Simple Ways to Beat the Heat

The last Friday in May is dedicated to National Heat Awareness. With summer imminent and temperatures rising, we remind you to stay cool, stay hydrated and stay informed.

Even with summer heating up there are still ways to be outside and stay cool. Here are a few tips.

  • Wade in the water. You can often find cooler temperatures by the ocean, and fresh water lakes and streams can offer welcome respite.
  • Climb every mountain. West Texas vistas benefit from high altitudes and low temperatures, even if you have to trek to reach them.
  • Descend into the depths. Many of the caverns and caves that spread beneath our Texas soil boast consistent, year-round lows to keep you cool while you tour, enthralled.
  • Stay up late. There's a reason so many critters live the nocturnal life. Night hiking or running is a great way to take advantage of cooler temps when the sun goes down.  

For more details on how to beat the heat, read Sarah Youngblood's story in our July 2019 issue.

If you enjoyed these tips and want to learn more, subscribe to Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine. For a limited time enjoy three months of digital access to 600+ articles and our expanded 2020 Summer issue - all for only $1.99!


Summer Camping Within Reach

Ah, summer camping.

Picking the perfect site, setting up your tent and knowing you have nowhere to be, nothing to do, except to enjoy the quiet and commune with nature. Many a family tradition centers around packing up and heading out to a favorite camping spot for summer vacation.

For the past several weeks that was just a distant dream for many Texans. Well, dream no more! Beginning  Wednesday May 27, overnight camping reservations are once again available for most State Parks!

There are some caveats. Day passes and overnight reservations must be arranged in advance using the online system, or over the phone at 512-389-8900. This applies to any guest, including annual pass holders. Capacity is limited and not all parks are open to overnight camping. Social distancing and public health recommendations (including the recommendation to wear face masks or coverings) remain in effect, as do the suspension of equipment rentals, in-person programs and in-park transactions. Visitor and nature centers within parks also remain closed. 

So jump on-line or on the phone so you can set up YOUR time to be completely offline camping in a Texas state park!

Need some inspiration to find your camping bliss? Here's a sneak peek at "Saved by Camping" a feature by Whitney Bishop in our next issue. Meet the Roberto family ⁠— mom, dad and eight kids who made camping together in every state park a priority.

"We are going camping this weekend," she announced to the family when she got home. "We're just going to do it. It's going to happen."

A couple of years earlier, camping would have been an unusual suggestion for Sharon and her husband, Peter, who weren't exactly outdoorsy. Mention nature to them and they'd most likely tell you about their allergies. Taking their large family to sleep outside was not something they'd even considered. 

Sharon and Peter have eight kids, a mix of biological, adopted and foster children. The number varies at times, due to fostering. They live in a modest house in Wichita Falls, where Peter is a second-grade teacher and Sharon home-schools some of their children. 

Follow the Roberto's two-year camping adventure! Subscribe to Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine. For a limited time enjoy three months of digital access to 600+ articles and our expanded 2020 Summer issue - all for only $1.99!


From Flanders Fields to Texas Fields

© Smrm1977 |

Memorial Day is a commemoration of those who died while serving in a branch of the U.S. military. Americans have observed it in some form since shortly after the end of the Civil War. The federal government declared it a holiday in 1971, and officially recognizes Waterloo, New York, as its birthplace. 

The red poppy became an indelible symbol of Memorial Day with the publication of the poem In Flanders Fields in 1915. Written by John McCrae, a Canadian surgeon serving during the Second Battle of Ypres during World War I, the poem forever married the image of blooming red poppies and the burial crosses of those who died in battle.

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

In 1918 the poem was again published in Ladies Home Journal, and after reading it at her desk, YMCA Overseas War Secretary Moina Michael vowed to always wear a red poppy as a sign of remembrance. She spent the rest of her life campaigning to have the red poppy adopted by veteran agencies and the public as a symbol of their fallen heroes. And thus the words of a Canadian soldier brought the red poppy as remembrance to America.

About the same time, a soldier returning from Europe brought with him a bag of poppy seeds. H.P. Compton was a veteran of the 36th Division, Army, and was deeply moved by the crosses of American soldiers buried in Flanders Field. When he returned to his home in Georgetown, Texas, he gave his mother the seeds. She in turn planted them in her front yard on East Seventh Street, and from there they spread all over town. In 1990 the Texas Legislature officially recognized Georgetown as the Red Poppy Capital of Texas. Georgetown in turn hosts an annual Red Poppy Festival (this year the festival has been canceled).

This year on Memorial Day we invite all of our readers to remember what the red poppy, and the day it symbolizes, means to all Americans.

If you like learning Texas' flora and legacies, share this post and invite your friends to subscribe to Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine. For a limited time enjoy three months of digital access to 600+ articles and our expanded 2020 Summer issue - all for only $1.99!