Houston Environmental News Update October 18, 2017

Many of you may know that Hurricane Harvey delivered more than 4′ of water and almost total devastation to the new space under construction for Architecture Center Houston in the historic 1906 B.A. Riesner building in downtown Houston. The space was within 3 weeks of completion when the storm hit and flood mitigation designed specifically for this type of event was not yet fully installed. While insurance will cover some of the expenses, the American Institute of Architects Houston Chapter is hoping to raise $250,000 to cover the cost of the deductible. If you’d like to help, you can donate directly to the rebuild efforts on gofundme.com. You can also support them by participating in this weekend’s popular AIA Home Tour, or any of a number of upcoming events (such as an annual meeting, walking tours, continuing education, the ArCH Film Festival, and the Gingerbread Build Off).

Another of CEC’s member organizations with an architectural focus is celebrating a notable milestone: publication of the 100th issue of Cite: The Architecture + Design Review of Houston. Congratulations! Copies will be hitting newsstands soon. In the meantime, you can visit OffCite.com, the digital home for the magazine. In addition to archives of past issues, the sight offers an excellent blog, with many recent articles focusing on Harvey and urban planning. Like AIA, RDA offers many events, including an upcoming gala honoring Linda Sylvan on November 11, 2017. (The banner photo, of the 100th Issue, was taken by Allyn West, who edits and writes for Gray Matters at the Houston Chronicle.)

Speaking of organizations with an architectural focus… On October 26, 2017, the City of Houston’s Green Building Resource Center and the Gulf Coast chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council are hosting an educational seminar to discuss the most effective ways we can do to reverse climate change. This foodie event will feature local experts who will discuss the top four of these solutions: Refrigerant Management, Wind Turbines (onshore), Reducing Food Waste, and a Plant-Rich Diet. RSVPs are required for this seminar and space is limited, so sign up soon.

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.



CEC soliciting film submissions
Please consider submitting a short film (under 7 minutes) for possible inclusion in CEC’s Greater Houston Environmental Film Contest on November 15, 2017. Winning entries will be shown at CEC’s showing of the Wild & Scenic Film Festival On Tour on January 24 & 25, 2018.

Support the environment through workplace giving! EarthShare of Texas
Does your employer offer workplace giving? Many companies and businesses that offer workplace giving have charitable campaigns underway. CEC–and several of its member organizations–participate in workplace giving through EarthShare of Texas. Contributions made through these campaigns make a huge difference to the CEC. THANK YOU if you already give!

Check the ESTX website to see if your employer participates. If you would like a speaker to come share information with your workplace or if your employer doesn’t participate, please contact Elizabeth Howley, Business Development Director, EarthShare of Texas: 713-533-8988 or [email protected]earthshare-texas.org.


