Houston Environmental News Update January 8, 2020

Various species at Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary

The King Sings Green, High Island Sanctuaries, Forest Health Day, Trash in Our Waterways, East End Lagoon Nature Walk, Green Jobs, and more

Well, the holiday season is behind us, but today marks a special day of another sort. On this day in 1935, Elvis Presley was born in Tupulo, Mississippi!

At first glance, the King may not seem to have much to do with the environment, But — go with us here — if you look more closely, you can see that environmental themes ran throughout his esteemed body of work.

Don’t believe us? How about “All I Needed Was the Rain,” included on his 1968 album Elvis Sings Flaming Star? Or “America the Beautiful” from the 1975 Elvis Aron Presley?

And it doesn’t stop there! Here is just a sampling of songs (via Wikipedia) that demonstrate just how deeply Elvis cared about the splendors of the natural world: “Beyond the Reef.” “Blue Hawaii.” “Blue River.” “Clean Up Your Own Backyard.” “Early Morning Rain.” “Green, Green Grass of Home.” “Hawaiian Sunset.” “A Little Bit of Green.” “My Desert Serenade.” “Paradise, Hawaiian Style.” “Pocketful of Rainbows.” “Thanks to the Rolling Sea.” “There Is So Much World to See.” “When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano.” “Wild in the Country.” And of course, “Wolf Call.”

Did me miss any? Drop us a line at our Facebook page. But, please, don’t be cruel.

The photo above, courtesy of Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, shows species at — not beyond — protected but still threatened coral reefs 70 miles off the Texas coast.

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.


Wild & Scenic Film Festival on Tour

Audience at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival at River Oaks Theatre.

If you’re looking for a fun, indoor activity in January, consider the Wild and Scenic Film Festival at the River Oaks Theatre on January 28 and 29, 2020.

Hosted by the Citizens’ Environmental Coalition, this increasingly popular film fest features ten short films, showcasing subjects ranging from fishing bats, to boys with butterflies, to girls on glaciers. Different films show each night; purchase a pass to see them all.

The festival tells local environmental stories, highlights the work of CEC member organizations, and inspires our community to make a difference in the environment and quality of life. Each night, a different local film will be shown that was chosen by the audience of our Wild About Houston Green Film Festival. This year’s winning videos are from the Environmental Defense Fund, Houston Parks Board, and Buffalo Bayou Partnership.

Festival tickets are now on sale through Eventbrite. Please help us promote the festival by sharing our Facebook event page.

THANK YOU to our Projector Sponsors: Houston Parks Board, Kirksey and Bat Conservation International!

We are thankful for our Film Sponsors: Hydroshack, Texas Coastal Exchange, Lower Brazos Riverwatch, Friends of Woodland Park, Cacao and Cardamom, McMac CX, The Nature Conservancy, Americas, Vossos Landscape Design

Promotional partners include: Houston Canoe Club, Armand Bayou Nature Center, Bayou Preservation Association, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, Houston Community Partnerships and Engagement, The Lazy Gardener and Friends, Houston Film Commission, Katy Prairie Conservancy, Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, Native Plant Society-Clear Lake Chapter and Houston Chapter, Houston Audubon, Texas Association for Environmental Education, HERE in Houston, 14 Pews, Henderson & Kane General Store, Houston Sierra Club.

Contact [email protected] to become a sponsor, or visit our sponsorship page. Sign up for additional news about the Houston Green Film Series on our Constant Contact form.

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.

Behind-the-Scenes Tour of the High Island Sanctuaries

On Jan. 9, 2020, from 7-8:30 p.m., Houston Audubon will host a behind-the-scenes tour of the sanctuaries at High Island, which is world renowned for its productive rookery island and excellent birding during the spring migration. High Island Coastal Sanctuaries Manager Pete Deichmann will talk about ongoing and past habitat projects as well as plans for the future. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit houstonaudubon.org.

Houston Sierra Club: Trash in Our Wateways

On Jan. 9, 2020, from 7-9 p.m., the Sierra Club Houston Group will hold its monthly meeting featuring Amanda Hackney of Black Cat GIS & Biological Services, who will talk about the Galveston Bay Watershed Trash Action Plan and ongoing efforts to reduce waterborne pollution from the bayous to the bay.  The event will be held at Pecore Hall at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. For more information, visit sierraclub.org.

