Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   


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Sea Turtles Get Help | Texans Value Nature

Sea Turtles Get Help from Deepwater Horizon Settlement

The struggle is real for sea turtles on the Texas coast. Eggs laid in beach nests are in danger from predators and weather, winter brings cold-stranding, and abandoned fishing lines tangle around appendages. But there’s good news for the green sea turtles, loggerheads, hawksbills, leatherbacks and Kemp’s ridleys: Millions of dollars are now earmarked for restoration and protection.

Thanks to $15 million ($45 million for the entire Gulf Coast) from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill settlement, there will be a new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration emergency response program and enhancements to other existing operations over the next decade.

Sea Turtle Inc., TPWD’s Coastal Fisheries Division and Animal Rehabilitation Keep will receive funding to patrol for injured or stranded turtles, though TPWD will focus only on those that are cold-stunned. Both of the other groups have facilities to rehabilitate the injured turtles.

Other programs to be upgraded include bycatch reduction to protect turtles accidentally caught by fisheries and increased emphasis on compliance with turtle-excluder device regulations during shrimp fishery season.

Find more information at www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov.


Texans Value Nature but Struggle to Find Outdoor Time

Texans love nature and the outdoors but encounter growing obstacles to spending time outside, according to a major new study on Americans’ relationship to nature.

The study, conducted by the Nature of Americans initiative and supported in part by TPWD, involved 11,817 adults and children across the country. It shined a spotlight on Texas, with 2,948 Texas adults and children participating in focus groups, personal interviews and online surveys.

The study found that experiences with nature are deeply social. Meaningful moments in the outdoors typically don’t occur in solitude but happen in the company of others, especially family and friends. Nature experiences were found to be more memorable when shared with other people.

The study also found that adults and children differ in where they find nature. For children, nature is right outside the door in nearby yards, gardens and parks. For adults, “authentic” nature is perceived to be in places requiring travel, such as state and national parks.

Texans value nature in remarkably broad, diverse ways and perceive tremendous benefit from experiences in nature, the study found. Valuing nature cuts across demographic differences of age, race, income level and gender. The vast majority of Texans surveyed said nature is highly important for their physical and emotional well-being.

Despite the relatively high levels of interest in nature, participants in the study perceived growing separation from the natural world in modern society, including barriers such as cities, competing priorities, new technology and shifting expectations.

Find more information at www.natureofamericans.org.

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