Houston Environmental News Update January 15, 2020

MLK National Day of Service, Coastal Texas Study, It’s a Microbial World, Tree Planting Events, Seed Cleaning & Packing Party, Green Jobs, and more

The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Jan. 20, 2020, marks the 25th anniversary of the national day of service that celebrates the Civil Rights leader’s life and legacy. Observed each year on the third Monday in January as “a day on, not a day off,” MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities.

Local environmental groups in the Houston region offer a vast array of opportunities to volunteer and to serve our community. Not sure where to start? In addition to finding volunteer opportunities here in our newsletter or at CEC’s online calendar, check out these resources for finding local environmental volunteering opportunities:

  • VolunteerHouston.org–opportunities with CEC and several of its member organizations, including Buffalo Bayou Partnership, Willow Waterhole Greenspace Conservancy, Mercer Botanic Garden, TWRC Wildlife Center, Memorial Park Conservancy, Nature Discovery Center, Recipe for Success, Armand Bayou Nature Center, BikeHouston, Galveston Bay Foundation, Hermann Park Conservancy, and the Houston Chapter of the Native Prairies Association of Texas.
  • VolunteerMatch.org–Many organizations, including most of the above, also post opportunities on this national site, where you can search for both local and virtual opportunities.
  • Allforgood.org, a service of the Points of Light volunteer organization.
  • EarthShare of Texas provides, among other things, suggestions for corporate volunteer groups.
  • CECHouston.org–Volunteer with CEC! In 2019, dozens of volunteers contributed almost 2000 hours of their time helping with everything from this newsletter to selecting films for our upcoming film festival to board service. We are also recruiting volunteers for Earth Day Houston, to be held on Sunday, April 19, 2020, at Discovery Green.

Among our favorite calls are inquiries about volunteer opportunities; with a community of almost 150 member organizations, CEC can suggest great volunteer opportunities for everyone. If you are new to town or new to environmental volunteering, please get in touch.

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. Festival tickets are now on sale through Eventbrite.

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.

Please help us promote the festival by sharing our Facebook event page.

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

We are thankful for our additional sponsors: Hydroshack, Texas Coastal Exchange, Lower Brazos Riverwatch, Friends of Woodland Park, Cacao and Cardamom, McMac CX, The Nature Conservancy, Americas’, Veritex Bank, Armand Bayou Nature Center, Houston BCycle, Vossos Landscape Design, Buffalo Bayou Partnership, Asakura Robinson and One Breath Partnership

Contact alicia@cechouston.org 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.

One Breach Partnership launches ‘Particulate Matters’ newsletter

One Breath Partnership, a consortium of local environmental organizations which elevates the work for clean air in Houston, Harris County, and the greater Southeast Texas region, has launched its monthly newsletter, “Particulate Matters.” The newsletter shares what scientists, community organizers, researchers, journalists, advocates and physicians are doing to educate everyone about air quality and the impacts pollution can have on our bodies and our ability to thrive. To subscribe to “Particulate Matters,” visit onebreathhou.org.

Opportunity to Provide Input on Texas Science Curriculum Standards

The Texas Freedom Network alerts us to the fact that the Texas Education Agency is surveying educators regarding their opinions about the current Science TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills). The results of the survey will inform the recommendations of the science TEKS review work groups. This is an opportunity to ensure Texas teaches the truth about 21st-century science, especially on such topics as climate change. For more information on how you can provide input, including a link to the current Science TEKS, visit tfn.org.

‘Embrace the Gulf’ campaign launches

In January, the Gulf of Mexico Alliance is launching “Embrace the Gulf 2020,” a daily awareness campaign highlighting the value and vitality of the world’s ninth-largest body of water. The goal of the campaign is to promote the sustainability, beauty, and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico. The Alliance is highlighting five focus areas that make the Gulf of Mexico a special place: resilient coastal communities, prosperous industries, superior educational opportunities, thriving tourism, and healthy ecosystems. The public is encouraged to lend their support by engaging with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (@GOMAlliance) on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To learn more, visit gulfofmexicoalliance.org.

Call for Presenters for Gulf Coast Green 2020

The Gulf Coast Green Symposium and Expo, organized by the Architecture Institute of America’s Houston chapter, is the leading green building conference in the Gulf Coast region. The 2020 conference will be held June 5, 2020 at the University of Houston-Downtown. Organizers are seeking presenters from architecture, engineering, landscape architecture, interior design, education, the arts, planning, contracting, energy analysis, and other building-related professions for this year’s conference theme, “Sustainability + Technology.” The deadline for submissions is Friday, Feb. 7, 2020. Proposal guidelines and submittal instructions are available at aiahouston.org.

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., 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.

Texas Environmental Professionals luncheon: Coastal Texas Study

On June 16, 2019, from 11:30-1 p.m., the Texas Association of Environmental Professionals will hold its monthly luncheon, featuring a presentation by a representative from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the Coastal Texas Study. The luncheon will be held at the Cadillac Bar. For more information and to RSVP, visit taep.memberclicks.net.

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.

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.

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.

First Tree Planting of 2020

On Jan. 18, from 9-11 a.m. Trees for Houston will hold its first volunteer tree planting event of the year at Yolanda Black Navarro Buffalo Bend Park. For more information and to register, visit treesforhouston.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.

Less Heat? Less Meat!

