AUSTIN, Texas — On Feb. 20-21 at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will debut its new Life’s Better Outside® Experience, in effect taking its TPW Expo on the road. In San Antonio and at similar events this year in Houston, Longview and Corpus Christi, visitors of all ages can try fishing, archery, birding, rock climbing, camping, Wildlife CSI, and other activities, with gear and guidance provided free.
This past October, TPWD leaders announced the Austin-based Texas Parks and Wildlife Expo would be suspended for at least two years due to declines in sponsorship support related to the recession. On the up side, the decision gave additional impetus to expand department outreach efforts beyond Central Texas.
“The goal of the Life’s Better Outside® Experience is to provide hands-on outdoor activities for families, youth and children who do not currently enjoy 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:
- February 20-21, at San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo — www.sarodeo.com
- March 6-7, at Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo — www.hlsr.com
- April 24-25, at Buc Days Celebration, Corpus Christi — www.bucdays.com
- June 5-6, at AlleyFest, Longview — www.alleyfest.org