across the state. This infrastructure of over 22 institutions of higher education collaborating with the Texas Education Agency, education service centers, school districts, and business partners, has a 13-year track record of designing and implementing exemplary science professional development. It is an honor and great opportunity for Project WILD to be included in this network.

WILD About Texas

Work began this year to customize Project WILD workshops to better inform communities and educators about wildlife and wildlife issues in their own backyard. "Wild About Texas" presents regional issues and utilizes the popular Project WILD program as customized activities to illustrate wildlife and wildlife issues in each ecoregion of Texas. This initiative will include the development of a CD that will feature information about each ecoregion and presentations such as understanding the roles of predators and prey, habitat fragmentation and the impacts of exotic species on native populations.

Project WILD Workshop Evaluation
By Cheryl T. Boyette, Ph.D.
Evaluation Summary

Teachers across Texas participate in professional development workshops. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of Project WILD workshops on participants’ content knowledge gained. Other study objectives were to explore teacher attitudes and opinions relating to wildlife issues and the Project WILD curriculum, and relationships between these and intended use of Project WILD. This study also compared the recreational preferences and participation of teachers in the study to other female Texans (USFS, National Survey on Recreation and the Environment, 2002).

This study was based on two Project WILD workshop evaluations held during the 2004-2005 school year conducted with third and fourth grade science teachers in Cypress Fairbanks ISD (CyFair) and a group of Gifted and Talented (GT) certified teachers from the Houston, Texas area. The data collected from the GT group was intended as a comparison group only.

The results of the study were positive showing an increase in knowledge gained and a continued increase in knowledge gained as the teachers use the curriculum in their classroom. The evaluation also shows that a high percentage of teachers indicated support of TPWD beliefs or attitudes relating to wildlife and natural resource values and management. Teachers in this study were supportive of active management and protection of wildlife and natural resources.

Report Findings
Knowledge Gained

Of the five strategies, listed by the Education Commission of the States and the National Science Foundation, to improve mathematics and science education in America, “Ensuring teachers have adequate knowledge and skills” ranks number two. Project WILD demonstrates the ability to provide teachers with a significant increase in content knowledge. Interestingly it was the teachers with the greatest need (lowest pre-test scores) that had the greatest gains. It is important to note the apparent trend that teachers that used the curriculum after the training continued to show increases in knowledge as measured by the mean test scores on the post-test and post-post online test.

Respondent Attitudes toward Wildlife and Natural Resources

No significant difference was found between pre-post-test attitudes. This was not a failure of Project WILD to impact attitudes but was primarily due to high percentages of teachers that indicated support of TPWD beliefs or attitudes relating to wildlife and natural resource values and management. Teachers in this study were supportive of active management and protection of wildlife and natural resources.

Workshop Teacher Recreational Interests and Participation

This study examined the outdoor recreation habits and attitudes of the teachers attending the Project WILD workshops. Initially this was to look for relations or correlations between recreation and the use of Project WILD. None was found. It was observed that the teachers in this study were very different from the Texas females in the USFS Survey on Recreation and the Environment, 2002. Teachers in the study demonstrated a greater interest in and generally a much greater participation in the outdoor recreational activities included in this survey.

Respondent Characteristics

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