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Holidays at the Park | Fish Art Winner | Palo Duro Leader Honored

Celebrate the Holidays at Texas State Parks

Nothing promotes holiday cheer like real stands of tall pine trees, a dusting of snow on a Texas mountain or caroling that echoes off the canyon walls. Come celebrate Christmas with Texas state parks!

Deck the halls in the Hill Country at the 47th annual tree lighting at LBJ State Park and Historic Site on Dec. 18 from 6 to 9 p.m. Enjoy carolers, a live nativity, Santa Claus, refreshments, a spectacular tree and a trip to the past at Sauer-Beckman Living History Farm.

You’ll find more history aboard the Battleship Texas during a fun-filled day of taking photos with Santa, transmitting a note to that jolly old elf from the ship’s post office and making crafts. The ship will be decorated just as she was during her service. Dec. 10, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Walk through a quarter-mile of lighted trails overlooking La Grange to uncover a German Christmas at Monument Hill and Kreische Brewery State Historic Site. The 1850s-era German home of H.L. Kreische will be traditionally decorated, and children can meet Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus. Dec. 3, 9-10, 16-17, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Enjoy the magic of hot air balloons floating above you in the darkening sky at the Christmas in the Canyon Balloon Glow, from 5 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 17 at Palo Duro Canyon State Park.

More events can be found at tpwd.texas.gov/calendar.

And don’t forget: Find those coveted Texas state park ornaments — this year’s offerings feature Balmorhea, Dinosaur Valley and Tyler state parks — at texasstateparks.org/ornament.


Fish Art Best of Show

Longtime State-Fish Art Contest participant Nasa Xu won the prestigious Seth Thomas Spradlin Best of Show Award (from all first-place state and international winners) as the “best of the best.” The talented senior from Katy received the honor for The Chase, her stunning Prismacolor painting of a largemouth bass keying in on its next meal.

“I was very inspired by my AP environmental science class and my dad, who is a research scientist working with water quality,” Xu says. “The more I learned about the state of our planet, the more I learned to appreciate the beauties of the world, from the smallest organisms such as fish. Wildlife conservation plays a big role in my life, as I spend most my summers outdoors in lakes, fishing and kayaking.”


Palo Duro Superintendent Honored

The State Agency Council to the Governor’s Commission for Women recently honored Palo Duro Canyon State Park Superintendent Shannon Blalock with its Outstanding Management Award.

During her TPWD career, Blalock was key in the creation of the Citizens Park Ranger Academy when she was leading the operation at Dinosaur Valley State Park. She has been influential in her management and leadership of several state parks, including becoming the first woman to lead Palo Duro Canyon State Park, our cover story this month. As one of the most visited parks in Texas, Palo Duro sees about 300,000 parkgoers annually and is the home of the iconic outdoor play Texas.

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