Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Outreach and Education Committee
May 25, 2005Commission Hearing Room
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Headquarters Complex
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
BE IT REMEMBERED, that heretofore on the 25th day of May, 2005, there came to be heard matters under the regulatory authority of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission in the Commission Hearing Room of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Headquarters Complex, to wit:
THE TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION:
- Alvin L. Henry, Houston, Texas, Chairman
- Joseph B.C. Fitzsimons, San Antonio, Texas
- Ned S. Holmes, Houston, Texas
- J. Robert Brown, El Paso, Texas
- Peter M. Holt, San Antonio, Texas (Absent)
- Philip Montgomery, Dallas, Texas (Absent)
- John D. Parker, Lufkin, Texas
- Donato D. Ramos, Laredo, Texas
- T. Dan Friedkin, Houston, Texas
THE TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT:
- Robert L. Cook, Executive Director, and other personnel of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
COMMISSIONER HENRY: The first order of business is approval of minutes previously distributed. Is there a motion for approval?
COMMISSIONER PARKER: So moved.
COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Second.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: We have a motion and a second. Approved. Chairman's Charges.
Mr. Cook, please, your presentation.
MR. COOK: Mr. Chairman, Commissioners. I 'm proud to announce to you that all of the Chairman's charges to the Outreach and Education Committee have been addressed. In addition, the Outreach and Education Advisory Committee has accomplished their deliverables and are making a final presentation at this Committee meeting today to that effect.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: Thank you, Mr. Cook.
The next item on the agenda, item number two, Texas Parks and Wildlife Expo. Mr. Ernie Gammage and guest, please.
MR. GAMMAGE: Mr. Chairman and members. My name is Ernie Gammage. I'm the Branch Chief for Urban Outdoor Programs and Director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Expo. And I'm here to brief you on our progress for this year's event.
Under the leadership of Commissioner Holmes, who is this year's chairman, and his associate, Commissioner Parker, who is this year's banquet chairman, we are proceeding along with this year's planning. On the operational side there are three major issues that we're tackling this year.
One is where to park our visitors. As we learned last year with the rain — once it rains on that hayfield, it becomes unusable. We also have not secured, but are in the process of securing, the lease for that piece of property which passed to private ownership about a year ago.
There are some alternative sites, and we're weighing whether or not we should just go ahead and move to someplace with impervious cover, so we can park people there regardless of the weather. The second issue is management, wherever it is, of parking.
We've been very lucky the last three years to have the Texas State Guard. About 60 men and women from that operation come out and actually help us park and move traffic around. And because of the war in Iraq they have been called on other missions and are no longer available to us.
So we have to figure out a way, dependent upon where we put people, about how to manage that. The third issue is a more effective rain plan management for Expo, should it rain in the future, which of course we know that it will not, but we also know that it will. So those are the three things that we're working on. We're still in progress.
We've been to site visits for many, many places around Austin, including both of the airports and some other locations that accommodate about 3,500 to 4,000 vehicles a day. What's new at Expo this year? Again this is a work in progress, but I want to touch on three things that I think you'll very pleased with.
One is a complete revamp of the hunting and wildlife management tent. For a number of years the folks in Wildlife have felt like they didn't have the visitation nor the interest from the general public, as people walked by into the grounds.
They are completely revamping their presentation to really focus on the five management tools — ax, cow, plow, fire and gun — to make the importance of each one of those, including an emphasis on hunting obviously, very apparent to our visitors that come here.
Mr. Friedkin, we get a lot of city folks that come to the Expo. And they don't have that long history that a lot of us here do. So it's important that we become relevant to them and stay relevant. In the state parks area we're going to have a new and, I think, very exciting presentation that actually relates to this year's banquet beneficiary. And we'll have a little bit more on that later.
For a number of years we have had a number of presentations at Expo related to water. Of course the two fisheries have their presentations. When we built the new roadway in the back and had a retention pond over here, we turned that into a wetlands and further developed that as a wetlands and wildlife area.
We are going to this year take all of these disparate activities and presentations and really try to connect them in a way that makes sense, so that people leave here understanding not only what our role in the management of water is and why that is important to this Agency, but also what they can do. So we're looking forward to that.
Exhibitor and sponsorship solicitation materials have both come back from the printer. If I can ask Ms. Hemby to — you all have all got those there. I will point out one thing to you, which is in the front there is just a little CD.
We're going to actually watch part of the sponsor video. But you can pop this into your PC and sit back, turn up the sound and it'll come on. So every packet will have these. If you would like others. If you have folks in mind that you think might benefit from being a sponsor to the Expo, I urge you to give me that information, and we'll get that to them. We plan to get those out this Friday.
Mark, if you can roll video, please. This is the 2005 marketing video for the Wildlife Expo.
MR. GAMMAGE: We'll end it right there. Our special guest today did tell me that she will be available to personally autograph your copy of her video. One of the things that we're really happy about this year is that we are in our 14th year.
For 13 of those years the beneficiary of the auction from the banquet has been our scholarship program. That is now funded to the extent that we can spin off about 12 or 13 scholarships every year for high school, college students who want to pursue degrees in conservation management and also employees that want to get degrees or advanced degrees.
Last year the Sheldon Lake Environmental Learning Center was the beneficiary. And this year we're very, very happy that the San Jacinto Monument and Visitors Center is the beneficiary. And Mr. Parker and Mr. Holmes and Dick Davis and others will be meeting tomorrow to further refine our presentation.
We think that beneficiary itself and the excitement about this historically significant part of our history will bring a lot of folks to the banquet. And we are pledged to making this a rousing success. And with that I'd like to introduce Sarita Hixon, who is the President of the San Jacinto Museum of History Association.
MS. HIXON: Well, thank you Mr. Chairman and Commissioners. I'm just so pleased to be able to come today and personally express on behalf of our museum and our Board of Trustees our appreciation for the decision to make the San Jacinto Monument repair project and the proposed Visitors Center the beneficiaries of this year's Expo banquet.
Our museum has been operating, as you probably already know, inside the monument since 1939. And ever since Parks and Wildlife came on board and started managing the park there in the middle '60s, we've had an excellent working relationship and a very mutually beneficial partnership with Parks and Wildlife, whether it's working on creating the master plan for the park or putting on the annual San Jacinto Day festival and reenactment, which we do every year right around San Jacinto Day.
Each year over 100,000 people come to the monument and our museum, well over 60,000 of which are schoolchildren, who come there to study Texas history. And they have an opportunity to view our Texas history exhibits and see our film that's on the Texas revolution.
And until last fall they were also able to ride the elevator up to the observation deck and get a bird's eye view of the battleground and the entire park. And as you all know, since last fall those schoolchildren and other visitors have not been able to go up, because we closed that observation deck and elevator ride for fire safety purposes and get them fixed.
But I'm so glad — and we all are — that the $2.1 million has been budgeted by the Legislature and will be coming in, from what I understand, from Kellogg, Brown & Root, who is doing the design work. As soon as that money is available later this June probably they can go right to work and start fixing the problems with the monument, so that by January they hope, we'll be able to reopen everything.
And that is just so important to us, because until that's done we are going to be shutting down a lot of our revenue sources to allow the repair work to go through. But just as important as repairing the monument, our museum is also so excited about the proposed construction of a new Visitors Center at the park, which will benefit not only our museum, but all of the other constituencies, whether the battleship, the marshland reclamation project.
It's a great project as well. And taking the nexus of $4 million of federal funds and private matching funds, the funds raised at this benefit at the banquet will be benefitting not just the museum but everybody who comes to the park.
The other good news that I wanted to pass on to you was that we had gone to the Houston Endowment earlier this year, in light of the fact that we were going to be shutting down for repairs during the latter part of this year. And we had submitted a request for funding.
And we found out last week that the Houston Endowment has agreed to give us a challenge-matching grant of up to $240,000 for every dollar we raise in the next 13 months for San Jacinto. That means — and we did speak with the staff at the Houston Endowment — this would include the funds raised for San Jacinto at this banquet.
So it will be a dollar-for-dollar match-up to $240,000. And we're very thrilled about that. And we've got some other ideas about boosting attendance, getting some of our supporters throughout the state to come to the banquet and participate in the auction and just generally enjoy themselves and have a good time, because that's what it's all about, and have the added benefit of doing something good for this work site and Texas icon, the monument. But thank you very, very much.
COMMISSIONER HOLMES: So it's great news about the matching grant. Yes. That really is good.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Sarita, thanks for your hard work. It's —
MS. HIXON: Well, it's a pleasure working —
COMMISSIONER HENRY: I've watched it firsthand.
