Houston Environmental News Update August 29, 2018

Well, sometimes we are just stumped trying to figure out what topic to use to lead off the newsletter.
Harvey, which is certainly top of the mind, is a possible topic. Voters in Harris County approved $2.5 billion in bonds to finance flood damage reduction projects in Harris County. Harris County Flood Control District will prioritize, plan, and build projects with the bond funding – and promises to provide transparent tracking of progress on those projects along the way. Let’s make sure that the environmental community continues to be part of the discussion. Meetings commemorating the one-year anniversary of Harvey continue, and some great events are described below.
While in Houston we are thinking about immense volumes of water from Harvey, people in other parts of the state are likely thinking about a lack of water. Abnormal dryness or drought are currently affecting about 74% of the state’s population, including areas in the west and south of the region, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Remember the 2010-2015 Texas drought?

The anniversary of the National Wilderness Act is coming up on Monday, and might be a lead topic. Texas is home to six federally designated wilderness areas, and five of them are in in east Texas: Big Slough, Indian Mounds, Little Lake Creek, Turkey Hill, and Upland Island, all under the purview of the USDA Forest Service. (Guadalupe Mountains wilderness area is much further west.) The hiking trail at Little Lake Creek can be accessed near Conroe, and might make a good day trip, once it’s a little cooler out.

Speaking of cooler… The advent of September makes as all hope for cooler weather. We chose the photo of wood ferns, above, in part to help you envision cooler weather. We also chose it to highlight the upcoming Wildscapes Workshop & Native Plant Sale, hosted by the Native Plant Society of Texas – Houston Chapter on September 22, 2018. Sign up quickly, as the event is almost sold out! Stay cool!


Houston Green Film Series

Please join CEC, the Houston Green Film Series, Rice Media Center, and additional partners on September 19, 2018, for a screening of Dirt Rich, which explores the connection between regenerative agriculture and climate change (see the trailer). Dirt Rich shifts focus from greenhouse gas emissions to carbon draw-down, which many believe is the only viable solution for reversing the effects of runaway global warming in a timely manner. Arrive at 6:30 p.m. for conversation, networking, and a light meal. We’ll begin the film promptly at 7 p.m. For more information, see the Facebook event.

Please join CEC, the Houston Green Film Series, Rice Media Center, and additional partners on October 17, for “Wild About Houston, A Green Film Festival,” to showcase local short films telling environmental stories. Email [email protected] if you have a film to submit!
6:30 p.m. conversation, networking, and a light meal
7:00 p.m. film screening, followed by a panel discussion. Panelists to be announced.Free to the public, though donations are kindly appreciated. For more information, see the Facebook event.
And be sure to mark your calendar for January 30 & 31, 2019, when we’ll be hosting the Wild & Scenic Film Festival On Tour.

