Houston Habitat for Humanity, ReStore
Purpose: Since 1987, Houston Habitat for Humanity has been the premier affordable local home builder in Houston. We build sustainable, energy-efficient homes that are financially accessible by hard-working, low-income families, winning the EPA Energy Star Award 3 years in a row. Thru home ownership, families gain a stake in the community, become tax-paying citizens, build equity, raise their net worth, and offer better educational opportunities to their children.
Programs: Volunteer opportunities, home building, community development, sweat-equity program, educational classes and other homeowner opportunities. Provides sustainable communities and housing, supports community organization of Home Owner Associations, works with corporate and community sponsors to fund home sponsorships and provides team-building opportunities thru Volunteer Days. Trained construction leaders oversee volunteers for six-day builds. Houston Habitat ReStore, a building supply outlet, offers new and recycled or deconstructed products for sale to the public at great prices for a great cause. All proceeds support the Houston Habitat building program.
Publication: Quarterly e-mail newsletter.
Houston Habitat for Humanity
Allison Hay, Executive Director
ReStore (a building supply outlet)
Matt Murphy, Store Manager
Friends of Woodland Park
Purpose: The Friends of Woodland Park, Inc. (FWP) is dedicated to preserving the park’s natural habitat along with its unique historical significance to the City of Houston, and to providing for the enjoyment and education of all who visit.
Publications: Subscribe to email newsletter.
Programs: Trails at Twilight Gala,
Bird watching monthly.
Volunteer and Donor Opportunities: The Friends of Woodland Park is made up of neighbors like you. Your valuable donation keeps trails clear and goes towards exciting capital improvements.
Becky Houston, Board Member
Beth Fischer, Board Member
City of Houston Office of Sustainability
Purpose: The City of Houston’s sustainability office encourages green development and lifestyles across the city by carrying out green projects, educating on pressing environmental issues, and promoting sustainable products and services.
Bikeways Program- The Houston Bikeways Program is a partnership among the Public Works & Engineering, Planning & Development, Parks & Recreation and Health & Human Services Departments and often coordinates with METRO, Houston Parks Board, Houston-Galveston Area Council and other partners. The program aims to make Houston a safer, healthier, and more bike-friendly city.
Brownsfields Redevelopment Program- The redevelopment of Brownfields benefits the communities in which they are located in many ways. By removing blight and facilitating environmental cleanup, redeveloping Brownfields address environmental, public health, and safety concerns. Redeveloping previously developed sites and reusing existing infrastructure, utilities, and roads allows open space and undeveloped land to be preserved.
City Hall Farmers Market- The public can enjoy a variety of locally prepared ready-to-eat or packaged to-go foods, pick up farm-fresh weekly groceries and at the same time support sustainable food, all amidst Houston’s dramatic downtown urban setting.
Green Building Resource Center- A project of the Department of Public Works and Engineering, offers economical, sustainable building solutions for the public through over 50 educational displays, a library of information, and samples of recycled materials to provide strategies for green building and in-home energy conservation..
For more information of these green projects and others, visit http://www.greenhoustontx.gov/cityprojects.html
Lara Cottingham, Deputy Assistant Director
Larissa Williams, Energy Manager
Last Organic Outpost
Purpose: The Last Organic Outpost generates healthy communities and establishes a local food economy in Houston’s under-served neighborhoods through urban farming and farm-based art & education. They empower communities through sustainable agriculture that teaches residents to produce safe, healthy and accessible food for all. They envision growing ‘Food Everywhere’ and seeding an Urban Agricultural District that cultivates our region’s food and supports local farmers to thrive despite economic, environmental, health and social challenges.
Programs: The Emile Street Community Learning Farm is located in Houston’s 5th Ward at 711 Emile St, Houston. Last Organic Outpost is also focusing efforts on the 5th Ward food desert with the following objectives:
Outreach – Initiate the growth of Food Everywhere by building home gardens and a neighborhood-wide orchard of fruit & nut trees in homes and public spaces.
Farming – Establish a local food economy by training farmers in non-conventional, but sustainable, environmentally sound methods, establish community farms and encourage farm and local food related businesses in the Fifth Ward.
Education – Host community events where we teach residents about healthy nutrition, urban agriculture, and sustainability.
