Environmental News Update, October 19, 2016

The environmental community is rolling out the red carpet this month: nature walks, camping, galas, auctions, art shows, conferences, films, presentations, happy hours, trick-or-treating, harvests….
I’d like to take this opportunity to highlight three events coming up.
  1. Early voting starts on October 24, 2016. Vote early! Learn more at votetexas.gov.
  2. intersections2016Intersections 2016 conference is November 10-12, 2016, at the University of Houston Downtown. This will be a blockbuster conference you don’t want to miss. CEC is helping coordinate volunteers for the event. We need help with registration, set-up, and session monitoring. If you help, you get deeply discounted admission. If you are interested in volunteering, please indicate your availability using this Google Form.
  3. CEC, in conjunction with the Houston Green Film Series, is hosting a screening of local environmental films the evening of Wednesday, November 16, 2016. Please mark your calendar. And, if you have (or can produce) a short, local, environmental film, please submit your film for consideration!
Speaking of events, we though you’d like to read about how CEC events connect our community.
Click through to read notes from our member organizations and the community, or view the emailed version of the newsletter.


  1. Presidential Debate. 8:00 pm Central Time. www.debates.org
  2. Project Wild Things Film Screening. As part of the Houston Green Film Series, Project Wild Thing will be hosted on Oct. 19, 6:30 – 9 pm at 2030 University Blvd, at the Rice Media Center. The film is an exploration of how children in our modern age have become disconnected from the natural world and playing outside. A light meal and networking will start and 6:30, with the film at 7 pm. Free and open to the public. $5 donation appreciated.Please visit the facebook page, Houston Green Film Series: “Project Wild Thing”, for more information.
  3. AIA Houston Annual Meeting. Join the American Institute of Architects Houston Chapter at the Architecture Center Houston for the AIAH Annual Meeting & Affiliate Member Appreciation Party. AIA will give out important awards, install new officers and update you on the move to our new space. Included among the honorees are CEC member orgs:
    • Civic Vision Award: Mary Anne Piacentini, Katy Prairie Conservancy
    • Citation of Honor: Herman Park Conservancy & the Houston Parks Department
  4. “A Walk in the Woods” reception. Please join Houston Wilderness for a reception and artist meet and greet celebrating “A Walk in the Woods,” a new exhibition by landscape artist Harold Joiner, in which he captures the serenity and magic of our local natural spaces. Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm, at Archway Gallery. Learn more, including how to RSVP, on Houston Wilderness’s facebook page.
  5. Greens Bayou Regatta. Join Greens Bayou for their inaugural event on Oct. 22, 9 am – 2 pm. The race starts at Brock Park, 8201 John Ralston Rd.Houston TX 77044 . The event has reached its boat limit for boat racers, but interested people can still participate by volunteering or sponsoring. Greens Bayou Regatta for more information.
  6. Buffalo Bayou Volunteer Day. Join the Buffalo Bayou Community Volunteer Day on Oct. 22, 2016, at the Buffalo Bayou Water Works 105 Sabine Street, Houston TX 77007, from 8:30 am – 11:30 am. Volunteers will help with a variety of beautification tasks. Learn more and RSVP at http://buffalobayou.org.
  7. ArBOOretum Fall Festival. Happy Halloween! The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center invites you to its annual ArBOOretum fall festival on Saturday, October 22, 2016. At ArBOOretum all the little ghouls and goblins and their parents come to play, learn, and have an enchanting day enjoying festive activities on the grounds of our nature sanctuary. This fantastic family event features a Trick-or-Treat Trail where kids learn about different creatures and collect candy while traveling along one of our nature trails.Learn more and purchase tickets at houstonarboretum.org, where you can also learn about the Wicked Woods Party on the 29th and the ArBREWretum Happy Hour.
  8. Moonlight Ramble. Join Bike Houston for their 44th Moonlight Ramble on Oct. 22, 2016, from 11:59 pm – 3 am . The bike ride will begin at St. Arnold’s Brewery, 2000 Lyons Ave., Houston TX 77020. Registration and sponsorship opportunities are still open! Visit bikehouston.org for full information on registration and event details.
