Houston Environmental News Update November 22, 2017

Since Turkey Day is tomorrow, I thought I’d take the opportunity to talk birds. Specifically, I’d like to share information about the upcoming Christmas Bird Counts, as well as ongoing bird activities hosted in our environmental community.

The 118th annual Christmas Bird Count is scheduled for December 14, 2017, to January 5, 2018. Organized by the National Audubon Society, this all-volunteer effort takes a snapshot of bird populations to monitor their status and distribution across the Western Hemisphere. The results are compiled into a database that is shared with federal, state, and private authorities. Counts are open to birders of all skill levels. Discover new areas to bird which may not be normally accessible and take advantage of this great opportunity to bird with some of our foremost birding experts. There is NO FEE to participate in Christmas Bird Counts. I encourage you to learn more about the counts–including a few dozen within a two hour drive of downtown Houston–at HoustonAudubon.org. (I plan to be at the Central Houston count at Woodland Park near I-45 and I-10.)

As you might imagine, the CBC isn’t the only birding opportunity offered by Houston Audubon Society. You can also participate with monthly bird surveys, many of which are held in conjunction with other CEC member organizations, including Armand Bayou Nature Center (2nd Saturdays), Baytown Nature Center (3rd Thursdays Sep-May), Hermann Park (2nd Mondays), Houston Arboretum (3rd Saturdays), Willow Waterhole (3rd Saturdays), and Woodland Park.

If you read this newsletter regularly, you know that many local organizations conduct activities related to birds. Some of the birdier groups among our members include:
This summary only scratches the surface of bird activities in the region.
The photo above, by Earl Nottingham and from the TPWD website, illustrates wild turkey management programs of TPWD. “A hundred years ago, turkeys almost disappeared from Texas due to unregulated hunting and loss of habitat,” writes TPWD’s turkey management program. “Now, thanks to hunter and landowner support, bag limits and a restocking program, they are making a steady comeback.”
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.


Big Give Houston #GivingTuesday
On November 28, 2017, CEC and many other local nonprofits are participating in #BigGiveHouston and #GivingTuesday. Mark your calendars and plan to support us!

Wild & Scenic Film Festival On Tour: Tickets now on sale!

Following our wildly successful 2017 showing, the Citizens’ Environmental Coalition is proud to bring the Wild & Scenic Film Festival on Tour, one of the largest environmental film festivals in North America, back to Houston for the fourth year for two nights: January 24 & 25, 2018!

We invite you to join us at the  2018 W&SFF On Tour to be held at the historic River Oaks Theatre, where up to 450 patrons each night will enjoy about 10 different films each night highlighting the latest environmental issues. We selected films that showcase the links between beauty, environment, adventure, quality of life, and action. By showing these films, CEC is working to connect individuals and organizations to create a stronger Gulf Coast environmental community.
Early bird tickets available until January 10, 2018 on Eventbrite.


We have tried to confirm the events listed below, but not all organizations have updated their websites. Please consider confirming directly with the hosts.

  1. Hurricane Harvey’s Environmental Impacts
    Hurricane Harvey brought record rainfall to Houston; the resulting flooding led to regional devastation, impacting lives, homes and livelihoods. The storm also had numerous environmental impacts. The Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC) mobilized swiftly to acquire and process data and information about the flooding and related environmental impacts, such as storm-related spills, pollutants, Superfund site impacts, water quality, air quality, and power generation. The resulting analysis is shown through narrative summaries, maps, and infographics in the story map, “Summarizing Hurricane Harvey’s Environmental Impacts”.
  2. Exploration Green Conservancy’s Planting Event
    Calling volunteers: Come plant the Habitat Island at Exploration Green! The island situated in Exploration Green’s Phase 1 lake will be ready for native trees and wetland species, creating a refuge for migratory birds and waterbirds. The wetland planting is Saturday, November 25, 2017. For more information and to RSVP visit eventbrite.com/e/fall-planting-events.
  3. Urban Harvest seeks Volunteers for 1/13/18 Fruit Tree Sale
    Urban Harvest’s 18th Annual Fruit Tree Sale will be on Saturday Jan 13, 2018, at the Houston Community College West Loop Parking Lot, 5601 West Loop S, Houston, TX 77081, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm (or until sold out). Details are being added at http://urbanharvest.org/fruit-tree-sale. If you are interested in volunteering, fill out the volunteer form at http://urbanharvest.org/fts/volunteer. Volunteer manager Scott Howard ([email protected]com) will contact you about volunteer positions, responsibilities, date and time period(s) you want to work and who you will report to. Volunteers will also be given access to our pre-order website to select and order your personal fruit trees in advance of the sale.
  4. DOE SBIR/STTR Funding Program Application Opens
    On November 27, 2017, the U.S. Department of Energy will be announcing funding opportunity information for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program. Funding opportunities may be related to electricity delivery, energy reliability, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and environmental management. The deadline for proposals is Feb. 26, 2018. Learn more at science.energy.gov.
  5. History in Print featuring “Architecture That Speaks”

