Note: This item is more than five years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references.
April 2, 2009
Texas State Parks, TPWD Programs Show "Life’s Better Outside"
Nature-based fun abounds for Texas families, from diverse and outstanding state parks to programs and workshops that teach fishing, camping, paddling and much more. But alongside this good news, a growing body of books and studies reveals a serious issue: today’s kids are losing touch with nature and that’s taking a toll.
In 2006, Richard Louv’s groundbreaking book Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder sent a wake-up call to parents, educators, the health community and others. The book carries a message of hope, but it also reviews a growing body of research that links the nature-deficit problem to issues like childhood obesity, educational and developmental challenges and other ills.
Louv’s book spawned the nationwide Children and Nature Network, bringing politicians, pediatricians, educators, architects, environmentalists, wildlife scientists and others into an expanding circle of supporters.
In the Lone Star State, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has launched an outreach effort called Life’s Better Outside® to motivate urban parents to spend time with their children outdoors in nature. The department offers a variety of programs in Texas designed to make this fun and easy.
No experience is necessary for Texas Outdoor Family weekend workshops, which teach parents and kids to pitch tents, cook over campfires and reconnect with nature. This spring and summer, various parks across the state are hosting workshops. In state parks, these cost $55 for a family of up to six people, and that fee covers all necessary equipment and instruction, everything except food and bedding.
Also this spring and summer, TPWD is expanding the Free Fishing in State Parks program. This waives fishing license requirements within more than 50 state parks. It also offers dozens of scheduled events where participants can learn to fish with equipment and instruction provided.
Wildlife viewing and paddling trails offer two other great ways for families to get back to nature. Since 2006, the TPWD has been partnering with cities, counties, river authorities and other partners to create Texas Paddling Trails. These provide well-mapped accessible day trips in a variety of settings and for kayakers and canoeists at all levels of experience. There are currently seven coastal paddling trails and eight inland paddling trails, with several communities in the process of applying to create new trails.
Texas was the first state in the nation to create birding and wildlife viewing trails for motorists with maps and road signs to mark trail sites. The resulting network of Great Texas Wildlife Trails promotes sustainable economic development and builds public support for wildlife conservation, with several great trails crisscrossing across the state.
Families can find all this and more on the TPWD Web site, or see lifesbetteroutside.org for a simple one-stop menu of nature options. Anyone can also pick up a Texas State Park Guide booklet at any state park or at some local tourism bureaus. Campers can make state park reservations online, or by phoning (512) 389-8900.
On the Net:
- This release in Spanish: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/newsmedia/releases/?req=090402b
Publication — Permission is granted to publish, in whole or in part, any news releases on this page.
Print — A print-friendly version of the news release shows only the release with font sizes set to the browser default.
Plain Text — Plain text versions of TPWD news releases are provided for copying and pasting into editing software.
To copy text into an editing software:
- Click a Plain Text link to display the plain text page in your browser.
- Select all.
- Paste in a document in your editing program.
Permalink — This is a direct link to the news release, omitting the navigation context from the URI.
English/Spanish — News releases posted in both English and Spanish have one of these links.
If you have any suggestions for improving these pages, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and mention Plain Text Pages.