  9. EARLY VOTING STARTS October 24, 2016. Learn more at www.votetexas.org.
  10. Bike Plan Rally. Bike Houston wants to show Houston’s City Council they need to VOTE YES for the Bike Plan. We will meet at Bike Houston’s office (3610 Fannin St. Houston, TX 77004) before noon. Join a group ride to arrive at City Hall together or just meet at City Hall at 12:30 on Tuesday, October 25, 2016. Learn more at bikehouston.org.
  11. Hammers and Ales Fundraiser. The Houston Toolbank will host a fundraiser on Oct. 25, 5:30 – 9 pm, at Karbach Brewing Co. There will be a silent auction, appetizers, and giveaway games. Visit Houston Toolbank’s facebook page for more information about the event and to purchase tickets.
  12. Center for Houston’s Future Dinner & Conversation. Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016, 6:00 pm. The featured speaker is Tim Urban, creative thought leader, master explainer and an Elon Musk favorite, interviewed by Dr. John Lienhard, UH Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering and History, author and voice of the Engines of Our Ingenuity. Center for Houston’s Future IMPACT Award, sponsored by H-E-B, will be presented for outstanding civic leadership by a Center forum grad. IMPACT Finalists this year are Nory Angel, Alberto Cardenas, and Laura Jaramillo. Learn more and purchase tickets at thehoustonindicators.org.
  13. Before the Flood Advance Screening & Panel Discussion. The Administrative Center for Sustainability and Energy Management at Rice University will be hosting an advance screening of the climate change documentary, “Before the Flood” on Oct. 26, 2016, at Rice University’s Sewell Hall 301. Doors open at 6:30 pm with vegan light bits. Film starts at 7 pm. Following the film, a panel discussion will feature Rice Professors Daniel Cohan and Andre Droxler, Houston Climate Protection Alliance co-chair Tim Mock, and 350.org Houston co-chair Sandy Spears. Learn more on SRU’s Facebook page.
  14. 2016 Prairies & Pollinators Month – Greater Houston. Join the Coastal Prairie Partnership–and over fourteen partners–for a month of special hikes, plantings, and other events. The celebration is from October 7, 2016 to November 12, 2016, at multiple locations around the region. For a full calendar, including details about the following events, visit prariepartner.org
    • Oct. 22 – Urban Prairies by Light Rail. Join Jaime Gonzalez, KPC Community Conservation Director, in exploring the city’s future and current urban pocket prairies. Register on Constant Contact.
    • October 22 & 23 – Lawther-Deer Prairie Bioblitz. Join HNPAT for its 1st Annual Lawther-Deer Park Bioblitz. For more information and to register, visit www.houstonprairie.org.
    • October 26 – Milkweed Propagation Workshop with Monarch Gateway and Houston Parks & Recreation. Learn more at prairiepartner.org.
  15. Galveston Bay Plan Revision Open House. Help protect and preserve the Galveston Bay Estuary by attending the Galveston Bay Plan Revision Open House on October 26, 2016, from 4PM – 6PM at the Nessler Civic Center in Texas City. The Galveston Bay Estuary Program (GBEP) is one of 28 National Estuary Programs designated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to protect and restore our nation’s estuaries. GBEP is required to maintain a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) to address priority problems in the Galveston Bay Estuary. GBEP’s CCMP has provided successful stewardship of the Galveston Bay Estuary for more than 20 years, but it is now time to update the Plan. Attend anytime to learn more about the priorities defined in the original  Galveston Bay Plan and Strategic Action Plan, and provide priority rankings for the Galveston Bay Plan revision. Learn more about the project at www.GalvestonBayPlan.org.
