Houston Environmental News Update June 6, 2018

On Friday, June 8, 2018, people all around the globe will celebrate World Oceans Day, first observed in 1992 following the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (or the Earth Summit), in Rio de Janeiro. World Oceans Day was officially recognized by the U.N. General Assembly in 2008, and is promoted internationally by the World Ocean Network and in the U.S. by The Ocean Project. This year, the theme for the occasion is preventing plastic pollution, a scourge all too prevalent in our region’s streams, rivers, bayous and, of course, Galveston Bay, our connection to the oceans.

Here in the greater Houston region have several opportunities to celebrate the oceans through educational and fun ways, all geared toward families.

First up, on Friday, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., the Houston Museum of Natural Science will host a Family Festival, 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. For more information, visit hmns.org.

Also on Friday, from 4:30-8 p.m., Artist Boat will host its annual World Oceans Day Festival at Galveston’s Stewart Beach. Local, regional, and state organizations will come together to provide engaging activities to help visitors understand the human connection to the ocean. The event will feature a marine debris art contest, live entertainment, and more. For more information, visit artistboat.org.

Also on the island, Moody Gardens is hosting a two-day celebration, beginning on Friday with a free screening of the documentary Chasing Coral, with discussion with staff from NOAA’s Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (our local coral reef). On Saturday, the new film Oceans: Our Blue Planet 3D will open, including opportunities to hear about a new 3-year Coral Research Program with Rice University; and several free oceanic themed activities geared toward kids (K-12) inside the Aquarium Pyramid. For more information, visit moodygardens.com.

On Saturday, 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. For more information, visit houstonzoo.org.


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.

Internships with CEC Houston

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. New (and familiar) faces among Houston environmental leadership
    The greater Houston environmental community is a vibrant one, and we benefit from having a very large pool of talent to draw upon to lead the many organizations that work to protect the environment and promote and preserve our natural wonders and our built environment. In recent weeks, we’ve had several big announcements among leaders taking up new mantles.
    At the Houston-Galveston Area Council, the council of governments for the 13-county region, Chuck Wemple has been named as Executive Director, taking over the reins from Jack Steele, who retired after serving as E.D. for 45 years. Wemple, formerly H-GAC’s Chief Operating Officer, brings over 15 years of experience in the fields of economic development, disaster recovery, regional resiliency, and community and environmental planning to his new role.
    At the Armand Bayou Nature Center, Tim Pylate has recently been named Executive Director, taking over from Tom Kartrude, who is now Director of Special Projects. Tim has more than 17 years of experience in the international non-profit sector with more than 15 years of senior management experience, including stints at Forgotten Angels, the ARC of the Gulf Coast, and the National Math and Science Initiatives, Inc.
    And Bike Houston has recently named Clark Martinson as its new Executive Director, effective July 1. Clark is well-known in the region from his long service as executive director of the Energy Corridor. Clark has more than 30 years experience in architecture, urban design and community development involving diverse interests in needs assessments, visioning, goal setting, establishing objectives, programs and strategies to create excellent places.
  2. Houston Cities H2O Challenge continues through September 28
    The Houston Cities H20 Challenge, sponsored by the Galveston Bay Foundation, in partnership with the Texas Living Waters Project, The Woodlands Joint Powers Agency and the City of Pearland, continues through September 28. The Challenge 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.
  3. Harris County Flood Control District Bond Program meetings
    Harris County Commissioners Court plans to call a bond election for August 25, 2018, for the Harris County Flood Control District. Registered voters in Harris County will be asked to vote on what could be $2.5 billion in bonds for flood risk reduction projects throughout the county. HCFCD is hosting a series of community engagement meetings, geared toward the county’s various watersheds, to gather input in order prepare an effective flood damage reduction program for the region at hcfcd.org. Numerous community engagement meetings are being planned, and currently include:

