Houston Environmental News Update September 18, 2019

Houston Bird Week, Houston Climate Action Plan comments, Adopt-a-Beach Fall Cleanup, Mayoral and Council member forums Green Jobs, and more

In honor of its 50th anniversary, our friends at Houston Audubon are hosting the first-ever Houston Bird Week starting this Saturday, September 21, and running through September 28. Equal parts fun, education, and celebration, the event will allow area residents to experience firsthand the important role Houston plays in the journey of billions of migratory birds, and the everyday life of our urban-dwelling birds.

Events will include bird hikes, bird surveys, watch parties, lectures, a raptor photo shoot, and much more.

The festivities will begin with a Kick-Off Party and Bird Bird Launch at Bakfish Brewing Company, featuring the announcement of the winner of the first-ever Bird of Houston contest. For a full listing of events, visit houstonaudubon.org.

Also, this Saturday marks the conclusion of National Estuaries Week (discussed in this space last week). Galveston Bay Foundation is partnering with the Texas General Land Office and Port of Houston on Sept. 21 for an Adopt-A-Beach cleanup of Morgan’s Point. It’s one of many cleanups along the Texas Gulf Coast, part of the annual Fall Adopt-A-Beach Cleanup (see description below) AND International Coastal Cleanup day. 

The banner image is courtesy of Houston Audubon.


Wild About Houston: A Green Film Festival

Join CEC, the Houston GREEN Film SeriesRice Media Center, Armand Bayou Nature Center, Bayou Land Conservancy, and the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center on October 16, 2019, for “Wild About Houston: A Green Film Festival.” We will showcase local short films that tell environmental stories. Please watch the contenders on the CEC YouTube Channel, and give a thumbs up to your favorites to see them on the big screen. Submit a film for consideration via our Google Form. Secure a ticket today, or register to host an exhibit table, via Eventbright.

Earth Day Houston

Earth Day Houston, part of the 50th worldwide observance, will be held at Discovery Green on Sunday, April 19, 2020. Opportunities to volunteer, sponsor, and exhibit will be available soon.

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. 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 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.

Deadline for Houston Climate Action Plan comments extended to Sept. 30

In July, the City of Houston rolled out its long-awaited draft Climate Action Plan. The plan, developed in conjunction with the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC), has the goal of making Houston a carbon-neutral city by 2050. The plan includes four major goal areas: transportation, energy transition, building optimization, and materials management. The final plan is expected to be approved in December, with implementation to begin in 2020. Due to overwhelming response, the opportunity to provide feedback on the Climate Action Plan outline has been extended to September 30, 2019.  Please go here to download the outline and submit your comments. 

NOAA Restore Science Program 2013-18 report released

The NOAA RESTORE Science Program, created by the U.S. Congress as a response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, has released its first program report covering the program from 2013 through 2018. The report, Science to Action, provides an overview of the projects the Science Program has supported, touches on the science and application accomplishments, and looks forward to what’s to come. Read or download the full report at coastalscience.noaa.gov.

Master Composter Program course at GBRC

From Sept. 19-22, 2019, the City of Houston’s Green Building Resource Center will host a Master Composter Program 20-hour training course by approved MC instructors, as well as 20 hours of volunteer community service in public compost education and awareness (within six months of completing the course). MC training courses will provide at least 16 hours of classroom time to be supplemented with four hours of hands-on training. For more information, visit codegreenhouston.org.

National Conference on Ecosystem Restoration 2020 proposals due Sept. 20

The National Conference on Ecosystem Restoration (NCER) — an interactive forum for physical, biological and social scientists, engineers, resource managers, planners and policy makers to share their experiences and research results concerning large-scale ecosystem restoration on both national and international levels — will be held Aug. 2-6, 2020 in Portland, Oregon, and individuals working in the field of ecosystem restoration are invited to propose a session. The deadline for proposals in Sept. 20, 2019. For more information and to submit a proposal, visit conference.ifas.ufl.edu.

