Houston Environmental News Update July 5, 2017

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.

I hope you enjoyed Independence Day.

Today’s photo is from Texans for Clean Water, and features a hot topic from our Facebook page: plastic pollution.

I invite you to join the #choosetorefuse single-use plastic challenge for a Plastic Free July. Learn more at www.plasticfreejuly.org. Pick something to refuse: cups, bags, straws… It all makes a difference.

Other popular posts in the past few weeks have been about a new City of Houston recycling contract, and single-use cups at Starbucks, and fish sampling along Brays Bayou.

(If you haven’t yet liked us on Facebook, please consider doing so!)


Greater Houston Environmental Summit & Environmental Education Expo
Annually, CEC hosts a networking and learning event for the extraordinary people who work at or are interested in the work of environmental organizations in the greater Houston region. In 2017, CEC will be hosting the Greater Houston Environmental Summit on Friday, August 4, 2017, from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm at the Community Resource Center at the United Way of Greater Houston. In addition to excellent keynote presentations and panels, we will again offer small-format table talks. We will feature a panel in conjunction with EarthShare of Texas, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. We are partnering with a variety of environmental education collaboratives to offer an Environmental Education Expo for teachers and informal educators. If you are interested in exhibiting at the EE Expo, please contact [email protected] We’re taking suggestions & proposals for the table talks, so if you have an issue you’d like to learn about or share with the environmental community, drop us a line at [email protected].

Earth Day Houston 2018
Thank you to everyone who joined us to discuss Earth Day Houston 2018. The next meeting will be on Wednesday, July 19, 2017, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Community Resource Center of the United Way of Greater Houston. To learn more or be added to the mailing list, please contact [email protected]


  1. HOUSTON ZOOHouston Zoo’s Cool Nights Backyard Bash
    Looking for something chill to do this summer? Bring a date, grab your friends, and head to the Houston Zoo this Friday, July 7, 2017, for one of their Cool Nights hosted every Friday night with a different activity each week. This week for Under the Sea, make a splash and learn all about our marine animals and how you can keep them and their ocean homes healthy. Dance to the music, create your own fish at the craft station, and explore the Zoo as you partake in the scavenger hunt all while learning about your favorite marine animals. Then show off your fishy creations at our Sea-tastic Parades at 6:15 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. All activities take place at the Reflection Pool. Thanks to TXU Energy, the Zoo is open late on Fridays this summer through August 11. Your ticket to their Cool Nights comes with the price of admission–or save $4 if you arrive after 4:00 PM. Final entry ends at 7:30 PM. To see some of the newest additions to the zoo family and other events going on this summer, please visit the houstonzoo.org.
  2. Smitty’s Day at the Park

    Levy Park Conservancy is hosting “Smitty’s Day at the Park” on Saturday, July 8, 2017, presented by the Wade Smith Foundation and offering a free youth camp with top-level instruction in football, cheerleading and music/art/literacy for children ages 5 through 12. To register, or learn more about the camp and registration requirements, go
    to https://smittysdayatthepark.eventbrite.com. To volunteer for the event, check out http://www.charitabulls.net/volunteers. Registration for the camp is limited to 300 participants, so sign up now!
  3. Solarize Houston Workshop 
    Image result for solarize houstonThis FREE popular workshop hosted by Solarize Houston on Saturday, July 8, 2017, will get your questions answered about solar system installation and the equipment, and how to participate in a group purchase program. In 2016, Solarize Houston participants contracted for 13 projects for 109 kW of new solar capacity and saved 15% – 20%. If you want to be a part of is grass root movement to bring clean solar energy to Houston than this workshop is for you. The workshop will be held from 10:30 AM to noon at the Green Building Resource Center on 1002 Washington Ave. Learn more about Solarize Houston at www.solarize-houston.org.
  4. On-Site Sewage Systems: Homeowner Education Course
    Repair and replacement of a failing on-site sewage system can cost homeowners thousands of dollars. A failing system can also pollute area waterways and increase the likelihood of waterborne illness for swimmers, boaters, and people using area waterways for recreation. But regular maintenance and inspection of a system can protect public and environmental health, increase system longevity, and protect private property use and value. The goal of this course is to reduce the number of failing on-site sewage systems in the Houston-Galveston region and improve overall water quality. During this free three-hour course, participants will receive:

    • An overview of the two types of systems.
    • Information on system maintenance and inspection.
    • Details on available resources to maintain, repair and replace aging systems.

