Houston Environmental News Update May 30, 2018

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act, enacted by Congress and signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968, a direct result of the Trails for America report Johnson had tasked the Department of the Interior to develop three years earlier. “The forgotten outdoorsmen of today are those who like to walk, hike, ride, horseback, or bicycle. For them we must have trails as well as highways,” he said in a 1965 speech. “Old and young alike can participate. Our doctors recommend and encourage such activity for fitness and fun.”

Johnson’s advice a half-century ago is just as relevant today, and residents of the greater Houston area will have no dearth of opportunities to enjoy hiking and biking on Saturday, June 2, 2018, as we mark National Trails Day. Foremost among them may be the city’s burgeoning Bayou Greenways 2020 project, including the massively popular Buffalo Bayou Park and several other newly developed greenways throughout the city. At Memorial Park, you can celebrate while helping clean up the park’s trails. REI is sponsoring a similar event at the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center .

Other regional events will be held at:

Folks can get outside the big city to enjoy any number of other hiking and biking opportunities, including the Lone Star Hiking Trail * at Sam Houston National Forest, 50 miles to the north, and at several nearby state parks. The Hiking Project, an online directory, offers a ranked listing of area trails here. Similar lists are available from trails.com and alltrails.com.

On Tuesday, June 5, we celebrate World Environment Day, an occasion through which the United Nations encourages “worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment.” First held in 1974, the theme for this year’s event is reducing plastic pollution.

Here at home, our world-renowned nondenominational worship space, the Rothko Chapel, will observe World Environment Day at 6 p.m. with a “Twilight Meditation” led by local environmental poet Martha Serpas focusing on “the paradoxes of water.” Attendees are invited to bring an image of water to place inside the Chapel upon entering for the meditation. For more information and to RSVP, visit rothkochapel.org.

And speaking of water, stay tuned for next week’s newsletter featuring a wrap-up of area activities marking World Oceans Day!

* The banner photo above is just a tiny bit of the 129-mile Lone Star Hiking Trail, a National Recreation Trail, which meanders the breadth of the Sam Houston National Forest.


HAAPIFEST: Poisoning Paradise film
CEC is pleased to be a promotional partner and panelist for the June 5, 2018, showing of Poisoning Paradise as part of the Houston Asian American Pacific Islander Film Festival. Journey to the seemingly idyllic world of Native Hawaiians, whose communities are surrounded by experimental test sites for genetically engineered seed corn and pesticides sprayed upwind of their homes, schools, hospitals, and shorelines. Discover what’s at stake for Hawaii from local activists, scientific experts and healthcare professionals as they expose the effects of environmental injustice on a local population. Join the international debate about pesticides that is raging around the world, as well as the people’s movement to hold corporations and governments accountable for poisoning planet Earth. The Festival begins on May 31, and runs through June 8, 2018.

Houston Green Film Series: Evolution of Organic

Please join CEC, the Houston Green Film Series, Rice Media Center, and additional partners for Evolution of Organic on Wednesday, June 20, 2018. Arrive at 6:30 for conversation, networking, and a light meal. We’ll begin the film promptly at 7:00. Mark Kitchell’s Evolution of Organic brings us the story of organic agriculture, told by those who built the movement. Not just a history, the film looks forward to exciting and important futures: the next generation who are broadening organic; what lies “beyond organic”; and carbon farming and sequestration as a solution to climate change – maybe the best news on the planet. Learn more on Facebook.

On July 18, plant to join us for STRAWS, in recognition of Plastic Free July.

Please save the date–or even better, register–for CEC’s Greater Houston Environmental Summit on Friday, August 10, 2018.

Annually, CEC hosts a networking and learning event for the extraordinary people who work at or are interested in the work of environmental organizations in the greater Houston region.

This year’s program includes:

  • Excellent Keynote and Featured Speakers: Will be announced soon!
  • Table Talks: Small group discussions with experts on a variety of topics related to our post-Harvey theme, including impacts on our air and water quality, environmental justice initiatives, wildlife and landscape conservation, and efforts to build resiliency for our future.  A cross between a breakout session and speed networking.
  • Exhibit tables from CEC member groups and local businesses. (See the registration page to reserve your exhibit table.)
  • Delicious, locally-grown food from Pat Greer’s Kitchen.
  • A few surprises 🙂

Further event details are provided on the Eventbrite Registration page.

Volunteer Internships with CEC Houston

CEC hopes to hire several volunteer interns this summer, with meaningful work, a mentorship program, field trips, flexible hours, and a constant supply of chocolate. If you or someone you know is interested, please send a resume to [email protected] will start introducing you to our interns later this week.