On Jan. 19, 2020, from noon-2 p.m., the First Unitarian-Universalist Church will host an event featuring Dr. Karoline Mueller, who will discuss how different food choices impact the planet negatively also contribute to chronic illnesses that threaten societies through the high burden of personal suffering and staggering health care costs. For more information and to register, see eventbrite.com.

Big Thicket National Preserve Tree Planting with Houston Sierra Club

On Jan. 20, 2019, from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., the Sierra Club Houston Group will join the National Park Service, National Parks and Conservation Association, along with other groups and individuals for the 10th annual tree planting in Big Thicket National Preserve in the Big Sandy Creek Unit. A caravan will meet at 8 a.m. in the parking lot of Texas Roadhouse in Kingwood. For more information and to register, see the Meetup event.

Brews for Big Bend

On Jan. 21, 2020, from 6-8 p.m, the Big Bend Conservancy will host a “Brews for Big Bend” event at the Saint Arnold Brewing Company. For the $35 admission, attendees will enjoy Saint Arnold’s beer on tap, sample tasty eats, and visit with some great folks while supporting the Conservancy. Tickets are limited. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit big-bend-conservancy.snwbll.com.

Houston Tomorrow Civic Discussion: I-45 Expansion Project

On Jan. 22, 2019, from noon-1:30 p.m., Houston Tomorrow will host a civic discussion about the impacts of TxDOT’s I-45 Expansion Project proposal. The speakers will be Jonathan Brooks, director of policy and planning at LINK Houston, and David Crossley, founder and Senior Fellow at Houston Tomorrow. The discussion will be held at the Houston-Galveston Area Council. For more information, see cechouston.org.

2020 Seed Cleaning and Packing Pizza Party

On Jan. 22, from 6:30-9 p.m., Katy Prairie Conservancy and the Houston chapter of the Native Prairies Association of Texas will host the annual Seed Cleaning & Packing Party. Learn about prairie plants and how to clean their seeds. Prairie plant seeds collected from the wild in 2019 will be packed into envelopes to be distributed to KPC’s Great Grow Out volunteers and will also be propagated at the KPC nursery. The plants will be used for restoration and for KPC’s Prairie Builder Schools and Parks. Free pizza will be provided. The event will be held at the American Red Cross Building. For more information and to register, visit events.r20.constantcontact.com.

11th State of the Bay Symposium

On Jan. 22-23, 2020, the Galveston Bay Estuary Program will host the 11th State of the Bay Symposium at the Moody Gardens Hotel and Convention Center in Galveston. The Symposium is an opportunity for stakeholders to interact and share environmental policy and management successes, report the latest monitoring and research findings, and illuminate the challenges facing Galveston Bay. For more information and to register, visit gbep.texas.gov.

Our Region in Motion – 2020 Tag Annual Meeting

On Jan. 24, 2020, the Transportation Advocacy Group will hold its “Our Region in Motion” annual meeting at The Houstonian. The event will feature a discussion with six area county judges on the infrastructure needs and demands the region faces collectively and individually. For more information and to register, visit taghouston.org.

Texas Envirothon Teacher Workshop

On Jan. 25, 2020, the Environmental Institute of Houston at the University of Houston-Clear Lake will hold a workshop for team advisers and teachers preparing team to participate in the 2020 Texas Envirothon. Participants will have an opportunity to network with experienced team advisers. For more information and to register, visit uhcl.edu.

Raptor and Education Center Tour

On Jan. 25, 2019, from 8:30-10 a.m., Houston Audubon will host a tour of the Raptor and Education Center. Learn about our native raptors and raptor conservation, meet the raptors up close with lots of photo ops and discover what it takes to run a raptor center. This private event occurs before open hours, and space is limited. For more information, visit houstonaudubon.org.

CELF Citizen Science: Inquiry to Action Program

On Jan. 25, 2019, from 9-11:20 a.m., the Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation will host a free workshop for its CELF Citizen Science: Inquiry to Action program, a semester-long program that engages educators and students in project-based STEAM learning outside of the classroom. The program culminates in a Spring 2020 Student Symposium, bringing together all participating schools to present their findings and pollution-prevention plans to community members and real-world policymakers. For more information and to register, visit celfeducation.z2systems.com.

Houston’s Arbor Day at Houston Botanical Garden

On Jan. 25, 2019, from 9 a.m.-noon, Trees for Houston will hold a volunteer tree planting event at the Susan Garver Memorial Garden at Houston Botanical Garden. For more information and to register, visit treesforhouston.org.

Houston Botanic Garden Community Celebration

The Houston Botanic Garden will mark the completion of the Susan Garver Family Discovery Garden – the first of three feature gardens included in Phase I of the site master plan to be planted – with a free community celebration on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020, from 2-4 p.m., at 8205 N. Bayou Dr., Houston, 77017. The event marks the first opportunity for neighbors and others eagerly following the Garden’s progress to get a sneak peek at just a few of the unique new features destined to make it a must-see showcase of Houston’s biodiversity and an oasis of horticultural beauty when it opens in fall 2020. Please RSVP online for planning purposes.

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.

  • The Bison that roam the prairies of Caprock Canyons State Park have some little friends. Check out the park’s prairie dog town and the furry animals that call it home
  • You see it flying along Texas beaches skimming the surface of the water – it’s the Black Skimmer, and it’s in trouble. Take a look at efforts underway to save one of the most threatened coastal birds in Texas
  • Postcard from Texas: Visit some savannahs, pastures and bottomlands in the woods of East Texas

Additional Upcoming Events