Houston Climate Strike

The Houston Climate Strike will be the biggest climate strike in Houston history. As the energy capital world, Houston is in a position to push the global community toward green energy. This transition will include access to training, unionized jobs, and support for those impacted by the switch in industry. We invite you to come stand with us and continue to the fight for a better future! If you are planning on joining us please remember to carpool, walk, or take public transportation if you are able to. RSVP on actionnetwork.org.

2nd Annual Houston Youth Voters Conference

On Sept. 20, 2019, from 3-8 p.m., several area universities will co-host the 2nd Annual Houston Youth Voters Conference at UH-Downtown. There will be a variety of speakers and activities to inform and engage young Houstonians on the important topic of youth civic engagement and voter mobilization. For more information and to register, see the Facebook event.

2019 Wildscapes Workshop

On Sept. 21, 2019, from 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m., the Houston chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas will host the 2019 Wildcapes Workshop, an educational event and local native plant sale. The event will include featured speakers providing up-to-date information on the relationship between native plants and our local wildlife and environment, and Houston’s prairie history, culture, and its future. The workshop will be held at Rice University’s Anderson-Clarke Center. For more information and to register, visit npsot.org.

Adopt-A-Beach Fall Coastal Cleanup

On Sept. 21, 2019, from 9 a.m.-noon, the Texas General Land Office is hosting the annual Fall Coastal Cleanup at beaches along the Texas Gulf Coast, including several in the greater Houston-Galveston region. For more information and to register, visit glo.texas.gov.

Katy Prairie Conservancy Guided Walking Tour

On Sept. 21, 2019, from 10-11 a.m., the Katy Prairie Conservancy will host a guided walking tour of the Ann Hamilton Trail at the Indiangrass Preserve. Participants will learn about the history and value of the coastal prairie and KPC’s role in preserving these vanishing lands. All ages are welcome. For more information, visit katyprairie.org.

Enrichment Day and Elephant Open House at Houston Zoo

On Sept. 21, 2019, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Houston Zoo will hold Enrichment Day, an opportunity to the animals enjoying special animal enrichment, Meet the Keeper Talks, games for kids, and more. Visitors will see a variety of animal enrichment activities throughout the day and learn more about what our zookeepers do behind the scenes every day of the year to keep the animals physically and mentally stimulated. There will also be an Elephant Open House from 8 a.m-10:30 a.m. For more information, visit houstonzoo.org.

Environmental Justice Houston Mayoral Forum

On Sept. 21, 2019, from 2-4 p.m., the Coalition for Environment, Equity, and Resilience (CEER), in association with BakerRipley, will host a Mayoral Candidate Forum to discuss candidates’ positions and performance on issues related to environment, equity, resilience, social justice, and public health. The forum will be held at the BakerRipley Harbach Campus. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.

The Legend of Big Bend at Discovery Green

On Sept. 21, 2019, from 8-9:30 p.m., Discovery Green will host Austin-based indie classical group Montopolis, which draws inspiration from West Texas tales and the breathtaking beauty of Big Bend National Park, in a free, family-friendly concert. The multi-media performance weaves science, history, poetry and personal stories into music accompanied by video footage of the vast high desert wilderness. For more information, visit discoverygreen.com.

Paris to Pittsburgh screenings

There are two upcoming opportunities to see the documentary Paris to Pittsburgh, which individuals battling the most severe threats of climate change in their own backyards. Set against the national debate over the United States’ energy future – and the Trump administration’s decision to exit the Paris Climate Agreement – the film captures what’s at stake for communities around the country – and the ways Americans are responding (see the trailer).
The first opportunity to see the film will be Sept. 22, 2019, beginning at 11:45 a.m., at Grace United Church of Christ. For more information, see hpjc.org. The second opportunity will be Sept. 24, 2019, beginning at 7 p.m., at 14 Pews. For more information, visit 14pews.org.

Solar in Houston: 2019

On Sept. 25, 2019, from 6-8 p.m., the City of Houston’s Green Building Resource Center will host a discussion about the latest developments in solar energy technology and development, including representatives from Telsa and Wolfe Energy. For more information and to RSVP, visit codegreenhouston.org.

