Houston Environmental News Update January 17, 2018

The CEC’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival is one week away!

We invite you to join us at the  2018 W&SFF On Tour to be held at the historic River Oaks Theatre on Wednesday and Thursday, January 24 & 25, 2018.

Twenty films will be shown over two nights, and will tell compelling stories about border walls, ecological restoration in Texas, endangered bumblebees, plastic pollution, organic farming, sea turtles, activism, and making a difference in your community. 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. While the films tell stories from around the world, we are especially excited about the local films we are showing.

Houston, at What Cost?
In Bianca Ibarra’s neighborhood on Houston’s east side, the smokestacks are simply a given, part of the landscape. This three-minute video details how air pollution damages hearts and lungs and offers ways for young people to help solve the problem. Bianca’s movie won a prestigious prize sponsored by the Environmental Defense Fund for high school students in the Houston area.

Urban Pocket Prairies:
Urbanization has reduced the once 600,000 acre Katy Prairie near Houston, Texas to just 200,000 acres affecting many species of wildlife. Now the Katy Prairie Conservancy has partnered with nearly a dozen schools to create pocket prairies. These small urban prairies are helping wildlife as well as children to become healthier, happier and smarter.

Purchase your tickets now, before we sell out!

Eventbrite - Wild & Scenic Film Festival On Tour - January 2018

Thank you to our festival sponsors: Hayley Pallister, Lawrence Spence, Judge Steven Kirkland, Richard Barton, and the following:

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.


CEC Welcomes Keith Valor as a Professional Writing Intern

[siteshot width=”300″ url=”http://cechouston.org/2018/01/17/cec-welcomes-keith-valor-as-a-professional-writing-intern/”]

What does 2018 hold?

We invite invited our readers to share hopes and predictions for our greater Houston environment in 2018.

You told us that you think the following will be significant in 2018:

  • Flooding in general, but also flood mitigation and how it is addressed, a Harris County regional flood management plan, living in a floodplain, and resiliency
  • Air quality
  • Toxic chemical storage
  • Improved public transport
  • Land conservation as preserves, especially prairies
  • Stopping new fossil fuel infrastructure from being built
  • Putting a price on carbon pollution.
  • Regulations reducing the use and disposal of plastics
  • Earth Day
  • Faith and the environment
Our readers would like to see the following headlines:
  • Houston’s Air Quality Greatly Improved!
  • Houston region commits to protecting thousands of acres of green space
  • San Jacinto River is Clean
  • City of Houston to appoint new Sustainability Officer
  • Fossil fuel consumption declines by 100%
  • “Clean Power Plan Adopted…
  • Air cleaner, water purer, health better since price put on carbon pollution!
  • The Greening of Houston
  • Blue Wave Sweeps Across Houston; Environmentalists Celebrate

Please take just a few moments to share your thoughts using our short survey. We’ve already heard from several people, and we’d like to hear from you, too.


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. Free Arboretum Individual Membership Just By Walkingwalking challenge
    Get outside and get active in 2018! The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center wants to support your New Year’s Resolutions and give you a free Arboretum Individual Membership for keeping up with your commitments to yourself. All you have to do is visit the Arboretum once a week for four consecutive weeks (January 19 – February 16), snap a photo of the weekly location, and post your photo on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Registration ends January 18, so sign up today! Learn more at houstonarboretum.org.
  2. NPSOT Monthly Meeting: Native Plant Propagation: Hard Work, Fun and Magic
    This month’s featured speaker is Mark Morgenstern of Morning Star Prairie Plants who will make a presentation on demo on “Native Plant Propagation: Hard Work, Fun and Magic. Mark will share his expertise growing native plants and his story how he went from a career in air conditioning service and hobbyist gardener to a prairie volunteer to fulltime native plant grower, and how he developed the necessary skills to successfully grow Texas native plants. Mark will demonstrate his plant propagation techniques, use of organic fertilizers and micro-active ingredients, and more. Thu., Jan 18, 2018, at 6:45 at the Houston Arboretum. Learn more at npsot.org.
  3. Arbor Day in The Woodlands
    Join lovable mascot of The Woodlands, Puffy Pine Cone and his mascot friends for his Birthday Party. Located at Hughes Landing on Lake Woodlands.
    Saturday January 20 from 10am – 2pm. Highlights of the event include free tree seedlings, refreshments, and music. Learn more at thewoodlands.com.
  4. 2018 Spring Charrette: Nexus – Activate Commerce
    Can design ingenuity create a new archetype that promotes aspirations for Houston? This year rdAGENTS are joining forces with AIA young professionals to host a design charrette to challenge teams to reimagine the site of the Meat Packing Building along Commerce street. Read more about the Rice Design Alliance’s 2018 Spring Charrette. See below for a list of key dates.

