Archive for March, 2015

April is Texas State Parks Month!

April is Texas State Parks Month!

It’s becoming a tradition – for the fourth year in a row, April is Texas State Parks Month at Whole Earth Provision Co. Throughout the month you’ll be able to make donations at the cash register to help support our Texas State Parks. Donations are gratefully accepted in any amount, but when you donate $20 or more you’ll receive a $5 Texas State Park gift card redeemable for Park entrance fees and merchandise at State Park stores throughout Texas. Make a $50 or more donation and you’ll receive the Gift Card and a special limited edition Whole Earth branded Buff! The donations are used to help with day-to-day operational expenses at more than 90 State Parks and include enhancing visitor programs and maintaining Park facilities.

When you visit your favorite Whole Earth store, don’t forget to pick up a free copy of the Texas State Park Guide. It offers a wealth of information about Parks all around Texas. Few states can boast of the range of landscapes, historical sites and outdoor activities available in our State Parks. So whether you’re looking for a daytrip destination or for an extended stay, the Park Guide is filled with great ideas for your next adventure.

Texas State Parks

On Sunday, April 26th from 2 to 4 pm, Park Rangers will be on hand in all Whole Earth stores to answer your questions. If, in the meantime, you’re looking for suggestions about Parks close to home, check out your city’s location page on our website. It includes a list of State Parks close by.

Another way to support Texas State Parks is to purchase tickets to the Banff World Tour and Radical Reels film festivals. World Tour will be shown in Austin at the Paramount Theater on Sunday April 19th. Radical Reels will be shown in Austin at the Paramount on Saturday April 18th. World Tour and Radical Reels present some of the best outdoor adventure and high adrenaline sports films from the 2014 Banff Mountain Film Festival in Banff, Alberta. The proceeds from these shows will also be directed to Texas State Parks.

Last year, Whole Earth raised more than $26,000, combining in-store customer donations and ticket sale proceeds. We hope you will join us in supporting our Texas State Parks once again and help us beat last year’s total with a donation and a visit to see Radical Reels and Banff World Tour films. Last of all, one of the best ways to support our Parks, is to visit them!

Follow the Huautla Deep Cave Adventure!


This is the first in our series of posts following the 2015 PESH Expedition to Sistema Huautla.
Read the next post here.

On Saturday evening, March 21st, Bill Steele received a Citation of Merit from The Explorers Club for his work over the course of 38 years in the deepest and longest cave in the Americas – Sistema Huautla. A new chapter is about to be written in this on-going deep cave exploration, and Whole Earth Provision Co. is proud to be among the supporters of the 2015 expedition that begins on March 24th and runs through May 2nd.

Whole Earth Logo

Proyecto Espeleológico Sistema Huautla or PESH is an international group of deep cave explorers, primarily from the United States and Mexico, devoted to the exploration and scientific documentation of Sistema Huautla, the deepest cave in the Western Hemisphere, located in the Sierra Mazateca in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. Their quest is to leave no question marks on Sistema Huautla’s map.

First explored in the 1960s, Sistema Huautla is now known to have 20 entrances and over 40 miles of interconnecting passageways reaching a depth of 5,069 feet. This year’s expedition plans to push on into unexplored portions of the cave system and hopefully add to its record depth. But there is more to the expedition than the quest for new records. PESH has undertaken a ten year program of exploration that will expand and refine the map of Sistema Huautla as well as study the geology, hydrology, archaeology and paleontology of the caverns and the biology of creatures and organisms living deep within the earth.

Bill Steele, the expedition co-leader, described Sistema Huautla in Men’s Journal last year as “probably the greatest cave on Earth. It’s already the 8th deepest cave on the planet, and it’s longer than the top 16 deepest caves, which means it’s huge. And there’s so much more we haven’t discovered. This is just the tip of the iceberg.”

Bill Steele being interviewed by Reid Kinslow at Whole Earth on March 23, 2015

Bill Steele being interviewed by Reid Kinslow at Whole Earth on March 23, 2015

Whole Earth has had an abiding interest in caving for many years. A member of our Whole Earth family was part of Huautla expeditions in 1966 and 1967. This year Whole Earth is providing the expedition with two GoPro Cameras, batteries and mounts, fuel for camp stoves, and small items, both useful and fun, for children in the communities near the cave system. In the coming weeks, we’ll be posting stories, videos and updates about Sistema Huautla, taking a look at the history of its exploration, sharing an interview with the expedition co-leader Bill Steele and more. Stay tuned!

This is the first in our series of posts following the 2015 PESH Expedition to Sistema Huautla.
Read the next post here.

