Texas Parks & Wildlife TV: 30 Years of Taking Texans Outside

AUSTIN, October 22, 2015 - After 991 stories, 641 shows, 205 awards and countless reasons to explore the best of the Texas outdoors, the Texas Parks & Wildlife television show on PBS celebrates 30 years of entertaining, informing and inspiring viewers across the state. To celebrate the anniversary, viewers can enter a contest to get their story idea produced (see details below).

Sharing their passion for conservation and the outdoors with millions of viewers, the show’s producers have traveled all over the state to tell the stories of its land and people. From artificial reefs in the Gulf of Mexico to the mountains of West Texas, from game wardens patrolling wide open spaces to biologists working with wild animals in the field, they’ve shared it all.

“It’s truly a dream job,” said Don Cash, the PBS series producer. “I mean, if you have to work for a living, it’s a pretty good thing to do!”

The weekly half-hour program, which was originally called Made in Texas, aired on Austin’s KLRU in 1985 before other PBS stations picked it up to run during primetime. Thirty years later, it runs on all PBS stations throughout Texas, on PBS Online and on TPWD’s YouTube channel.

"The most amazing development in recent years is how technology has made these conservation stories and messages even more accessible," said Cash. "It used to be that if you didn’t sit down in front of your TV when the show aired, you’d miss it. Now that we’re on YouTube and PBS online, it’s available all the time, on your phone, PC or iPad, and people can take us with them wherever they go.”

The show is one of the longest-running state-operated television programs, with over 50,000 weekly PBS viewers and 10.8 million total YouTube views. The producers’ work over the past 30 years has earned them over 200 awards, including nearly 30 regional Emmys and 60 awards from the Association for Conservation Information.

This season, viewers can expect a look back at the past 30 years, as well as new content from across the state. The show will rebroadcast a variety of old shows as a retrospective on the conservation issues Texas has faced throughout the years. The show will also include special behind-the-scenes looks with the people who produce the show and what some of their favorite stories have been.

The new season, which begins this week, will also include new stories about the great outdoors of Texas. Viewers can follow two teams of paddlers as they attempt the 260-mile Texas Water Safari, spend some time with cavers in central Texas, birders in the brushlands, prairie dogs in the Panhandle and a trail builder in El Paso.

In honor of the show’s 30th anniversary, TPWD is hosting a TV show contest. The winner will get to decide whether to appear on an episode of Texas Parks & Wildlife or work behind the scenes as part of the television crew for one episode.

To enter the contest, use the entry form to write about a story idea you would like to see featured on the show, in 250 words or less. For more information on how to enter, including eligibility rules, contest dates, judging criteria and more, visit the contest website.

The winner will also receive a $400 HERO4 Silver Edition GoPro video camera and a $100 retail gift card provided by Whole Earth Provision Co., a three-night stay at any LaQuinta hotel in Texas, a special edition Yeti “Roadie 20” cooler and $200 in Buc-ee’s gift certificates from the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation to help cover travel expenses to and from the TV show shoot location and an annual Texas State Parks Pass.

The contest will also award two honorable mentions with a one-night stay in any LaQuinta hotel in Texas, a Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine subscription and an annual Texas State Parks Pass.

TPWD will accept contest entries from October 21, 2015 to May 31, 2016.

To find a PBS station in your area along with times and dates for the show, visit: http://tpwd.texas.gov/newsmedia/tv/tvwhere.phtml.


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