Houston Environmental News Update April 17, 2019

New drainage and development reports, CEC summer internships, Spring Plant Sale, and much more

Earth Day Houston was a huge success thanks to the exhibitors, volunteers, sponsors, and the thousands of people who joined us to celebrate at Discovery Green.

During Earth Month, we’re not the only game in town. We encourage you to take advantage of the many cool things to do in the greater Houston/Gulf Coast region–with over 30 event each Saturday in April!. Below are just a few. (Make sure you check with the organizers to see if they are indeed continuing this weekend.)

Of course, Earth Day isn’t a one-day observation; it’s year round. Consider becoming a Sustaining Member and set up a recurring donation. Your support allows us to send our newsletter to you, to help you be part of Earth Day, every day. To make your donation, please visit cechouston.org.

Thank you for helping us strengthen the bonds of the environmental community. Friends like you are the driving force behind the success of the CEC!


Summer Internships with CEC

CEC anticipates hiring several volunteer and paid summer interns in 2019.

Typical internships involve Communications and Marketing, Policy & Government Relations, Publications/Journalism, Digital Media, Development, Event Coordination, Business Development and Bookkeeping, and Environmental Education; we are also open to customized internships to meet professional and academic goals. Internships include mentorship and networking opportunities, field trips, camaraderie, and chocolate. To be considered for summer internship opportunities, please submit a cover letter and resume 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 endeavored to confirm the events listed below. Please consider confirming directly with the hosts.

New reports released on Detention & Drainage Regulations and Development Regulations

The Greater Houston Flood Mitigation Consortium this week released dual research reports that examine current standards in the area’s drainage, detention, and development regulations. The reports also include findings that encourage implementation of new and updated flood management infrastructure approaches and regulations to mitigate the risk of future flooding. To read the research papers and other materials, visit houstonconsortium.com.

Buffalo Bayou in Bloom 2019

On April 18, 2019, from 6:30-9:30 p.m., the Buffalo Bayou Partnership will hold Buffalo Bayou in Bloom at The Water Works, 105 Sabine Street. The Parntership’s young professionals group, The Currents, will celebrate springtime and fundraise at this event with music from DJ FXBOXOLMOS, light bites, libations, and more. For more information, visit buffalobayou.org.

Houston Arboretum & Nature Center’s Spring Plant Sale

On April 19-20, 2019, the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center will hold its annual Spring Plant Sale. The Arboretum is partnering with Houston Audubon and the Houston Parks & Recreation Department to offer an even wider variety of native plants. As usual, they will be selling native grasses, flowers (including milkweed), shrubs, and trees – perfect for attracting butterflies, bees, and other pollinators to your yard or garden. For more information, visit houstonarboretum.org.

Gulf Coast Green 2019 early registration ends April 19

Gulf Coast Green 2019, sponsored by AIA Houston, will be held May 17, 2019, at the Moody Center for the Arts at Rice University. This year’s theme, “CROSSROADS: Inclusive Exchange,” will focus on how design and construction can engage the community and foster human relationships, both professional and personal. Early registration ends April 19. For more information and to register, visit aiah-gulfcoastgreen.org.

“Party for the Planet” at Houston Zoo

On April 20, 2019, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Houston Zoo will host “Party for the Planet” in celebration of Earth Day. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a number of exciting games and activities, as well as discover some of the many ways the public and the Zoo are helping to save animals in the wild. All event activities are included with paid Zoo admission. This event is free for Zoo Members. For more information, visit houstonzoo.org or read this blog post.

2019 North American Prairie Conference early registration deadline on April 22

The 2019 North American Prairie Conference — co-presented by Katy Prairie Conservancy, the Coastal Prairie Partnership, the Nature Conservancy, and the Native Prairies Association of Texas — will be held June 2-5, 2019, at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. The conference — featuring experts in prairie conservation, restoration, education, and communications from Texas, the Southeast, and the Midwest. will spotlight how prairies can help to create healthy watersheds for people and wildlife. The deadline for early registration is April 22, 2019. Find more information and register at northamericanprairie.org.