The Next Evolution of the Shale Oil Revolution: The Carbon Storage Solution 

On Jan. 9, 2020, from 8-9 p.m., the South Texas Section of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers will hold its January Dinner Meeting featuring a presentation by reservoir engineer David Merchant. He will discuss his recent paper on using carbon capture and storage to deal with climate change, with an emphasis on flaring in the Permian Basin. The event will be held at The Bouganvilleas. For more information and to register, visit aiche.org.

I-45 Expansion Project comments due Jan. 10

The Texas Department of Transportation has released an updated draft of the Community Impacts Assessment (CIA) Technical Report for the North Houston Highway Improvement Project. LINK Houston asks members of the public to respond to TxDOT during the public comment period by Jan, 10, 2020. The new report revises the 2017 assessment of how TxDOT anticipates the $7 billion, 25-mile long project will impact real people. Let TxDOT know how you feel about the expanded footprint and demand that TxDOT take more steps to keep families in their homes and protect historical sties. LINK Houston asks members of the public to respond to TxDOT during the public comment period by Jan. 10, 2020 via:

  1. Email at [email protected]
  2. Mail to: TxDOT Houston District Office, Director of Project Development, P.O. 1386, Houston, TX 77251-1386;
  3. Or in person at the TxDOT Houston District Office, 7600 Washington Avenue, Houston, TX 77007.

For additional information, visit http://ih45northandmore.com/final_eis.aspx.

RESTORE Council funding priorities public comment period ends Jan. 10

The RESTORE Council staff is in the midst of a public review and comment period on draft Funded Priorities List 3a, that will conclude at 11:59 pm MDT on Jan. 10, 2020. In early December, the RESTORE Council hosted and recorded two public webinars in which staff presented an overview of the Planning Framework draft, and responded to selected questions from webinar participants. For more information on the Priorities List and to make comments, visit restorethegulf.gov.

Forest Health Day

On Jan. 11, 2020, from 8-11 a.m., the Memorial Park Conservancy and Trees for Houston will host Forest Health Day, an opportunity for volunteers to get their hands dirty together with the Conservancy to restore balance in the Park’s ecologies. The event will combine tree planting with sustainable forest practices such as invasive removal and soil treatments. This is a family-friendly event that welcomes tree lovers of all levels to volunteer and learn about urban forest. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.com.

Free Farm Tours: Explore your Food

On Jan. 11, 2020, beginning at 9:30 a.m., Finca Tres Robles will offer free, 30-45-minute tours of the urban farm. The farm is more than a space for growing food – it’s a space for growing community. This is a chance to see what’s growing on the farm and meet who is growing it. For more information, visit the Facebook event.

High Island Sanctuaries Work Party

On Jan. 11, 2020, beginning at 8:30 a.m., Houston Audubon will host a volunteer work party at the High Island Sanctuaries, improving both the visitor infrastructure and wildlife habitat. This is a great opportunity to get outside and meet other like minded people while making a difference. For more information and to register, see the Facebook event.

East End Lagoon Nature Preserve Guided Walk

On Jan. 11, 2020, from 9-10 a.m., the Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council and the East End Nature Preserve will host a guided walk of the preserve, beginning at the ADA trailhead on the south side of Boddeker Road For more information, see the Facebook event.

Make I-45 Better Coalition Meeting on Expansion Project

On Jan. 11, 2020, beginning at 2 p.m., the Make I-45 Better Coalition will host an informational meeting on the I-45 Expansion Project. Topics to be discussed will include the status of the project, the local review process being undertaken by the City of Houston, and the environmental review process. The meeting will be held at the Buffalo Bayou Partnership offices. For more information, see the Facebook event.

Owl Prowl at Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary

On Jan. 11, 2020, beginning at 6 p.m., Houston Audubon will host an Owl Prowl at the Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary. Participants will meet live, rehabilitated ambassador owls after an informational program at the log cabin. Afterward, participants will venture to the wooded trails in search of wild owls. For more information, visit the Facebook event.

Going Green in Houses of Worship

On Jan. 12, 2020, from 2:30-4 p.m., the Interfaith Environmental Network of Houston will host an event discussing how houses of worship in Houston are going green and consider what attendees can do in their own house of worship. Speakers of a variety of faith backgrounds will discuss work in their houses of worship to go green in their building, grounds, worship services, community service projects, advocacy, educational programs, and more, followed by breakout discussions. The event will be held at the First Congregational Church. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.com.