CEC Seeks Board & Committee Members
The CEC is currently recruiting volunteers to serve on our 2019 Board of Directors and on board committees (programs, publications, membership, governance, finance, and development). Our Governance Committee will be hosting informational open houses for potential board members September 24 and October 22, 2018. If you are interested, please send an email with your résumé to [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. Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary seeking four new members for Advisory Council
    The Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, the Texas Gulf Coast’s own coral system marine sanctuary, is seeking applicants for four seats on its advisory council, a community-based group of individuals that provide advice for sanctuary management.Information and application materials are available at flowergarden.noaa.gov. The deadline for applications is September 17, 2018.
  2. The Federal Response to Harvey: One Year Later
    On August 30, 2018, from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., The Texas Tribune will present a public conversation about the federal response to Hurricane Harvey. The event will be held at the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies at Rice University. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.com. 
  3. Water Efficiency Network meeting
    On August 30, 2018, from 1:30-3 p.m., the Water Efficiency Network of the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District will hold its monthly meeting at the LSGCD offices, 655 Conroe Park North Drive, Conroe. The guest speaker will be Bob Dailey, Public Awareness and Water Conservation Coordinator for the Woodlands Joint Powers Agency. Registration is not required.
  4. Wild & Scenic Film Festival with Bayou Land Conservancy
    On August 30, 2018, from 6-9:30 p.m., Bayou Land Conservancy will host the fourth annual “Wild & Scenic Film Festival” at Star Cinema Grill in Vintage Park, 114 Vintage Park Blvd. The selected films will cover a variety of environmental topics and offer spectacular scenery, breathtaking journeys, and stories of human connections. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit bayoulandconservancy.org.
  5. Houston a Year after Harvey: Ongoing Flooding Challenges and Proposed Solutions
    On August 30, 2018, from 5:30-8:30 p.m., the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University will present a program examining the ongoing challenges of flooding in Houston and possible policy solutions in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Environmental attorney and Rice professor Jim Blackburn will give the keynote talk, followed by a panel discussion. For more information and to register, visit bakerinstitute.org.
  6. Houston Stronger: A Path to a More Equitable City
    On August 31, 2018, from 8-11:30 a.m., the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University will present a program on making Houston a safer, healthier and more economically vibrant city. This event is co-sponsored by the Baker Institute Center for Health and Biosciences, the Houston Mayor’s Task Force on Equity, and the Office of Commissioner Rodney Ellis, Harris County, Precinct 1. The event will be held at Ripley House, 4410 Navigation Blvd. For more information and to register, visit bakerinstitute.org.
  7. Cities Connecting Children to Nature – Houston Stakeholder Meeting
    On August 31, 2018, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., at the Houston Green Building Resource Center, the Cities Connecting Children to Nature – Houston Collaborative will host a stakeholder meeting and workgroup breakout sessions to help formulate implementable strategies to ensure all Houston-area children are healthy, happy, educated, and successful through equitable access to nature. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.com.
  8. Day of Prayer for Climate Action
    On September 1, 2018, from 11 a.m.-noon, Young Evangelicals for Climate ActionTexas Impact, and the Environmental Integrity Project will host a “Day of Prayer for Climate Action” at Fuller Seminary Texas, 10200 Richmond Avenue. Local faith leaders will lead in prayer and there will be a discussion of the ongoing recovery work being led by front-line communities in Houston. For more information, see the Facebook event.
  9. North Houston Highway Improvement District Open House (North Side)
    On September 4, 2018, from 5:30-7 p.m., the City of Houston’s Planning and Development Department invites the public to an Open House at the University of Houston-Downtown for central city neighborhoods – Fifth Ward, Near Northside, First Ward, Sixth Ward & Downtown – adjacent to a segment of TxDOT’s North Houston Highway Improvement Project. The public is encouraged to participate in the planning of future opportunities that will enhance the highway corridor and re-connect Houston’s neighborhoods with new parks, trails and civic amenities. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.com.
  10. Park to Port Bike Ride early registration ends Sept. 6
    This year’s Park to Port Bike Ride, set for October 6, is a 20-mile round-trip ride from Hermann Park’s Bayou Parkland along the Brays Bayou Greenway trail to the Port of Houston, where there will be a turn-around party at Hidalgo Park. Participants then ride back to Hermann Park for a celebratory Post-Ride Party. The ride is open to riders of all levels and is not a race. Early registration ends September 6, and regular registration is Sept. 7-Oct. 4. For more information, visit hermannpark.org.
  11. Children’s Environmental Health Symposium registration ends Sept. 6
    The Children’s Environmental Health Symposium will be held September 13-14, 2018 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Dallas – Love Field. Physicians, mid-level providers, registered nurses, social workers, public health practitioners, community health workers, policy makers, academics, and others will be informed about the critical links between the environment and health, which is an essential step towards improving health outcomes. Registration ends September 6. For more information, visit elpaso.ttuhsc.edu.
  12. UH Sutainability Meetup: Soil Biology and Conservation
    On September 6, 2018, from 3-4 p.m., the University of Houston Office of Sustainability will host a Meetup featuring soil expert and Memorial Park Conservation Program Manager Daniel Millikin, who will discuss soil biology, composting and conservation. Everyone is invited to the event, which will be held at the Student Center South, Heights Room 224. For more information, see the Facebook event.
  13. Memorial Park Conservancy Lawn Party
    On September 6, 2018, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., the Memorial Park Conservancy will host a free Lawn Party with games for all ages, free beer and food trucks. Party-goers will be able to learn about the work that the Conservancy has been doing on behalf of the park. The event will be dog-friendly. For more information, see the Facebook event.
  14. Seeing Harvey: Personal Stories, Public Responses
    On September 6, 2018, FotoFest International will open Seeing Harvey: Personal Stories, Public Responses, focusing on the widespread and sustained influence Hurricane Harvey had on the region’s landscape, infrastructure, and communities, and the resilience and fortitude of those affected. It includes images from professional photojournalists, artists, and members of the general public. It is exhibited concurrently with DELUGE, a video installation, recovered artifacts, and images of Houston flood survivors, and their environs, by international photographer Gideon Mendel. The exhibition runs through November 3.
  15. Natives Nursery Open House
    On September 8, 2018, from 8 a.m.-1 p.m., Houston Audubon will host the first Natives Nursery Open House at the Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary. There will be a presentation about the nursery, the native plants grown there, and how to plant with natives. Native plant experts will answer questions and help attendees select the best plants for their yard. For more information, see the Facebook event.
  16. 2018 Prairies & Pollinators: A Regional Celebration
    From late September through early November, the Coastal Prairie Partnership is sponsoring “2018 Prairies & Pollinators: A Regional Celebration,” a set of events allowing attendees to learn about and help plant pollinating plants in prairies across the region. The first event will be the Wildscapes Workshop, presented by the Houston chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas on September 22. For a full listing of all the planned events, visit prairiepartner.org.
  17. 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.

    • Meet the champion University of Texas climbing team
    • Recycled Christmas trees serve as underwater habitat
    • Meet the man leading turkey restoration efforts in East Texas
  18. Additional Upcoming Events