Houston Environmental News Update December 5, 2018

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” as the song goes. And for bird aficionados, that’s doubly true, as the 119th annual Christmas Bird Count is scheduled for December 14, 2018 through January 5, 2019.
Organized by the National Audubon Society, this all-volunteer effort takes a snapshot of bird populations to monitor their status and distribution across the Western Hemisphere. The results are compiled into a database that is shared with federal, state, and private authorities. Counts are open to birders of all skill levels. Discover new areas to bird which may not be normally accessible and take advantage of this great opportunity to bird with some of our foremost birding experts. There is NO FEE to participate in Christmas Bird Counts. We encourage you to learn more about the counts–including a few dozen within a two-hour drive of downtown Houston–at HoustonAudubon.org.

As you might imagine, the CBC isn’t the only birding opportunity offered by Houston Audubon Society. You can also participate with monthly bird surveys, many of which are held in conjunction with other CEC member organizations, including Armand Bayou Nature Center (2nd Saturdays), Baytown Nature Center (3rd Thursdays Sep-May), Hermann Park (2nd Mondays), Houston Arboretum (3rd Saturdays), Willow Waterhole (3rd Saturdays), and Woodland Park.

If you read this newsletter regularly, you know that many local organizations conduct activities related to birds. Some of the birdier groups among our members include:
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.

The image above is of a Reddish Egret at the San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge, one of the sites for the upcoming Christmas Bird Counts.


Tickets now available! Wild & Scenic Film Festival on Tour
January 30 & 31, 2019

Join us on January 30 & 31, 2019, for the Wild & Scenic Film Festival On Tour.

Hosted for the fifth straight year by the Citizens’ Environmental Coalition, this ever-popular film fest will be screened once again at the historic River Oaks Theatre, where up to 450 patrons each night will enjoy about ten short films each night highlighting the latest environmental issues. We selected films that showcase the links between beauty, environment, adventure, quality of life, and action. Fine more details and purchase tickets by visiting cechouston.org.

Sign up for information about this event and other green film news at constantcontact.com.

Supporting CEC

Did you know your purchases can make a difference? AmazonSmile donates to Citizens’ Environmental Coalition when you do your holiday shopping at smile.amazon.com/ch/74-1692204.


We have endeavored to confirm the events listed below. Please consider confirming directly with the hosts.