    • June 7, Bay Area Community Center (Armand Bayou)
    • June 12, White Oak Conference Center (White Oak Bayou)
  4. Deadlines extended for Environmental Analysis program at Rice University
    Rice University’s Professional Science Master’s program has extended the deadlines to apply for its Environmental Analysis program for Fall 2018. For information about the program, contact [email protected] or visit www.profms.rice.edu.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Walkable Places pilot program public planning meetings
    The City of Houston is hosting a series of public planning meetings for its pilot projects on transforming several communities into Walking Places. Among them are Emancipation Avenue on June 9; the Near Northside on June 11; and Midtown on June 14. Visit the linked Facebook events for details.
  8. Verisolar Southwest Houston Solar Tour
    On June 9, 2018, from 9:30-11:30 a.m., Verisolar, an installer of residential solar systems, invites you to a free tour of live solar systems homes in Southwest Houston where you can learn more about residential solar energy. The tour begins at the 11419 Dover Street. For more information and to RSVP, visit eventbrite.com.
  9. “Walk Gently on Earth” discussion
    On June 10, 2018, from 1:30-3 p.m., the Interfaith Environmental Network of Greater Houston will present a talk by Imaad Khan of the Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy called “Walk Gently on Earth,” based on the interfaith climate declaration made in Fall 2017 at the UN Conference on Climate Change in Bonn, Germany. The discussion will take place at Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church, 1900 Bering Drive, and via webinar. For more information and to RSVP, visit eventbrite.com.
  10. EPA Region 6 Environmental Justice Forum
    On June 12-13, 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 Office of Environmental Justice, Tribal, and International Affairs will host a 1.5-day Environmental Justice Forum at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Dallas. For more information (including a full agenda and list of speakers) and to RSVP, visit eventbrite.com.
  11. Ecological Engineering: Addressing Uncertainty in a Dynamic World
    From June 12-14, 2018, the American Ecological Engineering Society will hold its Annual Meeting at the Hilton Post Oak in Houston with the theme “Ecological Engineering: Addressing Uncertainty in a Dynamic World”. The event will examine ecological engineering through the lens of scientists, practitioners, policy makers, and society to advance the development of sustainable ecosystems, while fostering education and outreach in a constantly changing world. For more information, including a full agenda and list of speakers, visit aees2018.uga.edu.
  12. Orientation for McGovern Centennial Gardens Volunteers
    Anyone interested in joining the volunteer team at Hermann Park’s Centennial Gardens is invited to attend an orientation on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 from 9:30-10:30 a.m. to learn about volunteer opportunities and the history of Hermann Park Conservancy. Following the orientation, there will be a short tour of the Gardens. For more information and to register, visit hermannpark.org.
  13. “Designing, Planning and Paying for Resilience”
    On June 14, 2018, from 7-8 p.m., the Greater Houston Flood Mitigation Consortium and the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University will host a panel discussion titled “Designing, Planning and Paying for Resilience.” Leading national experts will discuss flood mitigation strategies, how these strategies interact with broader planning efforts and communities and how to best pay for this work. The event will take place at the BioScience Research Collaborative, 6500 Main Street. For more information and to register, visit kinder.rice.edu.
  14. H-GAC seeks comments on West Fork Watershed Protection Plan
    H-GAC recently released the draft Watershed Protection Plan for the West Fork San Jacinto River and Lake Creek watersheds. The draft is available at westforkwpp.com under the project documents tab. This document, based on scientific analysis and local knowledge, identifies water quality priorities and provides a list of voluntary solutions to improve water quality in the area. H-GAC will accept comments through Friday, June 15. For more information or to provide comments, contact Justin Bower at 713-499-6653.
  15. Strengthening Coastal Counties Resilience Challenge applications due June 15
    The National Association of Counties’ Strengthening Coastal Counties Resilience Challenge invites coastal counties from the Gulf of Mexico region with populations of less than 250,000 – and the communities within and surrounding them – to form multidisciplinary teams to apply to receive technical assistance. Teams that submit winning applications will receive financial support to attend an in-person, 2 ½-day training and peer exchange workshop from October 15-17, 2018, in Baldwin County/Fairhope, Alabama. For more information, visit naco.org.
  16. 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.

    • Discovering the Lone Star Hiking Trail
    • Reviving Three Mile Creek
    • Alamito Creek, a small oasis

Additional Upcoming Events