  1. Bayou Stewardship: From Awareness to Action
    The Bayou Preservation Association is proud to announce the 14th Annual Symposium,  Bayou Stewardship: From Awareness to Action, which will take place on October 19, 2017, at the United Way of Greater Houston beginning at 7:30 AM. The theme, Bayou Stewardship: From Awareness to Action, was planned before Hurricane Harvey struck the region and was originally to focus on how the citizens of the metropolitan Houston area have become more aware of our bayous and how that culture of awareness has led to enhanced efforts to link people to the bayous. Then Harvey came and dramatically changed how Houstonians think about the bayous and our relationship to them. This year’s symposium will continue to examine that relationship and feature a timely post-Harvey keynote conversation with Russ Poppe, Executive Director of the Harris County Flood Control District, John Blount, P.E., Harris County Engineer, and Stephen Costello, City of Houston Chief Resilience Officer. Click here to purchase individual tickets or sponsorships. The event admission includes a coffee service during both a morning and afternoon break along with a catered lunch. The full address for the venue is listed below. United Way of Greater Houston (50 Waugh Drive, Houston, TX 77007).
  2. TAEP Environmental Challenges and Innovations Conference Gulf Coast 2017
    October 19, 2017, at the Hilton Westchase. This one-day event, hosted by the Texas Association of Environmental Professionals, will provide a local forum for environmental professionals in the industry, government agencies, and consulting service companies, as well as university students in the greater Houston area to share technical presentations with their peers. The event will run all day beginning with registration at 7:30 am and ending when the entertainment stops at the end of the evening. In between, we’ll have morning and afternoon snack breaks, a lunchtime keynote speaker, and evening social. More specific details regarding the conference schedule will be made available soon. Topics of presentations in the past have included: Water, Waste and Wastewater, Air, Soil and Sediment, Wetlands, Education and Outreach, Environmental Response to Natural Disasters, Groundwater, Risk Assessment, Sustainability, NEPA, Environmental Management Systems Resources, Auditing Process Safety and Risk Management Programs and more. Learn more at taep.org.
  3. NPSOT Meeting: Powderhorn Ranch
    Just off a quiet stretch of highway in Calhoun County, beyond a nondescript metal gate, lies a 17,000-acre mosaic of dense live oak forests, coastal prairies, salt marshes, and wetlands. This tract, known as Powderhorn Ranch, is one of the largest remaining undisturbed tracts of native coastal prairie habitat left in Texas—and likely the largest conservation deal in the history of Texas. Learn more at the monthly meeting of the Native Plant Society of Texas, Houston Chapter, on October 19, 2017, at 6:45 PM at the Houston Arboretum. Information available at npsot.org.
  4. Picnic for Cullinan Park
    Join Cullinan Park Conservancy for the first “Picnic For the Park” benefit. This event will take place on Friday, October 20, 2017, at 11:30 AM to1 PM at River Pointe Church, located at 5000 Ransom Road, Richmond, Texas 77469. The keynote speaker is renowned wildlife photographer, Dr. Angela McCain, who will share stories of her travels and samples of world famous photographs. Dee Koch will also attend to receive the Nina Cullinan Outstanding Citizen Award. Cullinan Park is a one of a kind, blue-green oasis in the middle of our rapidly growing suburbs, providing habitat for all manner of wildlife, while delivering a respite for human visitors, too. The Conservancy is committed to enhancing the natural beauty of the 754-acre Joseph S. and Lucie H. Cullinan Park for all. For more info or to reserve your sponsorship or ticket, contact Cullinan Park Conservancy Executive Director Angie Wierzbicki at [email protected]ail.com or 281-616-7860.
  5. Fall Planning Workshop for Local Governments, a Houston-Galveston Area Council Event
    Please join the Community and Environmental Planning department for their annual Fall Planning Workshop for Local Governments as they discuss ideas as to how we can make implementation a reality in our communities. The event will take place on Friday, October 20, 2017, from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM. This event will be held at the Houston- Galveston Area Council, located at  3555 Timmons Lane in the Second Floor Conference Rooms. If you have any questions or would like to be involved, please call Amanda Thorin, H-GAC, Community & Environmental Planning Department at 713-627-3200 or email [email protected]
  6. 2018 Houston Solar Tour Volunteer Committee Meeting
    IImage result for hreg logof you’d like to volunteer and help organize the annual Houston Solar Tour, please plan to attend the first Solar Tour Committee Meeting on Friday October 20, 2017, for more information on how to get started. They are looking for 10 or more volunteers to help with different tasks leading up to the tour and will need folks stationed at each house during the tour. This is the biggest event of the year for the Houston Renewable Energy Group, so sign up to get involved.
  7. Image result for bike around the bayBike Around the Bay Benefiting the Galveston Bay Association, Sponsored by Shell