    1. Jan. 19, 2018  – Competition Registration Deadline
    2. Jan. 20, 2018 at 9:30am – Site Visit from 1019 Commerce Street
    3. Jan. 27, 2018 from 8:30am to 5pm Design Charrette
    4. Jan. 29, 2018 from 4pm to 6pm – Presentation to jury,
      6pm to 8pm, Reception and Award
  5. Planning Matters – Lunch with the Mayor
    On Jan. 23, 2018, 11:30 – 1:30 pm, in the Legacy Room of City Hall, join Blueprint Houston and Mayor Sylvester Turner for lunch as they speak of Houston’s future. Mayor Turner will present an update on his activities, and Blueprint Houston will host a conversation about planning the City’s future and using Plan Houston to prepare for the “next million.” Blueprint Houston hopes to explore questions such as “How will the Houston area handle 1 million more in population?” and “How will Houston support and sustain its neighborhoods?” Please RSVP by Jan. 18 to [email protected] or call 713-870-2881. Learn more on facebook.
  6. Bayou City Waterkeeper’s 10th annual Folks ‘N Oysters
    This year Bayou City Waterkeeper (formerly Galveston Baykeeper) celebrates what makes our community strong and our backyard bayous resilient. Enjoy drink, good food, and excellent company! You’ll meet the new Executive Director, Jordan Macha, along with board members and long-time supporters. Individual tickets include two drink tickets, oysters, and hors d’oeuvres. Learn more at bayoucitywaterkeeper.org.
  7. Milby Park Volunteer Day
    Join the the Student Conservation Association and HPARD’s Natural Resources Management Program for a volunteer tree planting event on Jan. 27, 2018, from 9:00AM-12:00PM at Milby Park (2001 Central St, Houston, TX 77017). The Milby Park restoration project on Sims Bayou began in the spring of 2017. Volunteers and SCA crews planted approximately 2,000 trees, but help is needed to continue planting and to replace trees that have died. To register, please email [email protected].
  8. The Houston Climate Forum 2018 – Texas’ 7th District Congressional Candidates–Location Change
    On Sat., Jan. 27, 2018, 12:30pm-4pm, join Congressman Beto O’Rourke and Texas’ 7th District Congressional Candidates–Joshua Butler, James Cargas, Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, Laura Moser, Ivan Sanchez, Alex Triantaphyllis, and Jason Westin–to learn about Congressional Candidate positions related to climate, energy, and environmental issues and solutions, nationally and locally, in an open forum. The forum will be moderated by Daniel Cohan, Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering at Rice. Hosted by 350.org-Houston, Pantsuit Republic-Houston Climate and Environmental Racism Committee (CERC), Indivisible-Houston, and Texans For Climate Change Action. Due to an overwhelming response, the event location has been changed from Rice-Keck Hall to WEST UNIVERSITY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. Learn more and RSVP on Eventbrite.
  9. SES National Solar Tour by the Houston Renewable Energy GroupImage result for ASES National Solar Tour by
    The ASES National Solar Tour is the largest grassroots solar event in the nation and, on Feb. 3, 2018,  Houston will be a participant in 2018 as it has been in years past. The Solar Tour gives you the opportunity to see and learn firsthand about Solar Systems on the homes of Houstonians who have already taken the step towards clean energy. Solar installers, homeowners, and volunteers are available at each home location to discuss benefits, cost, and any other questions regarding solar energy and green technologies. The Solar Tour is free and open to the public. Following the tour, the after party is at The Bearded Fox Brewery, where attendees can have a few beers, talk solar, and listen to some live music from the Boomerays. For more information, visit houstonrenewableenergy.org.
  10. Citizens’ Climate Lobby 3rd Coast Regional ConferenceImage result for Citizens’ Climate Lobby 3rd Coast Regional Conference
    The Citizens’ Climate Lobby will gather this year in Houston, the major energy hub of CCL’s region and a city that has faced many climate change enhanced disasters in these past three years. CCL will gather to share their support for policies which will manage carbon emissions and help our region transition to the clean energy capital of the country. The 2018 CCL 3rd Coast Regional Conference will be held at the University of Houston on Saturday Feb. 3, 2018. It provides an opportunity for newcomers and experienced CCL members to gather to learn, practice skills, inspire each other, and strategize in moving our country toward climate solutions. The 3rd Coast Region – Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi – is large and diverse, but we share common concerns due to the climate impacts already manifesting in along our coasts, farmlands, cities, canyons, and bayous. For more information, visit donate.citizensclimateeducationcorp.org.
  11. Farmers Markets Throughout Houston
    Image result for farmers market city hall houstonIs your New Year’s resolution to be healthier this year? Or, maybe it is to shop more locally. When you eat locally-sourced food, you’re doing your body good and the local economy benefits as well. See below for a partial list of farmer markets throughout the Houston region and start shopping more locally and eating better today.