    To request a copy of course materials, see additional resource materials, or for more information, please e-mail Will Merrell.

  5. H-GAC Parks and Natural Areas Meeting 
    The Houston-Galveston Area Council would like to invite you to their regular Parks and Natural Areas Meeting on Monday, July 10, 2017, from 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM. The PNA Subcommittee (of the Natural Resources Advisory Committee) serves as a forum for discussion of issues related to parks and natural areas, promotes the PNA Award Program, and maintains a regional inventory of parks. The PNA subcommittee facilitates information exchange and planning efforts between various stakeholders and collaborators to protect and preserve parks and natural areas across the region. The PNA Subcommittee meets the second Monday of January, March, May, July, September and November and is open to anyone interested in participating. To join the mailing list to find out updates about meetings and activities, email Andrea Tantillo at [email protected], or for more information on H-GAC and PNA, visit their website at www.h-gac.com/community.
  6. No automatic alt text available.Rice University Farmers Market
    Spring is coming to an end and the Summer heat is rolling in. No worries, the Rice Farmers Market has you covered. The vendors have plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, as well as a few cold treats, to help you get through the warm season in style. Bring a friend and have dinner at Ripe Cuisine- there’ll be so much to see and taste! The Market will be open every Tuesday from 3:30 to 6:30 PM. Save the date for their Summer Fest on Tuesday, July 11, 2017. For more information, check out their Facebook page.
  7. Transition Houston Summer Potluck
    Once again it’s time for Transition Houston’s summer social and potluck at Japhet Creek. on Tuesday, July 11, 2017, at 6:30 pm, join Transition Houston for great food and fellowship. Bring yourselves and your favorite food to share. Learn more at transitionhouston.org.
  8. Houston Food Policy Workgroup
    The mission of the Houston Food Policy Workgroup is to nurture the growth of a sustainable local food system, accessible to all, through education, collaboration, communication, and creation of a food policy council for the Houston region. Meetings are open to the public and generally include leaders from various diverse organizations in the Houston region working on food issues. The group meets to discuss and encourage the advancement of local food production and consumption, and has begun to take on projects to work towards the functions stated in the mission statement. This group depends on the varied areas of expertise of its members, which allows the group to successfully move forward in its endeavors. The workgroup meets at 11:30 AM on the second Wednesday of each month. This month, it will be held on Wednesday, July 12, 2017. All are welcome, as long as you save your seat and RSVP! For more information on the Food Policy Workgroup, visit http://houstonfood.net/.
  9. Related imagePlant Propagation Committee at Memorial Park Greenhouse
    Anyone interested in native plants is invited to join Gulf Coast Master Naturalists on the propagation workdays on second and fourth Thursdays of the month from 9:00 AM to noon. This month, you can join in on the planting on Thursday, July 13 and July 27, 2017. Please note this is the new site in Memorial Park. The Greenhouse is on the south side of Memorial Drive between the traffic light at E. Memorial Loop Drive and Crestwood Dr. There is a bus stop at the driveway to the greenhouse. After driving inside the fence, park in front of the first building on the right side. RSVP to Lan Shen at [email protected] 713-771-1415 or Celeste Mead at [email protected] 832-680-7263 or just come on out!
  10. Houston Sierra Club: General Monthly Meeting
    The Houston Sierra Club is proud to host their general monthly meeting with great guest lecturers. The mission of Texas Health and Environment Alliance (THEA) is to protect water resources, public health, and Galveston Bay’s precious estuary from the harmful effects of toxic waste. They endeavor is to establish an informed and engaged public movement to restore and protect the lower portion of the San Jacinto River watershed and Galveston Bay from toxic pollution. They envision a watershed with pristine water, a healthy fishery, and surrounding communities free from toxic contamination. Join Jackie Young and THEA on Thursday, July 13, 2017, from 7:30 to 10:30 PM at St. Stephen’s Pecore Hall on 1805 W. Alabama for their monthly meeting to join in on the discussion for preserving our waterways! RSVP or get more information on the Houston Sierra Club on their Meetup page.
  11. Camp Zoofari For Adults: All About Rhinos