LSGCD Board of Directors Town Hall Meetings

The Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District Board of Directors will host five Town Hall Meetings during the week of April 22 -25, 2009, at various locations throughout Montgomery County. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend. For more information, visit lonestargcd.org.

Earth Day Kale Giveaway

On April 22, 2019, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Mercer Botanic Gardens will celebrate Earth Day with a kale giveaway. Visitors are welcome to take home some of the 1,000 pounds of edible ornamental kale after it’s removed from Mercer’s Color Garden. Mercer staff will have the Charlie Cart set up for demonstrations and offer ideas to repurpose the kale at home. Please bring reusable shopping bags. Volunteers are needed starting at 9 a.m. Please contact Volunteer Coordinator Jamie Hartwell at 713-274-4160 or [email protected] for more information, or visit hcp4.net.

Rice Design Alliance Civic Forum: Obsolescence 

On April 23, 2019, beginning at 6 p.m., the Rice Design Alliance will host its annual Civic Forum, called Obsolescence, focused on the importance of maintaining, preserving, and reusing the historic fabric of our cities. At a critical moment in Houston’s urban growth, what is the value of architecture in our city and our region and why should we care about preserving Houston’s identity through its urban past? The event, which will be held in the Brown Auditorium of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet St., is free and open to the public. For more information, visit arch.rice.edu.

“Climate Solutions: A Houston Framework”

On April 24, 2019,.from noon-1:30 p.m., Houston Tomorrow will host a brown bag lunch discussion titled “Climate Solutions: A Houston Framework,” with Jaime González, Houston Urban Conservation Programs Manager for The Nature Conservancy in Texas, and Houston Tomorrow founder David Crossley. The discussion will be held at the offices of the Houston-Galveston Area Council, 3555 Timmons Ave. RSVP to [email protected]

2045 Regional Transportation Plan Final Draft Plan and Conformity Meeting

On April 24, 2019, from 5:30-7 p.m., the Houston-Galveston Area Council will hold the Draft 2045 Regional Transportation Plan and Transportation Conformity Public Meeting at its offices at 3555 Timmons Lane. The long-range plan prioritizes spending on regional transportation projects, including short and long-range strategies, to ensure the transportation network is safe and efficient. Transportation conformity verifies that the regional transportation plan and the transportation improvement plan are in agreement with federal air quality regulations applied to our region. The official comment period opened April 10 and closes May 10. For more information, visit 2045rtp.com.

Green Building Resource Center’s “Past, Present, and Future” reception

On April 24, 2019, from 6-8 p.m., the City of Houston’s Green Building Resource Center, 1002 Washington Ave., will hold a reception celebrating its tenth anniversary. Stop by to network and enjoy light refreshments as you catch up with their environmental initiatives and hear from two new leaders, Paula Paciorek of Houston Public Works and new Chief Resilience Officer Marissa Aho. This is a free event and is open to the public. Please RSVP to [email protected] or 832-394-9050. For more information, visit codegreenhouston.org.

Native Prairies Association of Texas meeting

On April 24, 2019, from 6:30-8:30 p.m., the Houston chapter of the Native Prairies Association of Texas will hold its monthly meeting at the American Red Cross, 2700 Southwest Freeway. Featured speakers Kirsti Harms, interim executive director for the Native Prairies Association of Texas, and Pat Merkord, immediate past executive director, will share information about NPAT successes at Madden Prairie. For more information, visit houstonprairie.org.

Texas Watershed Steward workshop

On April 25, 2019, from 12:30-4:30 p.m., the Houston-Galveston Area Council and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will host a Texas Watershed Steward workshop at the Prairie View A&M Northwest Educational Building, 9449 Grant Road, Houston.
This free workshop will provide an overview of water quality and watershed management in Texas, including a discussion on Cypress Creek Watershed and efforts by H-GAC and local stakeholders to help improve and protect it. Pre-registration is requested at least four days prior to the training date. More information is available on the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service website and on this flyer.

