Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Ad Hoc Outreach Committee

January 19, 2000

Commission Hearing Room
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Headquarters Complex
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744

      7      BE IT REMEMBERED that heretofore on the 19th
      8   day of January 2000, there came on to be heard
      9   matters under the regulatory authority of the
     10   Parks and Wildlife  Commission of Texas, in the
     11   commission hearing room of the Texas Parks and
     12   Wildlife Headquarters complex, Austin, Travis
     13   County, Texas, beginning at 3:38 p.m., to wit:
     14
     15
          APPEARANCES:
     16   THE PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION:
     17   AD HOC OUTREACH COMMITTEE:
          Chair:      Alvin L. Henry
     18               Lee M. Bass
                      Dick W. Heath (absent)
     19               Nolan Ryan
                      Ernest Angelo, Jr.
     20               John Avila, Jr.
                      Carol E. Dinkins
     21               Katharine Armstrong Idsal
                      Mark E. Watson, Jr.
     22
          THE PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT:
     23   Andrew H. Sansom, Executive Director, and other
          personnel of the Parks and Wildlife Department.
     24
     25
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      1                   JANUARY 19, 2000
      2                      *-*-*-*-*
      3           AD HOC OUTREACH COMMITTEE MEETING
      4                      *-*-*-*-*
      5                COMMISSIONER HENRY:  Next we're
      6   going to discuss outreach.  And this is something
      7   that's relatively new to us as a formal ad hoc
      8   committee.  That's what it is at this point, an
      9   ad hoc committee.  And Larry and Bob are going to
     10   lead us
     11      AGENDA AGENDA NO. 2:  BRIEFING - NEW EXPANDED
     12      OUTREACH PROGRAM.
     13                DR. McKINNEY:  Thank you,
     14   Mr. Chairman.
     15                MR. MURPHY:  Thank you,
     16   Mr. Chairman.
     17                DR. McKINNEY:  Appreciate the
     18   opportunity to address you today on a very
     19   important topic to all of us.  What I'm going to
     20   try to do, I put together a little bit of an
     21   overview, as best we can, of outreach activities
     22   of the department.  I know Bob will chime in here
     23   and add those points.  It's of key interest to
     24   all of us.  One thing we'll try to do is -- and
     25   we talk about outreach.  There's as many
.0003
      1   definitions of outreach as there are opinions,
      2   probably, of what we're talking about.  At least
      3   the way I'm kind of looking at it and do it is
      4   this basically.  There are any of the range of
      5   activities that we do or anyone does to try to
      6   enhance the appreciation and awareness of a
      7   particular topic, to transmit knowledge and
      8   skills about those topics, to foster critical
      9   thinking, and promote behavioral changes.  Those
     10   are things that we do throughout this agency at
     11   all levels to outreach, to deliver a message, to
     12   make a change.  So at least for an operational
     13   kind of definition, this is how I look at it.
     14                Outreach certainly is a critical
     15   part of meeting our mission, as we heard all day
     16   today in presentations throughout the day, to
     17   manage and conserve the natural and cultural
     18   resources of Texas for future and present
     19   generations.  I mean, those issues and what we
     20   try to do in building our constituencies, the
     21   users, people that pay the bills, and also
     22   building a conservation base, people who
     23   understand what we're trying to do and support
     24   those efforts.  That's the outreach effort of
     25   what we try to do to meet our mission, I
.0004
      1   believe.
      2                And I would say that outreach at
      3   Parks and Wildlife is diverse and dispersed all
      4   over the state.  I mean, it's -- it is amazing
      5   what we do in that realm, everything from our
      6   wildlife technical biologists out in the field
      7   working with landowners to Expo and others.  In
      8   our annual report that we give you each year, if
      9   you look at our numbers, for example, we report
     10   that our staff participates in some 30,000 events
     11   every year in outreach.  That's a hundred a day,
     12   is what it amounts to.
     13                And I tried to go back and look at
     14   those numbers.  That sounded awfully high, and
     15   where did we come from?  But when you think about
     16   what we do across the state, it's there, at over
     17   150 sites, parks, wildlife, management areas, and
     18   hatcheries.  And that also includes 900,000 kids
     19   that are involved in activities.  That's
     20   eyeball-to-eyeball types of activities.  Not just
     21   meetings.  Our staff really working with them.