ANTHROPOCENE: The Human Epoch screenings

On Sept. 25, 2019, beginning at 7 p.m., there will be two area screenings of the documentary ANTROPOCENE: The Human Epoch, part of a nationwide screening event in collaboration with this year’s U.N. Climate Action Summit. The film follows an international body of scientists who argue that the Holocene Epoch gave way to the Anthropocene Epoch in the mid-20th Century as a result of profound and lasting human changes to the Earth (see the trailer ). The local screenings will be held at Cinemark Memorial City and Cinemark 17 in The Woodlands. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit cinemark.com.

History of Nash Prairie

On Sept. 25, 2019, the Houston chapter of the Native Prairies Association of Texas will hold its monthly meeting featuring a talk by Master Naturalist Susan Conaty titled “History of Nash Prairie and other Dumb Luck Stories.” The presentation will address the 5 W’s (who, what, where, when, and why) and the one H (how) the Nash Prairie in Brazoria County came to be owned by The Nature Conservancy. The event will be held at the American Red Cross building. For more information, visit houstonprairie.org.

Certified Sustainability Practitioner Program in Houston

On Sept. 26-27, 2019, the Center for Sustainability and Excellence will bring its Certified Sustainability (CSR) Practitioner Program to Houston. CSE will focus on issues specific to Houston and the region such as the challenges and opportunities faced to keep Houston ahead of the game; an energy market ripe for sustainability training and how weather-related changes highlight opportunities to work in sustainability. The course provides practical tools to implement or advance a sustainability program with case studies, exercises, and networking. Participants who successfully complete a two-year Sustainability Action Plan qualify for the globally recognized CSR-P Certification. Find more information and register at cse-net.org.

Air Alliance Houston’s Breakfast with Bakeyah

On Sept. 26, 2019, from 8-9:30 a.m., Air Alliance Houston executive director Bakeyah Nelson will hold a breakfast conversation with former Houston Mayor Bill White about the city’s past efforts to address the region’s air quality challenges and opportunities moving forward. The event will be held at Houston Center Real Estate, 1601 Live Oak St. To RSVP, send an email to [email protected]. For more information, see the Facebook event.

Green Infrastructure Field Day

On Sept. 26, 2019, from 8:30 a.m.-noon, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and partner agencies will host a free field trip to Sheldon Lake State Park and Environmental Learning Center. Participants will hear from project partners about funding, implementation, maintenance, and lessons learned at Sheldon Lake State Park; then venture into the wetlands to see several areas within the 400 acres of restored freshwater prairie-wetland ecosystem. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.com.

Cypress Creek Watershed Partnership meeting

On Sept. 26, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Houston-Galveston Area Council will hold a public meeting at the Cypress Creek Christian Community Center in Spring. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss water quality issues impacting the Cypress Creek watershed in Harris and Waller counties. At the meeting, the steering committee members for the project will be selected. Local stakeholders are invited to participate in the Cypress Creek Watershed Partnership, which will develop a watershed protection plan to address these challenges. For more information, visit cypresspartnership.com.

USGS Annual Groundwater Table Data: How Are We Doing?

On Sept. 26, 2019, beginning at 7 p.m., The Woodlands G.R.E.E.N. will host a lecture by Chris Braun and Jason Ramage of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Texas Water Science Center titled “USGS Annual Groundwater Table Data: How Are We Doing?”. They will discuss the results from the latest round of measurements and highlight various trends that have developed over the past decades of data collection and analysis. The event will be held at the Houston Advanced Research Center, 8801 Gosling Road. For more information, visit thewoodlandsgreen.org.

2020 Texas Environmental Excellence Awards applications due Sept. 27

Each year, the Governor’s Office and commissioners from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality honor the state’s most outstanding environmental projects through the Texas Environmental Excellence Awards. Winners from across the state exemplify how Texans set the standard for ensuring clean air, clean water, and the safe management of waste. See the winner videos for 2019 (including local finalists Houston Wilderness for its Texas Monarch Flyway Strategy and Houston Audubon Education Director Mary Anne Weber). Applications are being accepted through Friday, September 27. Learn more and apply at tceq.texas.gov.

