Houston Environmental News Update June 16, 2021

Pollinator Week, Common Insects of Texas, Daylight Hour, Virtual Plant Sale, Picnic in the Park, Wild InSight Photo Contest, Houston Climate Justice Museum, Lord of the Roots, Green Jobs and more

National Pollinator Week, celebrated in 2021 from June 21-27, marks a time to recognize pollinators and ensure they are protected. From bees to butterflies, these creatures may be small in size, but their impact is substantial. 

Without pollinators, there would be no gardens, fields, or farms. Approximately 4,000 species of bees pollinate wild plants across a diverse range of North American ecosystems. Three-fourths of the world’s flowering plants depend on animal pollinators. Life without pollinators means life without color. 

Take a look and see how local organizations are contributing to the welfare of pollinators:

Photo by Camia Lowman, shared on urbanharvest.org
  • To learn about gardening for pollinators, such as which plants and flowers the butterflies are attracted to, register for this on-demand webinar from Urban Harvest: Gardening for Pollinators and Bees
  • Educator Camia Lowman curates houstonnativebees.org, a website that provides information, curriculum, and resources to help educate and empower pollinator allies and promotes the development of pollinator pathways throughout the metropolitan area and connecting across states. 
  • The Woodlands Township is hosting its Second Annual Pollinator BioBlitz. The township also encourages individuals to register their yard as a “Pollinator Garden,” to raise awareness for the importance of pollinator’s habitats. 
  • The prairie Pollinator Pathways project of the Houston Zoo works with the community to create strategically located gardens that expand and link existing areas of pollinator habitats starting at the campus of the Johnson Space Center.  
  • The focus of the Texas Beekeepers’ Association is about the honey bee, it’s survival and management.  Everyone who cares about the plight of the honey bee and who understands the great need to preserve this master pollinator is welcome to join the Association. 
  • The mission of Texan by Nature’s Bee a Solution is to support the threatened honeybee population through actively contributing in the apiculture industry by creating stationary pollinator habitats, migrating colonies for pollination, and sustainably producing honey for sale.
  • The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation also provides information about protecting pollinators.
Eastern migratory monarch overwintering population graph by Center for Biological Diversity

The monarch butterfly is a special pollinator, and not just because it is the State Butterfly of Texas. Every year, monarch butterflies undertake a one-thousand mile journey from Mexico to the north only to return back to Mexico. This migration is a phenomena considering no monarch would live for the entire journey. The population eastern monarchs has declined by more than 80% over the past two decades, and 26% compared to 2020, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. Learn more about Monarch efforts in our region:

Hectonichus, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

CEC NOTES

Professional Development Opportunities for Teachers

Engage your students with lessons outdoors. Over 30 workshops are in the regional summer professional development calendar to connect you with local resources. Sign up today at hereinhouston.org.


Environmental Educators Exchange Social

All are welcome to join the Environmental Educators Exchange for an afternoon of nature journaling and networking on June 25 at 3:30 p.m. at the Pinspiration store, 3004 Yale Street. RSVP to Alicia at amein@hcp4.net, as space is limited. The $30 cost includes all materials, and one hour of CPE credit is available. Invite a friend to learn more about the use of nature journals with children. This is also a great chance to meet informal educators around Houston, plan the fall conference for the Texas Association for Environmental Education, and strategize on a variety of ongoing projects. We work better together – so join us!


Mid-Year Survey: What’s up with our environment?

At the beginning of each year, we ask you to peer into the future and predict, wish, and pledge about our environment. We are halfway through the year, and we invite you to look to both the past and the future. Please let us know what you think have been the most significant environmental issues and events in the Houston region, what you predict and hope for the future, and how you plan to make a difference. Food for thought: new president, the Texas Legislature, freezing weather, environmental equity and racism, milestones, small wins, excellent journalism, voting rights…

Engage with Environmental Interns

CEC invites members of the environmental community to speak with our summer interns about career paths, advice, policy, DEI, leadership, and environmental topics. If you are willing to share your story with our interns, please reach out to rachel@cechouston.org. If you have environmental interns this summer, we invite your interns to participate in these opportunities as well as socially-distanced, outdoor field trips; email rachel@cechouston.org for more info. CEC has a limited number of openings for summer interns. Learn more at cechouston.org.


Please scroll down to read about public engagement opportunities and notes from our member organizations and the community.