     22   That means one in five Texans have some contact
     23   with our staff each year.  And probably only
     24   schools have more contact with people.  And I
     25   think it's very important.  And so it's a vehicle
.0005
      1   that we use and need to use more, at getting at
      2   what we're talking about.
      3                That explosion of outreach I think
      4   began around ten years ago, with the direction of
      5   our Executive Director and trying to make sure
      6   that we use that tool.  And our various divisions
      7   responded to that over that period of time with
      8   all of the things that we have done in talking
      9   about here.
     10                What we're looking at now and under
     11   the guidance of this committee, I think we'll
     12   look at, is that we have expanded all of that
     13   activity and we're all over the place, frankly.
     14   It's like a shotgun we fired off and we're
     15   everywhere doing all types of things.  So now is
     16   the time, really, to take a look, and we have
     17   been looking and will look even more intently at
     18   how we can -- what we can learn from those
     19   outreach efforts, how we can do better.  And I
     20   think some of those issues fall into, I think,
     21   some categories like enhancing coordination.
     22                I think a lot of what we've done is,
     23   we have a lot of people out there in that forest
     24   in amongst the trees, and working hard and doing
     25   good.  But we haven't really stepped back too
.0006
      1   much from the forest and looked at how we can
      2   cooperate better.  Every day, frankly, when we --
      3   I know Bob would share these experiences as I
      4   have, as I've looked at it over the last several
      5   years, is almost daily when I look at it, I find
      6   another instance where we're doing things in one
      7   part of the department that are very similar to
      8   another, and they don't even know that they're
      9   doing the same thing.  And they're all doing good
     10   things, but they didn't even realize maybe
     11   there's some ways we could work together better
     12   and coordinate.  And that's a key issue we want
     13   to enhance to look at.
     14                Certainly we want to look at the
     15   opportunity to imbed those strategic goals.  I
     16   think that's something that we have missed in
     17   this explosion, and we need to go back and look
     18   at it.  It's to make sure that -- we know that
     19   these activities, the activities we do in a very
     20   general sense, are aiming in the direction we
     21   want to go.  But we need to focus those better.
     22   As we were talking about in these grants
     23   programs, I think, just exactly what you said
     24   there, are we really hitting the strategic
     25   point?  I think the answer is no, not really, not
.0007
      1   what we need to do, not as good as we could.
      2                We look at things -- for example, I
      3   work with Steve Hall in hunter education, one of
      4   our largest outreach activities, thousands of
      5   volunteers. And because of that program, they do
      6   a very thorough evaluation.  And what they find,
      7   in fact, is that in one point, many of those
      8   people don't even know that Parks and Wildlife
      9   operates that whole program.  It doesn't come
     10   through in the materials.  In fact, they don't
     11   even recognize that we do.
     12                So that's one strategic goal we
     13   ought to address, that at least people recognize
     14   that this is a Parks and Wildlife program.
     15   Things like that, that we -- the most basic thing
     16   we need to look at.
     17                Optimizing staff and fiscal
     18   resource.  I mean, that's straightforward.  We
     19   have to make as good use as we can of those
     20   resources from both the money side and our staff
     21   side, to be effective.  We have too many other
     22   missions and demands on our staff of people to
     23   not do that.  So that's clearly an area we'll
     24   look at.
     25                And finally, an institutionalized
.0008
      1   evaluation.  I think that's an area that
      2   certainly needs enhancement and is somewhat
      3   spotty.  We really don't look and have -- in many
      4   cases whether or not we're being effective.  We
      5   know we're doing things but we really don't know
      6   if it's working or not.  And others, it's very
      7   good.  So we need to make sure that even on --
      8   from a programmatic and from an individual basis,
      9   many of our staff have, in their performance
     10   plans, outreach requirements.  And we need to
     11   make sure that what we're doing is effective.
     12   And to do that, you have to evaluate it.  So we
     13   need to provide those tools to make that happen.
