Although you wouldn't know by the Arctic chill that has ascended on Texas — spring is just around the corner. And love is in the air!
As we pick up those last-minute gifts for our loved ones, we would be remiss not to mention the ways wildlife help make Valentine's Day special. Without bats controlling pest populations, researchers estimate that yields of the cocoa bean that gives us our Valentine chocolate would fall by up to 22 percent. It would be hard to stop and smell our Valentine roses if it wasn't for our pollinating bees, beetles, and butterflies.
Conservationist Aldo Leopold once said: To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering. It's easy to overlook, or even take for granted, the gifts that wildlife and their habitats give us. And most of the time, we don't yet comprehend the role a species may play.
For example, new research finds lizards may be protecting people from Lyme's disease in the southeastern U.S. In the south, "ticks prefer to feed on lizards, particularly skinks". These reptiles are "poor transmitters of the Lyme pathogens. So fewer southern ticks are infected and fewer people get sick."
If you're like most wildlife and nature enthusiasts, you care deeply about the intrinsic value of wildlife, and the joy they bring to your life. At the same time, it's important to remember that healthy wildlife populations and wildlife habitat impact our economy, jobs, livelihoods, and health, too. Investments in nature will reap benefits tenfold.
In this newsletter, we provide a brief update on the Recovering America's Wildlife Act — bipartisan legislation that would help keep fish and wildlife thriving for future generations. And we share just a few "boots on the ground" examples of how Texans are giving back to wildlife — and how you can get involved too.
Texas Alliance for America's Fish and Wildlife
Abandoned Crab Trap Removal
Abandoned and lost crab traps can lead to significant mortality for numerous wildlife species. They're unsightly, snag fishing lines, and can lead to costly boat motor repair too. The state allows for a ten day period to remove derelict traps. This year, the closure will take place from Feb 19 - 28th. Volunteers and boats are needed to help remove traps from Texas waters. Get involved. Photo: Estuary species, like the Diamondback terrapin, can drown in abandoned crab traps
Bird City Texas
New Certified Communities!
"Research shows that bird-friendly habitat increases property values, helps control insects, and generates tourism dollars. Where birds thrive, people prosper."
Bird City Texas, a partnership program between Audubon Texas and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, is proud to announce that Galveston, San Antonio and Surfside Beach are Texas's newest Bird City Texas communities. Read more in the TPWD press release.
Oyster Reef Conservation
Texas Parks & Wildlife, The Nature Conservancy, and Galveston Bay Foundation are "trying out a new way to help oysters". Learn more about their innovative sanctuary reef project in the Houston Chronicle. Photo credit: Oyster reef - USFWS
Wildlife Diversity Webinar Series
Texas Parks & Wildlife
Feb 17- On the trail for Texas screwstem...elusive, tiny, screwy
March 17 - Activity and habitats of the Western chicken turtle in Texas
April 21 - Take the City Nature Challenge: Exploring Urban Nature Through Community Science
Image credit: Texas Parks & Wildlife
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