Houston Environmental News Update July 17, 2019

Apollo and the Environmental Movement, Greater Houston Environmental Summit, Green Film: Ay Mariposa, State of the Bay Symposium proposals, GreenBiz 2019 Perspectives, Green Jobs, and more

This Saturday, July 20, the world celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, the culminating event in the United States’ first foray into the era of space research and exploration, which the U.S. and many other nations continue to this day. The Apollo missions also produced one of the most famous pictures in space exploration, Earthrise. This photograph, taken during the Apollo 8 mission in 1968, shows our planet from the point of view of the moon, floating alone in the inky blackness of space. Apollo 8 pilot Jim Lovell remarked: “The vast loneliness is awe-inspiring and it makes you realize just what you have back there on Earth.” That image of Earth, small and vulnerable, sparked a wave of environmental consciousness, as people realized that Earth was the only home they had and it deserved protection.

On January 1, 1970, the United States created the National Environmental Policy Act. On April 22, Americans celebrated the first (and still largest) Earth Day with about 20 million people participating. On July 9, the Environmental Protection Agency was established and on October 2, NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration) was created.1972 sparked a wave of environmental legislation, including the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Clean Water Act. You can learn more about the history of the environmental movement here.

Here are a few events hosted by local organizations to celebrate the moon landing:

  • On Saturday, July 20, the George Observatory, located in Brazos Bend State Park, will host activities from 1-11 p.m., including speakers and stargazing. More information can be found at hmns.org.
  • The Houston Museum of Natural Science is hosting a special exhibition, “Moon” by Luke Jerram, to mark the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. Visitors will be able to explore the moon’s surface and the International Space Station by using immersive virtual reality technology.
  • Discovery Green will host a special event on Saturday from 6-10 p.m. Activities will include musical performances, interactive exhibits provided by NASA, and a screening of the documentary Apollo 11. See more of the schedule at discoverygreen.com.
  • On Saturday, from 1-4 p.m., the Lunar and Planetary Institute will host a special family-friendly event called “Apollo 11: Looking Back to Move Forward.” For more details, visit lpi.usra.edu.
  • Sugar Land Town Square will host a celebration on Saturday from 7-10 p.m. featuring a special prerecorded video message from the International Space Station and a short documentary recounting the historic moon landing and Houston’s role in the historic event. For more information, see the Facebook event.
  • Of course, the biggest celebration will take place at Space Center Houston. On July 20, there will be a full day of activities, counting down to Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon. The event will include an outdoor concert, Apollo-era flight controller presentations, pop-up science labs, and NASA tram tours. Find more information and purchase tickets at spacecenter.org.


Greater Houston Environmental Summit: Friday, August 2, 2019

Please join us for our annual Greater Houston Environmental Summit on Friday, August 2, 2019, from 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. at the United Way of Greater Houston’s Community Resource Center. In addition to excellent presentations, we will again offer small-format table talks. Details and registration will be available soon. The theme this year is the Sustainable Development Goals set forth by the United Nations. Early registration through July 26, 2019. Register on eventbrite.

Houston Green Films: Ay Mariposa

The Houston Green Film for August 21 will be “Ay! Mariposa!”, a documentary film about two women and a rare community of butterflies standing on the front lines in a battle against the US-Mexico border wall. We will be joined by the director of the National Butterfly Center. Upcoming films: September 18–“Hot Grease“, October 16– Wild About Houston Green Film Festival.

Environmental Educators Exchange: Pearland’s New Delores Fenwick Nature Center

The next quarterly meeting of the Environmental Educators’ Exchange will be on Wednesday, August 7, 2019, at 4:00 p.m. (Note different time.) Location: Pearland’s new Delores Fenwick Nature Center. Free registration on Eventbrite.

Earth Day Houston

Earth Day Houston, part of the 50th worldwide observance, will be held at Discovery Green on Sunday, April 19, 2020.

Candidate Forums and Questionnaires

7 days of being engaged in the community

Are you organizing a candidate forum or questionnaire for the November 2019 election? CEC is gathering information about election-related activities within our environmental communities. Let us know what you are planning, and we’ll keep you in the loop. CEC is interested in either hosting, coordinating, and/or supporting the efforts of local environmental nonprofits leading up to the election. Send your comments to [email protected] Note: the filing deadline for the November City of Houston elections is August 26, 2019. We have heard that CEER Houston will be hosting a mayoral candidate forum on Saturday, September 21, 2019.

Interested in serving on the CEC Board or a Committee?

CEC is seeking individuals who might be interested in joining our board of directors in January 2020, or volunteering to serve on one of our committees starting this year. Over the next few months, we are hosting information sessions for prospective board and committee members to learn more about the commitment and opportunities. Upcoming sessions include the evenings of July 29, September 23, and October 15. For more information (including directions to our top secret world headquarters), please email [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 opportunities listed below. Please consider confirming directly with the hosts.