MS. HIXON: And I'd have to say that your staff out at the park in the region are just — it's a real pleasure working them. And they do an excellent job. Jerry Hopkins, Russ Kuykendall, everybody — Barry Ward. You ought to be proud of those guys.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Well, we're proud of you and the volunteers you work with, because without you we'd be in trouble.
COMMISSIONER PARKER: I want to tell you that I was at the reenactment celebration this year. Our staff — when you stop and think about three people managing 25,000 people, it's incredible the way —
MS. HIXON: We had the best attendance on record. And conservative estimates were ranging from 20- to 25,000. I can assure you it was 25,000 or more. And it was very well done. A lot of hard work, but it was worth it.
COMMISSIONER PARKER: The entire reenactment field was completely — the perimeters of that reenactment field were completely — it was like you were at a football game. There were people everywhere, elbow to elbow.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: That's good.
MR. COOK: Gentlemen, I would like to add my appreciation to Sarita and the folks that we work down there. It's rare. And we work in a lot of different places and a lot of different groups, lot of different folks. The relationship there is excellent.
It's a relationship of trust and one of support for each other, and we appreciate very much. I, Sarita, will not forget soon the day that we got the message that the fire safety people had given us the word last fall.
From start to stop this lady and her companions in the organization — there was never any hesitancy about what we had to do and the action that we had to take and how we were going to try to find solutions for that. And I appreciate your help very much.
MS. HIXON: It's our pleasure.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: I, too, would like to thank Sarita for all that she does. I understand she comes from a pretty good family, so I'm sure that has something to do with it. The Armstrong's and the Henry's have a big bond.
So there's a number of reasons I'm delighted that you're doing so well. Please thank the other members for us. Also Ernie Gammage who does such a tremendous job with Expo. I have, as you know, the occasion the chair it one year. And I was simply delighted to learn that Ned Holmes would be chairing this year and that John Parker would be assisting there.
I won't embarrass him, but I'll say this. I don't know of a commissioner who has come on board and supported Expo to a greater degree than Commissioner Holmes has during his tenure.
COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Al, you're always raising the bar.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: We'll be in there pitching to help you as much as possible.
COMMISSIONER HOLMES: I would encourage any of you that have not visited the museum to do that. It's terrific exhibits.
MS. HIXON: We'd love to take you around and give you a behind-the-scenes tour and maybe even take you to the top, if you care to sign a waiver.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: Be sure to get a waiver.
MR. GAMMAGE: We mentioned that there would be a new presentation in the state parks area at Expo. And we're going to do something we've never done before, which is take the beneficiary and that whole focus of Friday night and extend it to the weekend.
And we actually intend to have some of the new archeological finds that have never been on public display, some pieces of limestone, some reenactors, all focusing on the San Jacinto Monument and Battleground and Museum.
So we think that'll be exciting for our visitors to see this real piece of Texas history out there.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: That's great. Is there any other comment from the Commissioners?
COMMISSIONER PARKER: I was so excited about that matching grant thing, $240,000. We've got to really make an effort to make a big dip in that for you with the banquet. I want to report that even before Dan Friedkin came on the Commission, I'd been hearing rumbles, but you never know.
I called Dan and told him about the banquet. And I said, Dan, I'm thinking about a deal where I'm looking for a hunt, a deer hunt. Maybe so-and-so might wind up — it would be for two people to go on the hunt. So-and-so might go on the hunt with them. They probably will. We understand that the person will.
And Dan said, oh, I'll do that. He said, in fact you tell so-and-so that I'll send my plane up there and pick so-and-so up and whoever he might want to bring and carry them down to the ranch and bring them back.
So I'm issuing a call to all the other commissioners — and I know that Peter and Ned did something last year. And I'm hoping they'll repeat this year. But I want all the rest to think about coming in with some exciting opportunities there for the banquet.
We're going to be doing some things that have never been done at the banquet. And it's all in the name of raising money for the San Jacinto Monument. The banquet's going to have a little bit different twist this year. And we hope that at the bottom of the twist will be dollars dripping out.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: Thank you, John. Any other comment or question?
MS. HIXON: One thing I forgot to mention was I was just thrilled to hear about Dick Davis coming on board, because I had the pleasure of working with him on a fundraiser in Houston a few years ago. It was at one of the Texas Legends events that he and I worked together on. It was a big success, and he's going to do a great job.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: Thank you. Anything further?
COMMISSIONER HENRY: Thank you, Ernie. Thank you, Sarita.
MS. HIXON: Thank you.
MR. GAMMAGE: Thank you.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: The next item has to do with — item number three, TPWD Advertising and Sponsorship Program. Ms. Lydia Saldana.
MS. SALDANA: Thank you. For the record I'm Lydia Saldana, Communication Division Director. Today the purpose of this presentation is to update you on various sponsorship agreements that we have with the Foundation and related advertising issues.
I'll also be providing some background to you on advertising issues specifically related to our Outdoor Annual. I'll also review history and changes related to Sunset legislation which passed back in 2001. And finally I'm going to be reviewing Commission action related to that Sunset legislation and explain exactly how the staff is interpreting that Commission rule.
Certainly I hope you are all aware of the Foundation. A brief history — the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation — is the official nonprofit that is supporting Texas Parks and Wildlife. The Foundation was founded in 1991 with seed money from Anheuser-Busch.
And of course Parks and Wildlife staff works hand in hand with the Foundation to develop sponsorship agreements that are mutually beneficial to both us and the sponsor. Our major sponsors include, besides Anheuser-Busch, certainly Gulf States Toyota. And Gulf States has been a great partner to us.
Our state park guide and many efforts in our state parks would just simply not exist were it not for those sponsorship dollars. Gulf States Toyota is also a sponsor of Expo. DOW has been a longtime sponsor involved with the Parks and Wildlife Foundation and Texas Parks and Wildlife, supporting Sea Center and other coastal fisheries-related issues and also Expo.
A lot of our sponsors are very fond of Texas Parks and Wildlife Expo for good reason. Bass Pro Shops has been very involved with Parks and Wildlife and specifically with the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center and inland fisheries projects and Expo.
And also Academy is another sponsor that we work very, very closely with us. They're partnering with us this summer on the family fishing celebration. And we're going to have a lot more fishing events out there in the parks to hopefully get more folks involved in fishing.
We've also had sponsors to assist us in our water communications effort, including Brazos Mutual and the Boone Pickens Foundation. Today I'm going to focus my remarks on Anheuser-Busch. AB is one of our flagship sponsors and has provided millions of dollars, literally millions of dollars in support of the Foundation and Parks and Wildlife conservation programs.
They made their very first donation in 1991. And that actually provided the seed money that began the Foundation. In 1993 they donated a seven-figure amount for an endowment fund. In 1994 they provided a six-figure amount to support the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center and also their first major contribution to once again the Parks and Wildlife Expo.
Now since 1996 Anheuser-Busch has been making an annual contribution of $500,000 in cash and $500,000 in marketing support to Texas Parks and Wildlife programs. And then their marketing dollars were spent to support that.
This support has not come without some criticism. Mainly that criticism has been related to the use of the Budweiser name in Texas Parks and Wildlife Department publications, including and namely, the Outdoor Annual.
A little bit of background for those of you who are newer on the Commission. A little bit of history on the evolution of our Outdoor Annual. Now prior to 1996, that first Outdoor Annual, this is what we used to produce. We used to produce two different publications: one a hunting guide, one a fishing guide.
And it cost the Department about $400,000 to print those publications and distribute them statewide. So at the time Texas Parks and Wildlife leadership was looking for innovative ways to help us cover some of those costs.
And they were exploring several different options of how to get our regs published at a reduced or no cost to the Department. Texas Monthly was brought into the discussion at that time. And as a result in 1995 we actually entered into a legal agreement with Texas Monthly to publish the Outdoor Annual, the hunting and fishing regs of Texas.
That agreement was signed in 1995. And that contract resulted in Texas Monthly taking on the majority of the financial burden of publishing the regs. Now, there were a couple of clauses in that original contract that did end up causing some unforeseen problems, including the fact that there was no termination provision in that very first contract and there was no restriction on ad sales.
In other words Texas Monthly at the time had the right to sell ads to whoever they wanted to. Now at the time their position was that they couldn't make the financials on it work if they couldn't get out there and sell advertising basically to whoever would buy the advertising.