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Houston Environmental News Update June 9, 2021

Peer into the future, World Ocean Day Festival, Picnic on the Prairie, Hotter Than Hell Big Day, Drive-Thru Rain Barrel Workshop, Green Jobs and more

Screech Owl_0125 Photo courtesy Texas Parks and Wildlife Department © 2008

At the beginning of each year, we ask you to peer into the future and predict, wish, and pledge about our environment. We have shared some of your responses, below.

We are halfway through the year, and we invite you to look to both the past and the future. Please let us know what you think have been the most significant environmental issues and events in the Houston region, what you predict and hope for the future, and how you plan to make a difference. Food for thought: new president, the Texas Legislature, freezing weather, environmental equity and racism, milestones, small wins, excellent journalism, voting rights…

In January, you predicted what issues or events might be of importance to the greater Houston region’s environmental community in 2021:

  • Reframing Houston as an energy hub powered by fossil fuels to an energy hub sourced from renewables
  • Solving the inequities of urban heat around the greater Houston area
  • Implementing and regionalizing the Houston Climate Action Plan (especially tree planting and other long-term strategies)
  • Police Reform
  • Applying pressure to NRG to take the coal burners out of service at WA Parish.
  • Plans of the legislature to strip local control & to further reduce voting rights
  • Flood and climate resilience through conversion of traditional landscaping to native plants, riparian corridors along bayous & streams
  • Establishing urban prairies on utility rights of way
  • Many more electric vehicle charging stations

You told us what headlines would you like to see about the Houston environment in 2021:

  • Greater Houston Partnership urges switch to renewables
  • Energy and transportation carbon emissions on downward trend, plans to continue trend in 2021
  • Diesel and gasoline sales decrease 20%, air quality improves.
  • Houston sees the opportunity in the climate crisis.
  • The City of Houston moves to implement climate action plan
  • Houston ISD commits to 100% renewable energy
  • 50% of Climate Action Plan has been implemented
  • TxDOT highway expansion plans are discarded for public mass transit redesign
  • Fossil fuel industry starts switching renewable energy in a big way

You shared with us how you planned to make a difference this year:

  • Go Solar
  • Join an organization, on my university campus or in Houston, and contribute, speak, and show up to lower Houston’s environmental harm and help those who suffer the most from the existing harm.
  • Thinking where I can make lower impact choices.
  • As a member of the Houston Climate Movement
  • I am engrossed in Kiva.org, lending small amounts to micro-entrepreneurs in developing countries. I point out the loans that are good for our climate. Water filters, improved wood stoves, tiny solar etc.
  • I volunteer with Citizens’ Climate Lobby, advocating for state and national climate policy.
  • Implement several of Houston’s Climate Action Plan recommendations
  • Influence as many as I can to help the environment.
  • Continue to lobby City & H-GAC
  • Lobby for climate change legislation
  • Educate people about native plants

CEC NOTES

Professional Development Opportunities for Teachers

Engage your students with lessons outdoors. Over 30 workshops are in the regional summer professional development calendar to connect you with local resources. Sign up today at hereinhouston.org.


Environmental Educators Exchange Social

All are welcome to join the Environmental Educators Exchange for an afternoon of nature journaling and networking on June 25 at 3:30 p.m. at the Pinspiration store, 3004 Yale Street. RSVP to Alicia at amein@hcp4.net, as space is limited. The $30 cost includes all materials, and one hour of CPE credit is available. Invite a friend to learn more about the use of nature journals with children. This is also a great chance to meet informal educators around Houston, plan the fall conference for the Texas Association for Environmental Education, and strategize on a variety of ongoing projects. We work better together – so join us!


Engage with Environmental Interns

CEC invites members of the environmental community to speak with our summer interns about career paths, advice, policy, DEI, leadership, and environmental topics. If you are willing to share your story with our interns, please reach out to rachel@cechouston.org. If you have environmental interns this summer, we invite your interns to participate in these opportunities as well as socially-distanced, outdoor field trips; email rachel@cechouston.org for more info. CEC has a limited number of openings for summer interns. Learn more at cechouston.org.


Please scroll down to read about public engagement opportunities and notes from our member organizations and the community.

Continue reading

National Wildlife Refuge System seeks Multimedia Intern

The National Wildlife Refuge System is seeking a Multimedia Intern to work with Houston Community Partnerships & Engagement staff to develop digital media products for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Southwest Region, including Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. Duties include creating videos and other digital media/outreach tools to highlight wildlife conservation successes and challenges in the Southwest Region; developing graphics and infographics; and helping build and maintain a multimedia library. This position will serve a four-state area but will be based out of Houston. The expected dates of the internship are August 9, 2021 to February 6, 2022. For full job description and application instructions, visit thesca.org.