Houston Environmental News Update June 12, 2019

National Pollinators Week, Houston Green Film Series: Don’t Panic, I-45 Expansion Meetings, Green Jobs, and more

Pollinators may be best known for making the large array of wildflowers blooming across Texas during spring and summer possible, but they also play a huge part in global food production. Without pollinators like honey bees, we would lose foods like apples, blueberries, coffee, mangoes and tomatoes, to name just a few.

That’s why it’s so important for us to celebrate National Pollinator Week (June 17-23) and Texas Pollinator Week (June 17-23) through events hosted by local organizations in the Houston area. As the human population increases, pollinators will become more and more crucial to feeding billions of people.

Unfortunately, many pollinator species are in decline globally due to habitat destruction, disease, pesticide exposure, and climate change. You can do your part by supporting Texas pollinators, bees, hummingbirds, and moths (among others), by using less pesticides, growing flowers on your property or providing specialized shelters, like bee boxes.

Here are a few local events you can attend to learn more about these helpful species:

  • On Saturday, June 22, at 9 to 10:30 am, join Sheldon Lake State Park rangers and volunteers as they plant important plants for pollinators. Afterwards at 11 a.m., hike through the park with magnifying glasses to discover local insect species. On Sunday, at 11 a.m., there will be a wildflower hike through the park.
  • The Environmental Institute of Houston hosts weekly “Habitat Work Days” and during National Pollinator Week, on June 18, volunteers can help maintain native plant pollinator gardens on UH Clear Lake campus from 9-11 a.m.
  • On June 22, the Katy community will celebrate the grand opening of a butterfly garden at Willow Fork Park. Starting at 9 a.m., Texas Master Naturalist, Diane Russell, will give a talk about the importance of butterfly gardens, which will be followed by a tour of the garden with a discussion of the roles of each plant in the space. This event will also include information on how you can start your own backyard butterfly garden.
  • On Wednesday, June 19, the Houston Chapter of the Native Prairies Association will host a Pollinator Workshop at the Lawther-Deer Park Prairie Preserve. The preserve will be showcased from 6-8 p.m. so visitors can get a chance to see how a fully protected Texas prairie flourishes.

CEC NOTES

Save the Dates: Green Films, Greater Houston Environmental Summit, Environmental Educators Exchange, Earth Day

  • Houston Green Films: Please join CEC, the Houston Green Film Series, the Rice Media Center, and additional partners on June 19, 2019, at 6:30 p.m. for conversation, networking, and a light meal, followed by a film at 7 p.m. and panel discussion at 8 p.m. The June feature will be Don’t Panic: The Truth About Population, an infographic extravaganza with world-famous Swedish statistician/showman Hans Rosling. His main message – that our world is profoundly changing in ways most of us simply don’t realize, much of it for the better.
  • Greater Houston Environmental Summit: Friday, August 2, 2019, from 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. at the United Way of Greater Houston’s Community Resource Center. In addition to excellent presentations, we will again offer small-format table talks. Details and registration will be available early summer 2019.
  • Earth Day Houston, part of the 50th worldwide observance, will be held at Discovery Green on Sunday, April 19, 2020.
  • The Environmental Educators’ Exchange next quarterly meeting will be on Wednesday, August 7, 2019, at 4:30 p.m. Location TBD.

Candidate Forums and Questionnaires

7 days of being engaged in the community

Are you organizing a candidate forum or questionnaire for the November 2019 election? CEC is gathering information about election-related activities within our environmental communities. Let us know what you are planning, and we’ll keep you in the loop. CEC is interested in either hosting, coordinating, and/or supporting the efforts of local environmental nonprofits leading up to the election. Send your comments to [email protected] Note: the filing deadline for the November City of Houston elections is August 26, 2019.


Interested in serving on the CEC Board or a Committee?

CEC is seeking individuals who might be interested in joining our board of directors in January 2020, or volunteering to serve on one of our committees starting this year. Over the next few months, we are hosting information sessions for prospective board and committee members to learn more about the commitment and opportunities. Upcoming sessions include the evenings of June 24, July 29, September 23, and October 15. For more information, please email [email protected]


Scroll down to read notes from our member organizations and the community, or view the emailed version of the newsletter, which includes a green job listing.

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Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation seeks Houston Program Director

Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation (CELF) is seeking a Houston Sustainable Schools Program Director.

Job Description:
F/T salaried exempt position.
The Program Director will assess optimal curriculum and professional development
access points for CELF’s Education for Sustainability (EfS) programs in Houston K12
schools in order to identify pilot schools for Program launch in 2019-2020 school year.
Program Director will assess current Houston school sustainability and environmental
literacy programs vis-à-vis campus, curriculum and community connections in order to
prioritize opportunities for CELF’s Program.