So they wanted to have the freedom to pursue all of those advertisers. And that's why the contract was set up like it was at the time. Now that very first year there were seven pages of tobacco and alcohol-related ads, including Budweiser, Jack Daniels and Copenhagen.
There were seven to eight pages of alcohol and tobacco-related ads that ran in the Outdoor Annual from 1996 to 2002. Now this particular ad is an example of one that appeared in the Outdoor Annual in the very earliest stages of this relationship.
As you can see this ad promotes the Budweiser ShareLunker program. I wanted to point this ad out in particular, because it's this particular ad that we've heard a lot about, both in previous Commission meetings — some of you all have heard that.
Certainly down on the Hill we've heard about this particular ad. So I wanted you all to see it and to know what some of that controversy was about. I also want to point out for the record this particular ad has not been published or been seen in the Outdoor Annual for more than four years. So it is not being used.
But I show it to you just because it's referenced often during these hearings. Texas Monthly has been a very good partner to us throughout this whole relationship. In response to criticism both during the legislative session in 1999 they actually helped — and they did — obtain a sponsor.
And what they began doing was printing a student version, which was an ad-free version and they provided free-of-cost that was not part of that original contract. They did 50,000. We used them, distributed them through game wardens. We used them in hunter education courses to kind of help deal with some of that initial concern.
In 2001 we told them the 50,000 wasn't enough. And there was no issue with them at all. Again they've been really good partners to us. And the following year they printed 100,000 of these student versions without ads.
Also what was happening in 2001, as many of you remember, was we were going through the Sunset process during the last legislative hearing. Now during this process there was a lot of testimony during all of our hearings related to alcohol advertising and the Outdoor Annual. So this issue was very high on the radar screen down at the Capitol.
Now, as a result our Sunset bill passed. There of course were many, many, many provisions that were part of that bill. But specifically related to publications there were a couple of things that happened that I want to bring your attention to.
One, the Sunset bill specifically required that all publication contracts that Texas Parks and Wildlife enter into must have a termination clause. It also included a provision that Texas Parks and Wildlife must retain final approval over ads and editorial. It flat out prohibited tobacco ads.
It also made a requirement that copies containing youth-appropriate advertising be provided. And it also directed the Commission to adopt guidelines for youth-appropriate advertising. So that is the high points of what the Sunset bill covered as it relates to this issue.
So in 2002 the Commission adopted guidelines related to this issue which stated — and this is straight out the Texas Administrative Code — "Advertising that is appropriate for youth viewing, within the meaning of the Texas Parks and Wildlife code, means advertising that does not include any alcohol or tobacco products."
Now the way that Parks and Wildlife staff has interpreted this guideline is that ads which do not contain pictures of alcohol products or selling the alcohol product are acceptable. The use of a product name under this guideline — the way that we've been interpreting it — does not constitute a violation of this guideline.
Now here's an example of an ad. And I'd also like to point out that that's essentially the same guideline that we've been operating at the magazine for years. At least for the 15 years that I've been here at Parks and Wildlife that has always been our guideline at the magazine.
For example we've run an ad back ten years ago on the Hunters for the Hungry Program when it was supported by Budweiser, and we used the Budweiser term. So this is not inconsistent with what we had been doing for years.
This again is an example of an ad that ran in our magazine and in the Outdoor Annual in 2002. As you can see it does not contain a product. What it does, as you can see, focuses on those programs which are supported by Anheuser-Busch dollars including, you can see, the Wildlife Expo logo, the Budweiser ShareLunker Program.
At the time the Gulf Coast Roundup was one of those sponsor programs. And of course we always like to promote the Parks and Wildlife Foundation as well as a partner. This ad was purchased — again this is in 2002 — with the marketing dollars.
They were Budweiser marketing dollars, so hence the Budweiser name is on the ad. But this fully complies, according to our interpretation, of the guideline that was approved by the Commission.
Now also going on during the same time frame that the Commission was adopting these youth-appropriate advertising guidelines, we also began the process — and Ann Bright will attest to this — a very exhaustive process of going through that Texas Monthly contract and beginning the amendment process to make sure it complied with the Sunset requirements.
It was a very long, drawn-out process. It's a very involved contract. Again I'm focusing on those pieces of that contract that directly relate to this issue. Many provisions were affected.
But those germane to this discussion include the fact that we did gain ad and edit approval and for example were involved — Parks and Wildlife staff is now involved on the front end of what — we're able to offer input into what we think the top story should be, what we should cover, and it's been a much better relationship than it has been in the past.
Texas Monthly was also required to provide 100,000 youth copies, which again they were doing anyway. This sort of formalized it in the contract. And then again tobacco ads, they were just prohibited outright from selling those ads. So that's what happened in 2002.
Now, also during this time frame for whatever reason the Budweiser ad commitment in the Outdoor Annual was decreasing. In the 2002-2003 Outdoor Annual there were two Anheuser-Busch ads. And in 2003-2004 there were zero. For whatever reason Budweiser chose not to spend their advertising, marketing dollars in the Outdoor Annual on this year.
Now, as you might expect this caused Texas Monthly a bit of concern, because at the height of this it was over six figures that was going into the revenue that was helping them underwrite the cost of producing those regulations. So they were very concerned about that.
So we began discussions about the time that the 2003-2004 Outdoor Annual was published. And they informed us that for the following year, that they were going to be seeking other beer companies, other alcohol companies, basically to get some revenue in to support that publication.
Now for a variety of reasons we didn't think that was the greatest idea. I mean, for a number of reasons we weren't real crazy about that idea, but we certainly understood that they needed to get some revenue to support that project.
At the same time Ann and I were at it once again, amending the Texas Monthly contract, because there were some unforeseen issues that came up the previous year, that we basically had to crack the contract open again.
So at the time we go into discussions with Texas Monthly. And we were in a position to renegotiate again because of some of these other issues. So what happened in 2004, the second amended agreement was signed. That was signed in October of last year.
Now a key new provision of this latest amended contract gives Parks and Wildlife the right to purchase the rights to lock out the alcohol category — that we were able to purchase that right. We got a couple of ad pages. And Texas Monthly agreed that they wouldn't go to Jack Daniels, they wouldn't go to Coors, they wouldn't go to Miller.
As long as Texas Monthly offered the youth-appropriate — the student versions, they could have done that. But we basically amended this contract. And we each year can make the call whether we want to do that again.
Last year that meant absolutely no Budweiser sponsorship ads. The only ad that was related to alcohol was an ad that we placed that was promoted the Big Time Texas Host Program, which is a major program of the Department, brings in a great deal of revenue, and it's supported by Anheuser-Busch dollars.
So that's what happened last year. That's the ad than ran in the Outdoor Annual. Because it was not purchased with Budweiser marketing dollars, but was purchased with basically AB dollars, we used the Anheuser-Busch logo.
And this is the type of ad that you will be seeing in the Outdoor Annual from now on. So that's the, I guess, abbreviated version of a rather complex history. I would be pleased to take any questions that you might have on this issue.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: Are there questions or comments from Commissioners?
COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Lydia, who did you say paid for that ad?
MS. SALDANA: It's part of the Anheuser-Busch sponsorship dollars that we get through the Department.
COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Specifically for the Big Time Texas Host Program.
MS. SALDANA: Right.
COMMISSIONER HOLMES: So it's dedicated to that.
MS. SALDANA: Right. It's one of the major sponsorship programs that they sponsor and brings in obviously a lot of revenue for the Department.
COMMISSIONER RAMOS: So I gather, Lydia, that if we don't exercise our right to purchase then you could have —
MS. SALDANA: Correct.
COMMISSIONER RAMOS: — tobacco — not tobacco, but —
MS. SALDANA: Not tobacco.
COMMISSIONER RAMOS: — but liquor-related ads.
MS. SALDANA: As long as they provide the 100,000 copies of the student version of the publication, if we don't exercise that option, yes, sir, they can do that.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: And I don't need to get any of the particulars but there's a stipulated sum that we exercise as to how much we would have to pay.
MS. SALDANA: Yes, sir.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: Any other questions or comments?
COMMISSIONER HOLMES: The prohibitions are only on the youth-directed literature. Or is it on all the —
MS. SALDANA: It required the Commission to adopt guidelines for advertising that's appropriate for youth viewing. So the guideline that was adopted was a guideline adopted by this Commission that indicated — and I can go back to what the guideline was, which was that we don't show alcohol products.
COMMISSIONER PARKER: Are you completely comfortable as the program is going right now?