     14                To achieve that objective, our
     15   director has directed us to initiate some of the
     16   following actions.  One, is to designate an
     17   outreach coordinator and establish an outreach
     18   team to accomplish a couple of missions.  One is
     19   to develop an outreach strategy that addresses
     20   those issues that I just briefly summarized.  We
     21   intend to have that done and before you by your
     22   next commission meeting in April, to move that
     23   forward quickly.
     24                We want to take a look at how we can
     25   expand our existing opportunities to reach urban
.0009
      1   youth as part of that strategy.  Some of the
      2   things that Tim talked to you about just
      3   previous, as to how to take advantage of those
      4   programs, that's an important focus.  We want to
      5   look at that in particular.
      6                And certainly we want to emphasize
      7   development of partnerships throughout, how we
      8   can work better with other agencies, nonprofits
      9   and communities to do that message.  So clearly
     10   an emphasis on partnerships is what we've been
     11   directed at.
     12                We haven't -- we're not waiting,
     13   actually, to start some of this.  We're moving
     14   forward on it.  I want to give you a little bit
     15   of an update on where we are on some of those
     16   initiation of some of the ideas that we're at
     17   now.
     18                For one, we named Bob Murphy to act
     19   as our outreach coordinator, to begin to bring
     20   that together.  Bob is here today.  Raise your
     21   hand back there.  He's really well suited to do
     22   this, to help us build not only internal but
     23   external partnerships.
     24                Right now, Bob is vice-president of
     25   the Texas Environmental Education Partnership.
.0010
      1     That's the new legislative mandate to develop
      2   educational -- environmental education in this
      3   state.  He's working on that.  He's vice chair of
      4   the Texas Environmental Education Advisory
      5   Committee that reports directly to the
      6   Commissioner of Education, to advise them on
      7   that.  And he's the chair of the board for the
      8   Texas Alliance of Science, Technology, and
      9   Mathematics in Education.  He's mostly a chair of
     10   some of the longest acronyms you can imagine.
     11   But the point is, they are key in helping us work
     12   with outside partners.  And he's been
     13   instrumental in working those, and received those
     14   acknowledgments from those people.  I think that
     15   stands well for us.
     16                Internally Bob has coordinated our
     17   natural classroom in coordination with the
     18   foundation, to help us develop our student
     19   interns and particularly our teacher intern
     20   program, which has grown from a few teachers now
     21   to over ten every year throughout the department
     22   that work with our programs to enhance their
     23   educational value.
     24                He works with our education team,
     25   leads that group, works with members from all of
.0011
      1   our divisions.  And in Expo he coordinates the
      2   critter corner, which is bringing the kiddy
      3   events together for the Expo and that type of
      4   thing.
      5                So I think he's going to help us
      6   really aim at what we're doing and build that
      7   coordination effort.
      8                We put together the core of an
      9   outreach strategy team.  Steve Hall will lead
     10   that, to help develop that.  Steve is a
     11   nationally recognized leader in these areas, in
     12   developing, for example, becoming an outdoor
     13   women's program.  He's lead in that.  He's a
     14   national representative for the International
     15   Fish and Wildlife Associations on various
     16   committees for setting standards for hunter and
     17   boater education and those types of things.  So
     18   he has that grasp.
     19                But certainly, all the members of
     20   our team -- and I think that's one thing that
     21   you'll see as we begin to work more in these
     22   outreach areas, that when we start tapping into
     23   our staff, they're pretty extraordinary.  What
     24   they do and what they represent and how they're
     25   respected throughout the country, across the
.0012
      1   board.  So we have a wonderful resource to really
      2   focus in on and achieve what we're talking
      3   about.
      4                Darlene Lewis certainly heads the
      5   coop program and she will be a key player there.
      6                Ernie Gammage.  Ernie has talents in
      7   addition to putting Expo together, which I know
      8   he's working on right now.  But that exceed
      9   that.  And we want to tap into that.
     10                And then Lydia Saldana from the
     11   communications side, to help us work in that
     12   area.  They will form the core of this team that
     13   will help us put this strategy together to bring
     14   before you for your input and consideration.