    Join the Galveston Bay Foundation for their 11th annual Bike Around the Bay, a two-day 170-mile fully supported ride around Galveston Bay. This unique cycling event takes riders in a complete loop around the largest estuary in Texas (and one of the biggest in North America)! All proceeds from this signature fundraising ride directly benefit GBF and its mission to preserve and protect the Bay. Register today to ride in Bike Around the Bay 2017, on Saturday-Sunday, October 21-22, 2017. If you can’t come out and bike, please consider making a generous donation to help them reach their goal!
  8. AIA Home Tour
    Open to the public, the AIA Houston Home Tour showcases the finest residential architecture in the Houston area, as designed by licensed architects. Houses are chosen to showcase a variety of design styles demonstrating that excellence in design is not limited by size or dollars. The home tour is a nonprofit fundraiser and supports various AIA Houston initiatives throughout the year. Learn more and purchase tickets at AIAhouston.org.
  9. Energy Day
    Energy Day
    is Houston’s largest FREE family festival showcasing exhibits focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Energy Day will feature exciting exhibits and interactive demonstrations that will teach students and their families about various forms of energy and how through STEM education, they can find an exciting career in the energy industry. With the support of our local schools and energy experts, it’s our hope that students and families who attend can learn something new and develop an interest in STEM education. This event will take place on Saturday, October 21, 2017, from 11 AM – 4 PM at Sam Houston Park.
  10. Nature Discovery Center Pumpkin Patch                                                        Come visit the Nature Discovery Center Pumpkin Patch Saturday & Sunday, October 21 & 22 from 11 AM to 4 PM both days rain or shine. Their Pumpkin Patch fall festival will return to a transformed Russ Pitman Park this fall. Come enjoy the refreshed, updated park as your family picks out the perfect pumpkins for your porch, takes a horse drawn wagon ride, browses vendor stalls, bounces, spins, and climbs on our big attractions, and plays plenty of festival games. Don’t forget to stop by the food trucks for some scrumptious eats and come out for a fun family fall weekend.
  11. Canoe, Creek, and Commissioner Paddle with Bayou Land Conservancy  Kick-off the cooler weather with this smooth paddle up Spring Creek to the beautiful white sand beach where Spring Creek and Cypress Creek meet. Join Harris County Commissioner Pct. 4 Jack Cagle for this fun trip down the beautiful Spring Creek Greenway. Meeting point is at Jones Nature Center (20634 Kenswick Dr, Humble, TX 77338) at 4:00 PM on Saturday, October 21, 2017. We will have a good number of canoes and tandem kayaks available, but you can also bring your own (if bringing your own, please arrive no later than 3:45 PM to offload your boat at the launch site). Registration is required. Canoe, Creek, and Commissioner Paddle will fill up, so make your reservations soon!
  12. STAR Texas Recycling Summit                                        Mark your calendars and register to attend the only conference dedicated entirely to recycling and waste diversion activities in Texas, STAR Texas Recycling Summit. We could not be more excited to be in Austin in October for the 2017, Texas Recycling Summit – and want to see YOU there! The conference will be held at The Doubletree Hotel located at 6505 N I-35 Austin, TX 78752 from Sunday to Wednesday, October 22-25, 2017. This summit is a great opportunity to bring together professionals from the recycling industry to learn, collaborate, meet new people, share successes, and support recycling efforts in Texas.
  13. Al Gore at Rice Univeristy: The Climate Crisis and Extreme Weather
    Rice University, the Office of the President and the Doerr Institute for New Leaders present “The Climate Crisis and Extreme Weather,” a discussion by Al Gore, former vice president of the United States of America, chairman of the Climate Reality Project and board member of the Doerr Institute for New Leaders. The presentation will be followed by a Q&A session where Mr. Gore will answer questions from the Rice University community. This event will be held on Monday, October 23, at 6:30 PM. in the Tudor Fieldhouse at Rice University (6100 Main St., Houston, TX 77005). Admission is free, but seating is limited. Security measures will be in effect, so please arrive at least 45 minutes prior to the presentation to ensure seating. Large bags and backpacks will not be allowed into the event. A related event, a screening of an Incovenient Sequel, will be held later in the week on Friday, October 27, 2017, at the Rice Media Center.
  14. 2017 GridNEXT Annual Conference               TREIA (TEXAS RENEWABLE ENERGY INDUSTRIES ALLIANCE) is taking its annual conference to the NEXT level. Connect with thought leaders and businesses across the Texas energy industry at the 2017 GridNext Annual Conference, being held Monday and Tuesday, October 23 and 24, 2017, in Georgetown, Texas at the Sheraton Georgetown Hotel and Conference Center. Come learn, connect, and innovate with your peers about the latest energy trends and developments. Former Vice President Al Gore will be the special keynote speaker on the opening day of GridNEXT. Gore’s new film, An Inconvenient Sequel features his recent visit to Georgetown, Texas, to talk with city leaders about their successes after converting to 100% renewable energy. For the full agenda of the conference and list of guest speakers, visit www.treia.org/agenda-2017. To save your spot, register online before it’s all gone.
