State Parks Feel Pinch

It's not just local government that gets a boost from donations. For example, $22 out of the extra $30 Texans pay for a conservation license plate goes straight to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. While that program has actually grown this year, TPWD has also lost some big sponsors. The department's annual expo has drawn thousands of nature enthusiasts to its Austin headquarters every year since 1992, but when longtime sponsors like Anheuser-Busch pulled out, the decision was made to suspend the event for at least the next two years. It's not a complete disaster. Communications Director Lydia Saldaña explained, "Since the very beginning of the expo, there have been calls for us to take it around Texas." So this year a smaller version of the show will be going on the road, partnering with existing events like the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo to cut some costs. "We're hoping to reach a larger audience in different parts of the state, so we're hoping this will be win-win," Saldaña said.

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