The Texas Brigades’ mission is to educate and empower youths with leadership skills and knowledge in wildlife, fisheries, and land stewardship to become conservation ambassadors for a sustained natural resource legacy.
The Texas Brigades is a combination of five educational programs: Bobwhite Brigade (quail), Buckskin Brigade (deer), Bass Brigade, Waterfowl Brigade (ducks and geese), and Ranch Brigade (cattle). An understanding of the importance of this program is represented by its cooperating partners, including Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Texas Wildlife Association, Texas Wildlife Association Foundation, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. The Texas Brigades program is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
Dr. Dale Rollins, Extension Wildlife Specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, came up with the idea for the Brigades as a way to expand Extension’s educational efforts by developing wildlife ambassadors. His idea came to life in 1993 with the formation of the Rolling Plains Bobwhite Brigade. As the saying goes, "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” To that end, the Bobwhite Brigade has been cloned in five other states through collaborations with Quail Unlimited. The Buckskin Brigade was used as the base model for Pennsylvania Bucktails. The Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society models its own summer camp (initiated in 1996) after the Brigades.
In Texas, the Bobwhite Brigade has expanded from its original camp in the Rolling Plains to the East Texas Feathered Forces, formed in 1996 and finally to the South Texas Bobwhite Brigade, formed in 1998. The South Texas Buckskin Brigade, an offshoot of the Bobwhite Brigade, fledged in 2000 and the North Texas Buckskin Brigade held its first Battalion in 2002. The Bass Brigade (2004) and Waterfowl Brigade (2012) added an aquatic species and management focus. The Ranch Brigade, which launched its first Battalion in 2013, focuses on sustainable beef production from conception to consumer. Each camp is 4 ½ days of intense, interactive, fun learning from top wildlife and natural resource professionals in Texas. Subjects covered include everything from biology, habitat management, watersheds, population dynamics, ecology, and botany, to photography, journalism, firearm safety, fishing, communication, critical-thinking, team building, and leadership.