TPWD Unveils New Alligator Gar Website

TPWD Unveils New Alligator Gar Website

Austin Texas | Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Website serves as information portal for Texas’ largest, longest-lived freshwater fish

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) unveiled a new website April 13 to educate and inform Texans about alligator gar – the largest freshwater fish in Texas and one of the largest freshwater fishes in North America. The site, which can be found at, features informational articles about alligator gar and the findings of studies conducted by TPWD biologists.

The new website was created by TPWD Inland Fisheries staff to provide anglers and non-anglers with all the information they need about Texas alligator gar in one place. That includes information on alligator gar identification, management, distribution and fishing tips and tactics.

Alligator gar get big — really big — and they look like something that should be swimming around with dinosaurs, not bass and crappie. But it is not just their looks that are unique. Alligator gar are like few other fishes that swim in our rivers, reservoirs and estuaries.  There have been many reports of these fish being caught in the Red River and Lake Texoma.

“There is a lot of misinformation floating around about alligator gar regarding their impact on other fish, where they are located throughout the state and population sizes of the gar that live in our reservoirs and rivers,” said Dave Buckmeier, Research Program Director. “This website will provide Texans with a one-stop shop to find science-based facts and information about alligator gar and clear up some of the confusion surrounding these misunderstood fish.”

Some other common myths and misconceptions about alligator gar addressed on the website include the idea that they attack humans, that they are not native to Texas, that they are invasive and that their populations are plentiful throughout their range.

“Alligator gar are only present in a handful states in the country, and although Texas has some of the most robust populations, these fish still face challenges related to angling pressure and limited access to floodplain spawning habitats,” said Dan Daugherty, TPWD research biologist. “In order to sustain this unique fishery for future generations of anglers we want to engage the public and provide a better understanding of these fish both as a recreational resource and as a valuable part of the ecosystem.”

To date, TPWD research has focused on understanding how long alligator gar live, how fast they grow, how often they successfully reproduce and how healthy our populations currently are. But while they have learned a great deal about these topics, researchers know relatively little about the anglers who fish for them.

To help answer this question, the new alligator gar website is hosting pre-registration for an upcoming constituent survey that will gather information about people’s preferences, attitudes and opinions about these fish. This information will be used by researchers to help inform upcoming management decisions about fishing rules and regulations for alligator gar.

“With this survey we will be targeting both anglers and non-anglers in an effort to reach an audience as diverse as Texas itself,” said Warren Schlechte, TPWD research biologist. “The goal is to gain a better understanding of who our constituents are, how our anglers like to fish, their harvest practices, and how they would like to see alligator gar managed in the future.”

The alligator gar constituent survey will launch in June, but anglers can pre-register now on the new alligator gar website here. Pre-registered anglers and non-anglers will be notified via email when the survey launches this summer.

Other resources on the new alligator gar website include links to the species description, current fishing regulations statewide and in select reservoirs, Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine feature articles related to alligator gar and a list of publications related to alligator gar life history and management.

To learn more, visit the alligator gar website at

Austin College Recommits to Campus Sustainability

Austin College

Sherman Texas | April 21, 2018

Austin College President Steven P. O’Day has formally adopted a new Campus Sustainability Plan that recommits the College to environmental stewardship and resource conservation efforts begun by his predecessors. O’Day became president at Austin College in October 2017.

“Austin College takes environmental stewardship seriously,” President O’Day said. “We look forward to building on a 20-year track record of advances in stewardship and capturing more of the cost savings those improvements generate. This plan ensures that Austin College will continue to be a leader in the campus sustainability movement.”

In 2008, President Oscar Page signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (now the Second Nature Carbon Commitment), a challenge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In 2011, President Marjorie Hass reconfirmed that commitment and launched a more comprehensive effort, Austin College Thinking Green, which engaged stakeholders across campus in stewardship efforts. President O’Day’s adoption of a formal sustainability plan demonstrates continued commitment under his leadership; the effort remains dependent upon all members of the campus community contributing to environmental stewardship efforts.

