Women Getting Stuff Done

“A woman's place in public is to sit beside her husband, be silent, and be sure her hat is on straight.” - Bess Truman

Don’t tell that to the women at Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Meet some of our colleagues who are working to conserve Texas’ wild things and wild places. Whether they’re wrangling bighorn sheep or wrestling with a Purchase Order, these women get stuff done -- even if their hats aren’t always straight.

If you know someone who might be interested in being part of our team, check out our internship, job and volunteer opportunities. 

Dr. Sara Wyckoff, Wildlife Veterinarian

What she does: As one of two very busy veterinarians at Texas Parks and Wildlife, Sara monitors Texas native wildlife for disease and develops strategies to stop sickness from spreading. She works closely with biologists, landowners and other government agencies, assisting with research, veterinary protocols and training.


Career highlights: Getting to crawl into a bat cave during monitoring for white-nose syndrome and assisting with examining bighorn sheep in west Texas as part of TPWD’s native bighorn sheep restoration program. 


Pagie Reeves, Administrative Technician for the Perry R. Bass Marine Fisheries Research Center

What she does: Pagie may spend most of her work day indoors, but she serves as the heart of a team whose research impacts coastal fisheries management. Providing the administrative support to keep things running smoothly, she strives to create a helpful, positive and professional work environment.

Career highlight: Helping plan and decorate the new San Antonio Bay field office in Port O’ Connor. 

Maegan Lanham, Photographer for Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine

What she does: Inspire people to get outside through pictures. Maegan captures everything from hunting, fishing, hiking and kayaking to the incredible variety of Texas wildlife and landscapes. 

Career highlight: Photographing the 113-million-year-old dinosaur tracks that were recently uncovered during a drought at Dinosaur Valley State Park. 

Angela England, Conservation Biologist

What she does: Angela works to manage riparian (streamside) areas to support healthy habitat for fish and the food web of plants, insects, and other organisms that sustain them.  She helps landowners learn about land management methods that improve water quality and quantity while enhancing native biodiversity. 

Career highlights: Serving as the project manager for the Healthy Creeks Initiative. This project manages invasive Arundo (giant reed) in five Native Fish Conservation Areas of the Hill Country, in support of ongoing conservation projects such as restoring habitat for our state fish, the Guadalupe Bass. 


Niki Lambrou, Design Project Manager – Civil Engineer

What she does: As a civil engineer, Niki designs anything to be built anywhere in Texas. One day she’s designing roads at a new State Natural Area and the next she’s in the bottom of a pond at the A.E. Wood Fish Hatchery. Every TPWD facility involves infrastructure such as utilities, roads and parking, bridges or dams, or buildings. And everywhere there is infrastructure, a civil engineer is involved. 

Career highlight: In her previous job with a civil engineering consulting firm, Niki had the opportunity to serve as a hydraulic engineer on a project at Devils River State Natural Area. That fueled a growing passion for the state park system and inspired her to forge a career with TPWD.

Anzhi Chen, Java Programmer - Application Development Team

What she does: Anzhi designs, builds and supports custom web application solutions to serve TPWD’s internal and external customers.

Career highlight: Being part of the core team that designs, implements and provides customer support for agency’s Online Permitting system.


Jessica Burke, ADA Coordinator

What she does: Jessica manages TPWD’s Americans with Disabilities Act office, which works to ensure that people with disabilities have access to TPWD facilities and programs. 

Career highlight: Making a difference in the lives of others by partnering with communities to make spaces more accessible. 


Patty Cardoza, Staff Services Officer at Sea Center Texas

What she does: Patty works to ensure the efficient operation of three saltwater fish hatcheries, doing everything from providing training to ordering supplies while providing ongoing support to her colleagues.

Career highlight: Helping secure equipment for Sea Center Texas’ new Flounder Building.


Dee Halliburton, Executive Assistant

What she does: Dee supports the Executive Office team and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commissioners. She began her TPWD career as Warehouse Clerk, and over her 35-year tenure has worked for four Executive Directors and 54 Commissioners.

Career highlight: A quote from former Executive Director Carter Smith, “’No’ is not in Dee’s vocabulary. When somebody calls, they want to talk to Dee because they know it's going to get done and they know it's going to get done promptly. She solves every problem.”


