Briana Nicklow’s 2023 is off to a momentous start. She and her husband Bayard welcomed their first child, daughter Madison on January 10.
When we checked in with Briana and realized she had a newborn infant, we offered to re-schedule our conversation for after her maternity leave. But she cheerfully agreed to an interview as long as it could be scheduled to coincide with the baby’s nap.
“It’s a welcome diversion,” said Briana with a laugh. “It’s kind of nice to do something that doesn’t involve the baby and eat, sleep, and poop!”
Briana is enjoying every minute of her precious maternity leave with her newborn, but is also looking forward to getting back to work. She is the East Texas Field Operations Coordinator for the Texas Youth Hunting Program (TYHP) at the Texas Wildlife Association (TWA), a role she’s had since 2017.
“We’re a partner program with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and we take kids aged 9 to 17 on hunts all across the state. We run about 225 hunts a season on average. I have my hands on anything in East Texas involving TYHP.”
Her job involves supporting volunteers through workshops, huntmaster training, and coordinating with the many generous landowners who host the hunts. She’s uniquely suited for the job. She grew up in Dripping Springs and has been hunting and fishing since she was a child.
“I really enjoy bringing new kids into the fold. Part of the reason I am so passionate about hunting and hunter education for youth is educating them about why we hunt, specifically from a wildlife management perspective, since that’s what I studied in school.”
Briana earned a bachelor’s degree in wildlife and fisheries science from Texas A&M.
Because of her work with TWA, Briana was aware of Stewards of the Wild, a young professionals group spearheaded by Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation.
“Both my husband and I have been wanting to join for a while now, but life kept getting in the way. In 2022 the Houston chapter of Stewards of the Wild put out a call for advisory board members, and that was the kick in the pants I needed.”
Briana is now serving on the advisory council, where she hopes her experience hosting workshops and events will be of value. She also appreciates connecting with like-minded folks in her age bracket.
“I think the age demographic that Stewards caters to is really underserved in this outdoor space. We’re all starting careers and families, and it’s good to know that there is an opportunity to connect with folks that just enjoy the outdoors, are close in age and we’re all at similar places in life. I think there’s a huge benefit of an organization like that.”
Briana and her husband Bayard are looking forward to engaging with Stewards of the Wild in 2023 and beyond. Bayard recently completed the rigorous coursework that is involved in becoming a Texas Master Naturalist, and once they settle into the routine of their life with their new daughter, they look forward to spending more time on Stewards of the Wild social activities and outings.
“It’s nice to have a place to talk to people about common interests, hear their experiences and learn new things. I’m really excited for this year with all the events that we have planned.”
While Madison may be a little young yet for any outdoor adventures with her parents, there’s no doubt she will be exposed to it.
“We joke that she’s not going to have a choice. I love the outdoors, but I don’t hold a candle to her dad. I just really hope she will appreciate it as much as we do and, that it will become her happy place, just like it is for us.”