Program Director will work collaboratively with CELF, specifically with the Executive
Director and Director of Education, to become fluent in CELF’s programs and mission.
This will require travel to CELF NY office for training with CELF educator team during
programs scheduled in 1Q and 2Q and during the Annual Summer Institute in July 2019.

Program Director will meet with Executive Director and Houston-based Corporate
Partner to identify opportunities for employee engagement in the Program.
Program Director will focus on delivery of CELF professional development programs for
K-12 schools. These programs will include but are not limited to: onsite planning
meetings with school administrators and teachers; onsite professional development
workshops; and a Houston-based CELF Summer Institute.


Preferred Background and Experience
● 3+ years experience as a secondary classroom teacher or K-12 administrator
● Planning and facilitating professional development for teachers
● Inquiry-based curriculum design and implementation
● Experience in implementing interdisciplinary learning
● Knowledge and application of environmental science ; background in
environmental justice a plus
● Project management experience
● Knowledge of TEKS and ability to integrate them into project-based learning
curriculum design
● Familiarity with STEM Project Based Learning curriculum
● Experience teaching in diverse learning environments
● Knowledge of and experience in applied systems thinking

● Additional plus: second career teacher with corporate background related to
environmental field, i.e., environmental engineering; corporate sustainability

Skills and Abilities
● Analytical: Ability to conduct gap analysis
● Flexibility: Can adapt to necessary changes required during the project
experience
● Communication: Ability to communicate effectively verbally and in writing
● Collaborative Working Style: Ability to multi-task and work collaboratively with
teams of educators and community partners
● Project Management: Manage multiple deadlines, priorities, budgets, and
professional development coordination.


Job Responsibilities:

  1. Coordinate and conduct meetings with Houston K12 school leaders to assess
    opportunities and pitch pilot program.
  2. Research existing sustainability and environmental literacy programs in Houston
    K12 schools and identify opportunities for CELF Program. Research will include,
    but is not limited to, topline assessment of:
    CAMPUS
    • A Sustainability Initiative
    • Sustainability Coordinators
    • Sustainable campus features (i.e., renewable energy; zero waste; energy
    efficient design; gardens and composting; water conservation/recycling;
    low/zero-emissions school transportation; etc)
    CURRICULUM
    • Project-Based Learning
    • Interdisciplinary Learning
    • Place-Based Learning
    • STEM/STEAM
    COMMUNITY

    • Relationships with community environmental/outdoor education centers
    • Service Learning Opportunities
    • Student Sustainability Clubs
    • Houston’s major climate and sustainability projects, i.e., C40 City
    Commitments, etc.
  3. Train with CELF Education Team to learn CELF’s model of professional
    development and principles and practices of Education for Sustainability.
  4. Oversee professional development programs and manage communications
    across multiple schools, staff, and community partners. Conceive, develop and
    implement new programming in conjunction with strategic plans. Coordinate
    with Finance team to ensure budget targets are achieved.
  5. Provide leadership for principals, teachers, and other school learning community
    members in executing the vertical and horizontal alignment of Education for
    Sustainability Project Based Learning curriculum through professional learning
    communities
  6. Work collaboratively in all aspects of program assessment with independent
    evaluators and applies data analyses strategically in making decisions for
    program improvement.
  7. Keep current in Education for Sustainability and standards-based curriculum best
    practices and take proactive steps toward continual program improvement
    Assume leadership role in pursuing new contracts, cultivating partnerships and
    working collaboratively with community partners in program delivery,
    mentoring, and community outreach.
  8. Assume leadership role in pursuing new contracts, cultivating partnerships and
    working collaboratively with community partners in program delivery,
    mentoring, and community outreach.
  9. Lead CELF’s Houston Sustainable Schools Program. Ensure clear communication of goals and objectives and keep projects on track. Regularly review performance and offer feedback.
  10. Liaise with Corporate Partner and School Partners to identify and coordinate
    opportunities for CP employees to engage in school sustainability programs.
    Liaise with Higher Education Partner to establish relationship for Summer
    Institute and other credit-bearing programs.

ABOUT CELF:
CELF’s goal is to create an environmentally literate citizenry through K-12 education.
Objectives and strategies include:
• Increase student interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)
using environmental and social justice issues as the context for teaching and
learning.
• Increase environmental stewardship through classroom learning, time spent outdoors in service learning opportunities and experiential programs and hands-
on sustainability projects.

• Prepare students to understand, analyze, and address local and global
sustainability issues by working with K-12 schools to integrate sustainability into
existing curricula.
• Establish a network of practitioners who collaborate and contribute to a growing
body of exemplary instructional approaches and curricula that develop students’
EfS knowledge, skills and values.
• Provide professional development for teachers and school leaders to improve
environmental and sustainability subject matter knowledge and pedagogical
skills in teaching about environmental and sustainability issues, including the use
of interdisciplinary, field-based, and research- based learning, effective
assessment practices, and innovative technology in and outside of the classroom.

