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In the Field

Larry Mckinney, Ph.D., is Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's senior director for aquatic resources. McKinney grew up near the small farming community of Coahoma in West Texas during the 1950s "Drought of Record," which was a defining point for water development in the state. The McKinney family farmstead has seen continual agricultural production for more than a century and Larry's appreciation for water issues originated from these experiences.

McKinney completed his Ph.D. at Texas A&M University in 1976 and his dissertation was titled: The Zoography and Ecology of Amphipod Crustacea - Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. He was a Smithsonian Fellow in 1976 and a research associate/instructor at Texas A&M University at Galveston from 1977 to 1980. He then was named director of the Texas Environmental Engineering Field Laboratory in Galveston, a position in which he served from 1980 to 1986. McKinney has more than 60 scientific and technical publications and reports to his credit. At TPWD, McKinney's program responsibilities include a broad range of natural resource issues, including inland and coastal fisheries, assessing and securing freshwater inflows to estuaries and instream flows for rivers and reservoirs, wetland conservation and restoration, endangered species conservation and other issues related to the ecological health of Texas aquatic ecosystems.

Elmer Kelton, the legendary Texas author whose writing career has spanned almost half a century, writes about the Ogallala Aquifer in this month's issue. A native of Crane, Texas, Kelton has written 40 novels, including The Time It Never Rained, The Way of the Coyote, The Day the Cowboys Quit and The Good Old Boys, which was made into a 1995 movie starring Tommy Lee Jones. Three of his novels have appeared in Reader's Digest Condensed Books.

Kelton is the recipient of numerous awards. Four of his books have won the Western Heritage Award from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. Seven have been recognized with the Spur award from Western Writers of America. In 1987, he received the Barbara McCombs/Lon Tinkle award for "continuing excellence in Texas letters" from the Texas Institute of Letters. The Texas Legislature proclaimed an Elmer Kelton Day in April 1997, and in 1998 he received the first Lone Star Award for lifetime achievement from the Larry McMurtry Center for Arts and Humanities at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls. A Texas star with his name inscribed on it was placed in the sidewalk at the Fort Worth Stockyards by the Texas Trail Hall of Fame Organization.

Kelton and his wife, Anna, have been married for 53 years and have two sons, a daughter, four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Jan Reid's much-praised new book is The Bullet Meant for Me, a memoir from Broadway Books that explores his near-fatal 1998 shooting by a Mexico City robber and his fight back from paralysis. Published in 2000 by Texas A&M University Press was Close Calls, a collection of magazine articles; its endpiece, "Left for Dead," won the PEN Texas Literary Award for nonfiction in 2001.

Reid's other books are The Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock (popular music, 1974), Deerinwater (a novel, 1985) and Vain Glory (football, 1986). He is a writer-at-large for Texas Monthly and has written for Texas Parks & Wildlife, Esquire, GQ, the New York Times Magazine, Slate, Men's Journal, Mother Jones and other publications. Reid's writing has been anthologized in Best American Sports Writing, Texas Short Stories, The Slate Diaries and The Best of Texas Monthly.

His honors include the Dobie-Paisano Fellowship and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. As editor, with writer Rick Bass, he shared a 2000 Katie Award for an essay about a hunting dog in Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Reid currently is editing a book and researching a documentary on the Rio Grande and working on a novel set during the Comanche Wars. He lives in Austin with his wife, Dorothy Browne. In this issue he writes about his personal connection with Comal Springs.

Joe Nick Patoski, who writes about Devils River this month, is a senior editor at Texas Monthly and a weekly contributor to KGSR-FM in Austin. Patoski was raised in Forth Worth and has been writing about Texas for the past 30 years. He lived in Austin for 22 years, where he developed a passion for Barton Springs and the springs and rivers of the Texas Hill Country.

Patoski coauthored the 1993 book Stevie Ray Vaughan: Caught in the Crossfire about the Texas blues guitar legend. He also wrote a biography of entertainer Selena, Selena: Como La Flor, and collaborated with photographer Laurence Parent for the 2001 book Texas Mountains. His outdoor writing has included stories about working with killer bees in Mexico, snorkeling with barracudas on the Bay Islands of Honduras, hiking through Copper Canyon, learning how to survive in the Chihuahuan Desert and chasing tornados in the Texas Panhandle.