  1. Public Meetings on Coastal Barrier Project

    On Oct. 26, 2018, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for a Coastal Barrier Project (popularly known as the “Ike Dike”) as its preferred choice for protecting the Texas coastline from future storm surges (see coverage in the Houston Chronicle and the Texas Tribune). The Corps is hosting a series of public meetings in which community members are invited to review the plan and make comments. Four will be held in the Houston-Galveston region in December:
    • 12/11/18 – Winnie Community Center, Winnie
    • 12/12/18 – Galveston Island Convention Center, Galveston
    • 12/15/18 – Crenshaw Elementary and Middle Schools, Crystal Beach
    • 12/18/18 – Bay Area Community Center, Seabrook
    Public comments can also be mailed to USACE, Galveston District, Attn: Ms. Jennifer Morgan, Environmental Compliance Branch, Regional Planning and Environmental Center, P.O. Box 1229, Galveston, TX 77553-1229; or emailed to [email protected]. Comments must be postmarked by January 9, 2019. For more details on the meetings, visit coastalstudy.texas.gov.
  2. Gulf-Houston Regional Conservation Plan announces key goals
    Houston Wilderness and its partners in the 8-county Gulf-Houston Regional Conservation Plan (RCP) have announced the three key goals of the RCP that will be targeted for implementation by 2040 or earlier. They are: 1) Increase the amount of protected/preserved land to 24% of land coverage by 2040; 2) increase and support regional land management efforts to install nature-based stabilization techniques; and 3) advocate for an increase in air-quality offsets. For detailed information on these goals and to view the RCP Working List of Projects and goal objectives, visit GulfHoustonRCP.org.
  3. Citizens’ Climate Lobby Houston Holiday Sweater Party
    On Dec. 6, 2018, from 6-9 p.m., the Houston chapters of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby will hold a Holiday Sweater Party featuring an appearance by the organization’s executive director, Mark Reynolds, who will discuss a pending carbon tax bill in Congress. For more information and to RSVP, visit eventbrite.com. NOTE: The CEC does not have a position on either a carbon tax or the proposed legislation, but we include the information so you can learn more about the issue.
  4. “The Refuge” screening at Rice Media Center
    On Dec. 6, 2018, beginning at 6 p.m., the Center for Energy & Environmental Research in the Human Sciences, Rice Cinema, and the Houston Sierra Club will host a free screening of the documentary The Refuge, telling the story of two women members of the Gwinch’in people of Alaska and northern Canada and their fight against proposed oil extraction in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which threatens their way of life. For more information, visit events.rice.edu.
  5. “When Was Waste” symposium 
    On Dec. 7, 2018, this year’s Rice Seminar—”Waste: Histories and Futures”—will hold its first of three symposia, “When Was Waste?” Sponsored by Rice University’s Humanities Research Center and Center for Energy & Environmental Research in the Human Sciences, and in collaboration with the Moody Center for the Arts, the symposium will feature a diverse range of speakers, concluding with a keynote by Michael Marder, author of Energy Dreams: Of Actuality. For more information, visit culturesofenergy.com.
  6. Architecture Center Houston’s Gingerbread Build-Off
    On Dec. 8, 2018, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Architecture Center Houston will host the 10th Annual Gingerbread Build-Off at City Hall’s Hermann Square. Competing teams will create their masterpieces using 100% edible materials. More than 4,000 spectators are expected to attend and cheer on the teams, play in the kids’ construction zone, and see Santa! All of that entertainment is free and open to the public. For more information, visit the Facebook event.
  7. Mercer Holiday in the Garden
    On Dec. 8, 2018, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., the Mercer Botanic Gardens will host “Holiday in the Gardens,” a family-oriented event offers a holiday market, winter plant sale, and a Children’s Corner.  Entrance is free, and children’s activities are available while supplies last. Food, drinks, and holiday gifts are available for purchase. For more information, visit the Facebook event.
  8. TWRC Holiday Affair
    On Dec. 8, 2018, from 3-7 p.m., the TWRC Wildlife Center, 10801 Hammerly Blvd., will host its annual Holiday Affair, featuring tree lighting/decorating, gift shopping, a hot cocoa bar and snacks, take-Home crafts, photo opportunities with Animal Ambassadors and Santa’s Reindeer (appearing LIVE). For more information and to purchase tickets, visit twrcwildlifecenter.org.
  9. Hiking Terry Hershey Park Trails with BCO
    On Dec. 9, 2018, beginning at 9 a.m., Bayou City Outdoors will host a “Hiking in Houston” event at Terry Hershey Park on the west side. The event will begin at Cafe Express, 1111 Eldridge Parkway. For more information and free registration, visit bayoucityoutdoors.com.
  10. Holiday in the Park at Sheldon Lake State Park
    On Dec. 9, 2018, from 1-4 p.m., Sheldon Lake State Park & Environmental Learning Center, 14140 Garrett Blvd., will host its “Holiday in the Park”, featuring craft-making, festive music by the fireplace, and a themed scavenger hunt. For more information, see the Facebook event.
  11. Houston Green Roof & Wall Symposium
    On Dec. 10, 2018, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Green Roof for Healthy Cities and the University of Houston will present a “Green Roof & Wall Symposium,” featuring industry experts and local leaders presenting on green roofs and walls, local standout projects and the importance of strong green roof and wall policy. The Symposium will also feature a trade show, interactive panel discussions and workshops to help develop policy locally. For more information and to register, visit cvent.com.
  12. Texas RESTORE Council Public Meeting