    Are you jealous of all the fun kids get to have at camp? Well now it’s your turn to join in the fun! If you’ve ever wondered what a rhino’s horn is really made of or have always wanted to spend some time with Mumbles and the rest of the crash that call the Houston Zoo home, this is the event for you! Join the Houston Zoo to learn some wild fun facts, take part in enriching their day, and meet a keeper that has the joy of working with these larger than life animals. On Friday, July 14, 2017, from 9:00 AM to noon, come out and see the rhinos for a wild morning! Register for your spot at www.houstonzoo.org.
  12. METRO’s Summer of Fun Pass
    School’s out, and METRO wants to give you FREE RIDES to where the fun is – ALL SUMMER LONG! The new METRO Student Summer of Fun Pass offers K-12 students the opportunity to travel anywhere METRO goes…any time…any day…FREE. Learn more and sign up at ridemetro.org.
  13. Ensuring Guadalupe River Flows from the Hill Country to the CoastGrant to Initiate GBRA/TAP Agreement (EMAIL) 
    The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA) and The Aransas Project (TAP) undertook the first step in the implementation of The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority/The Aransas Project Agreement (GBRA/TAP Agreement), announcing the receipt of a grant from the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation. The grant is to develop a strategy and action plan to advance implementation of the GBRA/TAP Agreement toward a shared vision for future habitat and water for Guadalupe River System and San Antonio Bay. Developed in 2016, the GBRA/TAP agreement was reached after years of litigation over freshwater inflows for San Antonio Bay and the long-term success of the only remaining flock of wild whooping cranes in the world. The agreement sets up a process by which GBRA and TAP will jointly investigate issues associated with the future of water usage and availability on the Guadalupe and San Antonio River systems and the freshwater needs of the whooping cranes. The work under this agreement will consider both habitat issues for the whooping cranes as well as long-term water supply and inflow issues. To learn more, you can view the full document and read how the GBRA/TAP will put their grant to great use for the future of our aquatic wildlife.
  14. TCEQ 2018 Texas Environmental Excellence Awards – Applications 
    The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is now accepting applications for the 2018 Texas Environmental Excellence Awards (TEEA), the highest environmental honor in the State of Texas. What’s new this year: The revised application makes it easier to apply, and the new application instructions provides writing ideas and helpful directions for completing the application. Visit TEEA’s new website at www.teea.org for more information. If selected as a winner, you’ll be the guest of honor at the May 16, 2018 banquet which will feature videos of each winner’s environmental achievements. See the winner videos for 2017. Applications will be accepted through September 29, 2017. Don’t wait or miss out on a chance to recognize some of the great work your organization and colleagues are doing for the environment! Send in your applications today.
  15. EarthShare of Texas 25th Anniversary Round Table Discussion Series
    Happy Anniversary to EarthShare of Texas!
    To celebrate 25 years, EST is hosting a Round-Table Discussion Series to introduce the public to all of the great work its members have accomplished.  From air quality to zebra populations, they have it covered. Learn more at earthshare-texas.org/events. Buying a ticket to the entire series will gain you entry into the following events:

    • Bats, Birds, and Barbecue- A dinner discussion of wildlife and habitat conservation with a viewing of  the awesome bat emergence at Bracken Bat Cave. July 29, 2017 – Bracken Cave, San Antonio.
    • On the Ground Floor of Ground Water: A breakfast discussion divining the future of our most precious resource.   July date tbd Redbud Center.
    • The Hot Topic of Climate Change- Greater Houston Environmental Summit Aug 4, 2017 – United Way of Greater Houston–In conjunction with the CEC!
    • This Land is your Land: Exploring the terrain of land conservation; Red Bud Center, October 17, 2017.
    • And the grand finale picnic with food, games music and more!  The whole family is welcome!
  16. TV: Texas Parks & Wildlife
    Broadcast on KUHT Channel 8 at 3:00 p.m. 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.

    • Watching for White Nose: A deadly fungal disease killing millions of hibernating bats is spreading through North America, with Texas in its path. Learn what biologists and conservationists are doing to prevent the deadly White Nose Syndrome from affecting Texas bats.
    • Fishing Hall of Fame: Randi Wayland: Randi Wayland has spent a lifetime promoting fishing, water safety and involving young people in the outdoors. A past president of the Texas Association of Bass Clubs, she has also served as a board member of Texas Black Bass Unlimited. She is an instructor in Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Becoming an Outdoors Woman program and is an area chief of the department’s boater education program.
    • Watchdogs for Wildlife: When there’s an oil spill along the coast or down a small county creek the fish and wildlife that live there are often hit the hardest. When it’s time to investigate meet the team of biologists who are called in to action.
  17. Additional Upcoming Events