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Photos in the July 2017 issue

CelEBRATING 75 YEARS

Hold on to your hats as we kick off a year of celebration, culminating in December with the 75th anniversary of everyone's favorite magazine about the Texas outdoors (and the longest-running magazine in Texas).

 

This Month's Features

New in Town

Texas’ landscape features an ever-evolving roster of species.

By Russell Roe and Cullen Hanks

From his backyard, Travis LaDuc of Austin can’t necessarily see the changing nature of Texas wildlife, but he can hear it. The Rio Grande chirping frogs around his house, emitting a chorus of high-pitched chirp-chirp-chirps, weren’t there just a few years ago.

“I hear them all summer now,” he says of the little frogs, which have been expanding their range across Texas from their Rio Grande Valley home. “It’s pretty remarkable going from having a fairly quiet backyard to having all these little guys peeping and squeaking.”

Nature isn’t static; it’s always changing. It always has been, and it always will be. Species are constantly colonizing new areas, adapting to new conditions. The mix of plants and animals you see around you is not what people saw 100 years ago, and it won’t be what people will see 100 years from now. Some species will be the same, some will be lost, and others will appear.

“Things change every day, every month, every year,” says Shaun Oldenburger, who manages programs for migratory game birds at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “It’s an ever-evolving landscape.”

(read more)

Woody on the Guad

Photographer channels his passion for a wild river into imagery.

By Camille Wheeler

To understand Woody Welch’s relationship with the Guadalupe River — stretches of which he has canoed, swum, snorkeled, whitewater-rafted and photographed thousands of times over the past 29 years — you must first get to know this river man who builds his life around a sacred connection to water.

“Around it, in it, on it, under it — it’s the most connected I can be,” says Welch, a 48-year-old New Braunfels-based commercial editorial photographer who has captured close to 50,000 documentary images of the Guadalupe River: a magical place of springs, waterfalls, rapids and jade-green water that for Welch evokes J.R.R. Tolkien’s fictional setting of an elven Middle-earth realm, a Texas Rivendell.

He’ll never forget the first time he heard the ghostly sound of bald cypress trees creaking and croaking beside the Guadalupe at night.

“Where are the fairies and the elves?” he remembers thinking. “I feel like they come out when we’re not looking and pour their magic potion in the water.”

(read more)

Natural Play

Goodbye, big structures. Hello, dirt and sticks. Old-fashioned fun is back in style.

By Jennifer Bristol

My brother and I had an elaborate network of forts strewn across miles of woods surrounding our home in 1970s Austin. Today those woods, like so many others across the nation, are filled with houses and the trappings of progress. The children growing up there no longer have access to the wild places my brother and I once explored, but today’s kids can still have a nature-rich, playful childhood.

A nature play revolution is sweeping the nation, and Texas is leading the charge. Anarchy zones, natural play areas, play leaders and "pocket" trails are just some of the innovations being deployed to encourage more active play outside — and not just on “traditional” equipment like slides and swings in huge structures.

Natural playscapes are designed to give children a sense of place and a connection to nature while fostering active, imaginative play. Childhood development leaders, architects, educators and urban planners have worked in tandem to create plans for these inventive spaces. One man, Joe Frost at the University of Texas College of Education, led the charge by championing the movement for three decades. He teamed up early with the Children in Nature movement to expand his message beyond educators: Play is the work of children, and, through play, learning occurs.

(read more)



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Keep Texas Wild

It's not just for kids. If you like nature-related topics in an easy-to-read format, you can find three years of our popular Keep Texas Wild issues and the teacher resources to go along with them.




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