Volunteer Opportunities: farming at the farm, help organize outreach and plan our projects, writers, web/software development, contacts, research and more. Contact [email protected] to find out about our meetings.
Publications: Visit our website to sign up for our newsletter.
Joe Icet, Founder
Houston Parks and Recreation Department
Purpose: To enhance the quality of urban life by providing safe, well-maintained parks and offering affordable programs for the community. Member: Commission for Accreditation of Park & Recreation Agencies.
Jan – Arbor Day; Youth Tennis classes begin
Feb – Salt Grass Trail Ride; Adult sports leagues begin
Mar- Tour de Houston, Metal & Muscle Expo; Lake Houston Wilderness New Entry
Apr- Houston Children’s Festival, Japan Festival, Houston International Festival
May- Challenge Day, Summer Pool Opening
June – Summer Food Program begins, Golf Tournament; Hershey Track & Field Meet
Jul- Freedom Over Texas; Houston Pops July 4th Celebration
Oct- Asian-American Festival; Wildflower seed planting
Nov- Via Colori
Dec- Heritage Society Candlelight Tour, Holiday Tree Lighting
Year round – Lake Houston Park Nature Center events
School year – After School Enrichment Program
Volunteer Opportunities: Oneika McCarthy (832) 395-7030
Publications: Activities Catalog – Winter/Spring Issue Dec 1, Summer Issue
Apr 1,and Fall Issue Aug 1.
Steve Wright, Director
Estella Espinosa, Division Manager, Communications
Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church
Purpose: Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church was chartered in 1960 to serve the growing western suburbs of Houston. Proudly recognized as a Welcoming Congregation (LGBTQ friendly), Emerson Church invites people of all races, ethnicity, ages, gender identities, and sexual orientations to join us. The congregation has the diversity of spiritual beliefs, cultural backgrounds and sexual orientations that make Unitarian Universalism such a dynamic faith.
Programs: The Ministry for Earth group is large and active. This group promotes the seventh principle of the Unitarian Universalist Association: “…to affirm and promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.” They learn about environmental issues; advocate public policies to protect the global environment; act locally in our homes, church and city; and connect spiritually with the web-of-all-existence. Specific programs include the Renewable Congregations Campaign, the Ethical Eating and Environmental Justice series, and Consumption and Sustainability Initiatives.
Learn more at http://www.emersonhouston.org/ministry-for-earth.html.
Volunteer Opportunities: Learn more at http://www.Emersonhouston.org/volunteer
Becky Edmiston-Lange, Co-Pastor
(713) 782-8250 Ext. 125, [email protected]
Mark Edmiston-Lange, Co-Pastor
(713) 782-8250 Ext. 127, [email protected]
Keep Houston Beautiful
Purpose: To achieve sustainable community improvement by providing programs that educate the public, combat blight, prevent litter, minimize waste and beautify Houston’s public spaces.
Programs: Adopt-A-Block and Adopt-A-Ditch Program; weekend cleanups and tool lending library; community beautification and edible community garden projects; civic leader and teacher training workshops. Teacher worksheets are available on the website for classroom use. Speakers are available, contact Amy Reed.
Major Events: Mayor’s Proud Partners
Awards and Luncheon; Great American Cleanup; Keep Houston Beautiful Day; Annual Bar Association Cleanup; Texas Recycles Day; Home Run for Astros Tree Plantings; America Recycles Day.
Children’s Activities: Keep Schools Beautiful Day; Lucky the Ladybug; Storm water Curriculum; Keep America Beautiful’s Water in Place Curriculum.
Volunteer Opportunities: Clean up and beautification weekend workdays, clerical, artists, special event information booths.
Publications: Clean Neighborhoods Manual; Guide to Earth Quilt Gardens; Recycling Activity Book for Kids; A Guide to Creating Environmental Outdoor Learning Centers; Enewsletter; Adopt-an-Esplanade Guide.
Amy Reed, Executive Director
Mike Aden, Warehouse Technician
Planned Parenthood of Houston & SE Texas
Purpose: To ensure the right and ability of all individuals to manage their sexual and reproductive health by providing health services, education, and advocacy. Founded in 1936.