Regional Air Quality Planning Advisory Committee meeting

On April 25, 2019, beginning at 2 p.m., the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s Regional Air Quality Planning Advisory Committee will hold a meeting at the H-GAC offices, 3555 Timmons Lane. On the agenda are Loren Rohn of the City of Houston, who will discuss air quality observations from the ITC fire; and Bakeyah Nelson if Air Alliance Houston and Mustapha Beydoun of the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC). RAQPAC meetings are open to the public. For more information, visit h-gac.com.

West Fork Watersheds Partnership Public Meeting

On April 25, 2019, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., the West Fork Watersheds Partnership will hold a public meeting on Apr. 25, 2019, 5:30-7:30 p.m., at the Conroe (Central) Library, 104 I-45 North. The organization will recognize efforts for the past several years that resulted in the approval and EPA acceptance of the West Fork San Jacinto River and Lake Creek Watershed Protection Plan, as well as discuss current implementation efforts and the future of the Partnership. For more information, visit westfork.weebly.com.

Evening in the Park 2019

On April 25, 2019, beginning at 6:30 p.m., the Hermann Park Conservancy will hold its “Evening in the Park 2019” gala at the Mary Gibbs and Jesse H. Jones Reflection Pool and Molly Ann Smith Plaza. Join co-chairs June Deadrick and Barbara Friedman as they honor Terrylin Neale. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.hermannpark.org.

“Enraptured by Raptors” lecture

On April 25, 2019, beginning at at 7 p.m., The Woodlands G.R.E.E.N. is sponsoring a Going Green Sustainability Lecture by Mary Anne Weber, education director for Houston Audubon’s Raptor and Education Center, titled “Enraptured by Raptors: What Would We Do Without Them,” at the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC), 8801 Gosling Road, The Woodlands. Weber will discuss the environmental benefits of these magnificent birds and the dangers they face in an urban and suburban setting. For more information, visit thewoodlandsgreen.org.

Houston City Nature Challenge 2019

Join Texas Parks and Wildlife, Texas Master Naturalists, the Audubon Society, and many others in a fun challenge to see which city can document the most species during April 26 – 29, 2019. It is easy to participate by joining an event or making observations on your own using the iNaturalist app. With the iNaturalist app, you just take a picture of a plant or animal, and the community will help identify which species it is. Any observation in the greater Houston metropolitan area will count during the four-day challenge. You can participate by exploring the life in your backyard, in your local park, or on a field trip with your local naturalist group. For more information, visit iNaturalist.org or the Facebook event.

Keep Houston Beautiful Day volunteer registration deadline on April 26

Keep Houston Beautiful Day is a city-wide service day spanning various locations throughout the community. The event kicks off the national Great American Cleanup and celebrates the Don’t Mess with Texas Trash-Off in Houston. The event has been rescheduled from April 7 to May 4, 2019, from 8 a.m.-noon. The new deadline to register is April 26. For more information and to register, visit houstonbeautiful.org.

Houston Botanic Garden Spring Saturday Series with Urban Harvest

On April 27, 2019, beginning at 8:30 a.m., the Houston Botanic Garden will host a Spring Saturday Series with Urban Harvest, featuring a walking tour and an Introduction to Organic Garden. In this class, attendees will learn how to select the site, build the beds, plant, care, and maintain a vegetable garden. A potting activity is included. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.com.

Keep Kingwood Green B.O.P.A. & National Drug Take Back Day

On Apr. 27, 2019, 9 a.m.- 2 p.m., Keep Kingwood Green will offer a safe way for Houston residents to dispose B.O.P.A. (batteries, oil, paint, anti-freeze) and prescription drugs. Twice a year, the City of Houston collects B.O.P.A. and old, unused and expired prescription and potentially dangerous OTC drugs. The event will be held at the Kingwood Metro Park, 3210 W Lake Houston Pkwy. For more information, visit keepkingwoodgreen.org.

