Houston Environmental News Update December 7, 2016

Scroll down to read notes from our member organizations and the community, or view the emailed version of the newsletter.

hpb-wobtBanner photo credit: Work on White Oak Bayou Trail posted on Houston Parks Board’s facebook page. A great deal of work has been done since this photo was taken in anticipation of the ribbon cutting this Friday. Pedal on over!

With the approach of the winter holidays and the season of giving, have you considered giving back? Well here’s a great opportunity to do just that: give back!

We hope you’ll consider donating to the CEC and help us continue our efforts to support the Houston environmental community in 2017.

You donation will enable us to

We still need a total of $5,000 before the end of the year, and with your help we can get there. Any gift, large or small, helps us to reach our goal. In fact, it only takes a donation of $40 to become and individual member of the CEC.


Rachel Powers

Through December 31, 2016, donate with PayPal Giving Fund and 101% of your donation will be given directly to the CEC. You can also send a check made out to the CEC to PO Box 702, Houston, TX 77001.


  1. Coalition for the Planet. With recent news, are you scared for the future of the EPA? Do you want to stand for Standing Rock? Are you concerned about climate change and its impact on our planet for future generations? Do you trust corporations or our government to do the right thing on their own? Join the Citizens’ Environmental Coalition to talk about these concerns and how you can help.Your presence will be integral to show that our environmental community cares about the quality of life locally and globally. We will gather at Woodland Park at 5:30 pm on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016. Parking will be limited so take the #44 Metro Bus, carpool, or arrive early. At 6:15 we will walk the route of the Lights in the Heights. Bring your own candle (a limited number of LED candles will be available). Learn more and RSVP on CEC’s facebook event page or on Eventbrite. Be the change!
  2. 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!
  3. 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. Unsilent Night. The University of Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, in collaboration with Buffalo Bayou Partnership, brings back Unsilent Night, an annual interactive event, to Houston. On Dec. 8, 2016, we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of this holiday favorite. Join us for a 6:00pm public reception prior to the Unsilent Night promenade at 7:00pm. Saint Arnold Brewing Company and Katz Coffee will be providing complimentary beverages and the Fusion Taco Truck will have food available for purchase. Unsilent Night is family friendly so bring the kids out to our holiday craft table on site. Learn more on the local Unsilent Night facebook page.
  2. My Houston 2040: Climate Reality Project. Join Houston Tomorrow and Air Alliance Houston on Dec. 8, 2016, 5:30 – 7 pm, at Rudyards British Pub. This month’s happy hour will feature Cal Adrian, a native Texan and A&M alum who has dedicated his financial career towards the renewable energy field. He will be discussing the financial incentives of investing in the renewable energy field. RSVP to the event by joining the facebook event. Call Houston Tomorrow at 713-523-5757. Visit houstontomorrow.org for more information about the Houston 2040 series.
  3. White Oak Bayou Greenway Ribbon Cutting. Friday, Dec. 9, 2016, 10:30 am. Please join Houston Parks Board, Memorial Heights Redevelopment Authority (TIRZ 5), the Houston Parks and Recreation Department and the Harris County Flood Control District as we celebrate the opening of a new segment of White Oak Bayou Greenway. This new hike-and-bike trail branches off from the Heights trail where it crosses Studemont St. and extends west two miles along White Oak Bayou. Limited parking is available, so visit houstonparksboard.org for parking and biking information.
  4. 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. Only a few spots are available so sign up soon at www.galvestonnaturetourism.org.
  5. Winter at Mercer Botanic Gardens. Join in this family friendly event on Dec. 10, 2016, 9 am – noon at Mercer Botanic Gardens in Humble. There will be a garden tour, nature crafts for children, and a gift shop, selling gifts for the gardeners in your life. Visit hcp4.net for more information.
  6. ArCH Gingerbread Build Off. Architecture Center Houston will host the 8th Annual Gingerbread Build-Off at City Hall’s Hermann Square on 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.
  7. Full Moon Hike. Join the Baytown Nature Center on Dec. 10, 5:30 pm – 7 pm. This monthly 90 minute hike will have participants explore different sections of the nature center to see nocturnal animal inhabitants and enjoy a night sky without light pollution. Hikers should wear weather suitable, outdoor clothing and shoes. Very young children are not recommended to attend. Visit their facebook page or baytown.org for more information.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. HUG Holiday Social. Join Houston Urban Gardeners for their holiday social on Dec. 12, 2016, 6:30 pm – 8 pm. Come join other Houston gardeners to share your gardening tips and accomplishments for the past year. RSVP to the facebook event or visit houstonurbangardeners.org  for more information.
  11. Renewable Energy Industry Holiday Happy Hour. Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM at OKRA Charity Bar. With 13 GW of wind under construction and with 4GW of solar installed just in the first half of the year – renewable energy professionals have been busy! Come celebrate 2016 successes and join fellow utility-scale clean energy colleagues (wind, solar, transmission, biomass, storage) for a drink before you take off for the holidays. Feel free to invite colleagues, contractors, suppliers, etc. who all work to make large renewable energy projects happen. Come celebrate the year with HREG, HREN and other renewable energy enthusiasts! Please RSVP to [email protected] so he can notify the bar on how many to expect. More information is available in the HREG newsletter.
  12. Transition Houston December Social and Potluck. Join Transition Houston in their annual holiday potluck at Japhet Creek, Dec. 13, 2016, 6 pm – 8:30 pm. Bring friends, family, and your favorite holiday dish or desert to share. There will be the first full moon bonfire, and fellowship with your fellow environmental Houston community. Learn more on the Transition Houston Facebook page.
  13. Lunch Bunch at Mercer Gardens: Christmas Crafts Using Natural Materials. This event will be on Dec. 14, noon – 2 pm, at Mercer Botanic Gardens. Enjoy a festive afternoon with garden friends by crafting take-home ornaments to liven up your home this holiday season. Visit hcp4.net for more information.
  14. Air Alliance Houston Holiday Open House. On Dec. 14, 2016, 5 pm – 8 pm, come enjoy holiday cheer with colleagues and light refreshments. Please also bring non-perishable food donations for the Public Citizen/Air Alliance Houston Annual Holiday Food Drive, benefiting the Houston Food Bank. RSVP to the facebook event, or visit http://airalliancehouston.org/events/.
  15. 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.
  16. 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 environmental responsibility. The camp is Dec. 16-18. Visit blackwoodland.org for more information and to register.
  17. Air Alliance Houston Earth Day Art Contest – Call for Submissions. For students in grades three through 12 in the Houston area. Deadline for submission is January 31, 2017. Air Alliance Houston is seeking submissions for its Earth Day Art Contest. Winning artwork will be shown on tour and then auctioned, with proceeds benefiting the winning schools’ art departments, and Air Alliance Houston’s educational programs. Please visit airalliancehouston.org for information on how to submit artwork or become a sponsor.
  18. H-GAC Releases Instant Impact Guide. H-GAC announces the release of the Instant Impact Guide. This 20-page guide offers information on quick, temporary low-cost projects that can help create active, walkable, and bikeable places. Instant impact projects can help build momentum by increasing public awareness and support. They are also a good way to test new ideas before designs and policies are finalized. The guide includes tips for how to plan an instant impact project, a toolbox of elements to help create a safer and more comfortable environment for pedestrians and bicyclists, and case studies demonstrating successful instant impact projects across the region and beyond. The Instant Impact Guide is available for download on the Livable Centers publication page under the “Implementation and Planning Studies” tab.
  19. Houston Advanced Research Center lead panel at Clean Air Through Efficiency Conference HARC’s Program Director for Clean Energy Policy Gavin Dillingham will lead a panel on Energy Efficiency for Educational Facilities, Jennier Ronk, Program Director for Environmental Science and Energy Efficiency, will give two different presentations. The conference will be hosted Dec. 19-21, Hyatt Regency Riverwalk, 123 Losoya St. San Antonio TX. Register here. Visit harcsearch.org for more information on HARC’s work.
  20. Pedestrian Evaluation Tool. Sidewalks, paths, intersections, and other pedestrian amenities are an important part of the transportation network. H-GAC now provides a Pedestrian Evaluation Tool to help local governments and other interested stakeholders evaluate the safety, comfort and convenience of pedestrian facilities in their community, helping to plan future infrastructure investments. This tool, available online and as a printable PDF, is intended to be used for preliminary planning and project prioritization. View the Pedestrian Evaluation Tool HERE. For more information, contact Cheryl Mergo at 713-993-4520.
  21. Correction: Remembering Bob Schwartz. Bob Schwartz, 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 was held on Dec. 4, 2016. See more at: www.legacy.com.
  22. Additional Upcoming Events