Programs: Teen and Family/Community Education on sexuality and relationships. HIV education and medical services: affordable, preventive reproductive health services provided at 10 health centers in Houston and SE Texas; call (800) 230-PLAN or visit
Major Events: Luncheon to commemorate the Roe vs. Wade decision, January.
Volunteer Opportunities: Assistance is needed in health centers, administration, school programs, and public affairs. Contact Anitra Daniel, Director of Volunteers at (713) 831-6522 or [email protected].
Speakers Bureau: (713) 522-6240 or
Melaney Linton, President and CEO
Rochelle Tafolla, VP Communications and Marketing / Media/Press
Meryl Cohen, VP Education
Levy Park Conservancy
Purpose: Levy Park is a six acre public green space in the Upper Kirby District which recently reopened after a $15 million renovation for the purpose of creating an entertainment and recreation destination for the immediate community and for the people of Greater Houston. The Upper Kirby Redevelopment Authority in partnership with the Upper Kirby District Foundation, funded the renovation and Levy Park’s many public amenities.
Park Amenities: The redeveloped park features curated, year-round programming among native landscaping and botanical gardens and a one of a kind children’s play area. At the Performance Pavilion is the stage and an event lawn that accommodates audiences of up to 3,000 people. The Promenade features a market row, fixed and moveable seating, and power outlets, among tree topiary elements. The Activity Lawn offers space for lawn games, picnicking, as well as a putting green. Additional amenities include tables and chairs, including rocking chairs, a reading room with books and periodicals free to use, outdoor table tennis and foosball, and carts with board games and art supplies. The Play Area offers an overlook boardwalk into the live oak canopy, and interactive garden, a program amphitheater, a climbing wall and community slide, and interactive water features. Levy Park also has a dog park and the community gardens include 27 garden plots and fruit trees.
Programs: Weekly boot camp, yoga, zumba, tai chi, MET Dance for kids and adults, meditation, poetry, events from Young Audiences of Houston, Houston Public Library Story Hour, Houston Museum of Natural Science, lunar and planetary programs, concerts, and film series.
Purpose: To promote the preservation and appreciation of Houston’s architectural and cultural historic resources through advocacy, education, and committed action; thereby creating economic value and developing a stronger sense of community.
Regular Meetings: Walking tours, second Sunday of each month.
Programs: Preservation advocacy, Historic Neighborhoods Council, Realtor programs, heritage education program, heritage tourism promotion, Museum of Houston digital archive and online museum.
Major Events: Good Brick Awards, Jan./Feb.; National Preservation Month Luncheon, May.
Volunteer Opportunities: Tour docents and ticket sellers. Research and photography of buildings.
Speaker’s Bureau: Contact Ramona Davis
Formerly Greater Houston Preservation Alliance.
David Bush; Acting Executive Director
Kathleen Nuzzo, Membership Coordinator
Jim Parsons; Programs Director
Purpose: Blueprint Houston was founded in 2003 to build community support for a coordinated planning process to make improvements to Houston’s quality of life. Blueprint Houston seeks to initiate a coordinated planning process that leads to a general plan for the city’s future, based on citizens’ vision, values, and goals.
Programs: Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Program; Municipal Management District Study; Urban Geography curriculum.
Volunteer Opportunities: Civic Awareness Engagement Committee.
Martha Murphree, Hon. AIA, Executive Director
Council for Environmental Education
Purpose: CEE was founded in 1970 to partner education and natural resource professionals. CEE provides environmental education programs and services that promote stewardship and further the capacity of learners to make informed decisions.
Programs: CEE administers Project WILD and Project WILD Aquatic nationally, and co-sponsors Project Learning Tree and Project WET. WET in the City focuses on urban water issues. Team WET Schools empowers urban youth to become responsible stewards of our water resources. Flying WILD, bird education for middle schools. CEE’s Growing Up WILD, is an early childhood education program that builds on childrens’ sense of wonder about nature and invites them to explore wildlife and the world around them. All WILD programs train educators as well to teach content in the classroom.
Publications: For purchase: Project WILD, WILD School Sites Guide, Taking Action Guide, Exploring School Nature Areas video, WET in the City Spanish Language Student Pages, and Water Watchers: Conserving Water at Your Home and School. Available only through a training workshop: Curriculum and Activity Guides such as Project Wild K-12 Activity Curriculum, Flying WILD, and Science and Civics.