Call for proposals: 11th State of the Bay Symposium

The Galveston Bay Estuary Program will host the 11th State of the Bay Symposium from Jan. 22-23, 2020 at the Moody Gardens Hotel and Convention Center in Galveston. The Estuary Program is now accepting abstracts for presentations. All proposals must be received in electronic format at the Estuary Program offices no later than close of business on August 19, 2019 via e-mail. Prospective presenters will be notified if their presentation or session has been accepted for inclusion in the symposium by Oct. 1, 2019. For detailed information, visit gbep.texas.gov.

Memorial Park 101: Tree Talk

On July 16, 2019, from 6-7 p.m., the Memorial Park Conservancy will host a guided hike of the south side trails and discussion of the Park’s native trees, the challenge of invasive species, and “Leave No Trace” outdoor ethics. The hike will begin at the Ball Fields and Dog Wash Trailhead. Participants should expect to walk about 1-2 miles on potentially uneven surfaces, please wear comfortable closed-toed walking shoes and bring water. For more information, see the Facebook event.

Volunteer opportunities at Hermann Park’s Centennial Gardens

Hermann Park Conservancy is looking for volunteers to help keep the McGovern Centennial Gardens growing. Join them on July 20 from 9:30-11 a.m. to learn about the many volunteer opportunities available at Hermann Park. Volunteers will also take a short tour of the Gardens and learn about the Conservancy’s mission. For more information, visit hermannpark.org.

Prairie Teacher Workshop

On July 18, 2019, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., the Houston chapter of the Native Prairies Association of Texas will hold a free Prairie Teacher Workshop at the Lawther-Deer Park Prairie Preserve. The workshop will use a multi-disciplinary approach to teach about the history and benefits of the coastal prairie. Extra credit hours are offered. Space is limited. RSVP to [email protected] or call 832-283-0383.

Virtually Wild! Texas – Connecting Students Digitally

On July 18, 2019, from 6:45-8:30 p.m., the Houston chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas will host an event about Virtually Wild! Texas, a collaboratively run program for schools, hospitals and other institutions that serve young people with limited access to nature. The goal of the program is to connect kids to Greater Houston best stories around wildlife, careers, and conservation. The event will be held at the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center. For more information, visit the Facebook event.

The River and the Wall screening at 14 Pews

On July, 18, 2019, beginning at 7 p.m., 14 Pews will screen the documentary The River and the Wall, directed by Ben Masters. The film follows five friends on an immersive adventure through the unknown wilds of the Texas borderlands as they travel 1,200 miles from El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico on horses, mountain bikes, and canoes (see the trailer). For more information and to purchase tickets, visit 14pews.org.

Texas Association of Environmental Professionals luncheon

On July 19, 2019, from 1:20 a.m.-1 p.m., the Texas Environmental Professionals Association will hold its monthly meeting at the Cadillac Bar. The featured speaker will be Michael Honeycutt, toxicology program manager for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, who will provide an “Environmental Regulatory Update.” For more information and to register, visit taep.memberclicks.net.

Nature Heritage Society Hike & Fish event

On July, 20, 2019, from 8:45 a.m.-noon, the Nature Heritage Society will host a Hike and Fish event at the Hill at Sims Greenway. The trail is approximately 2.5 miles; shorter routes are available. For more information, see the Facebook event.

Invasives Beware

On July 20, 2019, from 9-11 a.m., Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center staff and the Jesse Jones Park Eradicators with host a volunteer event to remove invasive plant species as well as trail clearing and vital habitat restoration. Closed-toed shoes required; gloves and long pants are recommended. Ages 16 and up or children accompanied by an adult. For more information and to volunteer, visit hcp4.net.

All About Bats

On July 20, 2019, Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center will present naturalist John Carey, who will discuss which bat species are found in Texas, the beneficial role they play in the wild, and the threats that bat populations face today. Participants will also learn several ways to make backyards and neighborhoods more bat-friendly. For more information, visit hcp4.net.

Moth Night at the Deer Park Prairie

On July 20, 2019, starting at 8:30 p.m., at the Deer Park Prairie, 1222 E. Purdue Lane, the Houston chapter of the Native Prairies of Texas Association, Katy Emde and John Schneider will set up moth stations and be on hand to identify insects which are attracted to the light. The event is part of the celebration of National Moth Week.

Houston Interfaith Advocacy Training

On July 21, 2019, from 2-5 p.m., Texas Impact will hold a Houston Interfaith Advocacy Training at Bering United Methodist Church. The event will include a faith leader panel, Advocacy 101 training and breakout sessions focused on August legislative visits to members in their districts. Policy presentations will focus on immigration reform, climate and energy legislation, and health policy. For more information and to register, visit texasimpact.org.

Marine Debris Educator Workshop

On July 23, 2019, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Moody Gardens will host an Educator Workshop for 6-12th grade educators who discuss environmental issues in their classrooms. This is an interactive workshop, incorporating service learning opportunities and ways to link these actions to citizen science projects. After conducting a beach clean-up, participants will assess litter, examine impacts and design solutions for preventing marine debris. For more information and to register, visit moodygardens.com.

Southern Region Water Conference

From July 23-25, the Texas AgriLife Extension Service will hold its Southern Region Water Conference at the Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center in College Station. The theme of the conference is “Improving Adoption of Sustainable Water Management Practices.” For more information, visit agrilife.org.