Blackhawk Park Restoration Event

On April 27, 2019, from 9 a.m.-12 p.m., the Houston Parks and Recreation Department’s Natural Resources Management Program will host a restoration project at Blackhawk Park, 9401 Fuqua St.. Volunteers will help install native grasses and forbs into the 47-acre restoration site. They will also be unveiling the new Nature Playground. For more information and to RSVP, email [email protected]

Pearland Earth Day Celebration

On April 27, 2019, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., the City of Pearland, in partnership with Keep Pearland Beautiful, will host the 23rd annual Earth Day Celebration, designed to educate the community about their environmental responsibility. The annual event provides families with the opportunity to participate in educational activities teaching them about recycling, conservation, and environmental citizenship. The event will include live performances, educational booths, family games, inflates, food vendors and more. For more information, visit pearlandtx.gov.

Rice Design Alliance 2019 Architectural Tour: ADAPT

On April 27, 2019, from 1-6 p.m., the Rice Design Alliance will host its 2019 Architecture Tour. This year’s theme “ADAPT” refers to the different ways in which architects and owners of Houston homes have modified their living spaces to adapt to changing conditions. The six Houston houses featured on the tour have adapted to generational succession, family change, climate crisis, neighborhood expectations, rising waters, and preserving in place. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit arch.rice.edu.

Houston Wilderness’s Great Green Quest scholarship opportunity

Applications for Houston Wilderness‘s 2019 Great Green Quest – Careers in Conservation scholarship opportunity are open through April 29, 2019. This program is open to undergraduate and graduate interns or staff who currently work at one of HW’s 100+ Network Partner organizations in the 13-county region and are currently seeking an undergraduate or master’s level degree in environmental science and/or ecology-related careers. Houston Wilderness is offering up to five $1,000 scholarships to help support deserving students in our region. For more information about the “Careers in Conservation” Scholarship program and to submit applications, please contact Torey Brown at [email protected]

Scenic City Application Deadline extended to April 30

The Houston-Galveston Area Council and Scenic Texas support vibrant, healthy communities across the state. Partnering with Scenic Texas and other agencies to form the Scenic City Certification Program has been a natural fit for H-GAC. See the full roster of certified Scenic Cities and review program requirements at sceniccitycertification.org. Due to a high volume of interest, the deadline to apply has been extended to April 30, 2019.

City of Houston Climate Action Plan Community Meetings

The City of Houston’s Office of Sustainability, has begun drafting a Climate Action Plan. The goal is to create ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and establish a pathway to meet the Paris Agreement goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050, while also decreasing traffic congestion, improving air quality, and reducing costs through energy efficiency and renewable energy. The target completion date for the Plan is December 2019, with implementation by the City to start in 2020. HARC, the Houston Advanced Research Center, is providing technical assistance.

  • May 2, 2019 — Northeast Multiservice Center
  • May 8, 2019 — Metropolitan Multiservice Center

Survey on Public Awareness of Floodplains

McKenzie Roberts, a Houston native and senior at the University of Oklahoma majoring in Environmental Sustainability and Meteorology, is working on the capstone project of her final undergraduate research. She is studying residents’ awareness of floods and floodplains in the Houston/Greater Houston area. She asks people to take a survey, which takes about 1-3 minutes, on a secure OU platform. All responses remain anonymous. You can take the survey at ousurvey.qualtrics.com.

Call for presentations: 37th Annual Texas Association for Environmental Education Conference

 The 37th Annual Texas Association for Environmental Education Conference will be held September 27-28 on Galveston Island. TAEE serves all regions of the Texas community by increasing the effectiveness of environmental education. The conference is geared toward formal and informal environmental educators, including classroom teachers, museums, parks, zoos, environmental agencies, and others. Best practices are shared and great ideas are passed forward. Click here to submit a proposal by June 1. For more information, visit taee.org.

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.

  • Visit the Mission Beach Paddling Trail in San Antonio
  • Biologists study how Green Jays adapt to a changing environment
  • The business of prescribed burning

Additional Upcoming Events