MS. SALDANA: I am. I think that the relationship with Texas Monthly — I think that we're in a much better position than we have been since this relationship began, in terms of what value the Department is getting out of it.
One thing I didn't mention as part of this, but for example the first contract we were getting 1 percent of the net, which never amounted to more than $2,000. The amended contract that we signed requires Texas Monthly to provide us the value of half of the gross profit.
So that last year was about $75,000, and we're taking that in barter. And we're able to use Texas Monthly advertising. Again this is an advertising budget that we would never have. So we promoted for example the Texas State Park pass.
We've promoted the Lone Star Land Steward Program. You'll see an ad in Texas Monthly. So yes, sir. I believe that this relationship is a much better relationship for Parks and Wildlife than it was in '96.
COMMISSIONER PARKER: And those advertisers that you spoke of, they're happy?
MS. SALDANA: I believe they are, sir.
COMMISSIONER PARKER: Good.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: Mr. Ramos.
COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Do we still have a youth manual?
MS. SALDANA: No, we do not. Because again according to the guidelines adopted by this Commission, as long as the ads meet that guideline, there's not a requirement for them to provide the youth versions.
COMMISSIONER RAMOS: And when we had it, how were we presenting those type of annuals to the youth of the state?
MS. SALDANA: We were giving them out to, of course, hunter education instructors, which is a huge volunteer corps that's out there all over the state. We're getting through schools, through our game wardens that were making school presentations.
MR. COOK: All of our offices and parks.
COMMISSIONER RAMOS: My concern has always been — and I know that we don't have the financial resources, but it sure would be nice that we would have some youth publication that we could place out there for the youth of the state, and in particular I've always said in the junior high schools, at the high school level.
That's one way of getting the youth of the state to be exposed to the outdoors; otherwise they never will have. It would be nice if at some point — of course obviously we'd need partners to assist us with that. But losing that journal makes it even harder for them to be exposed to regulations and issues like that.
MS. SALDANA: We certainly get a lot of materials out through the schools through many different avenues. But I understand your point.
COMMISSIONER HOLMES: You know, 100,000 sounds like a big number. But there are over 200,000 kids in Houston Independent School District alone. So it becomes a numbers game. I mean, it's really a difficult numbers game.
MS. SALDANA: At the time that we were distributing — you know, getting that first year when we had 50,000, we did have an issue that it wasn't enough. But we came up with that number based on the number of students going through our hunter education course. There are hunter education courses that are taught within schools.
But it's a pretty targeted publication. And it's going to be targeted to those that are — just like any publication.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: Mr. Cook.
MR. COOK: Gentlemen, we saw when we got into this — first of all kind of go down this list — the Texas Monthly agreement that we had needed to be revised. They'd been good partners. They're better partners now. We've got a much better agreement for us and for them and much clearer and a good document.
This primary issue that I wanted to address to you today that Lydia — that hit every session is how do we use that absolutely incredible, wonderful sponsor that we have had for well over a decade now, Anheuser-Busch, in our ads so that they benefit, and in our programs so that they feel like good partners and that we can continue that relationship with them, because they've been the best of the best.
So what I was wanting for you all to see is how we have taken that terminology of appropriate advertising and are applying on a day-to-day basis in various booklets, the magazine, our videos, some of our video productions, whatever it may be.
We're trying to approach it carefully, responsibly. But at the same time Anheuser-Busch is a great partner. And we want to keep them, and we want to make them happy. So I don't know that there's a question before you, but we wanted you to know how we're dealing with it.
And if you are comfortable with that or uncomfortable with that, we would appreciate any direction that you have. We had one mention of this issue this year during the legislative session by the same gentleman who always brings it to our attention.
And his example that he held up in the meeting was a four-year-old, five-year-old —
COMMISSIONER HENRY: Probably used the same magazine every opportunity.
MS. SALDANA: Correct.
MR. COOK: Yes. And so we immediately responded to the elected officials involved, told them exactly where we were, showed them the type of information we're using now. I believe we're right on line, if not maybe being a little over-conservative, but that's okay for right now.
COMMISSIONER PARKER: Commissioner Henry.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: Yes, sir.
COMMISSIONER PARKER: I want to know the other people do with their extra magazines that are sent to them. I personally have my lady that works for me — she slips them into a brown envelope. And we send them out to all of the middle schools and the primary schools in our county. She has a list, and we just rotate them.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: That's excellent.
MS. SALDANA: We do that as well. We do that with a lot of our extra magazines. We give them to our education folks, and they're getting them out there.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: Very good, Commissioner Parker. This is the point that Commissioner Ramos was just making a few minutes ago.
COMMISSIONER HOLMES: It sounds like you developed a program that is acceptable from a legal standpoint and acceptable to a wonderful sponsor like Anheuser-Busch.
MR. COOK: We want to be sure that you all were aware of where we were and giving the input thoughts that you might have.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: Great plan.
MR. COOK: Thank you.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: When I say, take care of, I meant in the sense that I was encouraged. But that's understood. We'll move to item number four, Outreach and Education Advisory Committee accomplishments report.
Ms. Saldana and guest, please.
MS. SALDANA: For the record again, I'm Lydia Saldana, Communications Division Director. And today with the help of Education and Outreach Advisory Committee Chairman, Dick Bartlett, and representatives of advertising agency GSD&M will be presenting some of the work that has been accomplished by this Committee and our partners at GSD&M.
Now before I turn it over to Mr. Bartlett, a very brief review of this Committee's history. During the 77th Legislature in 2001, again our Sunset bill was passed. And one of its mandates was that we tighten up management and oversight of all of our education and outreach efforts.
Now as a result of that in January 2002 our chairman at the time, Katharine Armstrong, appointed the Education and Outreach Advisory Committee to advise us on education and outreach issues. I'm going to have Mr. Bartlett introduce some of the members of GSD&M, but I'd like to formally introduce Mr. Bartlett before I turn the microphone over to him.
Mr. Bartlett, as many of you know, is Vice Chairman of Mary Kay, Inc. in Dallas. That is a multibillion-dollar company with 1.5 million independent business women who operate in 35 different countries. In his spare time, of which he's devoted a great deal of that time to Texas Parks and Wildlife, he also serves as chairman of the National Environmental Education and Training Foundation.
He's a member of the board of the Nature Conservancy, Nature Serve and the National Council for Science and Environment. Two weeks ago — and you just heard mention of the Texas Legends award that Sarita mentioned — Dick was the recipient of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's 2005 Texas Legends award.
So I'm very pleased to introduce Dick Bartlett to take over the rest of the presentation.
MR. BARTLETT: Thank you, Lydia.
Thank you, Chairman Fitzsimons and Commissioner Al Henry and the rest of the Commission for giving us a few minutes here today. I hope you'll find the presentation to be exciting and useful for the future.
Before I go on I'd like to recognize David Langford of the Texas Wildlife Association right there. I don't even think he needs to stand up. He's pretty well-known by you people. And I see Neal Wilkins of Texas A&M there as well. He's head of the extension program and leader for wildlife and fisheries — the two members of our committee that could join us here today.
I'd like to say that the Committee as originally formed represented 20 people, the most experienced I could think of in education and outdoor activities in the State of Texas. I was very proud to be a part of that group — a very talented, very skilled group of people.
And they came up with a lot of ideas which Lydia will file away with you for the future for fatter budgets and other times and for years to come, I think, for Texas Parks and Wildlife. I can say that the Parks and Wildlife has much to offer our citizens, especially in urban areas.
And Commissioner Henry has demonstrated that in Houston. And the Department's work in the future can have an extremely positive impact on our children and frankly on our economy. Let me make a personal reference to my company. We have more than 75,000 people just in the state of Texas.
We bring in about 100,000 people every year for various convention things, including our big seminars when pink Cadillacs take over Dallas. And we have quite a bit more than a billion-dollar impact on this state. And we think that our employees and our salespeople want and deserve to enjoy Texas outside, where life really is better.
This is also true of our prospective new employees. And we recruit actually all over the world, but heavily in other states to bring high tech people and other people to Texas. And one of the things top on their list is the out of doors kind of recreation — wildlife recreational activities — parks.
And so we've got a lot to offer in Parks and Wildlife. A lot is at stake in outreach and education, as Commissioner Al Henry can tell us. When we were formed we had four major deliverables. And I'd like to go over those just briefly.
You have the most important one, and that was develop a strategic plan. And in this plan — the very first page when you get through the introductory kind of stuff — is where we've put together the six specific goals, critical goals we call them, for education and outreach.