Josetta Hawthorne, Executive Director
Houston Botanic Garden
Purpose: To establish and sustain a premier botanic garden to promote public appreciation and understanding of plants, gardens, and conservation of the natural world through education and scientific enquiry. Through discovery, education and the conservation of plants and the natural environment, the HBG aims to enrich lives, serve as a model for sustainability, and inspire all who visit to become environmental stewards.
Programs: Current programs entail fundraising and implementation of Phase I of the Houston Botanic Garden master plan. Once open, partnerships with area schools and universities will make the garden an exceptional classroom, and HBG looks forward to partnering with garden clubs and many civic organizations across the City of Houston.
Volunteer Opportunities: Contact the general email for volunteer opportunities.
Claudia Gee Vassar, President and General Counsel
Jose L. Leal, Office Manager
Houston History Archives (UH-HHA)
Purpose: Founded 2005 as part of the Houston History Project (now the Welcome Wilson Houston History Collaborative), UH Center for Public History, UH-HHA is a public repository for books, documents, oral histories, and images related to the Houston region’s growth and development from 19th century to present. Particular areas of collection interest include energy development, environmental history and activism, and documentation of Houston’s ethnic diversity and activism. (see websites:
Environmental Collections Open to the Public: The Outdoor Nature Club, Citizens’ Environmental Coalition, Bayou Preservation Association, Scenic Houston, The Park People, the papers of Sarah and Army Emmott, Terry Tarlton Hershey’s papers (a partial accession). Kay B. Crooker Papers, Hana Ginzbarg Papers, Collections still in processing include Terry Tarlton Hershey’s Papers, papers of Dr. David Marrack, Brandt Mannchen, and the Keep Houston Beautiful records.
Consider donating your collections of environmental, city planning, or development history to UH-HHA where records and papers will be preserved, studied, and available to the public. Let your organization’s accomplishments become part of Houston’ history!
Speakers: Presentations on Houston’s environmental past, contact Dr. Teresa Tomkins-Walsh.
Dr. Teresa (Terry) Tomkins-Walsh
Shell Center for Sustainability at Rice U
Purpose: The Shell Center for Sustainability’s mission is to foster an interdisciplinary program of research, outreach, and education to address actions that can be taken to ensure the sustainable development of communities’ living standards, interpreted broadly, to encompass all factors affecting the overall quality of life. In our Vision, the Shell Center for Sustainability is the regional expert in Gulf Coast sustainable development by fostering academic research, outreach and education initiatives in interdisciplinary partnerships and through collaborations that extend outreach from the Florida Keys to the Yucatan Peninsula with strong focus in the Houston and Galveston Region.
Programs: The Center supports faculty research on critical matters such as understanding ozone formation and the impact of invasive species on biodiversity. We foster awareness of sustainability issues among our students by providing unusual opportunities to learn about how diverse elements of society may contribute to the sustainability of our planet.
Events: Land Use Conference, Research, Outreach, Presentations, Reports and Publications.
Publications: Shell Center for Sustainability Annual Report, Quality of Life
Atlas, Sustainable Communities and Public Education. All accessible online.
Speakers: Yes – Video presentations available online.
Dr. John B. Anderson, Academic Director
Lilibeth André, Associate Director
Operations, Administration & Public Relations
Houston Community ToolBank
Purpose: The Houston Community ToolBank is a nonprofit tool lending program that stewards an inventory of tools for lending to charitable organizations to increase the impact of their mission-related efforts in the community. With year-round access to an inventory of tools for use in volunteer projects and facility and grounds maintenance, the ToolBank provide resources to enhance the charitable sector’s capacity to serve, facilitating hands-on volunteerism in the greater Houston area. Access to ToolBank tools eliminates the need for agencies to incur the expense of purchasing, repairing, and storing tools, reducing the costs associated with service projects and allowing these agencies to focus more of their resources on their mission.
Programs: Tools are deployed in many different capacities to organizations with mission critical areas such as community and school gardens, home repair, green space clean-up, tree planting, playground builds, and much more. The ToolBank offers knowledgeable staff to help member organizations plan a productive and positive project experience.
