Houston Environmental News Update November 30, 2016

Scroll down to read notes from our member organizations and the community, or view the emailed version of the newsletter, which includes green jobs and a report on the TX Legislature.

Banner photo by Barbara Rabek for the Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council.

Banner photo by Barbara Rabek for the Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council.

#GivingTuesday has passed, but we are extending the deals one more day! These special offers end today, so catch them while you can:

  • A special, $5 discount to the January showing of the Wild & Scenic Film Festival On Tour, hosted by the CEC at the River Oaks Theatre (use promotional code “GivingTuesday”)
  • A FREE additional membership to give to a friend or family member

Your donation enables us to:

Any donation, large or small, will help the CEC continue its vital work of creating a healthier environment throughout the Houston/Gulf Coast region.

Make your donation using PayPal, on cechouston.org, or send a check made out to the CEC to PO Box 702, Houston, TX 77001.

Thank you for helping us strengthen the bonds of the environmental community. Friends like you are the driving force behind the success of the CEC!


  1. Support CEC at Ten Thousand Villages on Dec. 14, 2016. Please join CEC at Ten Thousand Villages in the Rice Village for a Holiday Shopping Night on Dec. 14, 2016, from 6 pm to 8 pm. Ten Thousand Villages will donate 15% of that evening’s net sales to the CEC. Come say hi and grab a cookie while you are shopping. Support the environmental community at the same time you support fair trade for artisans in developing nations–and buy some great gifts, too!
  2. 2016wsfflogoTickets make great gifts!
    Tickets are now on sale for the Wild & Scenic Film Festival On Tour, on January 25 & 26, 2017! We’ll show 24 short films over two nights, including local films.Buy tickets at cecfilmfest2017.eventbrite.com. Learn more about the event at cechouston.org, and check out our facebook page for the latest updates.