GreenBiz’ 2019 Predictions: Houston Perspectives

On July 24, 2019, from 5:30-7 p.m., the Houston Resilient Business Forum will host a panel of experts from CenterPoint Energy, NRG Energy and Rice University, who will evaluate the top predictions from GreenBiz’ 2019 State of Green Business about electric trucks, super pollutants and science-based targets from a Houston point of view halfway through the year. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.com.

Texas Wildlife Association Outreach Teacher Workshops

Through July 25, 2019 in the Houston area, the Texas Wildlife Association is offering Outreach Teacher Workshops, 6-hour hands-on trainings which introduce attendees to the TWA, in-class and outdoor L.A.N.D.S. Outreach lessons and activities, and how to incorporate natural resources into classrooms or programming. Lessons focus on teaching land stewardship, native wildlife, and water conservation and are TEKS-aligned. This workshop is ideal for educators grades K-8 (ages 5-14) and is free.  All educators who attend and complete the workshop will receive six CPE hours. For more information and to register, visit texas-wildlife.org.

Air Alliance Houston’s Breakfast with Bakeyah

On July 25, 2019, beginning at 8 a.m., Air Alliance Houston will host a breakfast discussion with Executive Director Bakeyah Nelson, on community concerns and talking points ahead of the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s Transportation Policy Council planned July 26 vote on whether TxDOT will receive $100 million to begin funding Segment 2 of their I-45 highway expansion project. There will also be updates on AAH’s upcoming plans. Location will be announced to registered participants closer to the event date. RSVP to [email protected] or call 713-528-3779.

Snakes of Texas

On July 25, 2019, from 6:30-8 p.m., the Houston chapter of the Native Prairies of Texas Association will hold its monthly meeting featuring a presentation from Laura and Adrian Berg of Crossbone Corns on “Snakes of Texas.”  The meeting will be held at the American Red Cross building. For more information, visit houstonprairie.org.

Cypress Creek Wateshed Partnership meetings

On July 25, 2019, the newly formed Cypress Creek Watershed Partnership will hold its first two public meetings. Residents, business owners, property owners, government staff and officials, and other stakeholders are invited to join this locally led project to identify and address water quality issues in the Cypress Creek Watershed for Harris and Waller counties. The first meeting will be from 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the Weekley Community Center in Cypress. The second will be from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Barbara Bush Library in Spring. For more information, visit cypresspartnership.weebly.com.

Rural Recycling Workshop

On July 25, 2019, from 1-3 p.m., the Houston-Galveston Area Council and the Cooperative Teamwork & Recycling Assistance will host a Rural Recycling Workshop to discuss issues and brainstorm potential ways to work together to enhance rural recycling centers and recycling programs in the region. The workshop will be held at the George Memorial Library, 1001 Golfview Drive, Richmond. Registration is requested. For more information, contact Becki Begley at 713-993-2410 or Rachel Hering at 512-236-1134.

Houston Climate Plan Stakeholder Meeting

On July 25, 2019, from 4-5 p.m., Mayor Sylvester Turner and representatives of the City of Houston Sustainability Office will present recommended strategies for the Climate Action Plan. The strategies will highlight action across four key areas: building optimization, decarbonization, transportation, and materials management. The event will be held in the Legacy Room at Houston City Hall. For more information, visit greenhoustontx.gov.

Milby Park Cleanup

On July 26, 2019, from 9 a.m.-noon, the Natural Resources Management Program of the City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department will host a volunteer cleanup of the riparian restoration area at Charles H. Milby Park, 2001 Central St. Volunteers will clean up litter and plant trees. To RSVP, send an email [email protected]

Ann Hamilton Trail Walking Tour

On July 27, 2019, the Katy Prairie Conservancy will offer a free walking tour of the Ann Hamilton Trail in the Indiangrass Preserve. Participants will learn about the history and value of the coastal prairie and KPC’s role in preserving these vanishing lands. For more information, visit katyprairie.org.

Moth Night Out Event at Trinity River Refuge

On July 27, 2019, beginning at 9 p.m., Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge will host its sixth Annual Moth Night Out Event. Interested folks will meet at the Refuge Headquarters building to see and photograph some of the over 900 species of moths documented around the building’s security lights. Black lights and mercury vapor lights will also be used. The Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters building is located at 601 FM 1011 in Liberty. It is directly across the street from the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center. All ages are invited, but the event will last until late in the evening. For more information, call (936) 336-9786.

Galveston Historical Association offers Marine Biology Tours

This summer, the Galveston Historical Association is offering Marine Biology Tours, where participants can observe dolphins and other species in their natural habitat, trawl for and handle marine organisms, study plankton through a microscopic lens, and explore Galveston Bay’s rich history. This unique experience takes place on board the SEAGULL II, a 50′ catamaran which docks at the Texas Seaport Museum, and is led by a marine biologist. Tours, which cost $20, are available July 27, and August 10 and 24. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.com.

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.

  • See what’s being done along the Texas coast to save disappearing sharks
  • Palo Duro Canyon’s youngest host saves money on housing while attending college
  • Justin and Tamara Trail take a step-by-step approach to managing their Shackelford County ranch

Additional Upcoming Events