  16. Milkweed Propagation Workshop. October 26, 2016, 6:30pm to 8:30pm. The Houston Parks & Recreation Department’s Natural Resources Management Program is hosting a Milkweed Propagation Workshop at the HPARD greenhouse 6501 Memorial Drive between E. Memorial Loop Drive and Crestwood Drive. The workshop presenter will be Barbara Keller-Willy, Executive Director of Monarch Gateway. Participants will learn how to propagate milkweed and take home milkweed seed to grown on their own. To register, contact [email protected].
  17. STAR Master Composter Program. Thursday through Sunday, October 27 – 29 , 2016, at the Green Building Resource Center. Certified YardWise Master Composters (MC) complete a 20-hour training course by approved MC instructors, as well as 20 hours of volunteer community service in public compost education and awareness (within six months of completing the course). MC training courses will provide at least 16 hours of classroom time to be supplemented with four hours of hands-on training. Learn more and register at greenhoustontx.gov.
  18. Clinton Park Prairie Planting. October 29, 2016, 9am to 11am. Join the Houston Parks & Recreation Department’s Natural Resources Management Program in installing locally native plants into a ten acre prairie restoration site at Clinton Park located at 200 Mississippi St. Volunteers will need closed-toed shoes or rubber boots and clothes that can dirty. Gloves and work tools will be provided.  To register, contact [email protected].
  19. Every Kid in a Park. The Every Kid in a Park Program (EKIP) is a national initiative to connect youth with nature. By introducing students to public lands in their backyards and beyond at an early age, the innovative Every Kid in a Park Program delivers a nationwide call to action to build the next generation of outdoor stewards of our country’s spectacular and diverse public lands and waters. One of the great benefits for students is that this initiative provides free federal land annual passes to 4th graders and their families after they complete a field trip! The Houston EKIP Partnership brings sites with nature and culture-based field trips together with local teachers. The National Park Foundation has awarded $150,000 to facilitate field trips for 4th grade students from Title I schools in the Houston area to experience public lands and waters in their community during the 2016 – 2017 school year. Learn more, see if your school is eligible, and find out about great field trip opportunities at  http://www.esc4.net/EKIP. CEC is proud to support this project.
  20. SCA Seeks School Year Conservation crew. SCA Houston Community Programs aim to build the next generation of conservation leaders and environmental stewards by getting local Houston youth out into their community and environment to do hands-on service to the land. The School-Year Program is voluntary and occurs on weekends, from Saturday morning through Sunday afternoon. During the course of the School-Year Program, youth attend five camping weekends at parks and nature areas around Houston. Applicants must be 15-19 years of age and be enrolled in school. Learn more at www.thesca.org.
  21. Bayou City Birding. Would you like to learn about the birds who live along Houston’s bayous and in the nearby parks and neighborhoods? And are you a kid or a young-at-heart adult? If yes, the Bayou City Birding Zines (mini-magazines) are for you! Each of the Bayou City Birding Zines features a small group of birds who share something in common. You can download the zines – they’re FREE! – print them, and fold them into miniature field guides you can read at home and take with you when you go outside.  And if you would rather print out the zines as mini-posters, these are available too. Both ‘zine and poster formats for all 8 guides are available, along with folding instructions for the zines, at whiteoakbayou.org. While there, you can learn about White Oak Bayou Association’s Annual meeting on November 15, 2016.
  22. Help for nonprofits’ IT/Database/Website Needs. The Executive Service Corps of Houston (ESCH), in partnership with the Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston, is now accepting applications for free IT help from student teams, under the direct supervision of a Decision and Information Science Center (DISC) faculty member and with the mentorship of ESCH Consultants, work on business projects. The CEC has used them for two projects: one for an IT assessment of our office hardware (which came in very handy when our file server failed two weeks later!) and consulting on our website. Learn more and request assistance at eschouston.org.
  23. Houston Green Office Challenge. The 2016 Houston Green Office Challenge has launched! Once again, the City of Houston is challenging commercial building property managers, property owners and office tenants to improve the environmental and economic performance of their business operations. The Houston Green Office Challenge helps participants achieve strategies that reduce energy use, waste and water use, and provides an exciting way for businesses to make Houston a greener place to live, work and play. Learn more at houstongoc.org. Note, as this notice is going to press, CEC is at the top of the leaderboard!