Princeton Review regularly recognizes Austin College’s accomplishments with inclusion in its Guide to Green Colleges. “Since 2008 we have converted to wind-generated electricity and reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by more than 40 percent,” said Dr. Peter Schulze, director of the College’s Center for Environmental Studies. “Meanwhile, cumulative energy efficiency improvements across campus since 2004 are now saving us more than $400,000 per year in energy costs.” Additionally, the IDEA Center, the College’s science building completed in 2013, was awarded LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council for its leadership in energy and environmental design.

The adoption of the new Campus Sustainability Plan coincided with the beginning of the College’s Green Week, which includes a number of sustainability-focused events and culminates with GreenServe, the College’s annual green service day, held in conjunction with Earth Day weekend each year. Predicted heavy rains on April 21 caused organizers to postpone the service day to April 28this year, hoping for a clear day for students to volunteer at sites like Pottsboro Community Garden, Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, Eisenhower State Park, and Binkley Park to assist with various environmental efforts.

GreenServe is just one of the College’s local environmental outreach programs. The College also provides land and support for the Sherman Community Garden and operates a free field trip program for area elementary schools at its Sneed Prairie Environmental Research Area, which hosted its 10,000th child in October 2016.

Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 40 percent of students representing ethnic minorities. A residential student body of approximately 1,275 students and a faculty of more than 100 allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. The College is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. Founded in 1849, the College is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.

Children’s Museum Takes Step Towards the Future

Children's Museum to hold Silent Auction

Commerce Texas | April 26, 2018

Silent Auction provides an opportunity to be involved with the Museum’s future.

The 2018 Silent Auction for the Northeast Texas Children’s Museum will be a pivotal event for the Museum. The event is set for Monday, April 23 in the Sam Rayburn Student Center on the Texas A&M University-Commerce campus. The bidding begins at 6:00 PM and closes at 8:00 PM.

The Museum continues its challenges as it deals with issues involving the current building site. In June 2017, Texas A&M University-Commerce announced that the Museum could look forward to a new site at the location of the previous University president’s home. The Museum would join a proposed agricultural complex at the site.

Finalization of this exciting proposal includes a new building for the Museum’s future. The 2018 Silent Auction will initiate an active step toward raising the $3 to $5 million needed for the new building.

“We will need support from throughout northeast Texas to make the proposed building a reality”, said Sharline Freeman, Director of the Northeast Texas Children’s Museum. “I envision our visitors – parents, grandparents, students and children – engaging to help us achieve what appears be a Herculean task. I do think it can be done. This year’s Silent Auction is a new beginning.”

Guests at the auction will find a variety of items for bidding as they enjoy a fun and festive evening out with friends and neighbors. Items include floral arrangements, furniture, home accents, original paintings and artwork, collector’s items, holiday décor and jewelry, as well as unique experience packages, and much more.

An exciting part of this year’s Silent Auction will be the raffle. A number of ways exist to purchase raffle tickets include purchasing them from Museum board members, at State Farm Insurance in Commerce, in person or by calling the Children’s Museum – or even by purchasing them at the door on the night of the event. With the support of the community this year’s raffle will include three items. These will be cards totaling $1,000 sponsored by Alliance Bank, Cypress Bank, Guaranty Bank and Trust, and Inwood Bank; a 60” TV donated by 10-2-4 Ranch; and a Yeti package donated by Commerce Veterinary Clinic. Raffle tickets are $5 or 5 tickets for $20.

The Market provides another venue for shopping. With family recipes of hot sauces and barbecue sauce, the Market will also have an assortment of baked goods and other culinary delights. Popular items from the Children’s Museum Gift Store will also be available. The Museum accepts checks, cash and credit cards.

“There are so many ways to support this event. Donate an item for the auction, purchase a raffle ticket, or visit the Museum Market. We request community support by attending and participating in the bidding of more than 300 items,” said Donna Tavener, Museum board president. “We hope that this year’s Silent Auction will be a great event as the Children’s Museum moves toward a new building.”

Call the Northeast Texas Children’s Museum at (903) 886-6055 to donate an item, purchase tickets or with any questions.