    Between 1928 and 1933, the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas — later Texas A&M University — saw its campus transformed through the construction of 10 remarkable buildings developed under a master plan by college architect Frederick Giesecke and designed by Samuel Charles Phelps Vosper. The buildings, all of which survive, still delight the senses with color, sculpture and wit. On Tuesday, November 28, 2017, architects and architectural scholars Nancy McCoy and David Woodcock explore Vosper’s designs in their book Architecture That Speaks: S.C.P. Vosper and Ten Remarkable Buildings at Texas A&M. Admission to History in Print is free for members of Preservation Houston/Pier & Beam and Congregation Emanu El. General admission is $5. Learn more at preservationhouston.org.

  6. Clean Waters Initiative: Freshwater Inflows
    On Tuesday, November 28, from 1:30 to 3:30 PM, H-GAC, as part of their Clean Waters Initiative, will feature a presentation on freshwater inflows. Speakers from the Texas Water Development BoardTexas A&M – Galveston, and Trinity River Authority will provide participants with greater understanding of the function and importance of freshwater inflows, as well as updates on their respective research, projects, and local needs. Learn more about the event and register at h-gac.com.
  7. Prairie Stampede – Holiday Dinner & Awards Celebration
    On November 29, 2017, join the Coastal Prairie Partnership and the Native Prairies Association of Texas Houston Chapter for a prairie potluck dinner and evening of networking, awards, and celebration of 2017 prairie accomplishments for Greater Houston, Texas, and Louisiana. All prairie enthusiasts, restorationists, and organizations supporting and preserving native prairies in Texas and Louisiana are cordially invited. Learn more at texasprairie.org.
  8. The Woodlands G.R.E.E.N. lecture: The Air We Breathe
    How much do you know about the air we breathe in and around the Woodlands and Montgomery County? Montgomery County is seemingly a long way from the congestion and industry of Houston, but is it subject to similar air quality issues? On NOvember 30, 2017, join Dr. Stephanie Thomas, a researcher and community organizer at Public Citizen, as she addresses these issues and some of the upcoming opportunities to improve air quality. Learn more at thewoodlandsgreen.org.
  9. Woodland Park Community Meeting
    Plans have been in the works for several years to make the southeast entrance to the Woodland Heights neighborhood more attractive and to make the connection between the White Oak Bayou Hike and Bike Trail to Woodland Park safer for pedestrians and cyclists. The proposed project has received city (specifically the Dept. of Public Works) approval, and a public community meeting will be held to present the design on Monday, December 4, 2017, at the Woodland Park community center at 7:00 PM. Learn more at friendsofwoodlandpark.org.
  10. Houston selected to participate in C40 Competition for Global Cities to Pave the Way to a Sustainable Future
    On November 17, 2017, 15 of the world’s great cities–including Houston–launched an unprecedented global competition to drive carbon neutral and resilient urban regeneration. C40’s Reinventing Cities initiative has already identified 46 underutilized spaces to redevelop, including several empty plots and abandoned buildings, a former airport, historical mansions, underused car parks, and an abandoned incinerator and landfill. Through this competition, C40 and these cities invite architects, urban planners, designers, developers, entrepreneurs, environmentalists, startuppers, neighborhood collectives, innovators and artists to collaborate and compete for the opportunity to transform these sites into new beacons of sustainability and resiliency. The competition’s criteria will favour bids from creative teams that deliver innovative climate solutions in combination with striking architecture and tangible benefits for the local community. More information on the Reinventing Cities competition, eligibility criteria and the project sites in each city can be found at http://www.c40reinventingcities.org/.

Additional Upcoming Events