Houston Environmental News Update November 20, 2019

Prairies & Pollinators, SPARK Parks Week, Chasing Coral screening, Green Jobs, and more

After a long, hot summer, we’re finally starting to feel some fall weather here in the greater Houston-Galveston region. With the approaching holiday season, please consider making a contribution to help us continue to do the important work we do year-round: ensuring that the environment is recognized as a vital part of the fabric of our society. This newsletter is just one of the ways that CEC documents and shares the depth and breadth of environmental opportunities in the greater Houston region.

Your support enables us to:

Any donation, large or small, will help the CEC continue its vital work of creating a healthier environment throughout the Houston/Gulf Coast region. Make your donation using PayPal, on Facebook, or send a check made out to the CEC to PO Box 702, Houston, TX 77001.

And don’t forget, #GivingTuesday is coming up on Dec. 3. If you donate that Tuesday starting PROMPTLY at 7:00 AM on Facebook, Facebook will match donations. Also on that day, CEC will be offering a special membership and ticket combo to the January showing of the Wild & Scenic Film Festival On Tour, hosted by the CEC at the River Oaks Theatre (look for the special “Giving Tuesday” ticket available for one day only!). From Nov. 26 to Dec. 10, 2019, doublethedonation.com will make it easy to take advantage of employer matching.

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!


Green Films

The Green Film Series is taking a break in December, but please join us at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival on Tour on Tuesday and Wednesday, January 28 and 29, 2020. Tickets now on sale!

Earth Day Houston: Exhibitor Registration now available

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

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.

2019 Prairies & Pollinators

A regional celebration from Mid-September through Mid-November 2019. Includes nature hikes, classes, seed collecting events, festivals, film fests, etc., that celebrate the Coastal Prairies of our region. Full event details located at http://prairiepartner.org/2019-prairies-pollinators.

TCEQ seeks comments on Water Quality Management Plan

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ requests comments from the public on the draft October 2019 Water Quality Management Plan Update for the State of Texas. Once the commission certifies a WQMP update, it is submitted to the United States Environmental Protection Agency for approval. The comment period is underway and ends on Dec. 12, 2019. Information on submitting comments can be found at tceq.texas.gov.

EPA Announces Requests for Applications for the 2020 Environmental Education Grants Program

The Environmental Protection Agency EPA recently announced the availability of up to $3 million in funding for locally-focused environmental education projects under the 2020 Environmental Education Grant Program. EPA will award three to four grants in each of the agency’s 10 regions. In addition to other environmental topics, the 2020 Environmental Education Grants Program will fund education-based projects pertaining to marine debris mitigation, food waste and loss reduction, and recycling. Groups interested must submit their application by Jan. 6, 2020, to be considered. The Requests for Application (RFA) is posted on www.grants.gov.

Hurricane Harvey Registry expanded to include Imelda impacts

Earlier this year, Rice University, the Houston Health Department, and the Environmental Defense Fund launched the Hurricane Harvey Registry, a project to understand the storm’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 can help researchers and public officials to identify health trends and to develop plans to reduce risk with future storms. The Registry has recently expanded its scope to include the impacts of Tropical Storm Imelda. All members of the public are encouraged to enroll with the registry at harveyregistry.rice.edu.

Pleasantville community takes action on air pollution

Achieving Community Tasks Successfully (ACTS), a community-based organization in the historic Pleasantville neighborhood in the east end of Houston, is partnering with Texas Southern University and the Environmental Defense Fund to establish its own community-led and -owned air monitoring network, one of the first of its kind in Texas. The three new, solar-powered monitors are able to withstand serous weather events and are calibrated to nearby federal regulatory monitors and designed to detect a range of airborne toxins, including fine particles, nitrogen oxide and volatile organic compounds, all of which are harmful to human health. By the end of this year, ACTS plans to add four additional air monitors. To see the data, go to openmap.clarity.io and search by “Houston, Texas.”

2019 SPARK Park Week continues through Nov. 22

The 2019 SPARK Park Week, dedicating new SPARK Parks at schools throughout the Houston area, continues through Nov. 22. The celebrations are:

  • Nov. 21 – 9 a.m. – Walnut Bend Elementary, 10620 Briar Forest Dr., Houston
  • Nov. 21 – 1 p.m. – Whidby Elementary, 7625 Springhill St., Houston
  • Nov. 22 – 9:30 a.m. – Huffman Elementary, 24403 E. Lake Houston Parkway, Huffman
  • Nov. 22 – 1 p.m.- McGowen Elementary, 6820 Homestead Rd., Houston. For more information, visit sparkpark.org.

 MetroNext, A Transit Plan for Houston’s Future

On Nov. 21, 2019, from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., the Texas Association of Environmental Professionals will hold their monthly luncheon meeting featuring a presentation by Carrin Patman, Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County board chair, titled “MetroNext, A Transit Plan for Houston’s Future.” The meeting will be held at the Cadillac Bar. For more information and to register, visit taep.memberclicks.net.

