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Media Contact: Tom Harvey, 512-389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov [TH]

TPWD Website: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us

TPWD News Release — Sept. 11, 2009

Texas Parks & Wildlife Expo Goes on the Road

Austin Expo Suspended, TPWD Expands Presence At Events Across Texas

AUSTIN, Texas — Although the annual Texas Parks & Wildlife Expo will not take place in Austin this October, organizers are in effect taking the show on the road by partnering with selected stock shows, rodeos and other family-oriented cultural events to present the new Life’s Better Outside® Experience in 2010.

Since 1992, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and its partners have produced the free, annual Expo as a public service the first weekend of each October. During the event’s 17-year run, more than half a million visitors of all ages got to try activities like fishing, shooting, birding, photography, camping, climbing, mountain biking and more with gear and guidance provided free. The new Life’s Better Outside® Experience will continue that tradition.

Earlier this year, TPWD leaders announced the Austin-based Expo would be suspended for at least two years due to declines in sponsorship support related to the current recession. On the up side, the decision gave additional impetus to expand department outreach efforts beyond Central Texas.

"The mission of the Life’s Better Outside® Experience is to provide hands-on outdoor activities for families, youth and children who do not recreate in the outdoors, and to introduce them to these activities which can lead to conservation of our natural and cultural resources," said Ernie Gammage, TPWD urban outdoors program leader and former Expo director.

"Moving around the state will allow us to reach Texans who might not have had an opportunity to come to Austin," Gammage explained. "Each event will focus on outdoor opportunities in that region of the state, with information on nearby state parks, good spots to go fishing, paddling, camping and much more. This will also help to connect families to outdoor groups in their area."

"Our goal remains the same: to engage underserved audiences and bring more people into the world of the great outdoors," Gammage emphasized. "One of our core beliefs is that recreation leads to conservation. By introducing Texans, especially urban Texans, to outdoor recreation, the outdoors becomes more relevant to them. They come to care about it and finally to care for it."

The Life’s Better Outside® Experience schedule for 2010 is:

More information about statewide events and opportunities involving nature, history and the outdoors is on the TPWD Web site.

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