  12. Studies Reveal the Impacts of Houston’s Light Rail on CommunitiesImage result for light rail houston peter
    (Dian Nostikasari, Kinder Institute, Jan. 11, 2018, Photo by Peter French)
    “In Houston, the spread of light rail was a long and sometimes contentious project. There were doubts about its benefits to surrounding communities. But a study by Qisheng Pan, a professor at Texas Southern University, seems to indicate there have been measurable positive impacts from the development of light rail, at least on the Main Street corridor, in Houston. That study found that within three miles of new rail stations, some of those benefits ascribed to light rail did in fact materialize. But being close to rail stations was not the only factor. Physical characteristics of neighborhoods such as the concentration of people and jobs and home size also positively impact property values while older buildings tend to be negatively impacted.” Read more at urbanedge.blogs.rice.edu.
  13. Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship
    The Hollings Scholarship Program provides successful undergraduate applicants with awards that include academic assistance (up to $9,500 per year) for two years of full-time study and a 10-week, full-time paid ($700/week) internship at a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) facility during the summer. The internship between the first and second years of the award provides the scholars with hands-on, practical experience in NOAA-related science, research, technology, policy, management, and education activities. Awards also include travel funds to attend a mandatory NOAA Scholarship Program orientation and the annual Science & Education Symposium, scientific conferences where students present their research, and a housing subsidy for scholars who do not reside at home during the summer internship. The deadline to apply for the Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship is Jan. 31, 2018. For more information, visit noaa.gov.
  14. Clear Lake Gem & Mineral Society, Inc. Scholarship
    Clear Lake Gem & Mineral Society, Inc. wants to help fund courses in Geology, Mineralogy, Geophysics or Paleontology at any accredited university or college as part of a course of studies in Earth Sciences. The award amount is $500 to $1,000 each. Applications must be received or postmarked no later than the 1st of May of the year to be awarded. Therefore, applications received prior to 5/1/2018 will be judged, and the winners will be awarded scholarship checks in June, 2018.  Late applications will be considered for the next year. E-mail submissions will be accepted. Please e-mail the application to [email protected]. All applications will be directed to the Scholarship Chairman, who is an appointed or volunteer member of the CLGMS with no family or financial ties to the applicants. Applications will be judged by the Scholarship Chairman and approved by the club members at the following general club meeting. For more information, visit clgms.org.
  15. New Entrance at Houston Arboretum & Nature Center
    After much anticipation, the Arboretum’s new 610 Entrance is finally open! In addition to a brand new way to access the Arboretum, the entrance features new trails, increased parking, and much-needed woodland habitat restoration. The former Woodway Entrance will be closed to the public through May of 2018. The Woodway entrance will remain closed as the Arboretum finishes work on new ponds, trails, savanna restoration, and parking loop that are in the second phase of their master plan. For driving directions to the new 610 entrance, visit houstonarboretum.org.
  16. Deadline: AIA Houston’s Call for Award Nominations