     15                Assisting them will be the education
     16   team.  That's been a group that's existed for
     17   some time.  And their help will -- their
     18   associated with all of our divisions, field and
     19   headquarters.  And they're a group, a resource
     20   that we've called on many times and will in
     21   helping do all of these things.
     22                One particular area that -- and
     23   we're going to give you a briefing tomorrow in
     24   the public session on the outdoor kids, which is
     25   kind of an umbrella program that we work with,
.0013
      1   Mr. Chairman, to enhance all of our programs.
      2   But one particular activity that we're going to
      3   develop, and I think you-all will be interested
      4   in, is working with -- Darlene Lewis is the coop
      5   program we talked about.  And joining that with
      6   outdoor kids and pilots and regional programs to
      7   try to enhance our ability to reach those urban
      8   areas, as we've talked about.  And I think
      9   there's some pretty exciting opportunities there,
     10   to develop that program and go with the resources
     11   we have.  And so we're going to be bringing back
     12   to you some opportunities to build that program
     13   on a regional basis.  And I think you'll be
     14   excited about it.  And we'll see you-all's input
     15   as to how best to proceed.
     16                Very quickly, knowing we were going
     17   to -- very quickly, that's the broadest outline
     18   of where I think we'll be going with the
     19   committee.  We will certainly, in our next --
     20   your next meeting, be reporting back to you on
     21   that strategic plan regarding coop programs and
     22   other areas of outreach that you may have
     23   interest in, and we think that you'll be
     24   interested in to focus on it.
     25                And I appreciate the opportunity to
.0014
      1   be part of it.  It's a big effort, important to
      2   what we do, everything that we do.  And I'm
      3   excited about it.
      4                And certainly, Bob, you -- I may
      5   have been talking too fast to let you get your
      6   two bits in.  But I know if I ever be quiet, and
      7   Bob gets started, you'll never -- but please,
      8   yes, sir.
      9                MR. COOK:  I think it is a wonderful
     10   opportunity.  We've got a lot of people who --
     11   this is an area that they absolutely excel in.
     12   And I think the rewards, you know, from working
     13   with youth, working with kids, and particularly
     14   in urban areas, are such that we will have a
     15   continued high interest in this.  And a lot of
     16   people wanting -- a lot of our staff wanting to
     17   be involved.
     18                As Tim pointed out and as you
     19   already know, we received from the legislature an
     20   additional million dollars to apply to this
     21   area.  We're already spending lots of time and
     22   effort, as Doc pointed out to you.  The need to
     23   coordinate that overall and the need to, again,
     24   focus on possibly some new areas, put some real
     25   focus on some new areas toward inner city youth
.0015
      1   and toward youth in general is there.  We've got
      2   a couple of FTEs that came with that funding that
      3   we've got to work with, that this team that you
      4   will be hearing more about from a plan standpoint
      5   of how best to apply, how best to evaluate those
      6   programs.  And so we're looking forward to it.
      7   We would appreciate your input and your help.
      8                DR. McKINNEY:  Mr. Chairman, with
      9   that, certainly we'd respond to any questions or
     10   any comments.  But I think that would conclude
     11   our presentation.
     12                COMMISSIONER HENRY:  My only comment
     13   would be that -- I was going to weigh heavily on
     14   Nolan on this effort.  We -- talking about
     15   implementing a strategy that will reach young
     16   people who are potential customers of the
     17   department.  And although my emphasis coming from
     18   Houston is on urban youth.  I don't just mean
     19   urban in the sense of Houston, Dallas, Fort
     20   Worth, San Antonio, but the smaller communities
     21   as well, where they were previously populations
     22   and becoming more and more of a state itself.
     23   People are living not only in the larger cities
     24   but in smaller towns rather than on the farms and
     25   outside the cities these days.  So we have that
.0016
      1   population as well to deal with, as well as those
      2   kids who live in the ghettoes and the barrios of
      3   the largest cities, to introduce them in many
      4   cases to what the department does.
