Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Q&A with author Bryan Piazza

In a recent interview, author Bryan Piazza discusses his new book, Atchafalaya River Basin and gives background information on the immensely diverse ecosystem of the river basin.

The 1 million acre Atchafalaya River Basin is the site of several reality TV shows, including the popular program “Swamp People.” Although the basin is teeming with wildlife, few people are brave enough to make their home in the river basin. According to Piazza, “Some days we’ll put the boat in, and we’ll drive 3, 4 hours in a boat and never see a person, not another boat — or maybe one.”

To read the full article, click here. To learn more about the book, click here.

BRYAN P. PIAZZA is director of freshwater and marine science at The Nature Conservancy, Louisiana, based in Baton Rouge, where he leads the applied science program in support of conservation projects across the Gulf states. He also serves as a consultant, providing technical and scientific advice on a range of environmental damage, restoration, and compliance issues.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

2014 Lone Star Land Steward Award

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in Austin on May 21st will recognize the families of the Hillingdon (Giles Family), Leslie (Leslie Family), and Laurels (Langford Family) Ranches for their outstanding dedication, education, and stellar example of land stewardship.

The 2014 Lone Star Land Steward Award is bestowed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department through the Lone Star Land Steward Awards program recognizing those who have demonstrated dedicated stewardship of the land through excellence in wildlife and natural resource management. 

David K. Langford, a great-grandson of Alfred Giles, and his wife Myrna live on the Laurels Ranch and will be among those receiving the award.  Recently, David and Lorie Woodward Cantu co-authored Hillingdon Ranch: Four Season, Six Generations, published by Texas A&M University Press, 2013 demonstrating how the Giles family decedents, have worked together over many years to keep the Hillingdon properties intact, operating all the individually owned pieces as one cohesive unit which provides significant ecological benefits far beyond the ranch fences. 

Click here to read the full article about the award.

Click here to learn more about the book.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Kemp’s ridley Sea Turtles on Decline

The population of Kemp’s ridley sea turtles in Texas is now declining once again, according to a recent article by Mary Gaskill in Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine.

The 2013 season showed a substantial drop in the sea turtles’ numbers, according to Donna Shaver, chief of sea turtle science and recovery at Padre Island National Seashore. Although it is unclear what exactly caused the drop in numbers, Shaver suspects the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, shrimp trawling, and increased freshwater inflow might be to blame.

Gaskill is coauthor of A Worldwide Travel Guide to Sea Turtles, a guide to the places where people can view sea turtles and participate in authentic conservation projects. With California Academy of Sciences research associate Wallace J. Nichols and SEE Turtles cofounder and director Brad Nahill, Gaskill covers five continents, including the South Pacific and Caribbean, directing readers to the parks, reserves, and research sites where they can responsibly observe turtles in the wild, observe female sea turtles laying eggs, and hatchlings make their harrowing journey from nest to sea.

Options for on-site lodging and other amenities are included, if available, as well as details of other nearby attractions that travelers may wish to include in their itineraries.

A World-Wide Travel Guide to Sea Turtles will be released by Texas A&M University Press this fall.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Author Q&A: Bryant Boutwell

To honor his long-time friend and colleague, UTHealth’s historian, Bryant Boutwell, has penned John P. McGovern, MD: ALifetime of Stories (Texas A&M University Press, 2014), a biography that captures the influential life of the man behind the name that adorns numerous buildings, scholarships, professorships and teaching awards throughout the Texas Medical Center.

In his ongoing column, “’Bout Time,” McGovern talks about how he met McGovern and how and when he formed his idea to write a biography of the Houston doctor and community benefactor. 

To view the Q&A, click here

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Author to Reflect on Experiences Teaching Bible to Japanese Students in Discussion Hosted by Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan

One of the world's oldest and most prestigious press clubs, the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo, will host author Thomas Dabbs for its Book Break event April 14.

Dabbs is author of Genesis in Japan (Texas Review Press, 2013) and professor of British literature at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

His book rises from a journal of reflections he collected while teaching the Bible to Japanese university students in Tokyo. It relates the diverse responses to the Bible that rebounded, subtly but forcefully back to the teacher from these students -- extraordinary responses, in that they are simple, pure, ordinary, and entirely disorienting.

The theme of the talk will be drawn from the main theme of the book, that is, the author will give examples of how the Japanese penchant toward close reading makes Western Christianity appear to have an odd, even marginally insane relationship with the Bible.

The talk, which will be in English, will feature dinner and a "Meet the Author" cocktail party. For more information, visit

Friday, February 28, 2014

1950’s O’Neil Ford House Demolished

In his October article for The Dallas Morning News, Mark Lamster explains the demolishing of “the Tinkle residence, a midcentury gem by architect O’Neil Ford.” The house was located in a small community of modern homes known as “Culture Gulch,” along the banks of Turtle Creek in the Dallas County city of University Park.
            Ford’s house, which in the early ‘50s was commissioned for the family of local writer Lon Tinkle, was built with Mexican brick, stone and wood, and had a signature library that protruded over the creek.

            According to the article, the loss of the Tinkle residence reinforces the need for Dallas residents to pay closer attention to the architectural history of the city and to protect it.
Read Lamster’s full article here.
O’Neil Ford, accredited for some of the most famous architectural landmarks in Texas, such as the Texas Instruments Semiconductor Building in Dallas, the Little Chapel in the Woods at Texas Women’s University, and various college campuses, is the center of Mary Carolyn Hollers George’s biographical account O’Neil Ford, Architect. Using extensive interviews with Ford and over 30 years of his diaries, George’s book – made available again by Texas A&M Press in 2013 -- traces Ford’s life and work as well as the people important to him.

More information on George’s book can be found here

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Work on Conserving USS Monitor Ceases as Funding Runs Low

 In his January 26 article, journalist Steve Szkotak stated the conservation of Civil War ironclad warship USS Monitor has been nearly halted due to diminishing funds from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration amid budget cuts.

The iron-hulled warship, which sunk on New Year’s Eve in 1862 and was rediscovered in 1973, was lifted from the ocean floor in 2002. The Mariner’s Museum was appointed with the task of conserving and restoring the Civil War artifacts, and five years after its reemerging from the waters of the Atlantic, a $30 million exhibit was opened to display pieces from the wreck.

Now, work on conserving the Monitor in the labs of the Mariner’s Museum has been slowly decreasing as money runs low. According to the article, the original goal of completing the restoration and conservation in 15 years has now been estimated to take up to five decades.

James Delgado, director of the NOAA’s Maritime Heritage Program and author of the 2012 book Misadventures of a Civil War Submarine: Iron, Guns, and Pearls (Texas A&M University Press, 2012), told the Associated Press that the agency will support the museum’s work ‘as appropriations allow.

Read the full Associated Press article here.

 In his 2012 TAMU Press book USS Monitor: A Historic Ship Complete Its Final Voyage, recently retired archaeologist of the NOAA John D. Broadwater explored the history of the Civil War ship, from its first battles to its rediscovery and restoration. Lavish illustrations compliment this informative and readable account of the first ironclad warship commissioned by the U.S. Navy during the Civil War that established its own type of warship design.

Both Delgado and Broadwater’s books were Honorable Mentions for the 2013 John Lyman Book Award.

More information on Broadwater’s book can be found here, and more on Delgado’s book can be found here