For landowners, knowledge is the power to make the informed decisions about habitat management and natural resource policy.
“TWA’s Adult Education Programs are designed to increase natural resource literacy whether people are multi-generational landowners or beginning wildlife enthusiasts,” said Clint Faas, TWA’s Director of Conservation Programs. “Our ultimate goal is to empower well-informed landowners to take the information they’ve gained and apply it to the land, making a difference in both their lives and the landscape.”
He continued, “We also focus attention on emerging public policy issues. Through these programs, we strive to equip landowners to be informed advocates for natural resource conservation, wildlife and property rights in the legislative process and in the voting booth.”
As surely as the natural resources, wildlife and even their fellow Texans benefit from the educational programs, so do the landowners themselves. Regardless of subject matter, the programs feature the top experts in the state, not only giving landowners the chance to learn from them, but to get to know them.
These are prime opportunities for landowners to build their own networks of conservation professionals. And, of course, it’s a natural place to meet other like-minded landowners who have their own experiences to share. – Clint Faas, TWA’s Director of Conservation Programs
While some of the offerings are only lecture, most contain a field component so participants can see how the knowledge is applied to the land.
“Benjamin Franklin said, ‘Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn,’” Faas said. “That nails our approach to adult education.”
This approach not only provides experiential learning, but in many cases gives participants access to ranches that they might not get to see otherwise.
“We get participants out on the land across Texas, which allows them to see on-the-ground management and conservation in a variety of eco-regions as applied by a host of different land stewards,” Faas said. “Texas is too big and too diverse to limit our offerings to one area of the state.”
Below you will find a brief description of each TWA Adult Education Programs. There’s just enough information to whet your appetite. For more information, see www.Texas-Wildlife.org.
On the land
Quail Masters is an intensive four-part workshop dedicated to quail and quail management. Each field-intensive, hands-on session begins on Sunday afternoon and concludes the following Tuesday. Generally, the four sessions are held between April and October. Participants are expected to attend all four sessions.
WOMEN OF THE LAND
Women of the Land is a ladies-only event centered on the philosophical and ecological aspects of wildlife and land management. Two standalone courses, one held in the spring and the other in the fall, move to different locations around the state. In addition to providing a strong foundation for additional conservation education, the 2.5-day events provide an unsurpassed opportunity for women to network with others who share their interests. Women of the Land ADVANCED, held every other year, builds on the initial knowledge by immersing women in hands-on management and outdoor activities.
In the classroom
PRIVATE LANDS SUMMIT
The Private Lands Summit is a full-day of presentations built around a single theme, focused on “higher-level” aspects of landownership/management, and delivered by experts in their respective fields. The event is held each summer at the JW Marriott Hill Country Resort and Spa in San Antonio the Thursday preceding TWA’s annual convention. Past themes have included: Understanding a Changing Texas: Impacts of Eminent Domain and Consequences of Landowner Liability, Impacts Across Fencelines, and Sustainability of Land-Based Profits and Products.
WILDLIFE CONVENTION EDUCATION SESSIONS
The Texas WildLife Education Sessions provide an opportunity for attendees at TWA’s annual convention, held in July in San Antonio, to mix a healthy dose of conservation education into the fun and camaraderie of the weekend. The education sessions, which cover a wide range of topics, are offered for a half-day on Saturday. Designed to appeal to a broad cross-section of landowners, last year’s topics included: techniques in quail management; an update on pollinators in crisis; advances and developments in feral hog control tools and strategies; managing for wildlife in conjunction with oil and gas production; and the basics of planned grazing.
Ranching & Wildlife Expo at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo
TWA co-hosts three half-days of seminars as part of the Ranching & Wildlife Expo, which is held each year during the first week of the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. While the specific topics vary from year to year, the umbrella themes remain consistent. The first day centers on cattle and ranching; the second day focuses on the tools of wildlife management; and the third day showcases the interaction of ranching and wildlife including things such as estate planning. Each half-day session includes several presentations and attendees can come-and-go or come-and-stay. Pre-registration qualifies attendees for free parking and free admission to the show.
In development for 2018
SOUTH TEXAS WILDLIFE CONFERENCE
The South Texas Wildlife Conference, which has been held for more than 15 years, is a one-day conference that brings together practitioners, land managers, policy makers, wildlife biologists and wildlife researchers to discuss a topic (or two) of concern in South Texas. Traditionally, it has been co-hosted by TWA, TPWD and the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute at Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
The Waterfowl Symposium provides a focused look into the natural history of waterfowl in Texas. The symposium, which moves to different locations with prime waterfowl habitat, consists of one day in the classroom and a half-day in the field.
TWA has developed a series of webinars that allow participants to get information any time of day or night from the comfort of their office, couch or deer blind (depending on internet access). The webinars, which are 20 minutes to 30 minutes long, cover a range of wildlife management topics. Like the live education programming, these recorded sessions are taught by the state’s leading experts.
To access the video library, go to www.Texas-Wildlife.org and click on resources and then webinars (or all webcasts if you’d like access to youth programming as well as adult programming).
New programs are released on the third Thursday of every month.
PODCASTS (COMING IN 2018)
If you like to get your info on the go, TWA’s podcast may be your preferred source of information. The series is under development, but the podcast, which will likely be in a “talk show” format, will not only cover hands-on management topics and emerging policy issues, but delve into the philosophical areas of hunting, conservation with the aim of bridging the gap between urban and rural Texas.
Watch for the launch later this year. It will be available via resources on www.Texas-Wildlife.org.
Keep tabs on upcoming events
To keep up with TWA’s Adult Education offerings, visit www.Texas-Wildlife.org and click on resources and then events. When education programs are scheduled, they are added to the list. Click on the program of interest for more information and to register.The education programs are open to everyone. For more information about the education programs, call the TWA office at (800) 839-9453 and ask for the Adult Education Director.