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|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2011-06-23                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than three years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Bryan Frazier, (512) 826-8703 or bryan.frazier@tpwd.texas.gov ]
June 23, 2011
New Lofty Heights for Sheldon Lake State Park
Thanks to Private Donations, Observation Tower Opens at Urban Park
HOUSTON - The welcome rains subsided just in time for a crowd of 100-plus to witness the unveiling of the new John Jacob Observation Tower at Sheldon Lake State Park Thursday morning, on the east side of Texas' largest city.
The tower, named for native Houstonian, civic leader and executive at Anheuser-Busch, John Jacob, cost $1.5 million to construct--all of which was funded by private donations--and features an access ramp, stairs and an elevator that ultimately provide unprecedented views of the park, reservoir and beyond from atop the 82-foot-tall structure.
"This tower is going to become the signature item for this park. People are going to come here to climb to the top and take in the view, said Sheldon Lake State Park superintendent Robert Comstock. "The dream and vision to have this tower was on paper, but without the private donations, it never would have become a reality."
Fundraising efforts for the project began in 2003 by then TPW Commissioner Al Henry, also a Houston native. Henry helped secure millions of dollars toward Sheldon's future and thought the new tower would be a fitting tribute if named in honor of Jacob, his lifelong friend and professional colleague.
During the ceremony, former TPWD Executive Director and current Audubon Board of Directors member Andy Sansom also announced plans for Audubon to raise more than $6 million in additional funds for a new visitor and interpretive center to be built on site at the park.
Once an old fish hatchery facility and Wildlife Management Area, Sheldon Lake State Park today is a 2,800- acre preserve, lake and Environmental Learning Center located only 15 miles from the downtown Houston skyline, and serves a unique mission to nearby urban residents, attracting more than 60,000 people each year (including some 4,000 students from surrounding inner city and suburban schools) to its facilities, fishing ponds and restored wetlands and tallgrass prairies.
For more information, contact the park at (281) 456-2800.
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[ Note: This item is more than three years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Louie Bond, (512) 389-8706, louie.bond@tpwd.texas.gov; or Tom Harvey, (512) 389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov ]
June 23, 2011
As Drought Sears Texas, TPW Magazine Marks 10 Years of Water Insight
AUSTIN - As record drought heats up across the state, Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine fittingly focuses on water in an expanded 96-page July special issue titled "Every Drop Counts: The State of Water, A Decade Later." The issue culminates 10 years of water resource coverage with articles by leading writers and experts. It's also the first to offer a digital replica for online viewing and mobile devices, plus audio podcasts of articles.
The "Every Drop Counts" sentiment was underscored this month when State Climatologist John Nielson-Gammon proclaimed that "for this time of year this is the third-worst drought on record for Texas." Neilson-Gammon also noted that the recent October to May time frame was the driest consecutive 8-month period ever in Texas.
Against this backdrop, the magazine looks back on a decade of special water issues each July since 2002. That first issue launched a public education project by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department that grew to include radio, web and other components, including five hour-long TV documentaries. All 10 special magazine issues and the most recent video documentary are now presented on the Texas: the State of Water website.
The July 2011 issue covers every type of water resource and aquatic habitat, with articles on the Gulf, springs, rivers, lakes, bays and wetlands. It opens with the retrospective cover story "A Decade of Water" by Carter Smith, TPWD executive director.
It also brings back some luminary writers from the magazine's first water issue in 2002, including Joe Nick Patoski penning "Groundwater Gusher" about Jacob's Well, and Larry McKinney, PhD, who writes "America's Sea" about the Gulf of Mexico. McKinney was TPWD's coastal fisheries director when he wrote the opening overview article for the 2002 issue, and now he leads the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies. Also in the July 2011 issue is "Keeping Rivers Flowing" by former TPWD executive director Andrew Sansom, who now leads the River Systems Institute at Texas State University.
Carol Flake Chapman contributes an article showing how "for whooping cranes and other species, life depends on Texas bays." Larry D. Hodge's story "Got Water?" examines how "with demands on our lakes increasing, now is the time to take care of future water needs in Texas." Besides revealing challenges, the issue also offers hope and showcases models for improvement, as in Wendee Holtcamp's wetlands article that details how "Texas marshes, home to a stunning array of wildlife, have been drained, dredged and carved up, but now an unlikely team is working to reverse the decline."
With its extra pages, the July issue has breathing room to reinforce complex stories with charts and graphs, and to showcase visual beauty. Staff photographer Earl Nottingham's photo essay "Water Parks" reveals how "water is something to celebrate as it flows through state and national parks" through a series of impressive photographs.
For reporters interested in covering any of the subjects featured in the issue, TPWD can provide experts on each topic. Complimentary copies of the issue are also available to news media upon request.
The "Every Drop Counts" July special issue can be found on newsstands across Texas, or viewed online. The July issue is the magazine's first to feature audio podcasts, including unabridged readings of the articles on bays and groundwater. It also is the first to offer a digital "page turning" version where subscribers may search, zoom, crop and save, or email online content. All this content can be accessed through the magazine website.
An annual subscription to the magazine costs $12. To subscribe, call (800) 937-9393 or visit the magazine website.
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On the Net:
Website: http://www.texasthestateofwater.org
TPW Magazine: http://www.tpwmagazine.com
Downloadable Images: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/newsmedia/news_images/?g=tpw_magazine_july_2011_water_issue
Radio Sound Bites: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/newsmedia/radio_news/
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