Southlake Town Square Green Fest 2015

Southlake Town Square Greenfest 2015

Green Fest is returning to Southlake on Saturday, March 28th. The event is sponsored by the Bob Jones Nature Center and takes place at Southlake Town Square’s Rustin Park from 10 am to 10 pm. Green Fest is a celebration of Going Green. The focus is on learning how we can become better stewards of the Earth’s resources and how to invest in a sustainable future. There will also be entertainment, a raffle, prizes and representatives from some of your favorite businesses including Whole Earth Provision Co.

Whole Earth will be joined by our SmartWool reps who will be introducing you to their sustainable, Earth friendly and incredibly comfortable socks. SmartWool socks are made of Merino wool, which is both breathable and non-scratchy. SmartWool uses only Zque accredited Merino Wool. Zque ensures that environmental, social, animal welfare (including sheep dogs), and traceability from source to product issues are addressed in the production of New Zealand Merino wool. The SmartWool reps will be offering free sample socks while supplies last!

Smartwool Logo

We hope you’ll stop by the Whole Earth booth for a visit and meet our SmartWool reps!

You’ll find more information about Green Fest here.

On the Road in Search of Bluebonnets

Bluebonnet image by Brittan Hussing

Photo by Brittan Hussing

The forecast is great! Thanks to the winter rains, the Spring wildflower season may be one for the record book. Make your plans now to pack your camera and a picnic lunch and head out on the road to see the spectacular swaths of color created by Bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrushes, Pink Evening Primroses and a succession of beautiful wildflowers filling the fields and roadsides of Texas. The wildflower trails are concentrated in three areas of the state: Northeast Texas centered on Ennis; in East Texas around Chappell Hill and Brenham; and in the Hill Country from Burnet and Marble Falls to Johnson City and Fredericksburg.

In the past, the Texas Department of Transportation’s Wildflower Hotline was a great resource, providing updates on the routes for the best wildflower viewing. But, unfortunately, it is no more. Today the most up-to-the-minute information can be found on Facebook. What the pages lack in organization, they make up for in timeliness. Visit Texas Bluebonnet Sightings and Texas Wildflower Report – like them and click on notifications and you should be up-to-date on daily wildflower sightings from around the state.

Web pages can also be a source of good information. Texas Wildflower and Bluebonnet Sightings Report has offered route information in past years. Look for updated postings coming soon. For the motherlode of information visit Texas Bluebonnet Reports at Wildflower Haven. They have three free, pdf ebook guides to Brenham, Ennis and the Hill Country complete with route maps.

If you need help in identifying some of the plants you find, check out the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s Native Plant Database. You won’t have to know the plant’s name to find it. There are search options by location, month, color, leaf type and height that can help you hone in on the correct identification.

Bluebonnet image by Johanna Schmidt

Photo by Johanna Schmidt

For many Texans, this is the most wonderful time of the year. Shake off those winter cobwebs and get outdoors to see the countryside decked out in wildflowers. Take a classic Bluebonnet photo of the ones you love. And like a good Texan, look for other creatures that might be enjoying the Bluebonnets as well, particularly snakes. Step carefully so the area will remain beautiful for those who come after you, and so that the wildflowers will survive to reseed, ensuring Spring beauty for years to come.

Women Traveling Solo at Shepherd and Mockingbird

Women Traveling Solo at Shepherd and Mockingbird

Houston Shepherd store – Monday, March 16th at 7 pm.

Dallas Mockingbird store – Thursday, March 19th at 6:30 pm.

No travel partner? Don’t let that hold you back! Traveling alone as a woman can be a powerful, emboldening experience. However, safety is a consideration and representatives of Hostelling International USA will address this and other issues in Women Traveling Solo at our Houston Shepherd store on Monday, March 16th at 7 pm and at our Dallas Mockingbird store Thursday, March 19th at 6:30 pm.

You want your trip to be memorable for all the right reasons. That takes some pre-trip planning, preparation and luck. And luck, as they say, favors the prepared. The Hostelling International representatives will help you learn how to plan, prepare, pack and travel smart. Please bring your questions about solo travel, foreign and domestic, for our speakers.

Deidre Mathis, who will be in Houston, is an author, travel blogger, and public speaker. Her personal mantra comes from Gandhi: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” She has traveled to 23 countries on 5 continents. She’s the author of, “Wanderlust: For the Young, Broke Professional” which details different budget opportunities many can use to gain global exposure.

Coleen Barry, who will be in Dallas, has traveled extensively throughout Europe and Asia. She usually travels solo, but occasionally acquires travel companions along the way. She likes to alternate her time spent traveling from place to place with stops devoted to volunteering or taking part in work exchanges. She is now a freelance copywriter and hopes to one day engage in full-time sustainable travel.

So come join us for Women Traveling Solo and take the first step toward the journey of a lifetime.