  15. HARC People & Nature–Governor Bill Ritter    On October 24, 2017, from 6:00 to 8:30 PM, HARC will continue its People & Nature Speaker Series featuring an evening with Bill Ritter, Jr., 41st Governor of Colorado and the founder of the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University at the Brown Auditorium at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Governor Ritter will discuss his book, Powering Forward – What Everyone Should Know About America’s Energy Revolution, examining the future of fossil fuels and renewable energy. We hope that you will join us for a thought-provoking and engaging discussion of climate change and the future of the energy industry in the Houston region. Guests are invited to continue the conversation at the post-event reception where Governor Ritter will be signing copies of Powering Forward. To purchase tickets. please visit http://www.harcresearch.org.
  16. Rice Architecture and Rice Design Alliance presents Pliable    The Pliable series features three internationally renowned practitioners who advocate for the immediacy of material investigations and fabrication in architecture, whether low-tech or high-tech, analog or digital. Through their research and design, all three offer up nimble responses to unforeseen material and fabrication challenges and opportunities. On the surface, these three designers are linked by their innovative work with textiles. Upon closer examination, they are reshaping contemporary practice in compelling, provocative ways through material-based research and with repercussions for all design fields. On Wednesday, October 25, 2017, at 7:00 PM, Rice Architecture and Rice Design Alliance present Shelia Kennedy, Professor of Architecture, MIT. The Reception will be sponsored by Luceco/The Woodlands Development Company. Visit  rice.edu to purchase tickets.
  17. GBRC Drawdown: The Top Four
    Drawdown, edited by visionary Paul Hawken, is the 100 MOST SUBSTANTIVE SOLUTIONS TOREVERSE GLOBAL WARMING, based on meticulous research by leading scientists & policymakers around the world. This foodie event, hosted by the Green Building Resource Center and USGBC, will feature the Top 4 of these solutions featuring local professionals that will speak to the scope of each and how they affect this region, and what you could possibly do to participate. The Top Four are Refrigerant Management, Wind Turbines (onshore), Reducing Food Waste, and a Plant-Rich Diet.  Join us to learn about how these possibly surprising complexities affect our climate (as well as a peek at the others) and introduce yourself to this solution-based work. Limited to the first 75 RSVP’s, and CEU’s available. Register at codegreenhouston.org.
  18. Creatures and Cocktails Night Hike .                  Please join the Natural Discovery Center for the Creatures & Cocktails Night Hike on Friday, Oct. 27 at 7 PM. If you are looking for a unique Halloween adventure for adults, we have the program for you! Join naturalist Eric Duran for a celebration of nocturnal nature over drinks at the Nature Discovery Center. We’ll learn spooky stories about night time creatures. With the moon above us we’ll head out into the night to encounter screech owls and other animals that creep, crawl and fly around in the shadows. Adult beverages and snacks will be provided. Register here!
  19. Brays Bayou Invasive Species Round- Up and Carpathon                         Willow Waterhole in cooperation with the Texas Flyfishers presents their second annual Brays Bayou Invasive Species Round-Up and Carpathon on October 28th. The event will be held at Willow Waterhole Greenway at 5300 Dryad. There will be free admission and parking as well as food trucks, a live band, t-shirts and prizes. The competitions begin at 3:00 PM, with Fly Fishing & Conventional Decisions, Fly Casting Competition, Fly Tying & Casting Clinics and an Invasive Species Presentation taking place throughout the day. To learn more, visit willowwaterhole.org.
  20. Houston’s First Repair Cafe                                                                                On Saturday, October 28th from 1:00 to 5:00 PM, please visit Houston’s first Repair Cafe at TX/RX Labs at 205 Roberts Street. A Repair Cafe celebrates fixing through a fun, collaborative, hands-on, fix-n-learn, community event. People bring in their broken items for assessment, disassembly and repair. Bring your tool kit and join to have fun and learn while helping others troubleshoot and fix their broken stuff! Volunteers assess, take apart, and hopefully — REPAIR. Transition Houston is partnering with TX/RX Labs, the City of Houston Green Building Resource CenterHouston Complete CommunitiesCitizens’ Environmental CoalitionTexas Campaign for the Environment, and the Houston Peace and Justice Center in this effort! They invite you to bring in a broken item and meet local people who have offered to share their skills to help you make repairs. If you have nothing to repair, you can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee. Or you can lend a hand with someone else’s repair job. You can also get inspired at the reading table, by leafing through books on repairs and DIY. Acceptable Items to bring include clothing, small appliances as well as tools and blades for sharpening
. Can you volunteer to help with repair or the event? Calling all handywomen, handymen, handy kids, handy teens and families, tinkerers, and sewers! Volunteer to have fun and learn through helping others troubleshoot and fix their broken stuff. Volunteers are also needed on the day of the event as guides and to assist with general coordination. Sign up to participate online at https://repaircafehouston.eventbrite.com.
  21. TV: Texas Parks & Wildlife Broadcast on KUHT Channel 8 at 3:00 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.
  22. Additional Upcoming Events