Public servants — those folks who do the hard work, sometimes with little recompense, of keeping our society functioning — seldom receive the appreciation they deserve, and in fact are often denigrated in public discourse. In 2003, the United Nations General Assembly designated June 23 as United Nations Public Service Day, to celebrate the value and virtue of public service to the community; highlight the contribution of public service in the development process; recognize the work of public servants, and encourage young people to pursue careers in the public sector.”
Here at the Citizens’ Environmental Coalition, we’d like to pay special tribute to the many public organizations (and their employees) in the greater Houston region who work to protect our environment and the public, and foster awareness of the special features of our diverse ecosystem. Below is a far-from-comprehensive list, all CEC member organizations.
- Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs
- Baytown Nature Education
- The Energy Corridor District
- Flower Gardens Banks National Marine Sanctuary
- Environmental Institute of Houston at UH- Clear Lake
- Green Building Resource Center
- Houston Environmental Health
- Houston History Archives (repository of CEC’s historical records)
- Houston ISD Energy and Sustainability
- Houston Office of Sustainability
- Houston Parks and Recreation Department
- Houston-Galveston Area Council
- Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center
- Mercer Botanic Gardens
- Sheldon Lake State Park & Environmental Learning Center
- Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
- University of Houston Office of Sustainability
Speaking of people who deserve some recognition, the CEC recently welcomed a brand-new crew of fabulous summer interns: Carisa Hong, coordination; Robert Kidd, policy and communications; Jazmin Avellaneda, policy and communications; Cynthia Arroyo, bookkeeing; Maura McCampbell, policy and communications; Tyler O’Shea, communications; and Kirsty Michel, policy and communications. If you happen to see them out and about, please make them feel welcome!
Please join CEC, the Houston Green Film Series, Rice Media Center, and additional partners for Evolution of Organic on Wednesday, June 20, 2018. Arrive at 6:30 for conversation, networking, and a light meal. We’ll begin the film promptly at 7:00. Mark Kitchell’s Evolution of Organic brings us the story of organic agriculture, told by those who built the movement. Not just a history, the film looks forward to exciting and important futures: the next generation who are broadening organic; what lies “beyond organic”; and carbon farming and sequestration as a solution to climate change – maybe the best news on the planet. Learn more on Facebook.
Vox Storytellers 2018: Houston Environmental Stories
On June 30, 2018, CEC will partner with several other environmental organizations and the Houston-based arts and advocacy network Vox Culture in presenting “Vox Storytellers 2018.” The event will feature four speakers of diverse backgrounds (including architect and valued occasional CEC volunteer Kim Schaefer) who will share their stories in a public conversation about the environmental challenges faced by the city. The free event will be held at Cafeza, 1720 Houston Ave. For more information and to RSVP, visit eventbrite.com.
Please save the date–or even better, register–for CEC’s Greater Houston Environmental Summit on Friday, August 10, 2018.
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.
This year’s program includes:
- Excellent Featured Speakers — See the full descriptions.
- John Magera , Attwater Prairie Chicken NWR and Houston Zoo
- John W Nielsen-Gammon, Ph.D., Texas A&M & Texas State Climatologist
- Jaime González (The Nature Conservancy)
- Glen Miracle (Laughing Frog Farm)
- Paula Paciorek (Galveston Bay Foundation)
- Elena Craft, Ph.D. (Environmental Defense Fund)
- April Ward (Living Paradigm CDD)
- Amy Dinn (Lone Star Legal Aid); and
- A representative of the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC).
- Table Talks: Small group discussions with experts on a variety of topics related to our post-Harvey theme, including impacts on our air and water quality, environmental justice initiatives, wildlife and landscape conservation, and efforts to build resiliency for our future. A cross between a breakout session and speed networking.
- Exhibit tables from CEC member groups and local businesses. (See the registration page to reserve your exhibit table.)
- Delicious, locally-grown food from Pat Greer’s Kitchen.
- A few surprises 🙂
Further event details are provided on the Eventbrite Registration page.
We have tried to confirm the events listed below, but not all organizations have updated their websites. Please consider confirming directly with the hosts.
- Mayor Turner and fellow Climate Mayors launch large-scale renewable energy initiative
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and his fellow U.S. Climate Mayors recently announced plans to issue a Request for Information for competitive pricing of large-scale renewable energy projects. The RFI will compile the energy demand data across participating U.S. cities and ask renewable energy developers for price estimates for projects that would meet their collective energy demand. “As the energy capital of the world, Houston will play a critical role in transforming the way we power the future,” Turner said in a press release. “Our city, the largest municipal user of renewable energy in the nation, is proof that even big cities in red states can act on climate and maintain a robust, growing economy.”
