Houston Environmental News Update November 24, 2021

Turkey Foot grass & prairies, fried turkeys, Thanks, Understanding Houston data, Buffalo Bayou exhibition, Plastic Reduction Workgroup, Tree-rific Volunteers, All Creation Waits, Green Jobs and more

Turkeyfoot, AKA Andropogon gerardi or Big Bluestem (c) Aaron Tjelmeland, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC) (cropped)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Last year, we brought you the Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura or “cleansing breeze). In 2019, we introduced the vegeturkey. Before that, plain ol’ wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo).

Big Bluestem Turkeyfoot Photo 160283453, (c) Bethany Foshee, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC)

This year? Turkeyfoot, a native bunch grass also known as Big Bluestem or Andropogon gerardi.

The grass’s seedhead typically has three parts (“racemes”) that are thought to resemble a turkey’s foot. It can also be identified by its blue-green–or, in winter, russet–stems that are 4-8 feet tall (with roots of a similar length).

Big bluestem/Turkeyfoot is one of the ‘big four’ grasses that are characteristic of native prairies in the region. The other three grasses are Indiangrass, Switchgrass, and Little Bluestem. Before the mid- 1800’s about one million acres of native prairie stretched across the Gulf coast from Louisiana to south Texas. Today, less than 1% of this unique and highly endangered ecosystem remains.

The restoration of prairie lands restores life and provides numerous benefits for the land, people and wildlife.  Prairies slow down floodwater, filter stormwater run-off, sequester carbon, and are home to hundreds of grasses and other species.

Groups active in prairie conservation & education

Katy Prairie Conservancy – A nonprofit land trust that protects over 20,000 acres of prairie west of Houston.
Coastal Prairie Partnership – A collaborative group working to unite the prairie community.
Houston Audubon Society – Grows prairie plants and manages several prairie preserves.
Native Prairies Association of Texas – Houston Chapter – A volunteer group dedicated to the protection of Lawther-Deer Park Prairie and to advocacy of local prairies. This includes a robust education program.
Texas Parks & Wildlife – Manages several prairies at local state parks including Sheldon Lake, Brazos Bend SP, and Galveston Island State Park.
The Nature Conservancy of Texas – Protects the Nash Prairie and Texas City Prairie Preserve among others.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service – Protects and manages Attwater Prairie Chicken and Brazoria NWR.
Memorial Park Conservancy – Incorporating native prairie plants in the the Land Bridge and Prairie Project in the park



Giving Thanks–for YOU!

You care about our environment–whether it’s our air, water, energy, climate, justice, plants, animals, or the future. If you are reading CEC’s newsletter, you probably care about all of them. We are grateful that you are part of our community, and for everything you are doing to protect and improve our environment. It is your concern for our environmental community that motivates the CEC to continue its important work. On behalf of the CEC, thank you for caring and making a difference!

With the support of readers like you, the CEC has been able to

These are just a few of the many ways we support the Houston/Gulf Coast environmental community–but we have much more to do! You play a vital role in each of our successes. You can support our work in many ways: share the newsletter with friends, attend our events, or make a donation (on GiveLively or by sending a check to CEC, PO Box 702, Houston, TX 77001). We are grateful for your support.

In conjunction #GivingTuesday (through December 7), you can use Double the Donation to find out whether your company will match your donation.

CEC Programs Committee – Call for Volunteers!

Do you love CEC’s Green Films events? Are you passionate about the Earth Day Houston festival? Is local environmental education an important part of your work? If so, please consider joining CEC’s Programs Committee to help plan and build these exciting programs for the upcoming year. Email paige@cechouston.org to get connected.

Professional Development Opportunities for Teachers

Engage your students with lessons outdoors or virtually. Sign up today at hereinhouston.org.

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

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Texas Solar Energy Society seeks Director of Development

The Texas Solar Energy Society is the preeminent statewide organization developing independent, fact-based educational materials that inspire innovation, share best practices and educate decision-makers on the critical importance of sound, favorable solar policies that will grow the industry; protect clean air; build healthy, resilient communities; support local, well-paying jobs; and lay the foundation for building a strong solar foundation for a 100% clean energy future for Texas. TXSES is seeking an experienced, self-motivated, and innovative development expert to provide strategic direction and oversight of the organization’s development operations, including prospect research, corporate and foundation relations, government grants, annual giving, donor, funder and membership stewardship and grant reporting tracking. Reporting to TXSES’s Executive Director, the Director of Development will strengthen and expand TXSES’s fundraising program, which establishes and maintains mutually beneficial relationships with foundation, government and corporate partners and individual donors. The Director will develop and implement fundraising strategies to support our mission and revenue goals, guided by established metrics. This is a part-time position and is a new staff role in the organization. For the full job description and application instructions, visit txses.org.

Artist Boat seeks Director of Development and Communications

Artist Boat is seeking a Director of Development and Communications who will be responsible for joining the Executive Director and Board in continuing to set the vision and strategy to advance the fundraising and communications efforts of support an annual $1.25 million dollar budget that serves over 18,000 participants annually, the ambitious Be One In A Million public campaign for land to raise $10 million dollars from one million donors, and the final efforts to save another 500 acres and achieve the vision of the education center. All totaled the full vision is an estimated $38 million dollar capital project. This position will have a focus on expanding the base of major gifts, foundation philanthropic support, and corporate donors. Applications are due by December 3, 2021, with an anticipated start date between December 3, 2021 and January 5, 2022. For the full job description and application instructions, visit artistboat.org.