2019 Texas Association for Environmental Education conference

From Sept. 27-28, 2019, the Texas Association for Environmental Education will hold its annual conference at Sea Star Base Galveston. The event will include mixture of seasoned and new environmental educators; workshops and field trips, short courses and breakout sessions, networking activities and more. For more information and to register, visit taee.org.

TWRC’s Run Wild Run Free 5K

On Sept. 28, 2019, the TWRC Wildlife Refuge Center will host its 2nd Annual Run Wild Run Free 5K Run/Walk at Nottingham Park. Proceeds benefit the TWRC’s efforts to rehabilitate wildlife in the greater Houston region. For more information and to register, visit twrcwildlifecenter.org.

Native Landscaping Volunteer Workshop at Houston Arboretum

On Sept. 28, 2019, from 8:30-11 a.m., the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center will hold a Native Landscaping Volunteer Workshop. Conservation Director Emily Manderson will shed some light on the important ecological work being done at the Arboretum. Volunteers will then head out on the trails with the conservation team to get firsthand experience planting native grasses and forbs along the Arboretum’s new Display Walk. For more information and to register, visit houstonarboretum.org.

National Public Lands Day with Bayou Land Conservancy

On Sept. 28, 2019, from 9 a.m.-noon, the Bayou Land Conservancy will host a volunteer event at Lake Houston Wilderness Park. Volunteers will help with invasive species removal and trash clean-up. Free snow cones will be available. For more information and to volunteer, visit bayoulandconservancy.org.

National Public Lands Day at Memorial Park

On Sept. 28, 2019, from 4-7 p.m., Memorial Park will celebrate National Public Lands Day by holding a volunteer opportunity. Volunteers will meet behind the Cullen Running Trails Center to help Memorial Park Conservancy in our volunteering efforts, then hang out and enjoy some complimentary Saint Arnold Brewing Company beer. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.com.

Greens Bayou Regatta

On Sept. 28, 2019, beginning at 9 a.m., the Greens Bayou Conservancy will host the Greens Bayou Regatta, which combines recreation, stewardship, and education on one of Houston’s most beautiful and secluded waterways. The 7.5 mile race course showcases two planned launch locations, Brock Park and Thomas Bell Foster Park. For more information and to register, visit greensbayouregatta.rallybound.org.

Take Me Outdoors Houston at Discovery Green

On Sept. 28, 2019, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Discovery Green will host Take Me Outdoors Houston, a family-friendly celebration of nature where Texas Parks and Wildlife Department staff will provide hands-on activities, booths and information about natural resources in Houston. There will also be two educational demonstrations of live hawks and other raptors in flight by master falconer John Karger. For more information, visit discoverygreen.com.

Fall Wildfower Day at Lawther-Deer Park Prairie

On Sept. 28, 2019, from 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m., the Native Prairies Association of Texas will hold its Fall Wildflower Day at the Lawther-Deer Park Prairie. Participants will see prairie plants that they can use in their garden to attract pollinators, learn seed collecting techniques and take some Deer Park Prairie seeds home. For more information, visit wordpress.com.

Houston City Council At-Large Candidate Climate Solutions Forum

On Sept. 28, 2019, from 3:30-5:30 p.m., several local environmental groups will co-host a Climate Solutions Forum for candidates in the Houston At-Large City Council races. The event will be held at a private residence. 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.

  • Landowners, conservationists, and other folks in between have a love affair with the Devils River. But there are threats to this natural place, and that’s got those passionate admirers a bit worried
  • Where can you surf without water? On a sea of sand at Monahans Sandhills State Park near Odessa
  • A few individuals are working hard in Caprock Canyons State Park to save the last remnants of pure Southern Plains Bison in North America

Additional Upcoming Events