Houston Environmental News Update December 26, 2018

Brazos Bend State Park, located near Needville, Texas, southwest of Houston, is home to numerous huge and stately live oak trees, some of them more than 100 years old. © Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

It’s almost the new year*, so now’s a perfect time to invest in the Citizens’ Environmental Coalition. After all, what are the holidays for if not giving?

We hope you’ll remember all the valuable work the CEC has done in 2018 to connect our environmental community and donate today and gain access to some great benefits. With any gift of $40 or more, you will become an individual member of the CEC and gain access to some great benefits:

  • Our weekly newsletter, the indispensable Houston Environmental News Update
  • Our Environmental Resource Guide, your source for invaluable information on each environmental group in the Gulf Coast region
  • Discounted tickets to the Wild & Scenic Film Festival and the Greater Houston Environmental Summit, and preferred access to sure-to-sell-out events such as an upcoming tour of one of the largest wastewater treatment facilities in Texas (!)
  • Continuously updated listings of the most environmentally-friendly jobs in the region

Your gift helps us carry out our mission of fostering education, dialogue, and collaboration on environmental issues in the Houston/Gulf Coast region. CEC can’t do it without support from readers like you.

We appreciate your support and look forward to partnering with you to connect our environmental community in 2019!


Rachel Powers
Executive Director

* Banner Photo Notes: The photo above was taken at Brazos Bend State Park, located near Needville, Texas, southwest of Houston. Home to numerous huge and stately live oak trees, some of them more than 100 years old, Brazos Bend State Park is one of several local state parks that are hosting First Day Hikes, part of the national First Day Hikes initiative. The First Day Hikes events range from brisk strolls on scenic trails, bike rides, short treks with four-legged family members, bird walks, beachcombing, campfires, paddles, and full moon walks to more strenuous hikes for experienced visitors. Local hikes are are being held at

A complete list of First Day Hike events can be found on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s calendar page. Photo © Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

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.


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

The Wild & Scenic Film Festival On Tour returns to the Bayou City with its unique brand of environmental cinema on January 30 and 31, 2019. 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.

CEC is using this festival to tell local environmental stories, highlight the work of our member organizations, and inspire our residents and visitors to make a difference in the environment and quality of life. We are especially excited to show the two local films that were winners of the Wild About Houston Green Film Festival: Little Grouse on the Prairie by Friends of Attwater Prairie Chicken Wildlife Refuge (January 30) and Gregory Lincoln Education Center by Urban Harvest (January 31).

The festival tickets are now on sale through Eventbrite, with early bird discounts.

Please help us promote the festival by sharing our Facebook event pages for January 30 and January 31.

A big THANK YOU to our early sponsors: Kirksey Architecture, Asakura Robinson, Air Alliance Houston, Bat Conservation International, North American Prairie Conference, Save Buffalo Bayou, Massin Media Productions, and McMac Cx.

We invite you to become a sponsor of this exciting event. Sponsorship is an amazing opportunity to align your organization with our community and inspire people to take environmental action where they live. You will also support over 130 local organizations that are part of the CEC, and raise awareness for your own green initiatives. Please contact [email protected] for any inquiries, or visit CEC website.

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

Environmental Year in Review: 2018 Survey

As we approach the end of 2018, we’d again like to ask you, our readers, for some feedback. What do you believe have been the most significant environmental accomplishments, controversies, issues, news, and events over the past year in the greater Houston region?

Here’s what people have suggested so far:

  • Houston’s selection as the 101st city in the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Global Network
  • Flood management
  • Harvey
  • Flooding
  • Sustainability
  • Mayor Turner’s announcement of a Climate Action Plan at Earth Day
  • The decline in the population of monarch butterflies
  • The rise in the population of the lesser prairie-chicken
  • The Galveston Bay Record Card overall score of C
  • President Trump’s proposed border wall which would run through the National Butterfly Center along the Rio Grande

Of course, these are just a few. Please share the ones most important to you at our three-minute “2018 Houston Environment in Review” survey. 

