Okay, I'm kind of new to blender particle systems but my question is, How do I create a textured model and make it part of a particle swarm?
Okay, well, I think I found what I was looking for. I'll post the link for others who are curious. Just wasn't looking up the right keywords.
The answer is by using Boids in blender. Boids allow you to create a model and then apply it as a particle to create a "swarm" effect. The link shows how to create a school of fish that move in a manner like particles by using Boids in Blender.