  1. FeatherFest Registration Opens on ThursdayIf you’ve attended FeatherFest before, you know it’s a fun four days of excellent birding and nature photography workshops and adventurous field trips, topped off with delightful evening social events. There’s also an opportunity to meet and mingle with some of the top naturalists in the country. Thousands of birds take wing during an arduous northward migration across the Gulf from Central and South America. And hundreds of tourists and neighbors follow suit to see more than 200 species of brightly-colored birds strut their stuff around our hometown – a prime location along the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail. Registration for the event, which is April 6-9, 2017, begins on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, at www.galvestonfeatherfest.com.
  2. Strategies To Stop Illegal Disposal. Houston-Galveston Area Council invites you to this lecture on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, 10 am to noon, at the H-GAC Offices. This event is free and open to anyone who has a problem with illegal disposal of tires in their communities and neighborhood. This lecture will help you learn how to focus your efforts on preventing tire dumping, rather than cleaning them up. RSVP by Nov. 29, 2016, by emailing Erin Livingson at [email protected], or calling 832-681-2525. Attendess are encouraged to bring their own mugs and cups for coffee and water. Visit h-gac.com for more information about the organization.
  3. Native Landscaping and Restoration in the Houston-Gulf Coast Region. This landscaping seminar will be hosted Dec. 1, 2016, 9 am – 12 pm, at the Houston Zoo Auditorium, 6200 Hermann Park Dr., Houston TX 77050 . This seminar can count towards 2.5 CE hours, and will have presentations and roundtable Q&1 on native plants, pollinators, and processes with experts from the Wildlife Refuge, The Native Conservancy, Native American Seed, and other local organizations. Click here for a full itinerary. Email [email protected] for more information on how to register.
  4. HGOC: Make Your Benchmarking Routine. Dec. 1, 2016, 10 am – 2 pm, at the Kirksey Architecture offices. Join Houston Green Office Challenge for this interactive workshop on how to benchmark whole-building energy and water use, basic and advanced energy analysis methods, utilize data and programs. Please RSVP here.
  5. GCBO Experiences Auction. Great auction items include a tour of the Upper Texas Coast with Glenn Olsen, Spending a Day with a Field Biologist monitoring shorebirds, having a private hummingbird banding session, a private tour and stay at TNC’s Mad Island Marsh Preserve, and another one at Independence Creek Preserve, a Guided Bird Tour with Greg Lavaty, a trip to see Golden-cheeked Warblers and Black-capped Vireos with GCBO board member Mike Williams, a workshop at the Cape May School of Birding, a Brant tours day in New Mexico, a behind the scenes tour of the Houston Museum of Natural Science, and spending a day painting with GCBO board member Cherie McBride. Don’t miss your chance to get a great deal on an experience for your favorite person for Christmas. The auction will close at 12:00pm (noon) on Friday, Dec. 2, 2016, in conjunction with the holiday sale. Learn more and bid at www.gcbo.org.
  6. Remembering Bob Schultz. Bob Schultz, who passed away on Nov. 19, 2016, was a member of many local environmental organizations, including the Brays Bayou Association, Bayou Preservation Association, the Harris County Flood Control Task Force, and the Willow Waterhole Greenspace Conservany. The Schwartz Gazebo at the Willow Waterhole Greenway was recently named in Bob’s honor for his dedicated service to the community. A memorial service will be held on Dec. 4, 2016. See more at: www.legacy.com.
  7. HGOC: Community Solar and Grey Water Reuse Development. This bus tour will be hosted Dec. 5, 2016, 9 am – 3 pm, meeting at Memorial Dr. Presbysterian Church, 11612 Memorial Dr, Houston TX 77024. This interactive tour to Sealy and Fulshear will teach how water resuse impacts a community, what a community solar field looks like, and how solar energy can benefit you and your community. Please register here.
  8. Gulf Coast Green 2017 Call for Presenters. Deadline December 5, 2016. After 12 successful years, the Gulf Coast Green Symposium and Expo has proven to be the leading green building conference in the Gulf Coast region.  We are seeking presenters from architecture, engineering, interior design, education, the arts, planning, contracting, energy analysis, and other building-related professions for our March 27, 2017, event relevant to the conference theme: The Science of Sustainability. Learn more at aiahouston.org.
  9. ArCH Gingerbread Build Off. Architecture Center Houston will host the 8th Annual Gingerbread Build-Off at City Hall’s Hermann Square Saturday Dec. 10, 2016. Over 30 competing teams will create their masterpieces using 100% edible materials. More than 3,000 spectators are expected to attend and cheer on the teams, play in the kids’ construction zone, and see Santa! All of that entertainment is free and open to the public. Learn more at AIAhouston.org.
  10. Holiday with the Cranes. As Sandhill Cranes begin to arrive on Galveston Island to roost and forage, the Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council opens registration for Holiday with the Cranes. Dec. 10 – 11, 2016. Several of the events sell out  quickly so learn more and sign up soon at www.galvestonnaturetourism.org.
  11. 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.
  12. 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).  Visit sierraclub.org. for more information.
  13. Gulf Coast: Focus on Advocacy Happy Hour. This happy hour, on Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, will offer interested organizations, local policy makers, and Houston-area state legislators the opportunity to learn more about USGBC Texas‘ missions and goals as we approach the 85th legislative session. The event will be held at Station Houston, Houston’s brand-new CoWorking, Accelerator, Technology Community and Innovation Hub, 1301 Fannin St. Register by Friday, Dec. 2, 2016, at usgbctexas.wildapricot.org.
  14. SWIFT Funding Workshop: Focus on Water Conservation Projects. Is your utility considering whether SWIFT funding from the Texas Water Development Board is an appropriate funding source for managing your water supplies and implementing water saving programs that will benefit your utility and customers in the long term? This workshop, on Dec. 15, 2016, in Richmond, TX, is for you.  The application period for the third round of SWIFT Funding is open Dec. 1, 2016.  The time to evaluate your utility’s options and plan to take advantage of low-cost SWIFT funding for water conservation is now. Learn more at texaslivingwaters.org.
  15. Fun Farm Camp with Blackwood Educational Institute. Need a place for the kids while you work, or get your holiday shopping done? This community farm camp is the perfect place for kids to spend their time during the Christmas holiday. This camp will teach kids new outdoor skills, with the aim of teaching socio-environmental responsibility. The camp is Dec. 16-18. Registration is now open. Visit blackwoodland.org for more information, and to register.
  16. Deadline Extended: San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund Site. On Sep. 28, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed removing the dioxin-contaminated wastes from the San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund Site. The Galveston Bay Foundation enthusiastically applauds that proposed plan because removal is the only correct and permanent cleanup solution, while no containment alternative can be shown to reliably contain the waste over a long-term basis. However, the battle has not been won just yet and GBF needs your help! The EPA will base their final decision in part on comments it receives during the official public comment period that began on Sep. 29 and ends at midnight on January 12, 2017.  GBF encourages you to send your official comments supporting EPA’s plan to remove the dioxin waste TODAY, but be sure to send in your comments by Nov. 28. Visit GBF’s  Remove San Jacinto River Toxic Waste webpage to learn more about the issue, learn how to comment, and review sample comments.
  17. Additional Upcoming Events