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. Audubon Christmas Bird Count
    The Audubon Christmas Bird Count continues through Jan. 5, 2019. Organized each year by the National Audubon Society, this global, all-volunteer effort collects data on local bird populations. Individual counts are open to birders of all levels, and there is no fee to participate. Several events are scheduled across the region. For details and dates for each count, visit houstonaudubon.org.
  2. Hurricane Harvey Registry seeking public input
    Since early this year, Rice University, the Houston Health Department, and the Environmental Defense Fund have been working on the Hurricane Harvey Registry, a project to understand Hurricane Harvey’s toll on people’s physical and mental health. The registry collects information about health, housing and exposures from Houston-area residents and those who came to the city during the storm. The responses will help researchers and public officials to identify health trends and to develop plans to reduce risk with future storms. The Registry’s report is due in early 2019, but members of the public still are encouraged to enroll at harveyregistry.rice.edu.
  3. Christmas tree recycling
    The City of Pearland will begin recycling Christmas trees beginning Dec. 26, 2018 and continuing through Jan. 12, 2019. Recycling will be 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at the Stella Roberts Recycling Center, 5800 Magnolia, Pearland. For more information, visit keeppearlandbeautiful.org. The City of Houston is offering drop-off service at 26 locations around the city through Jan. 15, 2019. See fox26houston.com for details. Don’t forget: The trees must have all decorations, ornaments, tinsel, lights and stands removed. Flocked trees cannot be recycled.
  4. “Let’s Protect Our Earth!” seminar 
    EmpowerE, a nonprofit whose mission is “to empower individuals and communities to make our world a more educated, cleaner, and healthier place,” is hosting an interactive seminar and networking event called “Let’s Protect Our Earth!” on Dec. 27, 2018, at North Channel Library, 15741 Wallisville Road. For more information and to RSVP, visit eventbrite.com.
  5. Society for the Advancement of Volunteer Youth at Moody Gardens
    The Society for the Advancement of Volunteer Youth (SAVY) provides students aged 14-17 with the opportunity to volunteer within their community while gaining experience in a variety of career fields. Through the SAVY program, participants have an experience that only Moody Gardens can offer. The application period for the next session begins Jan. 1, 2019 and runs through March 22. For more information, visit moodygardens.com.
  6. Scenic City Certification Program application period begins January 1
    The mission of the Scenic City Certification Program is to support and recognize Texas municipalities that implement high-quality scenic standards for public roadways and public spaces. The Scenic City Certification Program provides a proven, highly-regarded tool to Texas cities for assessment, evaluation and recognition of infrastructure standards.  Any Texas city may apply to the Scenic City Certification Program for an objective, points based review of existing municipal infrastructure ordinances. The application period begins Jan. 1, 2019 and continues through March 31. For more information, visit sceniccitycertification.org.
  7. Artist Boat Holiday Break Eco-Day Camps
    Artist Boat is offering Holiday Day Break Eco-Day Camps for children aged 5-12 beginning Jan. 1, 2019. Campers will experience true science and art enrichment with the creation of Eco-Art. Each camper will receive Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) enrichment and create high quality art projects which illustrate all that they have learned throughout the camp. For more information and to register, visit artistboat.org.
  8. Baytown Wetlands Center Winter Camp
    From Jan. 2-4, 2019, the Baytown Wetlands Center will offer its annual Winter Camp for students grades 3-5. Students will discover how animals in the Arctic adapt to living in the cold and how we all impact their habitat from right here in Texas. For more information, visit baytown.org.
  9. Interfaith Environmental Network of Houston 2019 Kick-Off
    On Jan. 6, 2019, from 2-4 p.m., the Interfaith Environmental Network of Houston will hold its 2019 Kick-Off at First Congregational Church, 10840 Beinhorn Road. Leaders from several faiths will discuss the ethics of eating from their faith perspective, and there will be a presentation on the top ten actions houses of worship and steps their members can take now to preserve the environment. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.com.
  10. Nominations open for Terry Hershey Bayou Stewardship Award
    Each year, the prestigious Terry Hershey Bayou Stewardship Award recognizes community members who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to aiding in the conservation, preservation, restoration and/or advocacy of Houston’s waterways. Nominees can be from the nonprofit, public or private sectors. The recipients will be honored at Bayou Preservation Association’s 2019 Luncheon on May 21, 2019. The deadline for nominations is Jan.9, 2019. For more information, visit bayoupreservation.org.
  11. 12th Annual Texas STEM Conference
    From Jan. 9-11, 2019, the 12th Annual Texas STEM Conference, hosted by the Texas STEM Council, will be held at the Grand Hyatt in San Antonio. More than 1,000 STEM colleagues will learn cutting-edge technologies, STEM best practices, innovative approaches to teaching and learning, how to implement more effective partnership strategies, and more. For more information and to register, visit txstem.org.
  12. Houston Botanic Garden Call for Volunteers
    The Houston Botanic Garden is holding volunteer orientations on Jan. 12, 2019 (9 -10:30 a.m.) and Feb. 12, 2019 (6:30 – 8 p.m.). HBG has many volunteer opportunities available from administrative and special
    events support to hosting site walks to getting your hands dirty in the Garden. For more information and
    to register, complete the online form.
  13. Gulf of Mexico Climate and Resilience Community of Practice grants
    The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, in collaboration with NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management and the Gulf of Mexico Climate and Resilience Community of Practice, is seeking coastal communities to participate in climate adaptation projects that will serve as local examples for other Gulf communities. This collaborative project will involve financial assistance through a small grant award. Interested communities should submit a Letter of Intent detailing the need for incorporating climate considerations into their existing planning frameworks and their interest in implementing a project to reduce risk to coastal climate stressors and/or extreme weather events. The deadline for LOI submissions is Jan. 15, 2018. For more information, visit masgc.org.
  14. Call for submissions for Gulf Coast Green 2019
    The 2019 Gulf Coast Symposium and Expo, the leading green building conference in the region. will be held May 17, 2019 at Rice University’s Moody Center for the Arts. Submissions are now being sought from presenters from the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, engineering, planning, interior design, government, education, the arts, contracting, energy analysis, and other building-related professions relevant to the conference theme, “CROSSROADS: Inclusive Exchange.” The deadline for submissions is Jan 21, 2019. For more information, visit aiahouston.org.
  15. Registration, call for presentations open for “New Horizons in STEM” conference
    The University of Houston-Clear Lake’s College of Education will hold its greater Houston Area STEM conference, “New Horizons and Innovations in STEM” on March 2, 2019. This conference will bring together leading experts and researchers from around the region to focus on topics that impact K–12 STEM education. Participants will attend break-out sessions and tour some of the research facilities located at UH-Clear Lake, along with earning 7 CPEs for attendance. Registration is now open, and the call for presentations is open through Jan. 31, 2019. For more information, visit uhcl.edu.
  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.
    • History is the highlight at Fort Richardson State Park
    • Fishing is suddenly the hottest high school sport 
    • Project WILD empowers teachers to bring the outdoors to urban students
  17. Additional Upcoming Events