      5                The department does some great
      6   things.  Many of them go fairly unknown to many
      7   people.  If we can get our message out and if we
      8   can corporate internally to maximize what we do,
      9   I think we can be very effective.  I think we can
     10   go a long way toward reaching kids who only
     11   hunted or fished on one or more occasions to
     12   become active participants in -- not only of
     13   hunting and fishing, but also in ecology and
     14   learning a lot about the land and appreciating
     15   the land, as well as the water, and keeping it
     16   safe for generations to come.  So I'm excited
     17   about it.  I hope we can move forward.
     18                DR. McKINNEY:  We plan on it.  And
     19   we know you -- we appreciate that support and the
     20   statements.
     21                MR. COOK:  I thought it was
     22   interesting, the connection -- and I think it's
     23   worth commenting on, the connection that
     24   Commissioner Dinkins made today in discussing
     25   with Tim, the possibility of additional bonus
.0017
      1   points in our grants program.  I mean, what
      2   better way to tie in part of that community and
      3   involvement of that community and a message in
      4   that community than -- and there's one of those
      5   areas where, I mean, like Tim said, just give me
      6   some good ideas.  And so we need to do -- we need
      7   to do a better job of that internally, of making
      8   sure that our ideas for whatever it is, butterfly
      9   gardens, native prairies, nesting boxes for
     10   birds, whatever it might be, that it gets
     11   incorporated into all those programs in every
     12   community.
     13                DR. McKINNEY:  And we have a real
     14   opportunity in the coop program as it's really
     15   expanding now and we're kind of resetting the
     16   ground, that we can set a course for.  Sometimes
     17   it's difficult to correct a course that's been
     18   going along in a direction, like some of the
     19   grants, because people get used to what they
     20   see.  But we'll have the opportunity here to set
     21   some of those courses.
     22                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  I think I've
     23   mentioned this before but I'll throw it out
     24   here.  It's getting in the weeds.  But when we
     25   have these matching fund things for urban parks
.0018
      1   and stuff like that, I think we ought to have a
      2   requirement that there's a kiosk in the center of
      3   that.  I've been to a couple of different
      4   locations.  There's a kiosk that shows, within a
      5   certain radius, our parks and wildlife and
      6   fishing and wildlife management areas and parks,
      7   because what we're doing is, they go there to
      8   play and they get some sense of conservation,
      9   (inaudible) and then they see that.  And it's
     10   going to trigger the parent or the child to say,
     11   I want to see more of this, we can go within a
     12   half a day's drive or like that.  And that's not
     13   expensive to do.
     14                DR. McKINNEY:  No, but that gets at
     15   that point of trying to move them past that in
     16   that strategic thing.  Where do we want them to
     17   go?  Entertainment is fine, and to have to good
     18   recreation, but we need to go beyond that.  We
     19   need to deliver something.  We need to be
     20   delivering that message.
     21                COMMISSIONER HENRY:  That's all we
     22   have.
     23                CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you all very
     24   much.
     25                    (HEARING ADJOURNED.)
.0019
      1                REPORTER'S CERTIFICATE
      2   STATE OF TEXAS   )
      3   COUNTY OF TRAVIS )
      4
      5        I, MELODY RENEE DeYOUNG, a Certified Court
      6   Reporter in and for the State of Texas, do hereby
      7   certify that the above and foregoing 18 pages
      8   constitute a full, true and correct transcript of
      9   the minutes of the Texas Parks and Wildlife
     10   Commission on JANUARY 19, 2000, in the commission
     11   hearing room of the Texas Parks and Wildlife
     12   Headquarters Complex, Austin, Travis County,
     13   Texas.
     14        I FURTHER CERTIFY that a stenographic record
     15   was made by me a the time of the public meeting
     16   and said stenographic notes were thereafter
     17   reduced to computerized transcription under my
     18   supervision and control.
     19        WITNESS MY HAND this the 18TH day of
     20   FEBRUARY, 2000.
     21
     22
                 MELODY RENEE DeYOUNG, RPR, CSR NO. 3226
     23          Expiration Date:  12-31-00
                 3101 Bee Caves Road
     24          Centre II, Suite 220
                 Austin, Texas  78746
     25          (512) 328-5557
          EBS NO. 37595

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