Archive for April, 2012

Petrarch Climbs Mont Ventoux

Mont Ventoux

On April 26, 1336, the poet Petrarch, along with his brother, climbed Mont Ventoux in Provence. Though he was not the first to climb the mountain, Petrarch’s ascent is considered to be first awakening of the modern spirit of mountaineering.

He wrote of his experience upon reaching the summit: “At first, owing to the unaccustomed quality of the air and the effect of the great sweep of view spread out before me, I stood like one dazed. I beheld the clouds under our feet, and what I had read of Athos and Olympus seemed less incredible as I myself witnessed the same things from a mountain of less fame.”

Petrarch claimed to be the first person since ancient times to climb a mountain for the view alone. His experience on the summit united him with the adventurers of ancient Greece and today’s mountain climbers. Michael Kimmelman, following in Petrarch’s footsteps, climbed Mont Ventoux in 1999. He wrote about his experiences in an entertaining article in the New York Times Magazine NOT Because it’s There.

Kimmelman points out that

“mountains have not always been a source of reverence and awe. We take it for granted that since the beginning of time people have climbed them for pleasure and written paeans to their beauty, because we assume that our own responses to them are, like Nature itself, eternal and, well, natural. This is not true. Throughout most of Western history, at least since the ancient Greeks, people felt unmoved and even repelled by mountains. The Romans found them desolate, hostile places. Donne, reflecting the general attitude of his age, called them warts on the planet. Luther believed them to be part of God’s retribution for Man’s fall, an outcome of the flood, before which the Earth had been perfectly round.”

Sketch portrait of Petrarch

Thanks to the Romantic poets, Henry David Thoreau, John Muir and other lovers of the natural world, we see things differently. Petrarch’s ascent of Mont Ventoux marks the first return of an ancient way of seeing Nature and man’s place within it.

Petrarch was a scholar, a poet and an early Humanist. Here’s an introduction to his life and work.

[edited 4/26]

Kids Wilderness Survival

Hansel & Gretel

Unlike Hansel and Gretel, would your kids know what to do if they became lost on the trail? If not, you might consider a trip to Mineral Wells State Park this Saturday to take part in the Kid’s Wilderness Survival Class: two and half hours of interactive games, demonstrations and a hike on the nature trail. Kids need to be accompanied by a parent, guardian or youth group leader. Reservations are required: Call 940-328-1171.

Event Information

Kid’s Wilderness Survival

April 28, 2012 8:30 to 11:30 am

Lake Mineral Wells State Park & Trailway

If you can’t make it to Mineral Wells on Saturday, here are a few basic tips to help keep our kids safe if they are lost:

Child standing over river, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department

Kid’s Wilderness Survival Tips

What’s the most important thing to remember if you get lost?

Get found! Don’t make it hard for people to find you.

Stay put, stay calm, stay together and stay seen!

Take a timeout: Take a deep breath; thinking and talking out loud can help you keep calm.

Sound Off – Sing, whistle or talk out loud – someone may hear you.

Think – Remember: think first, then act.

Observe – Yourself, your surroundings and your supplies

Plan –Based on your observations, make preparations for shelter and safety.

Use your Kid’s Wilderness Survival Pack:

Clean water – a necessity

Snacks – for energy

Whistle – it can be heard better than your voice – three whistles means I need help! Do it often so people can find you.

Sun screen and a hat – avoid painful sunburn

Garbage Bag – rain protection and shelter

Compass – learn how to use it. It’s fun!

Bandana – bright red or orange for signaling

Flashlight – to see at night and signal for help

Old CD – reflects the sun as a day signal

First Aid Kit with handwipes – just in case

Neighborhood Fishin’ Texas Parks & Wildlife

April is Texas State Parks Month at Whole Earth Provision Co.

TMF_Hispanic_Family

Texas Parks & Wildlife wants you to go fishing!!

Did you know that Texas Parks and Wildlife stocks neighborhood urban lakes in Amarillo, Austin, Bryan-College Station, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Waco and Wichita Falls? It’s all a part of the Neighborhood Fishin’ Program, to encourage urbanites to get outside and fish. Catfish stocking begins this week and will continue throughout the summer.

To get started, visit the Neighborhood Fishin’ webpage. You’ll find information on where to go, what to catch, the Tackle Loaner Program and how to fish including videos for beginners on assorted topics such as Getting Started, Bait and Lures and even Cleaning and Storing Your Catch.

