Well, I guess I should begin this column by saying welcome to “Wild About Texas.” As the name implies, this weekly column is going to encompass the living creatures that one can encounter in the wilds around this great state of ours. With this being the “first edition,” I suppose it would be appropriate to answer a few questions about myself and this column. I think that the best way to accomplish this task would be with the universal 5 “W”s: Who, What, When, Where, and Why.
Let me introduce myself and give you a small amount of information about my background to address the “who”. My name is Michael Price, and I am enamored with the natural world around me. I always have been this way, even as a young child. I can remember, even at a very early age, spending hours reading as many books as I could about animals, particularly reptiles. And yes, I said books. This was well before the invention of the internet! Although this is not uncommon in young boys, many times this fascination with animals fades to other things, whether it is firetrucks, sports, or outer space. Not so with me. In fact, as I grew older, my passion for the natural world just expanded, so much so that I enrolled in a volunteer program at the Abilene Zoo, much to the chagrin of my parents as we lived an hour and half away! I graduated with a degree in Theology in 1994 and married my beautiful and patient bride that same year. For the better part of a dozen years, I was the Director of the San Angelo Nature Center as well as the I-20 Wildlife Preserve, and recently, I have had the opportunity to pursue my interests even further with my own endeavor, Wild About Texas! Currently I not only have the pleasure of teaching my five children about the natural world, I am also honored to be able to teach the general public the same topics.
This column will pertain to the natural world around us, ranging from the smallest of the invertebrate animals to the largest of the warm-blooded predators. It will be about the soft, cuddly-looking rodents as well as the scary-looking creepy-crawlies. It will be about the indiscreet herbivores as well as the deadly carnivores. My intent is to present information about the animals by giving a description of them, including their size, their colors, and their temperaments. I will also disseminate information about their feeding habits, as well as the habitats that they can be observed in, including specific areas right here in Texas. Other information such as fun facts and even stories of encounters in the field will be given.
The purpose of this weekly column is to educate readers about the animals that can be found right here in their own backyard. The motto of Wild About Texas is “Bringing Nature to YOU.” Many people actually fear the natural world and, as with other fears, the best way to conquer this is education. I am of the opinion that young people spend far too little time exploring the natural world around them, instead opting for the latest electronic fads such as the newest Playstation game or I-Pods and the like. Hopefully this article can be a tool of assistance to parents, teachers and other role models to teach the younger generation about the exciting world right in their own backyards. Come join me as we are educated through the exploration of nature.
Michael Price is owner of Wild About Texas, an educational company that specializes in venomous animal safety training, environmental consultations, and ecotourism. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.