  1. Spring Creek Greenway Tree Planting. Join the Texas Outdoor Womens’ Network on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016, from 9 am – 12 pm, at Jesse H. Jones Park, 20634 Kenswick Dr, Houston TX. Texas Native fruit and nut tree saplings will be provided. Bring your own gloves, shovels and rakes, and wear outdoor clothing and close-toed shoes or boots. Visit meetup.com for information on how to register. Go to tpwd.texas.gov/education to learn more about the Texas Outdoor Women’s Network.
  2. Intro to Seed Saving with Finca Tres Robles. Seeds don’t come from shiny packets on the shelves of Home Depot. They are complex biological histories. So how do we get them? How should you store them? Will they be like the parent plant? Come learn the basics of seed saving on the farm; how to save them, keep them from season to season, and protect the heritage or cross breed. We’ll go through the processes of seasonal seed saving (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, okra, and beans) leaving with some of the farms biology to take home with you. RSVP on the Finca Tres Robles facebook page.
  3. Don Greene Nature Park Work Day. December 10, 2016, from 9:00 am to noon. Next Saturday will be the first work day, 9 am – 12 pm, at the Don Greene Nature Park, to plant Button Bush, Sweet Bay Magnolia, and other Texas native plants. Bring a shovel and gloves, and bring a friend. If you don’t have a shovel, let us know and we’ll provide. Learn more on the Friends of Don Greene Facebook Page or contact [email protected] .
  4. Houston Sustainability Leaders + Networking. Join Net Impact Houston on Dec. 15, 6 pm – 8 pm, 2016, at Cafe Brasil. Come grab a drink or coffee, and hear from Houston’s sustainability. Confirmed speakers include Karen Man, Co-Founder of Okra and Oxheart, Jeffrey Frey, Director of Innovation Communities, and Lisa Lin, City of Houston Sustainability Manager. Please RSVP to the eventbrite page, eventbrite.com/houstonsustainability.
  5. 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.
  6. 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/
  7. 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. The announcement can be found on Grants.gov at www.grants.gov.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  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.
    • Saving Bison
    • Hunting Access
    • Corralling Chronic Wasting Disease
  11. Additional Upcoming Events