And this was approved in 2003 by this Commission and began to be implemented in 2004. So this strategic plan which is, I think, our best product, has to date — we've got some more to come — it was built on two prior plans, the Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan — some bureaucrat must have named that — and Preserving Texas Hunting Heritage. That's more like it.
These two plans were the building blocks for this one.
The second deliverable was an outreach campaign that evolved from our messages section of this strategic plan. Much credit to Ramona Bass who lead a subcommittee we called an Outreach Creative Action Team for this effort.
She really worked at it and had her team members meeting very, very frequently, and in the process engaged the full participation of one of the nation's leading advertising agencies — a pro bono participation, I might add — thank you very much — GSD&M. That was the second deliverable. And obviously we're going to come back to that.
The third deliverable was focused on internal Texas Parks and Wildlife conservation messages we call our "Keep Texas Wild" Program. And Ramona's outreach team also furnished a lot of input for key conservation messages to be refined by your staff here at Parks and Wildlife and also with some help from the advertising agency as well, where we really wanted specific messaging. I think this particular part of our program will be critical and sustain our state's communities and ecosystems and colonies, particularly vital on private landowner issues. We plan a conservation toolbox to be developed, again with the help of the agency.
The fourth and last major deliverable was to recommend a vehicle that could help us create some supplementary findings of resources to support some of these things, maybe even more importantly even than money — if there is such a thing — public support for your programs going forward in time.
We named this concept the Texas Parks and Wildlife Stewardship Council. We're not going to go into detail. We'll return to that briefly in a moment. But now is my privilege to introduce a team of advertising professionals who work, as I'm sure you know, for one of the most creative agencies in America, GSD&M.
You know them here in Texas. About every other whipstitch you see a Don't Mess with Texas sign. And of course that was their message. They've handled many, many major accounts and brilliantly so. They've been working for more than a year to develop what's you're about to see.
And it's deceptively simple when we get something great, because — I'll let the campaign speak for itself. But I can tell you what you're about to see is what I call the brilliant tip of an iceberg of research, of dedicated, creative work — deep insights — while this group worked to develop this campaign.
When the research showed, among other things, that there is what we call a nature deficit disorder out there. Our young people are getting separated from nature. And you know that in your urban areas. It's a certainty how the young respond to nature and how they raise their children will shape a configuration and condition of our cities in the future, our daily lives here in Texas as well.
We have 90 percent of our kids in urban areas now. Not that quite in the population, but when you look at children, 90 percent. So we've got to finds ways, as I heard just a moment ago in your meeting, to reach them.
Never before in history have the kids been so plugged into the indoors. One kid in the research said, I like to play indoors better, because that's where all the electrical outlets are. That's sad. But he was a truthful kid. I've been 50 years in my career in building global brands — a couple of brands that are known almost all over Earth.
But I've never seen a campaign, that you're about to see, so much on target, nor as potentially powerful as what we've got here. Laurel Davis is the Account Executive at GSD&M. And I will have her introduce her team, our team. And take it from there, Laurel.
MS. DAVIS: Sure. Absolutely. Well, I'm going to let them — Dan Windels and Trent Patterson will be presenting the work to you. The first one to go through some of the learning that we — we're going to go first through some of the research that we learned through this very unengaged audience.
I think that's one of the most important things that you'll hear from Dan is that the audience isn't anyone sitting in this room. It's the people, the kids, the parents who are in these urban areas, who don't go outside much. They just don't.
They have no time to do it. They have no thought to do it. They have no information on how to do it. So you have get into that mind set of what we really need to tackle here with this campaign. The goal of the campaign was to reach these parents — these unengaged parents is what we're calling them.
Somewhere between a five- and 13-year-old, those kids who still will hang out with their parents and do things with their parents before they reach those teenage years and maybe are off on their own or a little bit more.
So Dan will take you through the research of kind of how far we have come — everything from just researching our audience to researching the creative concept several times to the revisions as to where we are now. So actually I'm going to have Trent sit up here with him and take you that.
MR. WINDELS: All right. Thank you, very much. Thank you Chairman Fitzsimons for having us back again. It's a pleasure to go through all this. We've been involved with this for the better part of the last year.
I've had several opportunities to go out into the field and speak with these people. And every time we go back I think we're constantly amazed as Laurel, I guess, alluded to, how unengaged this group really is. We might put ourselves on this continuum that's either unengaged or engaged, and we might be somewhere in the middle.
But we're constantly being reeducated as to how these people in these large urban areas — how few opportunities they have to get outside and to really experience the outdoors.
So what we'll do is — the purpose of our research — just to take you through this really quickly — was we wanted to basically go out and develop messaging that was designed to encourage people to get outdoors. And this is this very unengaged group that we talked about within the urban and suburban landscape.
Just as a little bit of background so you know who we're talking to — specifically we went after families that had at least one child, age five to 13, living at home. We wanted to have that kid that was sort of in that age where parents felt comfortable taking them outside, but not in that later teenage years where maybe the kid is more interested in hanging with their friends on the weekends.
And we saw as a group that was at least very receptive — this would be a group that we could talk to, that opportunities to go outside a lot. We also talked to people that had not visited a state park within the last two years.
This was surprisingly quite easy to find in a lot of areas. A lot of people hadn't been to state parks at all. Some of the other parameters — they hadn't been to a local park more than three times in the last year. They hadn't fished, camped, birdwatched, boated.
We had all sorts of different parameters to really make sure we're talking to this very unengaged group of people. Just some additional demographics, since were talking with people that are mainly in the large urban areas and suburban areas.
Wanted to talk to parents, so the age group was 25-55. Household income, there was a minimum of $25,000. This was mainly Dallas and Houston, and these were mainly urban people, so we wanted to make sure that we talked to the groups that were very, I guess, reflective of these urban areas, if you will.
The process we went through — when we started this we obviously went through a lot of secondary research. Texas Parks and Wildlife was great in sharing a lot of research. I know that's been going on over the last several years, so we were able to leverage a lot of that, as well as going into some national outdoor studies which monitored how families are using their free time.
There's a lot of research out there that talks about how free time is going down, discretionary time is going down. After-school activities for sports, for instance, are just consuming parents. You know, these kids are in year-round baseball or year-round football or things like that.
After that we went into a series of in-depth interviews where we talked to people at length. These were these unengaged people. Wanted to understand kind of their perceptions of the outdoors currently and also try to see if there are any barriers that we can come up with to see how their life was constructed.
And from that we took about half of these people and sent them to a Texas state park experience. And this was a great piece of learning for us. We actually sent these people a journal for them to fill out. And we sponsored a state park visit to a local state park within the Dallas and Houston area.
We gave them a disposable camera. It was kind of designed to monitor the before, the during and the after. So as they get ready, as they pack, as they go there. What are other kind of reactions to see where the barriers are, who these people are and what opportunities we have to actually speak with them.
So the characteristics of unengaged parents — home life for them is busy life. It's chaos; it's ground zero for any number of distractions going on. Kids are doing one thing; parents are doing another — errand, endless to-do lists.
And even though this group is very unengaged, when you asked them what they would ideally want to do, they all want to get outside. Now this may not be necessarily to a state park right now, but they all want to get away from the indoor distractions.
They want to get outside, where it's quiet, where there's this sense of quality time. Water's a primary driver, I think. Obviously with summer coming up it's a big thing. But they also know it's something that their kids will love to enjoy.
As far as some of the barriers — a lot of people that we talked to said, well, it's just too much preparation. They get into these routines, and they say, it's a big time commitment. I only have one day on the weekend.
I think, because they haven=t been out a lot, that they're going to have to literally load the car from roof to ceiling even to go to a Texas state park, not knowing that a park like McKinney Falls is literally right around the corner. So to that end they feel that Texas state parks is a long journey.
There's this continuum of where a local park lies, county park, state park, national park. And the state park tends to go on this area, which seems to be a long way away, when in reality a lot of them are very close.
And obviously heat is a big barrier, especially when we come into the summer months. And that's when kids have time off. Parents — that's the time they have to go outside, yet that's the time where the heat becomes the biggest barrier. If it's too hot they might go to a movie, they might stay inside.
Because they don't get out a lot, this group doesn=t really know what to do at a state park. They're really unsure what to do. They don't have — you see some of them just here — they don't really have a knowledge of there are a lot of activities. There's a boardwalk; I can look at animals.
They've used state parks as a wilderness, a forest, if you will. And a lot of people, even in Houston, even though they love animals, were convinced that if they go to a state park in and around the Houston area, that there's going to be an influx of bears that are going to be around there.