- Report: Thousands of coastal Texas homes at risk from sea level rise-induced chronic flooding
On Monday, the Union of Concerned Scientists released a report, “Underwater: Rising Seas, Chronic Floods, and the Implications for US Coastal Real Estate,” which found, based on data from the real estate information firm Zillow, that as many as 311,000 coastal homes in the country with a collective market value of about $117.5 billion today are at risk of chronic flooding within the next 30 years (see the press release). As reported by Houston Public Media, about 5,000 homes in the Galveston area alone are threatened. Visit this interactive map to see the information by state, community, and ZIP Code.
- Houston Cities H2O Challenge continues through September 28
The Houston Cities H20 Challenge, sponsored by the Galveston Bay Foundation, in partnership with the Texas Living Waters Project, The Woodlands Joint Powers Agency and the City of Pearland, continues through September 28. The Challenge is a friendly competition designed to engage area residents and businesses in water conservation.The Houston Cities H2O Challenge invites all to take the pledge to conserve water for the Bay through various actions, such as tracking water usage or learning how to efficiently water outdoor landscapes. For more information, visit gbwb.org.
- Harris County Flood Control District Bond Program meetings
Harris County Commissioners Court will hold a bond election on August 25, 2018, for the Harris County Flood Control District. Registered voters in Harris County will be asked to vote on up to $2.5 billion in bonds for flood risk reduction projects throughout the county. HCFCD is hosting a series of community engagement meetings, geared toward the county’s various watersheds, to gather input in order prepare an effective flood damage reduction program for the region at hcfcd.org. Numerous community engagement meetings are being planned, and currently include:
- June 21, Weekley Community Center (Addicks Reservoir)
- June 23, Kashmere Multi-Service Center (Hunting Bayou)
- June 25, Crosby Community Center (Jackson Bayou)
- June 27, Big Stone Lodge at Dennis Johnston Park (Spring Creek)
- June 28, Baytown Community Center (Spring Gully/Goose Creek)
- Post-Harvey meeting
On June 20, 2018, from 6:30-8:30 p.m., the Texas Health and Environmental Alliance will host a public meeting featuring two presentations: UH-Clear Lake geologist Dr. Kathleen Garland will present her findings on the San Jacinto Waste Pits Superfund site post-Harvey; and researchers from Oregon State University will present findings from their post-Harvey wristband study. The meeting will be held at the Highlands/San Jacinto Community Center, 604 Highland Woods Drive, Highlands.
- “Coastal Solutions: Working with Nature” forum
On June 21, 2018, from 6-8 p.m., several environmental organizations will host a discussion proposed coastal barrier projects for Bolivar Peninsula and Galveston Island at the Crystal Beach Volunteer Fire Department Station. Representatives from Bayou City Waterkeeper, Turtle Island Restoration Network , Galveston Bay Foundation, and Gulf Restoration Network will present and discuss the proposed, including the Ike Dike, the draft design for coastal construction and the proposed placement, and the potential impacts of these structures. For more information, see the Facebook event.
- “A Love Affair with Pollinators: Confessions of a Citizen Scientist”
On June 21, 2018, the Houston chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas will host a meeting and presentation by “citizen scientist” Lauren Simpson on St. Julian’s Crossing, her Houston home’s own wildlife-habitat gardens, and helping pollinators survive in the city. Networking begins at 6:45 p.m., and the meeting and presentation begin at 7:15 p.m., at the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, 4501 Woodway Drive. For more information, visit npsot.org.
- Celebrate “Daylight Hour” on June 22
On June 22, 2018, the Building Energy Exchange invites you to celebrate “Daylight Hour” by using natural daylight in lieu of electric light in non-critical spaces from noon-1 p.m. For more information and to register, visit daylighthour.org.
- “Introduction to Wetlands” webinar
On June 22, 2018, beginning at 2 p.m., the Association of State Wetlands Managers and the National Resource Conservation Service will present a webinar titled “Introduction to Wetlands,” the first in a nine-part series. For information on the full series and to register, visit aswm.org.
- ASHRAE Annual Conference
From June 23-27, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) will host its annual conference at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston. The focus areas include professional development, research, fundamentals and applications, systems and equipment, system management (controls) and some more specific design arenas (such as residential buildings and Cogeneration plants). For more information, visit ashrae.org.
- “Invasive Species” workshop
On June 23, 2018, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Coastal Prairie Partnership invites the public to a workshop at the Lawther-Deer Park Prairie Preserve to learn about common invasive species of the coastal prairie and their management. This workshop will provide hands-on identification and safe and effective removal techniques. The cost is $10. For more information and to register, visit prairiepartner.org.
- Galveston Historical Association offers Marine Biology Tours
This summer, the Galveston Historical Association is offering Marine Biology Tours, where participants can observe dolphins and other species in their natural habitat, trawl for and handle marine organisms, study plankton through a microscopic lens, and explore Galveston Bay’s rich history. This unique experience takes place on board the SEAGULL II, a 50’ catamaran which docks at the Texas Seaport Museum, and is led by a marine biologist. Tours, which cost $10, are available June 23, July 7, and July 21. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.com.