  1. Documentary: Big Men. Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016, at Sundance Cinemas. Big Men is a documentary about a small Texas-based start-up exploration company called Kosmos Energy. With unprecedented access, the crew captured the inside scoop as Kosmos developed their first commercial oil field in Ghana’s history. The crew also filmed in the swamps of Nigeria’s Niger Delta, following the exploits of a militant gang to reveal a lesser-known side of oil’s economy. Hosted by the Young Professionals of the World Affairs Council of Greater Houston. Learn more and purchase tickets at www.wachouston.org.
  2. WEBINAR: Restoring the Carbon Budget, Session 1. This webinar will be hosted Dec. 15, 2016, 12 pm – 1:30 CST. This webinar will discuss the capacity of the Earth’s atmosphere to safely hold excess carbon without too much warming. Join Arizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability and Security Forum in the first of a three part series. Panelists will include Jeffry Sachs, David Biello, and Kevin Anderson. For more information about the panelists and to join the webinar, register here.
  3. Plan Houston 2016 Plan Survey and Update. In 2015, Houston’s City Council took the groundbreaking step of adopting the city’s first general plan, Plan Houston. The Plan describes a vision and goals for our community and identifies twelve core strategies that represent the City’s approach for achieving the vision. The City of Houston is now actively working towards achieving the community goals laid out in Plan Houston. The next step is to understand the community’s interests so that policy makers can consider them as they develop City priorities for the next budget year. The City’s next fiscal year begins July 1, 2017. Your input, coupled with Plan Houston’s strategic guidance, ensures that the City will use its limited resources in the most effective means possible to improve our community. You can share your thoughts on what the City should be focusing on by responding to a brief survey. Learn more and take the survey at planhouston.org/
  4. 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.
  5. 2017 NFWF GEBF Project Solicitation. The Texas Trustee agencies (GLO, TPWD and TCEQ) and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) are in the process of soliciting projects for the 2017 funding cycle from the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund. During the next funding cycle (2017), there is approximately $37 million available for new projects in Texas. Learn more at www.restorethetexascoast.org. Deadlines begin on January 3, 2017.
  6. Texas Sea Grant Seeking Proposals. The proposals can come from investigators from ALL Texas universities and colleges. Non-profits, non-academic institutions,for profit organizations; state, local and Native American tribal governments are also eligible. Grant rewards will support outcome-oriented researchs that spans broad areas of natural, physical, social, behavioral, and economic sciences and engineering, will improve the understanding, wise use and stewardship of Texas’ coastal and marine resources. Proposals will aim to generate substantial social, economic, and environmental impacts in Texas. Funding priorities are now in development. Please complete the survey here. For more information on how to apply for the grant, visit texasgrant.org. Pre-proposal due date is Jan. 20, 2017. Full proposal due date is April 3, 2017. Award period is February 1, 2018 – January 31, 2020.
  7. 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.
    • Hunting Laurens *
    • Diving Wardens
    • An Outdoor Writer
  8. Additional Upcoming Events