  24. Houston Bike Challenge 2016. Are you a passionate biker? Or looking to explore a new hobby? Support BikeHouston by joining their 2016 Biking Challenge. The Challenge is ongoing from Oct. 1 2016 – Oct. 31,2016 You can compete against other teams of participants and encourage friends and co-workers to join as a team Join this free competition with prizes for people to who beat their Challenges. The Bike Challenge will be ongoing for the month of October. Visit www.lovetoride.net for more information on how to participate and sign-up!
  25. The Nature Conservancy’s Brazos Woods Preserve Open Day. Join The Nature Conservancy on October 29, 2016, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. to celebrate the opening of their new Brazos Woods Preserve. Enjoy a walking tour and birdwatching, or just pack a picnic lunch and connect with nature. TNC will have ecologists on hand to highlight the area’s complex natural systems, which include three important river basins and a unique mix of native Texas grasslands, hardwood forests and coastal wetlands. Situated just 60 miles southwest of Houston, Brazos Woods Preserve is part of the Columbia Bottomlands, an integral part of Texas’ history; the area was the site of one of Stephen F. Austin’s first settlements in Mexico-owned Texas. Learn more on The Nature Conservancy of Texas’s Facebook page.
  26. AIA Houston Home Tour. The weekend of October 29-30, 2016, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Houston will hold its 2016 Annual Home Tour featuring nine area homes selected by a jury of industry experts to represent the finest in modern and contemporary residential architecture. The two-day, self-guided tour is open to the public and offers attendees a rare opportunity to walk through and view an impressive assortment of privately-owned residences designed by accomplished Houston architects. See the 2016 Homes, a map, and ticket information at aiahouston.org.
  27. Transition Houston: Fall Permablitz. Transition Houston will have several projects including water reclamation, garden bed, building a compost bin, and more. Bring yourself and a friend! Morning refreshments will be provided and we’ll have a potluck lunch, so please bring something to share. Learn more and RSVP on the Transition Houston facebook page.
  28. Urban Harvest’s Lighten Your Footprint Class.  What ways are you inspired to make changes in your lifestyle, your neighborhood, workplace or the Houston area that offer more care for the earth, care for people and creates community? This class will be hosted on Oct. 29, 2016, 9:30 am – 11:30 am, at Finca Tres Robles, 257 N. Greenwood St. Houston TX 77011. Through storytelling of active projects in the Houston area, Urban Harvest will discuss and work together on ideas for projects, large or small that you may have envisioned.This workshop is intended to empower those attending  to go forward with their ideas of how to live a more sustainable lifestyle. The instructors have a variety of backgrounds in environmental activism, permaculture designers, equal rights activism, leaders in the local food community, vegetable and fruit tree gardening educators, urban farms and community gardens development and more. Please RSVP at UrbanHarvest.org. Email [email protected] with any questions. 
  29. University of Houston Sustainability Fest: Creative Expressions Contest. Deadline to submit work is Oct. 31, 2016. Sustainability combines social, environmental and economic aspects that challenge us to thoughtfully, justly and responsibly address the longevity and success of all living things on this planet. Contestants may submit a written work or visual art piece that addresses an aspect of sustainability. Written pieces include but are not limited to: poetry, short stories, articles, letters and songs, while visual works include but are not limited to: photography, painting, drawing, sculpture and digital art. Students, faculty and staff are invited to submit their original work to [email protected] by Monday, Oct. 31, 2016, at 5 p.m. Please visit www.uh.edu/Sustainability for full information on competition rules. The Sustainability Fest will be Nov. 7, 2016, at University of Houston Butler Plaza, from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm. Attendance to the event is free and open to the public. Learn more on the UH Sustainability Facebook Page.