Cypress Creek Watershed Partnership public meeting

On Nov. 21, 2019, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., the Cypress Creek Watershed Partnership, a voluntary group of local stakeholders supported by the Houston-Galveston Area Council and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, will hold its third public meeting to discuss the development of the watershed protection plan for Cypress Creek. The meeting will be held at the Barbara Bush Library in Spring. For more information, visit cypresspartnership.weebly.com.

Chasing Coral screening and discussion

On Nov. 21, 2019, from 6-8 p.m., Lone Star College-Kingwood will host a screening of the documentary Chasing Coral, in which divers, photographers and scientists set out on an ocean adventure to discover why reefs are disappearing and to reveal the underwater mystery to the world (see the trailer). A discussion of the documentary will follow with information about the Flower Gardens Banks National Marine Sanctuary. The event will be held in the Student Conference Center Building, Rooms CC 104 and 106.For more information, visit events.lonestar.edu.

What’s happening in High Island?

On Nov. 21, 2019, beginning at 7 p.m., the Galveston County Audubon Society will hold its monthly meeting featuring a presentation by Pete Deichmann, Houston Audubon’s coastal sanctuaries manager, who will discuss Houston Audubon’s continuing efforts to improve habitat at High Island, world renowned for its productive rookery, for birds and visitors alike. The meeting will be held at the  Rosenberg Library, 2310 Sealy, Galveston Island.

Houston Interfaith Thanksgiving Service: The Network of Life

On Nov. 21, 2019, beginning at 7 p.m., the Rothko Chapel will present the 35th Annual Houston Interfaith Thanksgiving Service, with the theme “The Network of Life,” a reminder of the interconnectedness of all living things: humans, animals, plants, natural elements, and our responsibility to be good stewards for each other and for future generations. This year’s service will be held at Covenant Church, 4949 Caroline St. For more information, visit rothkochapel.org.

The Changing Landscape of Energy Production and Use

On Nov. 21, 2019, from 7-8 p.m., The Woodlands G.R.E.E.N. will host a lecture by Robert L. Jones, of the Conroe chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, who will take an historical look at energy sources and uses in the United States and review the economic and environmental characteristics of the various energy-producing technologies. He will also delve into how electric utilities, industries and businesses are changing their strategies to accommodate environmental issues, including an increasingly carbon-constrained economy. The event will be held at the offices of the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC). For more information, visit thewoodlandsgreen.org.

2019 Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching (CAST)

From Nov. 21,-23, the Science Teachers Association of Texas will hold its annual conference at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas. With more than more than 5,000 educators and science advocates attending, CAST is  one of the nation’s premier science education conferences. For more information, visit statweb.org.  

University Pedestrian Bridge ribbon-cutting

On Nov. 22, 2019, from 9:30-11 a.m., the Houston Parks Board will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new University Pedestrian Bridge and BCycle’s 100th bike share station in MacGregor Park. As part of Bayou Greenways 2020, the new University Pedestrian Bridge serves as an important connection between the University of Houston to MacGregor Park. For more information, visit houstonparksboard.org.

Houston Social Good Hackaton

On Nov. 24, 2019, from 9 a.m.-6 p.m., the Houston chapter of WhoIsHussain.org will host a Houston Social Good Hackathon, with an emphasis on climate change, at The Cannon Houston. Participants will engage in creative problem-solving and explore all the different avenues through which the climate crisis directly or indirectly impacts us. For more information and to register, visit whoishussain.org.

The Ecological Crisis & The Response of Faith

On Nov. 24, 2019, from 6-7 p.m., Christ the King Evangelical Lutheran Church will present a webinar titled “The Ecological Crisis & The Response of Faith.” Lisa Brenskelle, head of the Lutherans Restoring Creation Team for the Texas-Louisiana Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, will discuss the United Nations Global Environmental Outlook 6, issued earlier this year, and how faith enables our response to this ecological crisis. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.com.

Smith Point Hawk Watch concludes Nov. 30

The Smith Point Hawk Watch, an annual census of the raptors migrating through Smith Point on the eastern shore of Galveston Bay each fall hosted by the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, Hawk Watch International, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will conclude on Nov. 30, 2019. For more information, visit gcbo.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.

  • Shrimping in Texas is a billion-dollar business, but concerns are mounting that introduced diseases could pose a serious threat to native shrimp and an entire industry
  • The Kirchoff siblings have spent 10 years restoring the native prairie grasses that once dominated their family’s 200 acres. Today it is under a conservation easement with Native Prairies Association of Texas
  • Known as a nature-lovers paradise, the diverse ecosystems of Brazos Bend State Park attracts equally diverse people from nearby Houston*
  • Climb aboard with the Texas Game Wardens who patrol offshore to protect the state’s precious Gulf resources

Additional Upcoming Events