- Chefs in the Field: A Tomato Tribute
On June 24, 2018, beginning at 6:30 p.m., the Recipe for Success Foundation is hosting “Chefs in the Field – A Tomato Tribute,” a benefit featuring a 4-course meal crafted from the produce of Hope Farms’ fields and local makers. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit constantcontact.com.
- “Climate Change on the Gulf Coast” workshop for educators
From June 25-26, 2018, Artist Boat is hosting a professional development workshop for educators of middle and high school students called “Environmental Impacts to the Gulf Coast: What do we know, What can we do?” The workshop, which will be held approximately 9 a.m.-5 p.m. each day, will be held at the Galveston County Extension Office – Texas Sea Grant in Carbide Park; 4102 Main St., La Marque. For more information and to register, visit artistboat.org.
- EPA webinar on Air Sensor Target Deliberations
On June 25 and 26, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is hosting a webinar/workshop called “Deliberating Performance Targets for Air Quality Sensors” that will look at non-regulatory performance targets for newly introduced air quality sensors used by researchers, industrial facilities, state and local government agencies, citizen scientists and the general public. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.com.
- “Focus on Forests” for High School Educators
From June 27-29, 2018, the Teacher Conservation Institute of the Texas Forestry Association is hosting a course for high school agriculture and environmental science educators that will provide an overview of Texas’ forest industry. The course will be held at the Bugscuffle Inn in Cushing. For a full course description, including cost, visit texasforestry.org.
- “Learning from Green Conferences”
On June 27, 2018, from 6-8 p.m., the City of Houston’s Green Building Resource Center will host a panel discussion on “Learning from Green Conferences,” featuring speakers who have attended the recent Gulf Coast Green and Greenbuild conferences. The event will be held on the second floor of the Houston Permitting Center, 1002 Washington Ave. For more information and to RSVP, visit codegreen.org.
- Grand Opening for The Arboretum Trail at Willow Waterhole
On June 23, 2018, beginning at 9 a.m., the Willow Waterhole Greenspace Conservancy will host the grand opening of The Arboretum Trail, a 300-foot, yearlong project completed by members of several Boy Scout troops and other community organizations. Parking for the ribbon-cutting event is available on Ricecrest Avenue and at The Gathering Place, 5310 South Willow.
- “Cultivating Native Plants from Seed”
On June 27, 2018, the Houston chapter of the Native Prairies Association of Texas will host a presentation on native plant propagation with Wally Ward at the American Red Cross building, 2700 Southwest Freeway. For more information, visit houstonprairie.org.
- Houston Urban Conservation Summit
On June 20, 2018, from 8 a.m.-2 p.m., the Coastal Prairie Partnership is hosting a “Houston Urban Conservation Summit” to provide an opportunity to learn about the restoration, management, and monitoring of Houston’s diverse ecosystems and wildlife. The event will be held at the Sheldon Lake State Park & Environmental Center, 14200 Garrett Road. For more information and to register, visit constantcontact.com.
- 2019 Gulf Guardian Award nominations due June 30
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Gulf of Mexico Program is seeking nominations for the 2018 Gulf Guardian Awards, which recognize and honor the businesses, community groups, individuals, and organizations that are taking extraordinary steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful and productive. Nominations are due by June 30. For more information, visit epa.gov.
- EPA seeks proposals for Gulf of Mexico Program
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Gulf of Mexico Program is soliciting proposals from eligible entities that address water quality improvement; coastal habitat and ecosystems enhancement, restoration and/or protection; environmental education and outreach; and community resilience in the Gulf of Mexico region and its watersheds. The closing date for proposals is July 31, 2018. For more information, visit epa.gov.
- TV: Texas Parks & Wildlife
Broadcast on KUHT Channel 8 at 3 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.
- How agriculture can affect mule deer movement in the Panhandle
- Providing crisis counseling to park rangers and other first responders
- Turning overgrazed scrub land into a haven for wildlife
Additional Upcoming Events:
- 7/9/18: Parks and Natural Areas Roundtable
- 7/9-13/18: A Complete Natural Resource Cycle for PreK-8 Educators
- 7/11/18: Family Nature Night: Freaky Frogs
- 7/13/18 (Deadline): Teachers on the Estuary workshop
- 7/16-19/18: Science Teachers & Industry workshop
- 7/18/18: David Ball concert benefiting TWRC Wildlife Center
- 7/19/18: Brownfields Tools for Economic Growth & Community Livability Workshop
- 7/25/18: Microplastics Monitoring webinar
- 7/30/18-8/3/18: TRIES Wetland Delineation Training Course
- 7/30/18: AIA Sandcastle Competition team registration deadline
- 8/8/18: Family Nature Night: Snakes of Texas
- 8/10/18: 2018 Greater Houston Environmental Summit
- 8/25/18: AIA Sandcastle Competition
- 8/26-30/18: National Conference on Ecosystem Restoration