Membership is free and open to all nonprofit/charitable/tax exempt organizations. Members pay a handling fee equal to 3% of the retail value of the tool per week for up to 8 weeks. To become a member, apply online at http://www.houstontoolbank.org/borrow-tools.
Visit http://www.houstontoolbank.org to learn more about the Houston Community ToolBank and its upcoming events.
Erika Hornsey, Executive Director
Dee Wells, Facility & Program Manager
City of Houston Green Building Resource Center
Purpose: To enable the public to experience and learn more about healthy and energy, water, and material conserving design and construction; also known as Green Building.
Programs: The public can have their interim building plans reviewed for opportunities to add green strategies to save energy and water, and make their building healthier. Customers can peruse the shelves and over 50 displays, touch and feel samples, and learn about green building options in a relaxed setting. Free educational seminars (generally) scheduled on the fourth Wednesday evening of the month; check the GBRC calendar on the website.
Tours for groups: Available by appointment for your school field trip or group outings. Student activity package (with answer key for teachers) is available.
Speakers Bureau: Steve is available for speaking engagements.
Volunteer Opportunities: Yes, contact the Program Director to discuss.
Steven M. Stelzer, AIA, LEED AP, Program Director
Energy Corridor District
Purpose: Represent property owners, businesses, and residents in the district, serving as a liaison with local, state, and federal governments and agencies to improve public safety, transportation, parks and trails, and business development to enhance the district.
Meetings: Second Friday of each month in ECD office, 8:30 a.m.
Major Events: Transportation Fairs, 75 Eldridge bus route, Bike to Work Day, ECD Livable Centers Plan, ECD Bicycle Master Plan, Grisby Square Preservation, National Park Service West Houston Trails Master Plan, Spring and Fall Recycling Events.
Clark Martinson, General Manager
Robert Rayburn, Development & Natural Resource Director
Ali Lamkahouan, Finance and Economic Development Manager
Rachel Weaver, Community Relations Coordinator
Buffalo Bayou Partnership
Purpose: Buffalo Bayou Partnership is the Houston non-profit organization revitalizing and transforming Buffalo Bayou, our city’s most significant natural resource. Coordinating the integration of major improvements into the Bayou greenway, the Partnership seeks increased community involvement through pedestrian, boating and biking amenities, art installations, and other natural and built attractions.
Major Events: Buffalo Bayou Regatta, kayak tours, history hikes, walk tours, bat tours, Second Saturday Boat cruises, Twilight tours, Seasonal Cruises, Nights on Blue Bayou events along the Sabine Promenade.
Children’s Activities: Kids’ Day on Buffalo Bayou, Second Saturday Boat Cruises, bat tours and kayak tours. Speakers are available to give presentations to your school classroom or group. Contact Trudi Smith for booking.
Volunteer Opportunities: Monthly Volunteer Day,Tree planting, cleanups, Adopt-A-Spot, help with events, office work.
Anne Olson, President
Trudi Smith, Director of Public Relations and Events
Bayou City Waterkeeper
Purpose: Bayou City Waterkeeper (formerly Galveston Baykeeper) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working to ensure that every waterway is swimmable, fishable, and drinkable from Lake Livingston through the Bayous of Houston down to Galveston Bay. Bayou City Waterkeeper’s mission is to ensure the aquatic integrity of the Lower Galveston Bay watershed by focusing on the protection of wetlands and other critical habitats, advocating for adequate mitigation of lost wetland resources, and enforcing all aspects of compliance with the Clean Water Act.
Bayou City Waterkeeper is a member of the Waterkeeper Alliance, a global environmental movement which began in 1966 with the Hudson River Fisherman’s Association and grew to encompass waterways around the world.
Programs: Pollution Hotline, Wetland Watch, Save Our Gulf.
Volunteer Opportunities: We need citizens to report pollution and possible Clean Water Act violations. We also need administrative, fundraising and community event volunteers.
Publications: The Bay Times, an electronic newsletter.
Speakers Bureau: Pesticides 101, Where Have All the Wetlands Gone? and wetland education to municipalities. Contact website for booking a speaker for your classroom or student group.
Jordan Macha is the Executive Director and Waterkeeper