So if that serves as any point, I think it really highlights how unengaged this group is and how their lack of knowledge kind of prevents them from getting outside. So what are these people looking for right now? Well, basically they go to the locations that they've been before.
They know it's guaranteed fun. They go back to the same places over and over again, where they went there as a child with their parents. They also look for different locations that have the widest array of activities available.
So if they have 13-year-old boy and a five-year-old girl, or vice versa, or an indoor dad and outdoor mom, or vice versa, they want to go someplace that gives somebody or affords everyone in their family an opportunity. And they go to close-to-home things. Most people have very tight schedules.
So they want to feel doable. And part of that is in this challenge with Texas state parks and getting people outdoors is to make them realize that these things are right in your backyard. You don't have to drive across the state to do it. You don't have to go to Big Bend. You don't have to go all the way to the beach to go to a state park.
This quote at the bottom just, I think, sums a lot of the learning from the groups. This woman almost — she just kind of said it matter of fact. It's like we go to Schlitterbahn over and over again. It costs a lot of money. But I know what I'm getting. I know I'm going to enjoy it.
It was almost begrudgingly that she said it. She enjoyed it, but these people are definitely looking for other types of outdoor opportunities, if you will. So what we're going to do now is we're going to go through — we went through several campaigns. We settled on one that we're definitely very excited about.
And we also wanted to share the tag line that we developed, too. After going through many iterations and many lines, this was the line that we settled on. "Texas Parks and Wildlife, Life's Better Outside." We had the opportunity to take this line to groups several times.
And this was the one that really inspired them. It made them think that, you know what — I mean, it really is. They all knew somewhere in the back of their mind — and this gets back to where quality time is. "Life's Better Outside." And they kept going back.
And it kind of inspired them and empowered them to say, this something that I'm curious in moving forward. I think at this point we're going to take you through the first round of research. Actually we're going to take you through the first campaign. Trent will talk to you a little bit about how they landed on that.
And then we'll take you through the last group of learning, where we were able to do some final tweaking and land on a spot that I think everyone is really excited about.
MR. PATTERSON: As we look at this work what we did is we take that research and we try to distill that down to the simplest message that will really compel the reader to take some action, to take change their own perceptions and actually do what we're suggesting.
So what we came up with was this campaign. We're calling it, bait. And the visual idea here is that we've taken those things that are keeping kids and families kind of trapped inside, and we're literally dangling them outside and the attractive, fun things you can do in Texas in the state parks.
So in this case it's a video game controller tied up in front of this beautiful creek and grasslands and forest. And it says, "Do whatever it takes to get your kids outside." And then the copy here that has since changed actually, but I'll take you through where we are here — it says, "Adventure awaits. Visit Pedernales Falls or any of the other 120 state parks."
And then there's a website, lifesbetteroutside.org, and then the logo and "Life's Better Outside," the tag line. So the idea here is it directs them to the website where they can get ideas on where they can go close to them and actually experience these things.
So another execution here is a beach scene. And there's like a kid's CD case full of CDS, and it's tied as bait. And it says, "Do whatever it takes to get your kids outside." And the copy here says, "Listen close. You just might hear each other. Visit Mustang Island or any of the other 120 state parks.
lifesbetteroutside.org — "Texas Parks and Wildlife, Life's Better Outside."
So the next one in that execution is — we actually went to the remote control, because that's probably the main enemy keeping everyone inside. In this case it says, "Do whatever it takes to get your family outside." So it broadens it a little bit to the family, not just the kids.
And this one, the copy reads, "This kind of reality beats any show. Visit San Felipe or any of the other 120 state parks. Lifesbetteroutside.org. And the final execution is a little girl's — like her little princess phone or whatever — tied up.
And it says, "Do whatever it takes to get your kids outside." And then copy reads, "They'll talk about it for years. Visit Cedar Hill or any of the other 120 state parks. lifesbetteroutside.org — "Texas Parks and Wildlife, Life's Better Outside."
So that's the original as it came to the idea, as we presented it. And then Dan's going to take you through how some people reacted to it and a few changes we made after that.
MR. WINDELS: All right. So when we took this into testing there was a few things we wanted to gauge really quickly. We wanted to make sure that people understood that they were seeing obviously. We wanted to make sure that they were interested in it.
One of the components is to get them to give you an idea or give them something that draws them into Texas Parks and Wildlife, draws them in, makes them interested and feel like, this is something. This is a place that I can take my family. And obviously wanted to make sure that it was something more appealing.
Interesting enough using a lot of these electronic devices, people really got it right away. And there was some concern at the outset whether or not is this too — are people going to take this the wrong way? Are you telling me that I should — is this somewhat of an insult?
And people loved it. They really got it right away. So to that end it's like we always want to make sure that we're not rubbing anyone the wrong way. Here's the campaigns you saw right here. For the benefit of the people in the audience, can you see a little bit. The remote, the game controller, the CD case and princess phone as well.
The advantages of this campaign and why we really like it is this one, more than any other of the campaigns, really stood out from a crowd. It's very rare when you go and test among consumers that people say, yes, that's really unique and clever.
The way we do that is we put these ads up in larger clutter board and have people just kind of see how they naturally gravitate. The people really were drawn to this and very curious about it. The juxtaposition of this electronic device hanging in nature really captivated people.
Some people almost looked at in a very quizzical-type nature, wondering what was going on, which has this additional stopping power for us. When people are flipping through magazines and stuff that's one of the components we want. They see so many ads every day. We really want to get something that's going to grab their attention.
The other advantage for this is people really laughed a lot. And I think this was another thing where we were really surprised how people — they really got it right away. Their dependence on these indoor gadgets, it really hit home. Everyone could see it.
I think it also broke down for them how easy it was to actually get outside. It literally is, even though they have busy schedules. They look at this and say, you know, all we really have to do is put down the remote. I mean, that's the thing that's doing it.
A lot of people said, you know, I need that constant reminder. I know this is where I want to go. I've told you this is where quality life is for my family. I just need that reminder on what it takes to get outside. And overall when they read the headline, "Do whatever it takes to get your kids outside," that really hit it home to them.
It really kind of sealed the deal as far as what's going on in here. This is a great arresting image, very clever, unique. And then when they see it, it's like it made perfect sense to them. And so this definitely rose to the top.
As far as some of the potential limitations it's a constant learning curve with this group. And so you'll see how we've adjusted this and leveraged some of the strengths and some of the executions across the board now.
As far as their desire to get outside — if there wasn't this little bit of an emotional appeal — and this is about quality time. When that wasn't in there their interest or their desire was a little bit reduced. But we also learned that from a lot of these executions, there is that emotional component.
And we'll show you how we leveraged the ones that had it and have kind brought that across the board now. And also if the image wasn't perceived as family-friendly — and this is a constant re-education for us. Images that we think are completely pedestrian and completely friendly scare a lot of people.
Forests, woods — we talk about bears; we talk about critters. And parents who aren't used to getting outside talk about, the first thing my kid is going to do when they got out into a little trail is they're going to go off the trail. They're going to go right into whatever's out there, and they don't know what's out there.
And so part of our challenge here is to make sure that we're constantly using images that feel very friendly, feel very safe — safety's an issue for a lot of these parents — and feel very — overall something that really is, I guess, compelling, inviting for them as well.
And one additional piece of learning is we took this idea of this lifesbetteroutside.org website. Very few times do we have consensus among groups. Everyone looks at it through their own lens of: how old are my kids; what's my family situation; are they indoor kids or they outdoor kids?
People loved this as a resource. For them it made perfect sense. They were very enthusiastic, positive. It was very memorable. People were even writing it down. They're like, I'm going to go home right afterwards.
And if there was any disappointment in these groups it's that the site wasn't up and running yet. And they all came back to us and said, well, I sure hope they put that out, because that's a great resource. It seemed a natural connection for Texas Parks and Wildlife.
And like I said, they were all really enthusiastic about it. Even talking to these groups — very urban groups. We were very surprised to see that every single person we talked to has internet service now, and they use it at home actively. They use it as a tool to find out activities.
So we think that this is a really good vehicle to get people interested and to take that kind of next step to learning about Texas parks. And now we'll take you through the campaign revisions and learning that we got and show you where we landed right now.
MR. PATTERSON: What Dan was just saying — it was really amazing to us frankly to — some of the visuals that we did have in the ads, we're actually amazed that these appeared scary. We thought they were very beautiful, very inviting.