Nicole Feldman, Veteran Liaison & Internship Coordinator

What she does: Nicole works with TPWD veterans to provide resources, opportunities and a way to connect to each other. She also helps students connect with our agency through the internship program.

Career highlight: The opportunities for networking all over the state of Texas. Nicole enjoys meeting new people and learning from them. She says, “Everyone comes with a different story, and it is amazing to see how we were all brought together by one agency.”


Chelsea Bailey, Texas Game Warden

What she does: Chelsea began her career as an intern, and then became a licensed peace officer as a Texas Game Warden. After working on the coast for several years, Chelsea now serves as a game warden recruiter.

Career highlight: Chelsea started the Texas Game Warden Women’s Conference, a leadership conference for female Texas Game Wardens and State Park Police Officers, which will come to fruition in June of 2023.



Galveston Island State Park Celebrates Grand Re-opening

  • Two-day celebration at park on March 31 and April 1.
  • Beachside reopens after repairing hurricane damages.
  • New headquarters, remodeled nature center and more.

Galveston Island State Park invites the public to a Grand Re-opening event with two days of festivities on March 31 and April 1, as part of the ongoing, yearlong Texas State Parks Centennial. The beach side of the park opened back up last summer following the completion of a three-year major redevelopment project, sparked by damages from historic Hurricane Ike.

The first day of the festivities will feature speeches from local, statewide and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) dignitaries, as well as interpretive activities, refreshments and self-guided tours. Day Two is an extravaganza of fun, with activities every hour including prairie hikes, fishing and kayaking at Horseshoe Pond, beach walks and bay exploration at Lake Como.


“We’re excited to invite everyone to come celebrate with us and see the results,” says Park Superintendent Steven Kimbley. “It’s a small way to thank everyone for supporting us through hurricane and recovery. Galveston Island State Park is now fully open — the park’s staff is excited to welcome all Texans to come experience the Third Coast.”

Improvements to the park include a new headquarters building, 95 new campsites, two new restrooms (and renovations to an existing restroom), new roads, two new changing areas and rinse-off showers, 20 new shade shelters in the day-use area and a seasonal equestrian day-use area. 

Visitors to the park will find more than five miles of hiking trails, a newly remodeled nature center on the bay side, two observation towers, two boardwalks, three kayak launch locations on the bay side with more than 11 miles of paddling trails, a new vendor area and three new group-use pavilions on the beach side. 


Of course, reconstruction plans included accommodations for the threat of future hurricanes. 


“The new headquarters, campsites and day-use area are more elevated now,” Kimbley says. “Structures are built to flex with the landscape and be more resistant to future extreme weather.” 

The Galveston Island State Park Beach Redevelopment project was brought to fruition with $10.6 million in Deepwater Horizon Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA) Phase III Early Restoration funds from the Texas Trustees (TPWD, Texas General Land Office and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality). These funds leveraged Sporting Good Sales Tax dollars to provide the improvements Texans will enjoy for generations. 

Galveston Island State Park has 2,000 acres of park land in two sections, bayside and beachside. The park first opened in 1975, but early humans used the bountiful area for gathering resources such as oysters. The property was later used as a cattle ranch until the state acquired it in 1969.

Today, the park’s interpretive programming reaches thousands of children annually through educational field trips to the park and, conversely, park rangers and volunteers in classrooms. The recently renovated Nature Center provides new opportunities for education and activities including starting new fishing programs, connecting art to the park with plein air watercolor sessions, expanding guided hikes and offering new skills-based learning, such as kayaking. Concessionaires offer opportunities for park visitors to rent camping gear, kayaks, beach umbrellas and chairs. Popular activities include fishing, crabbing, paddling, wildlife watching and more.


Galveston Island State Park provides refuge and supports ongoing research for listed species such as the eastern black rail and piping plover. Last year, a Kemp’s ridley sea turtle (endangered) nest with 107 eggs was discovered in the park’s beachside dunes, the first in a decade. With the help of passionate volunteers, the park works to restore and protect coastal prairie habitat and educate the next generation about its importance. 