  30. Intersections 2016. Intersections 2016 is a cross-disciplinary conference of quality of life, health, equity, development and environmental issues facing our growing region. The goal is to foster synergistic thinking and collaboration by bringing different people together, and to demystify the mechanisms for creating sustainable change in Houston. November 10 – 12, 2016. CEC is proud to be a part of this conference presented by Houston Tomorrow. Register at intersections2016.org.
  31. Call for Donated Auction Items. The Houston Regional Group of the Sierra Club will be hosting their Annual Auction on Dec. 8, 2016. They are seeking auction items to be donated as early as possible. For more information about the auction and how to donate, please contact one of the following: Frank Blake at [email protected] or 713-528-2896 (central Houston); Art Browning at [email protected] or 281-728-6327 (Cypress area), or Lorraine Gibson at 281-384-4104, or [email protected]  (Pearland area).
  32. Young Adult Sustainability Call for Presenters. The Houston Regional Group of the Sierra Club is reaching out to young people, from high school to college in the Houston area, that have demonstrated dedication and commitment to sustainability.  This can include a range of interests from urban park preservation or air and water quality mitigation to environmental activism around global climate change.  The Houston Regional Group of the Sierra Club would like to celebrate the ongoing achievements of these young adults. The group is offering a certificate of recognition and a one-year, free membership to the Sierra Club to individuals who make a 7-10 minute presentation about their sustainability efforts at its February general meeting in order to bring together young people from all parts of the city, and all races and economic groups, to see their common interests in sustaining the planet for future generations. If you have any questions, please email Elizabeth Spike at [email protected] or call 713-256-3589.
  33. Wilderness Wonders Fall Luncheon 2016 The Woods Project will host their Annual Luncheon on Nov. 1, 2016, at the Junior League, 1811, Briar Oaks Lane, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm. In this centennial of the National Park Service, we invite you to be inspired by The Woods Project students as they share stories about their life-changing summer experiences. Register here.
  34. Creating Sustainable Funding For Your Non-Profit. Executive Service Corps of Houston will be hosting a seminar for non-profits, “Creating Sustainable Funding for Your Non-Profit” on Nov. 4, 2016, 10 am – 12 pm at the Ensemble Theatre. In this highly engaging overview of the Benevon Model, attendees will learn how to implement a systematic process for engaging and developing relationships with mission-focused individual donors, make your organization more visible to the community, and how to identify and cultivate individual donors who are passionate about advancing your mission. The event is free to attend. Learn more and register at eschouston.org.
  35. Additional Upcoming Events:


  1. 2016 EcoChallenge. Christ the King Evangelical Lutheran Church invites Houstonians to join them in challenging themselves to better care for the environment during the upcoming EcoChallenge. Participants (individuals, families, or groups) choose one action to reduce their environmental impact and stick with it for the two-week challenge period (Oct. 14 – 28, 2016).  There are many possible challenges to choose from in the categories of: water, energy, food, transportation, waste, nature, simplicity, and community.  Or, you can create your own challenge. Sign up today at www.ecochallenge.org and challenge yourself to become a better steward of the environment.
  2. Japhet Creek Clean-ups. Japhet Creek Nature Conservancy is hosting several creek clean-ups this fall, including October 22 and November 12 & 19, 2016. Learn more about how to help at japhetcreek.org.
  3. Annual America Rose Society’s South Central Convention and Rose Show The Houston Rose Society wlll host the convention Oct. 21 – 23, 2016, at the Hampton Inn, 4741 East Sam Houston Parkway South, Pasadena. This will be a three day event, hosted by the largest rose society in the United States, the Houston Rose Society. Click here for the registration form.
  4. Future of Energy Forum lunch. The Center for Environmental Policy at American University;  the Center for Energy, Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Houston; and the Texas Clean Energy Coalition invite you to a discussion on Texas’ energy future on Tuesday, October 25, 2016, from 12:00-2:00 pm, at the Houstonian Hotel.  Pat Wood, former chair of the Texas Public Utility Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, will moderate, and Bill Reilly, former EPA Administrator, will serve as a discussant, along with other experts. Learn more and RSVP at eventbrite.com.