But just the slightest little incline of something is like, okay, do I have to bring my clamp-ons; do I have to bring ropes; what's the deal? I mean, it really is surprising. So that's one of the major revisions is the visuals are all very gentle, not frightening at all.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: You don't show me those alligators in Brazos Bend.
MR. PATTERSON: Yes. We don't need alligators — so let's go ahead and show them the other thing we did was that a lot of people said, well, what do you do there? So there was this idea of let's put some people in the ads and kind of show that, yes, people actually go there and have a good time.
So that's one change that you'll see here is we actually see families kind of having fun in these environments. The other thing is some of the copy that we worked on. Several of the ads already had this idea that you're going to create family memories, you're going to have better experiences outdoors.
So we made sure that all the ads have that now. This one, for example, has changed. The headline is — the "Do whatever it takes" line is now near the visual. So it says, "Do whatever it takes to get your family outside." And the copy now reads, "Memories are better than reruns." So getting at that idea that that's what you'll get out of this is great family memories.
And then it says, "Visit Cedar Hill or any of the other 120 state parks. Life's better outside." And has the website still. So there's a real gentle image, as I was mentioning. This one is another one that has changed.
We've just included a family on the water's edge having some fun there and it says, "Do whatever it takes to get your kids outside. Listen close; you just might hear each other." So once again it's about you're going to connect as a family.
So we feel like these changes have really made the campaign even stronger, but still provide that kind of kick-in-the-pants that this audience needs to actually go take some action, go visit a state park.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: All right, then. I think that'll about do it. We're set to transition back to —
MR. PATTERSON: Thank you.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you very much.
MR. BARTLETT: Thank you, Laurel and team.
MS. SALDANA: Thank you very much. We're pretty excited about the potential of this campaign. And we believe that this slogan is broad enough to appeal not only to this incredibly unengaged audience that we just heard about, but also our very engaged current customers.
It's very appealing; it's very broad. We can use it in many, many different ways. We certainly see this as a long-term campaign that will strengthen each year. But maybe we need a little dose of reality here, which of course our biggest challenge is going to be funding the campaign.
One of the options that we will be exploring will be a sponsorship strategy. We believe there's funding potential and that there's many Texas companies, many of whom have not had a connection with Parks and Wildlife, that we believe may be very interested in being associated with a campaign of this caliber.
Chairman Fitzsimons, this morning you referenced the Stewardship Council. I think Mr. Bartlett's going to talk about that in a little more detail. In the meantime we are going to begin rolling this campaign out. In fact why don't I start right now? Got some bumper stickers here for you.
And hopefully we will see these on your cars when you're up here tomorrow — on your Toyota. Right?
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: On everybody's Toyota.
MS. SALDANA: I mentioned earlier in my last presentation that we have a barter agreement with Texas Monthly. So you'll certainly begin seeing these ads in Texas Monthly and hopefully in other publications as well. We're also going to utilize Expo this year as a way to launch some of this material and begin using it on education/outreach materials as well.
But the challenge before us to fund this campaign in a way that's going to make a difference — it is a formidable challenge, but it's one that I strongly believe that we can meet.
MR. BARTLETT: I had the pleasure to sort of copy test "Life's Better Outside." Over this past week I was at a major conservation conference up in Wisconsin. So I didn't say it was Texas Parks and Wildlife. I just used the line alone.
You can't believe the way this line resonates. It'll be a positive "Don't Mess With Texas." It's what I think is going to happen with this, and pretty soon it'll be on everybody's lips. I mentioned earlier the six critical goals of our strategic plan.
Goal five drives our thinking with respect to creation of what we're calling — and it's a work-in-progress thing — but for the lack of a better name, we're calling it Texas Stewardship Council, Parks and Wildlife Stewardship Council.
That goal says, Encourage cost-effective partnerships with other state agencies, universities, local state and national conservation organizations, private landowners and citizens who coordinate and leverage outreach/education interpretative efforts.
That's the thinking that drove us to the idea of a stewardship council. By the way Lisa Brochu of the NAI, National Association of Interpretative people, has put a lot of work into a skeleton outline of this. But it's just at this point pro forma.
It's got a lot of work to go forward from here if in fact the idea is one that the Commission believes in. I think the stewardship council concept will actually help achieve all the other goals as well. But it's especially relevant to goal number three, which I'll extract from here.
"Increase public awareness and understanding of the benefits of conservation, especially the active management of Texas private and public lands, wildlife and historical resources." By achieving this goal it's my thought that we should also enjoy an increase in overall public support for Texas Parks and Wildlife. And I think that's particularly important over the next two years.
So there are a lot of details to be worked out with the plan. But it basically calls for incorporating fundraising strategies into recruitment for this stewardship council.
I think Lydia's absolutely right that we'll find a lot of interest out there, not just in the immediate suspects, but in corporations that really know they've got to inspire their workforce in Texas and attract more people here or have an interest in the public good.
There are many corporations, individuals and organizations in Texas that recognize the vital role you play here at Parks and Wildlife. Some will benefit directly from involvement, such as the outdoor recreation business, the ecotourism business.
Others will benefit indirectly — I'm probably in this category — through healthier, happier employees and improved recruitment. Others will benefit from knowing they are doing the right thing for future generations of Texans.
MS. SALDANA: Well, we appreciate the work that the Committee has done. And again we're pretty excited about this campaign. I think it really has potential that we'll be using hopefully for years to come.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: Thank you, Lydia. Before we have other questions and comments, let me just say on behalf of all of us how much we appreciate the work that you, Ramona and the Committee have done to bring this forward.
I want to personally thank you for all that you've meant to the whole concept of outreach, interpretation and education in your leadership of this Committee. And needless to say, Lydia, tremendous job as usual.
Any Commissioner have any question or comment?
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Well, Dick, I want to thank you again.
For those of you who don't know Dick, he's been laboring in the conservation venue for many years. I first got to know him — he's the author of that famous book, Sportsman's Guide to Texas. If you don't have one, get one.
You've done it again, Dick. And now we have to figure out how to raise the money to get the program going. I love the idea of everybody was ready to do to the website, and it's not even there.
MS. SALDANA: That says a lot for just these people.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: And if I can say — I know no one's been critical of the work we did, because we have so much information to get out — but our existing website is — I think in our meeting someone said, for the already engaged or in the case of us, the over-engaged.
I mean it really is for people who already committed to do what we do. And so something that's geared more towards folks who are the unengaged makes a lot of sense. Most people get their information that way.
MR. BARTLETT: I think this campaign alone will begin to attract, as you said, the right kind of sponsors. I understand earlier in your proceedings you talked about Sunsetting committees. I really agree with that with respect to this Committee as presently structured.
Our Creative Action Team chair, Ramona Bass, put it this way — those of you who know her know how direct she is. "We'll declare victory and move on." The reason I say that is that going forward we're going to need a committee — and you will need a committee to support this — that's focused much more on the fundraising side of it, the pragmatic, dig-it-out kind of things that need to do to move Parks and Wildlife forward and really utilize this campaign.
So all of us on the Committee thank the Department for allowing us to contribute. We thank you for your kind remarks. I will certainly pass them on to my fellow committee members. We surely hope that your work in the future will realize the full potential of Parks and Wildlife to take care of Texas and its future generations. Thank you.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: Thank you very much.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Dick, are you going to be around to meet Dick Davis later on and talk to him?
MR. BARTLETT: Say that again.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Are you going to be around tomorrow.
MR. BARTLETT: Yes. As you know I know Dick very well. As was mentioned earlier I was his victim — let's put it this way — for the Legends Award Program. And ours in Dallas — I'll have you know — was the biggest fundraiser yet.
I don't attribute me to that. Dick Davis did all the heavy lifting. He did a great job. And I've worked with him for many years. You've got a hard worker in Dick Davis who understands conservation, understands your mission. And I think he'll do a fine job for you.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thanks again.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: Thank you, Dick. Before we close out and segue to fundraising —
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: We've got some questions here.
COMMISSIONER RAMOS: I have a question. I was looking at page 21, which compares the people that were reached by the different programs that we have and the costs. And I just wondered if any analysis was done to determine where our dollars should go. In other words, where do we get the biggest bang for our dollar?
We have all the programs, and I just wondered if there's —
MS. SALDANA: Steve Hall, our Hunter and Boater Education Chief.
MR. HALL: Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission. My name is Steve Hall. Put a lot of work into this particular document in front of you. And one of the things we found out with all of our programs across the board is — if you'll look at — in fact I'll just direct you to a quick page, because it will help.
COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Twenty-one.