Houston City Council Agenda – June 11, 2019

The City will consider the following agenda items at the Houston City Council meeting scheduled for Tuesday, June 11, 2019, in the City Hall Chamber at 1:30 AM. The agenda items include multiple ordinances seeking appropriations out of the Water & Sewer System Consolidated Construction Fund for various projects throughout the City including contracts to expand and improve the city’s Wastewater Collection System.

Agenda Item 11 is an ordinance that, if passed, would amend a previous ordinance (2017-841) to authorize the acquisition of one redesigned parcel for the 108-inch water line from Aldine Westfield to Willis Street Project. This acquisition would provide for the creation and construction of lines to convey treated water from surface water facilities.

Agenda Item 14 is an ordinance that, if passed, would allocate $5,832,000.00 out of Equipement Acquisition Consolidated Fund, and $68,000.00 out of Fleet/Equipment Special Revenue Fund to purchase vehicles for the Solid Waste Management Department, including tractors trucks, refuse vehicles and grapple trucks.

Agenda Item 20 is an ordinance that, if passed, would add 5.351 acres of land to Harris County Municipal Utility District NO. 157 for the purposes of wastewater collection and treatment, potable water distribution, stormwater conveyance, and other public services. All construction must then must be approved by the City of Houston prior to their construction must then be approved by the City of Houston prior to their construction.   

Agenda Item 23 is an ordinance that, if passed, would allocate $4,951,112.00 towards a contract with Vortex Turnkey Solutions, LLC for Wastewater Collection System Rehabilitation and Renewal. The money for this would come out of Water & Sewer System Consolidated Construction Fund with the purpose of reducing sanitary sewer overflows thought renewal and rehabilitation of deteriorated collection systems. This ordinance would set a deadline for the bidder’s execution of the contract and delivery of all bonds, insurance, and other required contract documents to the City. Out of six bidders, Vortex Turnkey Solutions, LLC, was awarded the 730 day contract for $4,643,916.10.

Agenda Item 24 is an ordinance that, if passed, would allocate $5,016,724.00 towards a contract with PM Construction & Rehab, LLC dba IPR South Central for Wastewater Collection System Rehabilitation and Renewal. This money would come out of Water & Sewer System Consolidated Construction Fund with the purpose of reducing sanitary sewer overflows thought renewal and rehabilitation of deteriorated collection systems. This ordinance would set a deadline for the bidder’s execution of the contract and delivery of all bonds, insurance, and other required contract documents to the City. Out of five bidders, PM Construction & Rehab, LLC, was awarded the 730 day contract for $4,706,403.76.

Agenda Item 25 is an ordinance that, if passed, would allocate $2,938,581.00 towards a contract with T Construction, LLC for Wastewater Collection System Rehabilitation and Renewal. This money would come out of Water & Sewer System Consolidated Construction Fund with the purpose of reducing sanitary sewer overflows thought renewal and rehabilitation of deteriorated collection systems. This ordinance would set a deadline for the bidder’s execution of the contract and delivery of all bonds, insurance, and other required contract documents to the City. Out of four bidders, PM Construction & Rehab, LLC, was awarded the 730 day contract for $2,755,791.52.

Agenda Items 26, 27, 28 and 29 are ordinances that, if passed, would allocate $22,972,216 towards a contract with PM Construction & Rehab, LLC dba IPR South Central through four contracts towards Wastewater Collection System Rehabilitation and Renewal. This money would come out of Water & Sewer System Consolidated Construction Fund with the purpose of reducing sanitary sewer overflows thought renewal and rehabilitation of deteriorated collection systems. These ordinances would set a deadline for the bidder’s execution of the contract and delivery of all bonds, insurance, and other required contract documents to the City.

Agenda Item 30 is an ordinance that, if passed, would allocate $2,479,500.00 towards a contract with Grava LLC for Quick Connect Electrical Improvements at 50 Lift Stations. This money would come out of Water & Sewer System Consolidated Construction Fund. This ordinance would set a deadline for the bidder’s execution of the contract and delivery of all bonds, insurance, and other required contract documents to the City.

Agenda Item 31 is an ordinance that, if passed, would allocate $13,875,000.00 towards a contract with CSA Construction, INC. for 69th Street Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvements. This money would come out of Water & Sewer System Consolidated Construction Fund. This ordinance would set a deadline for the bidder’s execution of the contract and delivery of all bonds, insurance, and other required contract documents to the City.

Agenda Item 37 is an ordinance that, if passed, would find and determine that public convenience and necessity no longer require the continued use of a 6-foot-wide storm sewer easement, three variable width storm sewer easements, and a 10-foot-wide prescriptive storm sewer easement, all out of the S.M. Williams Survey, Abstract No. 87, City of Houston, Harris County, Texas; abandoning the easements to Bayou Vista, Parkview on the Bayou, and the Buffalo Bayou Partnership.