Want to know more about fishing in Texas State Parks? Check out the Fishing section of the Texas Parks and Wildlife website. There’s a wealth of information on topics including Texas Fish Species, Conservation, Fisheries, Fishing Reports and Permits.

The website also has a Calendar of Events with several categories devoted to fishing including Fishing Classes, Derbies and More.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs. Read more about
The Greatest Conservation Story You Never Heard.

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department is currently working to raise $4.6 million dollars to help keep parks open and maintained in the wake of extreme drought, wildfires and a decline in park revenues. You can make a donation to Texas State Parks during the month of April at any Whole Earth Provision Co. store. A donation in any amount is gratefully appreciated. However, for every $20 donation, you’ll receive a $5 Texas State Parks Gift Card good toward entrance fees or purchases at any Texas State Park.

Hubble Space Telescope Anniversary

On this day, April 24, in 1990 the Space Shuttle Discovery carried the Hubble Space Telescope into low Earth orbit. NASA and the European Space Agency have put together a slideshow of some of the best images from Hubble’s past 22 years.

When the first images were sent back to Earth, scientists discovered that the primary mirror was flawed. The slideshow photos from 1993 of Messier 100 show the before and after effect of the first servicing mission that gave Hubble ‘glasses’ to bring its vision into focus.

The universe as shown by Hubble is full of wonders. Looking through an album of Hubble Images is a bit like looking at postcards sent by Doctor Who or the Starship Enterprise on their journeys through space and time. Perhaps the most awe-inspiring image is the Hubble Ultra Deep Field image that looks back approximately 13 billion years through a tiny sliver (roughly one thirteen millionth) of the sky. The image contains an estimated 10,000 galaxies.

Scientists hope that the Hubble Space Telescope will remain in working order until at least 2014. Saved by public outcry in the mid 2000s, Hubble has depended on Space Shuttle missions for upgrades and repairs. The end of the Space Shuttle program appears to signal the final days of the Telescope. But what a run Hubble has had. Thanks to its twenty plus years of service, we’ve met some of our galactic neighbors and have begun to realize just how vast our universe might be.

To learn more information about the Hubble Telescope:

+ The Hubble Site

+ Hubble Space Telescope – Wikipedia

+ An audio slideshow from 2012

Texas State Park Volunteers Needed!

April is Texas State Parks Month at Whole Earth Provision Co.

Here’s another way you can help Texas State Parks: Be a Volunteer!

Almost every State Park needs volunteers. You can sign up for a special event or for short term, long term or ongoing programs. Volunteer opportunities include: Park Host, Tour Guide or Docent, Special Event Assistance, Trail Maintenance, Environmental Restoration and Office and Outreach Assistance. The Texas Parks & Wildlife Volunteer Site includes information on volunteer opportunities across the state. Many State Parks have Friends Groups and Support Organizations that can use your help.

Have you considered a State Park Volunteer Vacation?

The Texas Master Naturalist Program trains volunteers to provide education, outreach and service to benefit natural areas here in Texas, including State Parks. Each volunteer completes at least 40 hours of field and classroom instruction, plus 8 hours of approved advanced training. In return, each volunteer gives 40 hours of service back to the community
“Trained Volunteers help keep Texas parks natural: Master naturalist program has 44 chapters, 7400 trainees” by Mike Leggett in the Austin American Statesman April 15, 2012

To learn more, find a Texas Master Naturalist Chapter near you on the Texas Master Naturalist website.

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department is currently working to raise $4.6 million dollars to help keep parks open and maintained in the wake of extreme drought, wildfires and a decline in park revenues. You can make a donation to Texas State Parks during the month of April at any Whole Earth Provision Co. store. A donation in any amount is gratefully appreciated. However, for every $20 donation, you’ll receive a $5 Texas State Parks Gift Card good toward entrance fees or purchases at any Texas State Park.

Painters in the Park at Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site

April is Texas State Parks Month at Whole Earth Provision Co.

Brazo State Park and Historical Site

Pack up your palettes, paints, colored pencils, canvases, watercolor blocks and sketchbooks and head for Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site, near College Station, on Saturday. Painters at the Park is a great opportunity for artists to gather together to paint and draw and enjoy the natural beauty and fellowship with other creative types.