    On October 15, 2018, the Texas Trustee Implementation Group held its 2018 annual public meeting. Trustee representatives provided information on the planning process and public engagement, including how to submit restoration project ideas. Additionally, the public was provided updates on work in the Texas Restoration Area, ongoing restoration projects, and plans for future efforts. Information from the public meeting is available at gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov. On Dec. 10, 2018, from 6:30-8:30 p.m., the Texas RESTORE Council will hold a public meeting to receive input on priority issues along the Texas coast, as well as Gulf-wide. The meeting will be held at Texas A&M Galveston, Classroom Laboratory Building, 200 Seawolf Parkway, Room 100 (Auditorium), Classroom Laboratory Building (Building 3700). For more information, visit restorethegulf.gov.
  13. Green Roof Professional Training
    On Dec. 11, 2018, from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Green Roofs for Health Cities will hold a training session on Green Roof Design and Installation providing the latest information on green roof benefits, technical standards, product innovations, and design and installation best practices. The session will take place at the Trini Mendenhall Community Center, 1414 Wirt Road. For more information and to register, visit cvent.com.
  14. “Opportunities for Wind and Solar Power in Texas”
    On Dec. 12, 2018, from 7:30-9 a.m., the Houston Renewable Energy Network will host a breakfast networking event with a presentation by Rice University professor Dr. Daniel Cohan on his recently published research that estimated emissions, health impacts, and economics of coal power plants in Texas. He will also discuss the opportunities for wind and solar power to play complementary roles in replacing coal. The event will be held at the offices of  Locke Lord, 2800 Chase Tower, 600 Travis Street. For more information and to RSVP, visit eventbrite.com.
  15. Air Alliance Houston backs legislation, holds open house
    In the upcoming session of the Texas Legislature, Air Alliance Houston is backing SB 180, filed by State Sen. Boris Miles, which aims to protect neighborhoods disproportionately affected by environmental quality issues. Read more about the bill here. On Dec. 12, 2018, Air Alliance Houston will hold its year-end open house to celebrate its collective accomplishments and discuss upcoming campaigns at its offices at 3914 Leeland St. For more information, visit airalliancehouston.org.
  16. “Unsilent Night” at Buffalo Bayou Park
    On Dec. 12, 2018, the Buffalo Bayou Association and University of Houston-Downtown will host “Unsilent Night,” a procession and sound sculpture created when many individuals simultaneously play one of four music tracks by composer Phil Kline. Prior to the procession, enjoy hot chocolate and Bayou Blend coffee from Katz Coffee, local brew from Saint Arnold Brewing Company and holiday cookies. An after-party will be held on the rooftop of the Sunset Coffee Building. For more information and to RSVP, visit eventbrite.com.
  17. AIA Houston Holiday Party Honoring Barry Moore
    On Dec. 12, 2018, AIA Houston will present Barry Moore, FAIA, with the Award for Career Distinction.at its Holiday Party at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. For more information, visit aiahouston.org.
  18. Texas Association of Environmental Professionals Holiday Social
    On Dec. 13, 2018, the Texas Association of Environmental Professionals and its partnering organizations will hold a Holiday Social at Saint Arnold Brewing Company, 2000 Lyons Ave. The event will include alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages and a barbecue dinner. For more information and to RSVP, visit taep.org.
  19. Take Care of Texas Video Contest for Students
    The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality invites students in grades 6-12 to enter the annual Take Care of Texas Video Contest. The contest deadline is Dec. 14, 2018. The Take Care of Texas Video Contest is a fun way for young people to learn about protecting the environment and come up with creative ways to share this knowledge with others. Student videos should be 30 seconds long and portray positive ways Texans can help keep air and water clean, conserve water and energy, or reduce waste. For more information, visit takecareoftexas.org.
  20. Youth Video and Poster Contest
    Students in grades K–12 are invited to participate in a national recycling awareness contest sponsored by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) and JASON Learning. The theme of this year’s contest is “Recycle to Rebuild”. The challenge, through a video or poster, is to imagine using recycled materials to support the rebuilding of infrastructure enabling reduced cost, the use of fewer natural resources, decreased energy requirements, and cleaner air and water. All entries must be submitted by Dec. 15, 2018. For more information, visit jason.org.
  21. Sheldon Lake Park Volunteer Orientation
    On Dec. 15, 2018, from 9-11 a.m., Sheldon Lake State Park & Environmental Learning Center will hold an orientation for prospective volunteers interested in habitat restoration and teaching people about the outdoors. For more information and to register, visit tpwd.texas.gov.
  22. Call for Abstracts for CNREP 2019 deadline on Dec. 15
    The Center for Natural Resource Economics & Policy will hold the 6th National Forum on Socioeconomic Research in Coastal Systems from May 19-21, 2019 in New Orleans. This triennial forum focuses on the opportunities and challenges of socioeconomic research in the development and evaluation of coastal resource restoration and management. The deadline for abstracts for oral and poster presentations and dedicated sessions and panels is December 15. For more information, visit cnrep.lsu.edu.
  23. 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.

    • Biologists search for the rare Blue Sucker fish on the Colorado River
    • An aspiring nature photographer learns from Buffalo Soldier reenactors
    • Paddling on the Port O’Conner Trail
  24. Additional Upcoming Events