GCBO Bird Banding

On Jan. 18, 2020, beginning at 8 a.m., the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory will host a bird-banding session at its facility in Lake Jackson. The purpose of the project is to establish baseline data for the GCBO property on both resident and migratory bird populations. It also provides a close-up view of birds. For more information, see the Facebook event.

Take Care of Texas Video Contest voting

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality presents the annual Take Care of Texas Video Contest. featuring short videos produced by students in 6th through 12th grades that portray positive ways Texans can help keep air and water clean, conserve water and energy, or reduce waste. The public will have the opportunity to pick their favorite videos Jan. 15-29, 2020. The middle and high school students who win first place will be invited to travel to Austin to be recognized by the TCEQ and Waste Management of Texas, Inc., at the 2020 Environmental Trade Fair and Conference. Learn more at takecareoftexas.org.

Actions of Change: From the Civil Rights Movement to the Struggle for Environmental Justice

On Jan. 15, 2020, beginning at 6 p.m., the Rothko Chapel and the Texas Southern University Barbara Jordan Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs will present a conversation exploring the influence of The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement on the environmental justice movement. Scholars, activists and community leaders will explore the evolution of the environmental justice movement, continued environmental challenges and inequities faced by vulnerable and frontline communities, and actions being taken to improve the health of the region. The event will be held at the TSU campus. For more information and to register, visit rothkochapel.org.

Through the Lens: Explorations of a Conservation Photographer

On Jan. 16, 2020, beginning at 9:30 a.m., the River Oaks Garden Club will present the 30th Annual Sadie Gwin Blackburn Environmental Seminar, featuring a talk by National Geographic Explorer and photographer Mac Stone. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. For more information, visit riveroaksgc.org.

It’s a Microbial World

On Jan. 16, 2020, from 6:45-8:30 p.m., the Native Plant Society of Texas Houston Chapter will hold its monthly meeting featuring a presentation by Hannah Locke, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Houston, who will discuss how new discoveries and studies regarding the natural microbiome are rapidly shifting how we understand plant biology, ecology, restoration and agriculture. The meeting will be held at the American Red Cross Building. For more information, see npsot.org.

2020 TEHSAC Roundtable

On Jan. 18, from 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., the Houston Chapter of the The Institute for International Auditors will present the 2020 Texas Environmental Health and Safety Audit Center Regional Roundtable at the downtown offices of Bracwell, LLP. The meeting will bring together IA and EHS professionals from industry, consulting, legal, government, public interest groups and more to promote the sharing of good practices and enhance business value in environmental, social and governance assurance throughout their organizations. For more information and to register, visit theiia.org.

New Volunteer Orientation at Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary

On Jan. 18, from 9 a.m.-noon, Houston Audubon will host a New Volunteer Orientation at the Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary. There will be an hour-long presentation in the historic log cabin followed by a walk in the woods. This is the perfect opportunity if you’ve been wanting to do more for birds and the environment but aren’t sure how. For more information and to register, visit houstonaudubon.org.

Raptor Center Work Party

On Jan. 18, from 9 a.m.-noon, Houston Audubon will host a Volunteer Work Party at the Raptor and Education Center at Sims Bayou for a morning of gardening and sanctuary maintenance. Activities include trail maintenance, filling bird feeders and baths, litter pick-up, native gardening, and invasive species removal.Children of any age are welcome with their parent/chaperone. For more information and to register, visit houstonaudubon.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.

  • By keeping their Central Texas farm in agriculture for more than a century, Rick Castello and the Vacek family honor their heritage. By restoring native grasses, rotating cattle, and conserving land in perpetuity, they also secure their farm’s future and improve water quality for all who live downstream
  • North Deer Island near Galveston is the largest bird rookery island on the Upper Texas Coast, and it is shrinking. Erosion from waves has pounded the island for years. See what’s being done to preserve this island and protect it for the thousands of birds that nest here every year *
  • Postcard from Texas: A South Texas waterhole is a busy place as songbirds, snakes and quail gather for a bit of refreshment on a hot day

Additional Upcoming Events