Houston Environmental News Update August 22, 2018

First, if you are registered to vote in Harris County and haven’t done so already, VOTE on Saturday, August 5, 2018, in the Harris Count Flood Control District bond election. The proposition is whether HCFCD should issue “bonds in an amount not to exceed $2,500,000.00, for flood control purposes and the levying of the tax of the District in payment thereof.”  At hcfcd.org, the Flood Control District has posted a great deal of information about potential projects, the results of public input, and an interactive map. More info about voting is at Harrisvotes.org.

Next, welcome back to school!

Students, teachers, and parents who are celebrating/bemoaning the start of school might appreciate this information about some local environmental resources that can make school more interesting, meaningful, and fun.

  1. Houston Environmental Resources for Educators (HERE in Houston): HERE in Houston is a one-stop shop for classroom and informal educators, Texas Master Naturalists, and Scout leaders, looking to teach about the environment of the Houston-Galveston Region. This resource is an initiative of Texas Children in Nature – Houston with special project support from the Katy Prairie Conservancy. CEC is proud to support this effort, which highlights educational resources relating to ecosystems, wildlife, sustainability, watersheds, gardening, field trips, service opportunities, and careers. We frequently add new resources, so check back often! We recently added High-School Level Prairie Lessons and Activities created by Westside High School Teacher Carolyn Klein. Please suggest additional resources by emailing [email protected]
  2. Every Kid in a Park Program – Houston: FREE transportation is once again available for field trips to our amazing local outdoor spaces for Title I fourth graders for the 2018-2019 school year! Houston EKIP collaborates with national, state, and local organizations who provide a variety of curriculum-based natural, cultural, and historical field trips correlated with Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).  These transportation funds are made available through a grant from the National Park Foundation for the 2018-2019 academic school year. Please share this information with fourth grade teachers! All fourth graders–and their families–get free access to most national parks and a plethora of other public lands the the national EKIP program. The banner photo above is leafprints made by fourth graders on a visit to Big Thicket National Preserve on an EKIP filed trip..
  3. Texas Children in Nature (TCiN) Summit and Champion Awards Luncheon: On December 6 & 7 in Corpus Christi, the Summit will bring together leaders from the health, education, conservation, built environment and faith communities for two days of learning, networking and turning inspiration into action. A full schedule of events, speaker profiles, and registration information is available at texaschildreninnature.org.
If you are heading back to college, please know that CEC hires a variety of paid and unpaid interns each semester to help with website content curation and the newsletter, communications and marketing, videography, event planning, bookkeeping, Salesforce, and more. We are often able to work with students seeking academic credit for an internship, and have worked with students studying public policy, professional writing, endangered species, environmental management, and other topics. Learn more at cechouston.org/volunteer/, or email [email protected]



Houston Green Film Series

Please join CEC, the Houston Green Film Series, Rice Media Center, and additional partners on September 19, 2018, for a screening of Dirt Rich, which explores the connection between regenerative agriculture and climate change (see the trailer). Dirt Rich shifts focus from greenhouse gas emissions to carbon draw-down, which many believe is the only viable solution for reversing the effects of runaway global warming in a timely manner. Arrive at 6:30 p.m. for conversation, networking, and a light meal. We’ll begin the film promptly at 7 p.m. For more information, see the Facebook event.

In October, we’ll host “Wild About Houston, A Green Film Festival,” to showcase local short films telling environmental stories. Let us know if you have a film to submit!

Mark your calendar for January 30 & 31, 2019, when we’ll be hosting the Wild & Scenic Film Festival On Tour.

CEC Seeks Board & Committee Members
The CEC is currently recruiting volunteers to serve on our 2019 Board of Directors and on board committees (programs, publications, membership, governance, finance, and development). Our Governance Committee will be hosting informational open houses for potential board members September 24 and October 22, 2018. If you are interested, please send an email with your résumé to [email protected]

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.