    Image result for aia houston galaEach year, AIAH presents two awards at the annual Celebrate Architecture Gala on April 21, 2018: Ben Brewer Young Architect Award and Firm of the Year. The Ben Brewer Young Architect Award recognizes excellence in ability and exceptional contributions by architects who are in their first ten (10) years of practice. The Award will be given for exceptional work and general excellence in the practice of architecture. The jury will consider contributions to team activities as well as individual efforts in its evaluative process. The AIA Houston Firm Award is given annually to a Houston architecture firm that has consistently produced distinguished architecture for a period of at least ten years. (A firm may nominate itself.) The deadline for 2018 nominations is Mar. 2, 2018.
  17. AIA Houston 2017 in ReviewImage result for aia houston
    AIA Houston, the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects, is a community of architects coming together to accomplish things in practices and communities that no single architect can do alone. AIAH goals are to include others as they enhance professional excellence and quality of life in Houston, to connect their industry and community through the development of leadership and research, and to support member value with a nimble and innovative chapter organization. 2017 was a rough year for AIAH, but it was not without some significant achievements. Read AIA Houston’s 2017 End of Year Report.
  18. Texas Supreme Court Considers Single-Use Bag Ordinances
    On Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, the Texas Supreme Court became the first state supreme court in the country to take up a case on the legality of local single-use bag ordinances. An array of friend of the court briefs defending local bag ordinances were filed representing such diverse interests as cotton ginners, the cities of Houston and Galveston, recycling and compost businesses, a Republican elected official, anglers, retailers, a cattleman, Texans for Clean Water, Environment Texas, Texas Campaign for the Environment, and Turtle Island Restoration Network.  The briefs are posted at www.search.txcourts.gov. Consideration by the Texas Supreme Court might take months to years before a ruling. Learn more at www.bagthebagstx.org.
  19. Climate Stories Project Seeking Houston Residents and Students
    Would you like to share your experiences with the recent flooding in Houston and to reflect on how extreme weather may be linked to the changing climate? Often, we are reluctant to share our thoughts and feelings on this topic because we feel that we lack scientific expertise or that it is impossible to link extreme weather with global warming. However, more and more of us are making connections between the increasingly unusual weather in our hometowns and the changing climate. Climate Stories Project (CSP) is an educational and artistic forum for sharing these personal reflections about climate change.The Director of CSP, Jason Davis, collects people’s stories about the intersections between their lives and the changing climate, and with participants’ permission, share the stories on the CSP website. CSP is not an activist organization, nor does CSP seek to convince anyone of the reality of climate change. Rather, Mr. Davis aims to provide a space for people to express their thoughts and feelings about our rapidly changing world. Learn more at www.climatestoriesproject.org. Interested participants may contact Mr. Davis at [email protected].
  20. 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.
    • The Firefighters: Now more than ever Texans realize the importance of skilled firefighters, as 2011 was one of the worst wildfire years on record. See what it takes to be on the frontlines as part of Parks and Wildlife’s Wildland Fire Team.
    • Pedernales Falls Bike Trails: Pedernales Falls State Park is known for its falls of course. Lesser known are the 20 or so miles of hike and bike trails. Take a tour of the trails on two wheels.
    • Postcard from Texas*: Enjoy sunset in the marsh of Galveston Bay.

Additional Upcoming Events