Houston Environmental News Update January 24, 2018

Tonight is the second night of the Wild & Scenic Film Festival on Tour! Please consider joining us at the at the historic River Oaks Theatre from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

We will show eleven films tonight including two local films. The films will address topics such as border walls, ecological restoration in Texas, pocket prairies, sea turtles, activism, and making a difference in your community. We are especially excited about the two local films we will be 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.


VOX Culture: Launch Event and Beer Summit for 2018 ‘Homegrown’ Initiative on Environment
VOX Culture will be opening the new year with a special event to introduce it’s focus on tackling the topic of environment in Houston. The advocacy organization will be hosting its second annual VOX Beer Summit at Eureka Heights Brew Co. the evening of Friday, February 9th from 6:30PM to 8:30PM. The event will be the formal opening for the organization’s 2018 theme addressing environment, called ‘Homegrown’.

The Vox Beer Summit will provide a chance for guests to meet VOX Culture’s community partners for the year: HoustainableHouston Sierra ClubCitizens’ Environment Coalition, and Air Alliance Houston. The organizations will present information to the audience pertaining to their work, the current environmental challenges Houston faces and what is or needs to be done, innovative solutions that can have a positive impact on environment, and the push for a proper environmental policy for the City of Houston. Guests will also have a chance to network individually with the groups to inquire about their work, ask environmentally related questions, and potentially sign up for future volunteering or fundraising opportunities with these groups. Towards the end of the presentations, guests will be welcome to come express and talk about either the challenges or positives that they see in their neighborhoods and/or Houston overall, on the subject of environment, and voice what they would like to see done in Houston.

Entry is free but limited. Please select and print your ticket to reserve your spot at this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/vox-beer-summit-ii-tickets-42116111423

A beer selection from Eureka Heights will be available for guests wanting to purchase beer. Soft drinks and water will also be available to purchase by guests, together with a food selection provided by a food truck on location.

The latest updates can be found by visiting the VOX Culture page on Facebook.


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. 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.
  2. Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary Public MeetingImage may contain: plant, ocean, outdoor, nature and water
    Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council’s Boundary Expansion Working Group Meeting has been rescheduled to Jan. 25, 2018, 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM. The meeting will take place at the sanctuary offices located at 4700 Avenue U, Building 216, Galveston, TX. Sanctuary Advisory Council (SAC) members of this working group will be meeting to review and discuss the sanctuary’s proposal for boundary expansion as detailed in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Public comment will be accepted. For more information, visit facebook.com or contact [email protected]
  3. 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].
  4. 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.
  5. Web Meeting: Caring for the Plants that Care for Us
    On Jan. 28, 2018, from 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM, Jaime Gonzalez, the Community Conservation Director for the Katy Prairie Conservancy, will address Caring for the Plants that Care for Us in a web meeting. He will discuss the importance of native plants for biodiversity, water absorption, carbon sequestration, the economy, and creating a sense of place. He will link the well-being of ecosystems to human well-being. Jaime will also discuss the work of Katy Prairie Conservancy to restore native prairie, “re-wild” Houston with pocket prairies, offer citizen conservation opportunities and a new initiative to encourage residents to plant the “nine natives” in their yards. Jaime will give details on using these native plantings on your property, will provide resources and outlets for getting native plants, and will even delve into the ethics of saving wildlife by providing native plant habitat. After his talk, there will be time for Q&A to answer your native plant questions. A generous donor has pledged a donation to the Katy Prairie Conservancy if at least 10 people sign up for and attend Jaime’s talk. Register on Eventbrite to receive the link. Contact Lisa Brenskelle at [email protected] with any questions.
  6. Religion vs. Science: What Religious People Really ThinkImage result for Religion vs. Science: What Religious People Really Think
    Join authors Elaine Howard Ecklund and Christopher P. Scheitle on Jan. 28, 2018, 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM, at Rice University, for the release of their book, Religion vs. Science: What Religious People Really Think (Oxford University Press 2017). Religion vs. Science is based on a five-year study of religious Americans’ views of science, called the Religious Understandings of Science (RUS) study. The RUS study surveyed 10,000 Americans about their views on the relationship between religion and science, as well as specific scientific issues such as stem cell research, evolution and creation, science education, and others. The survey was in addition to more than 300 in-person interviews.  Pastor Lee Hsia of Houston’s First Baptist Church and Rabbi Geoff Mitelman of Sinai and Synapses will moderate the conversation and provide unique perspectives on the book’s content. RSVP is required. Please visit eventbrite.com for more information and to register.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Citizens’ Climate Lobby 3rd Coast Regional ConferenceImage result for Citizens’ Climate Lobby 3rd Coast Regional Conference
    The Citizens’ Climate Lobby 3rd Coast Region–Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi–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. For more information, visit donate.citizensclimateeducationcorp.org.
  10. 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.

  11. 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].
  12. Save-the-Date: Faith Climate Action Week
    Religious communities around the country use the week from Apr. 14 to 22nd to focus their attention on ways to green their facilities and homes, take action locally, and advocate for state and local governments to move towards a sustainable, 100% renewable energy future. Faith Climate Action Week will encompass the week leading up to Earth Day and will focus on how communities can take action to protect our climate. This year the theme is “Charged with Faith: Leading the way to a clean energy future.” Pre-registration for community engagement packages are now open.
  13. Houston Parks Board’s Hogg Bird Sanctuary Project
    Hogg Bird Sanctuary at Memorial Park is an oasis in the bustling City of Houston, the home to many animal and bird species, and a fly-over stopping point for migratory birds. In 2016, the Houston Parks Board was asked to conduct a study on the site’s existing habitat and bird activity. Their ultimate commitment is to make the sanctuary ecologically healthier, enhance the habitat’s resilience, improve drainage and carefully make places for people to visit and observe. In the coming days, the Houston Parks Board will begin limited selective removal and mulching of invasive plants that are choking out native forest south of the parking lot. Throughout the reforestation process, the site will undergo a series of changes that may temporarily alter the appearance of the sanctuary. These are necessary steps to enhance the long-term health of the sanctuary. Later in the spring, following the initial removal process, they will begin planting native trees throughout the project area to start the reforestation process. Additional work in the spring includes drainage improvements, trails and a new pollinator garden hosted by the Garden Club of Houston. Stay updated with the Hogg Bird Sanctuary project at houstonparksboard.org.
  14. 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 Last of the Stringos: Shrimping is and has always been a way of life for the Stringo family. Five generations of Stringos have shrimped the Gulf and Bays of Texas. But times are tough, and while most of the family have given up, there is one Stringo still on the water.

Additional Upcoming Events