CEC is looking to collaborate with our community to provide opportunities for interns–both CEC’s interns and interns with our member organizations–to learn about the issues and initiatives that make our environmental community so vibrant and important. If you would be willing to provide a tour or mentoring meeting with some amazing interns, or if you have an intern who might be interested in participating in such opportunities, please contact [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. Houston Cities H2O Challenge kicks off June 4
    As part of a regional effort to conserve our water supplies, Galveston Bay Foundation, in partnership with the Texas Living Waters Project, The Woodlands Joint Powers Agency and the City of Pearland, is launching the Houston Cities H20 Challenge on June 4, 2018. The Challenge, which runs through September 28, is a friendly competition designed to engage area residents and businesses in water conservation.The Houston Cities H2O Challenge invites all to take the pledge to conserve water for the Bay through various actions, such as tracking water usage or learning how to efficiently water outdoor landscapes. For more information, visit gbwb.org.
  2. Gulf Coast Green: RESILIENCE
    On June 1, 2018, the Houston chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) will host the Gulf Coast Green 2018 Symposium and EXPOnential at the Moody Center for the Arts at Rice University, bringing like-minded green building professionals together to experience next-generation sustainable and resilient building solutions. This year’s theme is “RESILIENCE: Beyond Recovery.” For more information (including a full list of speakers) and to register, visit aiahouston.org.
  3. Spring Creek Nature Trail Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony
    On June 1, 2018, from 9-10 a.m., the Bayou Land Conservancy will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new, 13-mile Spring Creek Nature Trail, at 1118 Pruitt Road, The Woodlands. Refreshments will be provided. RSVP to [email protected] For more information, visit bayoulandconservancy.org.
  4. “Long-Term Economic Recovery and Resilience” workshop
    On June 1, 2018, from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m., the Houston-Galveston Area Council will host a workshop on “Long-Term Economic Recovery and Resilience,” designed to connect local governments and communities impacted by Hurricane Harvey with resource agencies. Representatives from numerous federal and state agencies will be on hand at the workshop, which will be held at the H-GAC offices, 3555 Timmons Lane. Lunch will be provided. For more information and to register, visit constantcontact.com.
  5. Mushroom Walk at Little Thicket Nature Sanctuary
    On June 2, 2018, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., the Native Plant Society of Texas – Houston Chapter and the Outdoor Nature Club will host a Mushroom Walk at the Little Thicket Nature Sanctuary in the San Jacinto National Forest. For more information, visit meetup.com.
  6. “Exploring the Deep Ocean with NOAA” educators workshop
    Educators for grades 6-12 are invited to join National Oceanic and Atmospheric
    Administration’s (NOAA’s) Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) staff to learn more about the importance of ocean exploration, current exploration technologies, and recent deep-sea discoveries during a day-long workshop on June 23, 2018 at The DoSeum in San Antonio. Registration (deadline June 1) is required and space is limited. For more information, see the flyer or visit oceanexplorer.noaa.gov.
  7. Public Meeting for Coastal Heritage Preserve
    On June 2, 2018, from 9-10:30 a.m., Artist Boat will share the full vision for the Coastal Heritage Preserve and the Gulf Coast Educational Center.  Artist Boat will present the public education and access plan, habitat management plan, and accomplishments to date of the Coastal Heritage Preserve.  Learn more about the status of the remaining acreage of Marquette and Anchor Bay still at stake for future development. The meeting will take place at Galveston Country Club, 14228 Stewart Road. A light breakfast will be served. RSVP to Candace Jones, [email protected]artistboat.org or 409-770-0722.
  8. White Oak Bayou Fish-Off
    On June 2, 2018, from 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m., the White Oak Bayou Association is hosting its White Oak Bayou Fish-Off in conjunction with Friends of Woodland Park’s “Happy Trails and Hot Dogs” event at Woodland Park, 212 Parkview Drive. Sign-in is from 8-9 a.m., with fish turn-in at 11 a.m. and award presentations at 12:30 p.m. Suggested donation of $5 per family/group. For more information, visit whiteoakbayou.org.
  9. Free Family Fishing Day at Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge
    On June 2, 2018, from 9-11 a.m., Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge and the Friends of Trinity River Refuge will host the annual “Free Family Fishing Day”  at the Champion Lake Public Use Area.  It is the one day in the state of Texas that anyone can fish or crab without a license on public waters.  Fishing poles and bait will be provided for those who need it along with experienced fishermen who can help children with baiting hooks and casting techniques. All ages are invited to this free event. Champion Lake is located at the end of CR 417, two miles east of FM 1409 in southern Liberty County. This is approximately 10 miles south of Dayton from Highway 90 or about 6 miles north of I-10 at the Cove exit (FM 565). Call the Refuge office at 936/336-9786 for more information. 
  10. BIG Spring Meeting at H-GAC