For the past nine years, Patoski has made his home outside of Wimberley near the Blanco River, where he can be found doing laps from early spring to late fall.

Carol Flake Chapman grew Up along Oyster Creek in Brazoria County. As a child she used to spend hours paddling down the muddy creek, which then was surrounded by dense, jungle-like woods, fishing for alligator gar in the murky waters.

Since then, she has traveled the world in search of other adventures, writing articles for Vanity Fair, Texas Monthly, Harper's, U.S. News & World Report, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Boston Globe and other publications. She is the author of two books about horse racing, Thoroughbred Kingdoms and Tarnished Crown.

Chapman rode camels through Oman and the deserts of Rajastan, India, and rode a camel through Big Bend Ranch State Park, tracing the story of the Texas camel cavalry for the January 2001 issue of Texas Parks & Wildlife. She is currently working on a book about the Choctaw Indians, to whom she is related by both blood and spirit. In this issue she writes about Caddo Lake.

Michael Furtman writes in this issue about the ecological and spiritual benefits of wetlands, a subject he's studied from a duck blind for more than 30 years. Furtman is the author of 14 books, including his latest from Ducks Unlimited, Duck Country, which is the 2001 Excellence in Craft winner from the Outdoor Writers of America Association. Eight of his books have been on the subjects of fish or wildlife ecology, while several focus on the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness of northern Minnesota, where he once served as a U.S. Forest Service wilderness ranger. A passionate waterfowler, in 1989 he followed the duck migration from Saskatchewan to the Gulf of Mexico, as told in his book On The Wings of a North Wind.

His writing and photography have been featured in numerous magazines, including Boy's Life, Bugle, CANOE, Fly Rod & Reel, Geo-Korea, Gun Dog, Minnesota Conservation Volunteer, Outdoor America, Ducks Unlimited Magazine, Field & Stream, Sky Magazine, Sports Afield, Terra Savauge, TROUT and Wildfowl. He is currently the environmental editor for Midwest Fly Fishing.

Furtman co-hosted and co-wrote "Outdoor Ethics," which aired on ESPN2 during 2001 and 2002, and was sponsored by the Izaak Walton League of America and Orvis. He lives in Duluth, Minn., near the shores of Lake Superior with his wife, Mary Jo, and their black lab, Wigeon.

Jim Anderson is an Austin-based freelance writer and former advertising executive who grew up near Paris - the Texas version - where saltwater was a sore throat remedy and a river was a wide expanse of reddish mud beyond which lay a mysterious place called Oklahoma. In the years since, he has lived in cities near both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and has logged many hours camping and fly fishing on many rivers. He is a continuing student of aquatic nature and an occasional contributor to this magazine.

While doing field research for this month's article on Matagorda Bay, Anderson spent several days along the Gulf Coast, by boat and land, learning firsthand some of the intricacies of various estuary ecosystems and talking to people who depend on the Gulf directly, indirectly, emotionally or all of the above. When new water policy proposals were formalized in February, potentially affecting the future of Matagorda Bay and the Lower Colorado River watershed, it seemed timely to focus on that specific region for this special issue.

Rod Davis, who writes about the Rio Grande this month, is the author of a six-part series on the Texas-Mexico border called "A Rio Runs Through It," which will appear in The Best American Travel Writing 2002, an annual anthology published by Houghton-Mifflin.

Davis is an award-winning journalist and editor who is currently travel editor of the San Antonio Express. His work has appeared in numerous publications including Southern Magazine, The Boston Globe Magazine, Los Angeles Times, Playboy, Men's Journal, Texas Monthly, Destination Discovery, The Texas Observer, The Progressive, San Francisco Bay Guardian and Old Farmer's Almanac.

His versatile professional career includes stints as executive editor at Cooking Light, a Time, Inc. magazine, and as a former editor of The Texas Observer, The Associated Press, the Texas Film Commission and American Way, the magazine of American Airlines. He was also a senior writer at Houston City and D magazine and a reporter for The Rocky Mountain News. He is author of the book American Voudou: Journey into a Hidden World, a study of West African religion in the United States.

An eighth-generation Texan on his mother's side, Davis has lived most of his life in Texas and the South, and currently resides in San Antonio.

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