Event Information

Painters in the Park

April 21, 2012

10 am to 4 pm

In 1836, Washington-on-the-Brazos witnessed the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence and was even the capital of the Republic of Texas from 1842 to 1845. The Star of the Republic Museum, Independence Hall and Barrington Living History Museum testify to the site’s importance and make it live for us today.

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department is currently working to raise $4.6 million dollars to help keep parks open and maintained in the wake of extreme drought, wildfires and a decline in park revenues. You can make a donation to Texas State Parks during the month of April at any Whole Earth Provision Co. store. A donation in any amount is gratefully appreciated. However, for every $20 donation, you’ll receive a $5 Texas State Parks Gift Card good toward entrance fees or purchases at any Texas State Park.

Lyrid Meteor Shower

This Saturday night and on until dawn Sunday morning head outside and look for meteors! Every April Earth passes through the remnants of Comet Thatcher sparking the Lyrid Meteor Shower. This year the Lyrids coincide with the New Moon, so viewing should be especially fine. Grab a blanket or a cot, stretch out and enjoy the show!

Bike Through the Pines at Bastrop State Park

April is Texas State Parks Month at Whole Earth Provision Co.

Bastrop State Park

Saturday morning, load up the mountain bikes and head to Bastrop for a Saturday morning ride through an area of Bastrop State Park normally closed to the public. The Park reopened to the public last week after having been closed since the Labor Day Weekend fires of 2011. This will be a great opportunity to check up on the Park’s recovery.

EVENT INFORMATION

Bike Through the Pines

Saturday, April 21, 2012

9:30 am to 12:30 pm

Learn more about biking in Texas State Parks. Watch Texas on Two Wheels

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department is currently working to raise $4.6 million dollars to help keep parks open and maintained in the wake of extreme drought, wildfires and a decline in park revenues. You can make a donation to Texas State Parks during the month of April at any Whole Earth Provision Co. store. A donation in any amount is gratefully appreciated. However, for every $20 donation, you’ll receive a $5 Texas State Parks Gift Card good toward entrance fees or purchases at any Texas State Park.

Brighten Up Your Desktop with Texas Parks & Wildlife!

April is Texas State Parks Month at Whole Earth Provision Co.

Bracken Ferns at Bastrop State Park

Bracken Ferns at Bastrop State Park. Photo by Chase A. Fountain, TPWD.

Did you know that Texas Parks & Wildlife has a Flickr Photostream? They’ve posted collections of wildlife, wildflowers and Park photos. Be sure to take a look at the Desktop Background Collection.

You may find some of your favorite photos from Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine.

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department is currently working to raise $4.6 million dollars to help keep parks open and maintained in the wake of extreme drought, wildfires and a decline in park revenues. You can make a donation to Texas State Parks during the month of April at any Whole Earth Provision Co. store. A donation in any amount is gratefully appreciated. However, for every $20 donation, you’ll receive a $5 Texas State Parks Gift Card good toward entrance fees or purchases at any Texas State Park.

Happy 145th Anniversary Fort Richardson!

April is Texas State Parks Month at Whole Earth Provision Co.

Ft. Richardson living historian

Fort Richardson State Park & Historic Site will celebrate its 145th anniversary this Saturday and Sunday by turning back the clock to the 1860s and 1870s. Living historians and historical re-enactors will show you what life was like at this time on a Texas outpost.

Fort Richardson, about an hour west of Fort Worth, was established in November of 1867 and was the northernmost in a line of Federal forts built along the Texas frontier. Their charge was to subdue the native Commanche, Kiowa, Kickapoo, Tonkawa and Apache Indians.

This weekend, cavalry, infantry and artillery re-enactors will show off their skills at the Fort throughout the day. You can learn about candlemaking, cooking in a dutch oven, dancing, blacksmithing and gunfights. You may even see some Longhorns and Camels!

Another reason to visit Fort Richardson is the Lost Creek Reservoir State Trailway, a ten mile hike, bike and equestrian trail that runs next to the Fort, along Lost Creek and crosses the reservoir dam. The smooth trail is ten feet wide and travels through pecan and oak trees with abundant wildlife and wildflowers.

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department is currently working to raise $4.6 million dollars to help keep parks open and maintained in the wake of extreme drought, wildfires and a decline in park revenues. You can make a donation to Texas State Parks during the month of April at any Whole Earth Provision Co. store. A donation in any amount is gratefully appreciated. However, for every $20 donation, you’ll receive a $5 Texas State Parks Gift Card good toward entrance fees or purchases at any Texas State Park.