    On June 5, 2018, from 1-3 p.m., the Houston-Galveston Area Council is hosting the BIG (Bacteria Implementation Group) Spring Meeting to assess plan implementation, review progress on improving water quality in the region, and consider changes to the BIG Implementation Plan. For more information and to register, visit constantcontact.com.
  11. San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund Site Community Meeting
    On June 5, 2018, from 6:30-8 p.m., the Environmental Projection Agency, in cooperation with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and other federal, state, Harris County and local officials, are hosting a community meeting for the San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund site. The meeting will be held at the Highlands Community Center, 604 Highland Wood Drive. For more information, visit epa.gov.
  12. Texas’ Own Coral Reefs: Weathering the Storm
    On June 5, 2018, beginning at 6:30 p.m., the Houston Museum of Natural Science will present a lecture by Rice University ecology professor Dr. Adrienne Correa called “Texas’ Own Coral Reefs: Weathering the Storm,” examining how extreme weather events impact the coral reefs off Texas’ coast in the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit hmns.org.
  13. National Marine Sanctuaries Foundation Webinar: Dolphin Tales
    On June 6, 2018, from 5-6 p.m., the National Marine Sanctuaries Foundation will present a webinar titled “Dolphin Tales,” focusing on the biology and ecology of dolphins, current threats, and how technology is helping us learn about their occurrence and distribution. For more information and to register, visit gotowebinar.com.
  14. “Chasing Coral” screening with NOAA’s Emma Hickerson
    On June 6, 2018, beginning at 6 p.m, the Houston Museum of Natural Science will present a screening of the documentary “Chasing Coral,” which chronicles a team of divers, photographers and scientists on a mission to solve the mystery of the globe’s vanishing coral reefs (see the trailer). The screening will include a discussion with Emma Hickerson, a researcher at NOAA’s Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit hmns.org.
  15. “Flooding in Southeast Texas: The Science Behind the Floods” conference
    From June 6-7, 2018, the Houston Geological Society is coordinating an in-depth workshop on flooding in Southeast Texas, an opportunity for stakeholders including homeowners, environmental professionals, businesses, and citizen groups to learn technical background on key issues such as storms, climate, hydrology, flooding, and flood mitigation techniques. The conference will include speakers from area governments, academia, and industry. The $200 cost includes registration, meals and coffee, and 16 professional development hours. For more information (including a full schedule) and to register, visit. hgs.org.
  16. Houston Community Land Trust Conference
    On June 7, 2018, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University will host the Houston Community Land Trust Conference. The conference will include a keynote speech by Tony Pickett, CEO of Grounded Solutions Network, the nationwide membership organization that works to provide permanently affordable housing solutions to build and preserve communities where everyone can live. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.com.
  17. HMNS Family Festival – World Oceans Day
    On June 8, 2018, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., the Houston Museum of Natural Science will host a family festival celebrating World Oceans Day, featuring a “dive” on life-size 2D coral reefs of the Gulf of Mexico with Rice University’s Dr. Adrienne Correa, along with presentations by Rice’s Department of Earth Science. At various hands-on stations, researchers from several organizations will share their appreciation for the oceans and marine life and ways we can help in their conservation. Free with paid museum admission. For more information, visit hmns.org.
  18. Artist Boat World Oceans Day Festival
    On June 8, 2018, from 4:30-8 p.m., Artist Boat will host its annual World Oceans Day Festival at Stewart Beach in Galveston. Local, regional, and state organizations will come together to provide engaging activities to help visitors understand the human connection to the ocean and the 2018 focus on “Plastic Pollution Prevention.” The event will feature a marine debris art contest, live entertainment, and more. For more information, visit artistboat.org.
  19. Mercer Botanic Gardens Children’s Garden Grand Opening
    On June 9, 2018, from 9 a.m.-noon, Mercer Botanic Gardens in Harris County Precinct 4 will hold the grand opening of its new Children’s Garden. This area was designed to help connect children to plants through hands-on learning opportunities. It includes sensory plants, a “plant zoo”, and water features. For more information, visit the Facebook event.
  20. World Oceans Day at Houston Zoo
    On June 9, 2018, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Houston Zoo will host a World Oceans Day event where families can learn how to help keep the oceans healthy. The event will include information about marine debris and sustainable seafood, a live DJ and opportunities to learn about how to save sea lions. The event is free with zoo admission. For more information, visit houstonzoo.org.
  21. Environment Texas seeks support for “Wildlife Over Waste”
    Environment Texas is seeking the public’s support for its “Wildlife Over Waste” campaign to ban polystyrene foam (commonly known as Styrofoam), considered among the most harmful forms of plastic pollution. For more information about the campaign, visit environmenttexas.org.
  22. 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.

    • Helping fish find food and shelter in Northeast Texas reservoirs
    • Stewarding Harris Ranch for two decades
    • Managing mobile device security and operability for TPWD

Additional Upcoming Events