Hurricane Ike crippled the upper Texas coast in 2008, devastating Galveston Island and Sea Rim state parks. The Friends of Galveston Island State Park and countless other volunteers came from across the state and the nation to help the park clean up and reopen with temporary facilities only six months later.

“If it wasn’t for our selfless Texans, and the countless volunteers over the years, we couldn’t have done it,” Kimbley says. “We all seek to connect. It’s important to all of us. We have seen that connection here through friends, families and the community. Thank you all for gifting us with a park that we can share with pride.”

For updated information, see the park’s Facebook page

Texas State Park reservations may now be made online anytime on the TPWD website or by calling the Texas State Park Reservation Center at 512-389-8900 on weekdays during normal business hours. Overnight reservations can be made up to five months in advance, and day passes can be reserved up to 30 days in advance. If your plans change, please modify or cancel your reservation as soon as possible to allow someone else to enjoy the park as we do expect the park to reach capacity limits.


For more information about ongoing restoration efforts in Texas, visit the Gulf Spill Restoration website.


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Fairfield Lake Angler Wins ShareLunker Prize Drawing

  •  Fairfield Lake angler Bryan Allen of Conroe wins Toyota ShareLunker grand prize drawing.
  •  2022 was a record year for largemouth bass ShareLunkers in Texas.
  •  Winner caught a second Lunker at Lake Nacogdoches.

Bryan Allen with his second ShareLunker of 2022 at Lake Nacogdoches; his first was caught at Fairfield Lake. By registering his catches, Allen was entered into a grand prize drawing... and won!

As the 2023 Toyota ShareLunker season gets rolling, it’s a great time to look back at the success of the program last year. Lucky Texas angler Bryan Allen not only hooked two “fish of a lifetime” (on Fairfield Lake and Lake Nacogdoches), he was also selected as the winner of the annual grand prize drawing.

A total of 93 reservoirs produced at least one Lunker in 2022, led by O.H. Ivie with 121. Lake Fork (48), Fairfield (38), Conroe (26) and Sam Rayburn (23) were among the other top producers of the season, which wrapped up Dec. 31. The 512 total fish entered is a new single season record, up from 460 that were caught in 2021.


In addition to helping produce bigger, better bass for Texas lakes, anglers who enter their big bass catches in the program receive special recognition and prizes, including an entry into a year-end drawing to win a $5,000 Bass Pro Shops shopping spree and an annual fishing license.


“The 2022 ShareLunker season was one filled with multiple milestones, and we are glad we can close out the season with the year-end grand prize drawing,” said Natalie Goldstrohm, Toyota ShareLunker coordinator. “Bryan Allen was randomly selected from all the qualifying 2022 entries. Be sure to enter your Lunker bass into the ShareLunker app or website for your chance to be included in the drawing for the 2023 season.”  


Allen reeled in his 24.5-inch Lunker Class fish March 19 on Fairfield Lake and submitted it to the program to become eligible for the drawing.  


“Fairfield is one of my favorite lakes to fish,” said Allen. “I grew up in Florida fishing a lot of grass lakes and Fairfield is a good grass lake as well. I had caught some good fish there a couple of weeks before and made the trip out to Fairfield again that day. I have a small boat and usually go by myself, so I went and fished like I normally do. I was throwing a swim jig around and while fishing in some grassy points, I landed the fish.” 

Fishing pier at Fairfield Lake State Park.

Allen headed out to Lake Nacogdoches May 28 and netted a 10.45-pound Elite Class Lunker, which he also entered into the program using the ShareLunker app. 


Allen discovered the ShareLunker app two years ago and began submitting his catches. He was thrilled to win the $5,000 Bass Pro Shops shopping spree and an annual fishing license. 


“I was overjoyed and really excited to get the call from Natalie [Goldstrohm],” Allen says. “I’m not a person who gets lucky and wins a lot of stuff, so this is pretty awesome. A big ‘thank you’ is in order for everything the ShareLunker program does for these lakes in the state of Texas.” 


Allen said he spreads the word to everyone about the program, the app and his favorite fishing spot, Fairfield Lake. 


“The prize for me is the opportunity to catch these big quality fish all the time,” he said. “These lakes have amazing genetics — any given day you can go out and catch a good quality bass.” 

Fairfield Lake State Park

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