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. VOTE!! Harris County Flood Control District bond election on Aug. 25
    This Saturday, August 25, 2018, Harris County is holding a bond election for the Harris County Flood Control District. Registered voters will be asked to vote on $2.5 billion in bonds for flood risk reduction projects throughout the county. Find detailed information about proposed projects for each of the county’s watersheds, including an interactive map, at hcfcd.org.
  2. Sarah P. Bernhardt named CEO of Bayou Preservation Association
    On August 20, 2018, the Bayou Preservation Association named Sarah P. Bernhardt, Ph.D., as its new President & CEO. She will lead the organization in realizing its vision of a network of healthy bayous, streams and watersheds through conservation, preservation, restoration and responsible watershed management. Since 2013, Bernhardt worked for the Texas Commission on Environmental Equality as Program Manager of the Galveston Bay Estuary Program, overseeing implementation of the Galveston Bay Plan. Bernhardt succeeds longtime executive director Kathy Lord.
  3. Galveston Bay gets an overall “C” in 2018 Galveston Bay Report Card
    The Galveston Bay Foundation, in conjunction with the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC), recently released the 2018 Galveston Bay Report Card. The report gave a “C” for “Overall Health of the Bay,” noting the challenges of habitat acreage declines, pollution, and impacts of climate change. Other categories and their grades:  Human Health Risks (C); Water Quality (A); Wildlife (D); Habitat (D); Coastal Change (C); and Pollution Events and Sources (C). Find the full report at galvbaygrade.org.
  4. Hurricane Harvey Registry seeks public input on storm’s impacts
    Earlier this year, Rice University, the Houston Health Department, and the Environmental Defense Fund launched the Hurricane Harvey Registry, a project to understand Hurricane Harvey’s toll on people’s physical and mental health. The registry collects information about health, housing and exposures from Houston-area residents and those who came to the city during the storm. The responses can help researchers and public officials to identify health trends and to develop plans to reduce risk with future storms. All members of the public are encouraged to enroll with the registry at harveyregistry.rice.edu.
  5. Whooping Crane Conservation talk
    On August 23, 2018, beginning at 6:30 p.m., the Houston chapter of the Native Prairies Association of Texas will hold their monthly meeting, featuring a talk by Dr. Wade Harrell, the U.S. Whooping Crane Coordinator at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. Harrell’s talk will begin at 7 p.m. The event will be held at the American Red Cross building, 2700 Southwest Freeway. For more information, visit houstonprairie.org.
  6. Docent Training Open House
    On August 23, 2018, from 10 a.m.-noon, the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center will host an Open House for people interested in becoming a Docent Naturalist. Attendees will meet Arboretum staff and volunteers, go on a brief tour of the trails, and participate in several hands-on activities. For more information, visit houstonarboretum.org.
  7. Regional Recycling Roundtable: Tire Recycling
    On August 23, 2018, from 10 a.m.-noon, the Houston-Galveston Area Council will host a Regional Recycling Roundtable on the topic of “Tire Recycling,” with presenters Anthony Showen, CEO of Treadwright Tires, and Henrik Olesen, CEO of Genan Inc. The event will be held in Conference Room A of the H-GAC offices, 3555 Timmons Lane. For more information and to RSVP, visit h-gac.com.
  8. AIA Houston SandCastle Competition
    On August 25, 2018, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. the Houston chapter of the American Institute for Architects will present the 32nd Annual AIA Sandcastle Competition at East Beach on Galveston Island. More than 60 teams will compete for the prestigious Gold Bucket Award. The teams will meticulously sculpt their piles of sand and work non-stop for five hours. For more information, visit aiahouston.org.
  9. “Sustainability at Rice” webinar
    On August 26, 2018, from 6-7 p.m., Christ the King Lutheran Church will present its monthly Stewardship web meeting featuring Richard Johnson, sustainability director for Rice University, who will discuss Rice’s broad range of campus sustainability initiatives over the past 14 years. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.com.
  10. Commute Solutions Month outreach events
    Commute Solutions’ partners in the eight-county Houston-Galveston Transportation Management Area are celebrating Commute Solutions Month in August. The Houston-Galveston Area Council, along with some of the region’s transit service providers, is hosting two final public outreach events: August 27 at the Cypress Park & Ride and August 29 at the Kingsland Park and Ride in Katy. For more information, visit findasmarterwaytowork.org.
  11. Bayou Preservation Association Annual Meeting and Open House
    On August 28, 2018, the Bayou Preservation Association will hold its 2018 Annual Membership Meeting and Open House at its new headquarters at 7305 Navigation Blvd., Suite A. The meeting, where attendees can learn about the BPA’s current activities, will begin at 6 p.m. The Open House, with refreshments, will be held from 6:30-8 p.m.
  12. HARC “Energy Efficiency 101” workshop
    On August 29, 2018, beginning at 11 a.m., the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC) will host the first of three free, monthly “Energy Efficiency for Business” workshops. The first will be “Energy Efficiency 101.” All three workshops will be held at CenterPoint Energy, 6363 Navigation Blvd. For information on the full series and to register, visit eventbrite.com.
  13. North Houston Highway Improvement District Open House (East Side)
    On August 29, 2018, from 5:30-7 p.m., the City of Houston’s Planning and Development Department invites the public to an Open House at the George R. Brown Convention Center for central city neighborhoods – Third Ward, Midtown, EaDo, East End & Downtown – adjacent to a segment of TxDOT’s North Houston Highway Improvement Project. The public is encouraged to participate in the planning of future opportunities that will enhance the highway corridor and re-connect Houston’s neighborhoods with new parks, trails and civic amenities. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.com.
  14. Wild & Scenic Film Festival with Bayou Land Conservancy
    On August 30, 2018, from 6-9:30 p.m., Bayou Land Conservancy will host the fourth annual “Wild & Scenic Film Festival” at Star Cinema Grill in Vintage Park, 114 Vintage Park Blvd. The selected films will cover a variety of environmental topics and offer spectacular scenery, breathtaking journeys, and stories of human connections. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit bayoulandconservancy.org.
  15. The Federal Response to Harvey: One Year Later
    On August 30, 2018, from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., The Texas Tribune will present a public conversation about the federal response to Hurricane Harvey. The event will be held at the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies at Rice University. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.com.
  16. Houston Stronger: A Path to a More Equitable City
    On August 31, 2018, from 8-11:30 a.m., the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University will present a program on making Houston a safer, healthier and more economically vibrant city. One of the panel discussions, including Dr. Bakeyah S. Nelson of Air Alliance Houston, will focus on equitable recovery from Hurricane Harvey. The event will be held at Ripley House, 4410 Navigation Blvd. For more information and to register, visit bakerinstitute.org.
  17. Day of Prayer for Climate Action
    On September 1, 2018, from 11 a.m.-noon, Young Evangelicals for Climate ActionTexas Impact, and the Environmental Integrity Project will host a “Day of Prayer for Climate Action” at Fuller Seminary Texas, 10200 Richmond Avenue. Local faith leaders will lead in prayer and there will be a discussion of the ongoing recovery work being led by front-line communities in Houston. For more information, see the Facebook event.
  18. 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.

    • A woman with autism finds refuge in the woods
    • Promoting outdoor recreation to underserved groups in Houston
    • An astronomer works to protect the West Texas skies from light pollution
  19. Additional Upcoming Events