MR. HALL: Page 19. And this is going to get to your question, Mr. Commissioner. The concept we've used for many years — Larry McKinney brought this to you in 1998, and we've used it for many years — we call it the pyramid concept, where you have various levels of individuals.
The people that they were talking about earlier called the unengaged audiences are at the bottom of that pyramid. The engaged audience is at the very top of that pyramid. You try to attract them into the bottom of the pyramid and move them up the pyramid.
A lot of our programs — and when you say, bang for your buck — a lot of our programs at the bottom of that pyramid tend to be like Wildlife Expo, reach thousands upon thousands of people in an awareness-type of event.
This stewardship-types of programs — like Parrie Haynes Youth Camp where you might have kids for four weeks — are at the top of that pyramid, where you're able to integrate knowledge, skills and attitudes, and attitude being the critical component here. So you have these various things.
Where we get most bang for our buck are probably the programs where we are able to influence attitudes — take Parrie Haynes Youth Camp and some of our partnerships with 4-H and Neal Wilkins, in terms of the 4—H concept of youth development — is up there at the top of the pyramid.
Some of our wildlife camps are up there at the top. Certainly Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center and Sea Center have programs at all of those levels. So you look at that. As far as the hard dollar cost of some of these programs — Expo is probably a good example of the awareness, of what it takes to get people here for a weekend event — 45,000 people — costs us $750,000 of hard dollars and $750,000 of staff time.
Is it worth it? Yes, because Expo lives year-round. It's not just the two-day event. And so it's a hard one to answer in terms of where we get the best bang for our buck. I think they all play their role as far as the breadth and depth of our agency.
It's a state park, for example, a game warden contact — all of these things are awareness, but they're hugely critical roles in getting people engaged at that lowest level.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: Thank you, Steve.
MR. COOK: I think in those terms, and I think of also programs like our Urban Fish and Wildlife Program being good examples — everything from backyard wildlife. We've got a lot of different hooks out there working all the time.
The difficulty is judging whether or not we're able to actually bring those people into the outdoors and keep them for them to become a lifetime participant in the outdoors, outdoor activities, whether that's just birdwatching or hunting or camping or whatever it might be.
MR. HALL: The Master Naturalist Program which you had a briefing on probably about a year ago is a good example of that, where the way you get people involved is you not only, of course, bring the Wildscapes Program or those kind of concepts to their backyard, but you get them hooked as volunteers in that effort.
So you give them a role to play beyond just the participant role. So those programs that utilize volunteers in our efforts actually create the catalyst or at least what we call the champions or the advocates at that level that we're calling critical thinking here or stewardship — that's the level that you're actually creating those champions.
MS. SALDANA: And we're like any other agency across the country. We're really trying to get at how do you evaluate that effort on the ground, how do you figure out on the other end what exactly your bang for the buck is.
To be honest with you, we're not there yet. It's something that all fish and wildlife agencies across the country are looking at, because commissions just like this one are asking these questions all across the country.
COMMISSIONER RAMOS: It's interesting. Our game warden or law enforcement presentations — the cost was $650,000, but yet we reached almost half a million people.
MR. HALL: Yes. And most of those, as you can guess, are half-hour awareness types of presentations. So again the volume is at the lowest end. And then the thing like the trail ride in January, that's certainly at the top end of it.
How many did we influence? Well, the numbers aren't great, but who you're influencing changes their lives.
MS. SALDANA: And it's the integration of all of these, Commissioner Ramos, that I think makes the biggest difference. So if that game warden's in a classroom, and some of those kids may be getting interested in fishing, may end up in a fishing club, may end up going to an aquatic education course, may decide to try a hunter education course. I mean it's a continuum.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: Commissioner Holmes.
COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Just so I understand it better — first of all I think it's a great campaign. Campaigns are — I think they largely depend on how you execute them. Is it the role of the next committee to figure out how you fund it and the target audience, how you broadcast this message?
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Well, one of the ideas that we talked about in that last meeting — if I may.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: Please, Mr. Chairman.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: — is how to integrate the role of the Foundation in some of that fundraising that they've traditionally done and integrate that with the outreach and education objectives. I think it's going to take some deliberate thinking in trying to work through those different options.
I think that Stewardship Council exists as part of the Foundation or separately. Sit down and really decide what those objectives are and who the best people are to meet those objectives.
But I'll tell you, sitting here listening to the presentation the first time I saw it, I was struck not only by the outreach component getting to those people that traditionally we have not served both from a standpoint of diversity, but now we're just finding that — as she said — that disengaged or across the board — but something John's talked about a lot which is, this is an economic development issue.
And we've got to coordinate what we're doing to make sure that we've got a package, a campaign you call it, that integrates with something we can hand to the Economic Development Office of the Governor's Office. So when they're trying to either keep, retain business in this state or attract new business, that there is something that's already with the website, "Life's Better Outside," the whole bit — this is what we do and how you can participate, the reasons to be involved in Parks and Wildlife.
So there's a lot of things to integrate there. So the answer to your question is, the new Outreach Advisory Committee should report to the new and next Outreach of this Commission. And then I think with their help they can devise where to do that fundraising. Traditionally it's been at the Foundation.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: Where it might still be.
COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Lydia, did you talk about the medium for disseminating that message?
MS. SALDANA: Not yet. I mean, the first is to come up with the concept. And then you kind of have to have sort of an idea of what kind of a budget you're looking at before — I mean, radio would be the cheapest thing to execute quickly. It may not be the most effective, but it would probably be the cheapest thing.
COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Because the visual impact is what's so powerful on that.
MR. COOK: Lydia.
MS. SALDANA: Yes, sir.
MR. COOK: Let me ask you a question here. Do we own this? Is this our campaign?
MS. SALDANA: Have we trademarked it yet? No, not yet.
MR. COOK: The reason I ask you folks is because we got into such a thing. We developed a great logo and kick-off in our World Birding Center. All of a sudden we looked up, and our logo was appearing elsewhere, and other people were filing patents.
MS. SALDANA: No. We had this discussion, Darcy and I did last week. So we probably ought to put this on the short list.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: Very short list.
Thank you, Lydia. Thank you, Steve.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: That wasn't covered in the original agreement with GSD&M?
MS. SALDANA: No. Well, it was pro bono work, sir.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Well, you still have an agreement. When I do pro bono work, there's still an engagement.
MS. SALDANA: So, no, we don't have —
COMMISSIONER HENRY: Before we close down this Committee's report I promised the Commission that at every meeting I would give you a very brief report on the Sheldon campaign. Very briefly since the last time we met we've received a number of gifts, the largest being $100,000 gift from the Lee and Ramona Bass Foundation.
We received a number of smaller gifts of $5,000 or less since that time. We're in the process now — we've made proposals to approximately 25 other medium-sized foundations in the greater Houston community. And we're preparing a campaign to go to corporate Houston primarily and to some individual contributors as well.
I passed it out so you can see — we've been getting tremendous newspaper support from the Houston Chronicle for this campaign. This is the third major article that they've done on the Sheldon Lake Environmental Learning Center.
They even promised to give us some money. They won't say how much yet. But I just wanted to give you that. Hopefully we're going to try wrap up by the end of the year. We're going to make a major push this fall to try to get it in and get it done as much as possible.
We still have a way to go. So we'll appreciate any advice, help or anything else that any of you care to contribute or put us in touch with. Your help is not only wanted, but needed. I just wanted to let you know where we were there.
Get this article for example, it generated — I got about a half dozen or more calls from people saying I'd like to help, what else do you take besides money. Some said they were going to send money. Things like the University of Texas System made contributions to the program, and other local organizations.
I had a call from the head of Social Work School at the University of Houston, talking about putting interns out, people who were working on master's degree and all to do internships of various kinds at places like this.
So they had a number of things that these kind of things generate in addition to getting — nothing like this for getting the word out. So I just wanted to bring that to your attention. That's all we have so far.
Mr. Cook, do you have anything else for the Committee?
MR. COOK: No, sir. Thank you.
COMMISSIONER HENRY: If that's it, I'd like to turn this back to the Chairman and the next committee.
(Whereupon the meeting was adjourned at 2:40 p.m.)
MEETING OF: Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Outreach & Education Committee
LOCATION: Austin, Texas
DATE: May 25, 2005
I do hereby certify that the foregoing pages, numbers 1 through 76, inclusive, are the true, accurate, and complete transcript prepared from the verbal recording made by electronic recording by Penny Bynum before the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.
On the Record Reporting, Inc.
3307 Northland, Suite 315
Austin, Texas 78731