  5. NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service Southeast Region Grant Proposal. Deadline: October 28, 2016. NOAA is now seeking proposals under the Gulf of Mexico Bay-Watershed Education and Training (Gulf B-WET) Program. The full FY17 Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) can be found at Grants.gov under funding opportunity number NOAA-NMFS-SE-2017-2005000. Applicants should apply through Grants.gov. Applications must be received by 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time on October 28, 2016, to be considered for funding. Please see the FFO for all application details. The Gulf of Mexico B-WET program is an environmental education program that promotes locally relevant, experiential learning in the K-12 environment. Funded projects provide meaningful watershed educational experiences (MWEEs) for students, related professional development for teachers, and help to support regional education and environmental priorities in the Gulf of Mexico. Visit www.sero.nmfs.noaa.gov for more information.
  6. Creation Care Retreat: What about Justice? Friday, October 28 evening – Sunday, October 30 morning. Lutherhill and Creation Care Team invite you to a weekend of renewal in the beauty of God’s good creation at the Zion Retreat Center in Galveston, TX. The subject of this retreat is environmental justice, and we will explore Biblical justice, and consider how it applies to the world around us. The retreat offers opportunities to study and learn, brainstorm and worship, discuss and reflect, and contemplate and recreate. Most activities on Saturday will take place in Galveston Island State Park, weather permitting. At the park, participants can explore the bay and the beach, walk under the stars at night, see wildlife in the early morning, or simply be at peace in nature. A hands-on outdoor service project in the park will be offered. Let’s rejoice together in God’s good creation! Due to Lutherhill’s generosity, this event is offered at a reduced cost. Space is limited, however, so register early at: www.zionretreat.org. The retreat is open to adults of all ages, and to youth 10+, when accompanied by an adult. Those with an unbreakable commitment on Sunday should feel free to register and attend only Friday – Saturday. http://ctkelc.org
  7. SEED: The Untold Story. This award-winning film is a feature-length documentary featuring Vandana Shiva, Dr. Jane Goodall, Andrew Kimbell, and Winona LaDuke, following passionate seed keepers protecting our 12,000-year old food legacy. They need to sell 57 more tickets to meet the threshold to show the film at theHouston Merq’E Stadium 23 & Imax theater on December 1, 2016. Learn more, view the trailer, and purchase tickets at http://gathr.us/screening/18300.
  8. Texas Commission for Environmental Quality Recycling Survey. Deadline: October 31, 2016. Please aid the TCEQ  by participating in a survey for a study on the current and potential economic impacts of recycling, including state and local revenue that may be considered lost because recyclable materials are not recycled. Results will be included in the TCEQ report, “Municipal Solid Waste in Texas: A Year in Review, 2016 Data Summary and Analysis.” The study is required for the Texas House Bill 2763 of the 84th Texas Legislature. Please visit www.tceq.texas.gov for a full summary of the survey. Click here for a direct link to take the survey.
  9. NOAA Marine Debris Research Federal Funding Opportunity. Deadline: December 19, 2016. NOAA’s Marine Debris Program is pleased to announce the FY2017 Marine Debris Research Federal Funding Opportunity. Proposals are due December 19, 2016.  The announcement can be found on Grants.gov at www.grants.gov.
  10. TV: Texas Parks & Wildlife. Broadcast on KUHT Channel 8 at 3:00 PM each Saturday and on municipal access cable channels in Baytown, Deer Park, Houston, Texas City, Galveston, Nassau Bay, Pasadena, Seabrook, Sugar Land, and on HCC TV. More info on the TPWD website (* indicates a segment about the Houston area). For a preview, visit TPWD’s YouTube Page.
    • Catching Copperheads (Sweeny, Texas) *
    • City Camping
    • Windy Water
  11. Additional Upcoming Events