Houston Environmental News Update February 12, 2020

Happy Valentine’s Day, Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training, Green Film: The Need to GROW, 20th Annual Fruit Tree Sale, Green Jobs, and more

So, it’s nearly Valentine’s Day. Again. Depending on where you happen to be in your love life at the moment, the holiday could be a genuine opportunity to celebrate one of life’s greatest experiences, or a cynical, commercial means to sell candy and flowers.

Oops, sorry, we got a little carried away there. We’re sure that you will enjoy Valentine’s Day with your loved one. And, thankfully, our region offers a wealth of opportunities to mark the occasion while also celebrating the environment.

  • Through Feb. 17, the Houston Museum of Natural Science offers “Endless Love,” an opportunity to name, er, a cockroach after your Valentine.
  • On Feb. 14, Buffalo Bayou Partnership is offering “Cupid Cruises” aboard the Spirit of the Bayou pontoon boat.
  • On Feb. 14 and 15, Houston Zoo is offering “For the Love of Wildlife,” an adults-only opportunity to spend the night at the zoo and learn all about the wildlife, with a romantic dinner included.
  • On Feb. 15, Houston Arboretum and Nature Center offers “Tapas on the Trails,” where you can enjoy tapas-sized dishes paired with carefully chosen wine and beer and a romantic walk on softly lit trails.
  • At Discovery Green, you can take an “Urban Bird Walk” to see the real wildlife of downtown, in conjunction with the park’s “Paloma” art installation.
  • And don’t forget, it’s never too late to give the gift that makes a difference for our oceans and marine wildlife, including through the Turtle Island Restoration Network, the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, and Houston Zoo.

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.


Earth Day Houston

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

Houston GREEN Film: The Need to GROW

Join CEC, the Rice Media Center and other partners on Feb. 19, 2020, for the next installment of the Houston Green Film Series. This month’s film is The Need to GROW, produced and narrated by Rosario Dawson, which tells the story of three very different leaders working to address the problems associated with industrial agriculture (see the trailer). Socializing will begin at 6:30 p.m., followed by the film at 7 p.m. and a panel discussion afterward. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.com. Sign up for additional news about the Houston Green Film Series on our Constant Contact form.


We have endeavored to confirm the opportunities listed below. Please consider confirming directly with the hosts.

Climate Reality Leadership Corps training in San Antonio

Former U.S. Vice President and Climate Reality Project Chairman Al Gore will be in San Antonio from April 14-16, 2020 to train several hundred local activists to raise awareness of the climate crisis and organize their communities for action. The training will include sessions on using digital advocacy tools to move public opinion, and communicating about the urgency of the climate crisis and the abundant solutions in our hands today with diverse audiences throughout their communities. The deadline to register is February 28. To learn more and register, visit climaterealityproject.org.

Flower Garden Banks Sanctuary Advisory Council meeting

On Feb. 13, 2020, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., a public meeting of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council will be held in Galveston. Scheduled presentations include: Rice University’s Dr. John Anderson on “Changing Texas Coastline”; Moody Gardens’ Ryan Hannum on “Coral Rescue Lab”; Artist Boat’s Amanda Rinehart on “Building Capacity of Local Educators to Increase Climate Literacy in their Community”; and City University of New York’s Dr. Mercer Brugler on “Molecular and Morphological Mysteries of Black Corals.” The meeting will also be available through a live webcast. For more information, see the Facebook event.

“A New Resistance” screening and discussion

On Feb. 13, 2020, from 5-7:15 p.m., the Organic Horticulture Benefits Alliance will host a screening of the investigative documentary A New Resistance, which examines the effects of the chemical Glyphosate. The screening will be followed by a discussion with the film’s writer-director, Ed Brown. The event will be held at the United Way Community Resource Center. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit ohbaonline.org.

Open House: Coastal Texas Study

On Feb. 13, 2020, from 6-8 p.m., the team behind the Coastal Texas Protection and Restoration Feasibility Study (Coastal Texas Study) will hold a public open house to provide the public with updated information about study progress made since previously held public meetings in fall 2018. The open house will be held at the Bay Area Community Center, 5002 E. NASA Parkway. For more information, visit coastalstudy.texas.gov.

Sierra Club General Meeting

On Feb. 13, 2020, from 7:30-9 p.m., the Sierra Club Houston Group will hold its monthly meeting featuring a presentation on the Houston Parks and Recreation Department’s Natural Resources Management Program, with a focus on the Program’s Riparian Restoration Project. The meeting will be held at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Pecore Hall. For more information, visit sierraclub.org.

Call for Presenters for Gulf Coast Green 2020

The Gulf Coast Green Symposium and Expo, organized by the Architecture Institute of America Houston chapter, is the leading green building conference in the Gulf Coast region. The 2020 conference will be held June 5 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 has been extended to Feb. 14, 2020. Proposal guidelines and submittal instructions are available at aiahouston.org.

Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council seeks public comment

The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council seeks public review and comment on a proposed amendment of its 2015 Initial Funded Priorities List to approve additional time and funding for the Gulf Coast Conservation Corps (GCCC) Program.This funding would provide for a short-term extension of the GCCC Program while the Council considers longer-term funding through inclusion in its next FPL, known as FPL 3b. This 30-day public review and comment period on Gulf of Mexico Habitat Restoration via Conservation Corps Partnerships amendment will conclude at 11:59 pm CST on Feb. 14, 2020. For more information and to make comments, visit restorethegulf.gov.

Parks and Natural Areas Awards and Summit

On Feb. 14, 2020, from 9 a.m.-noon, the Houston-Galveston Area Council will host the annual Parks and Natural Areas Awards and Summit, celebrating the winners of the 2019 H-GAC Parks and Natural Areas Awards. The event will also include presentations on trends and topics related to parks and natural areas, followed by an opportunity to network and share ideas. For more information and to register, visit h-gac.com.

Bird Banding at Gulf Coast Bird Observatory

On Feb. 15, 2020, beginning at 8 a.m., the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory will host a volunteer bird-banding opportunity. The purpose of the project is to establish baseline data for the GCBO property on both resident and migratory bird populations. It also gives participants a close-up view of birds. For more information, see the Facebook event.

Bayou Preservation Association and H-GAC co-host Core Water Quality Monitor Training for Texas Stream Team  

On Feb. 15, 2020, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., as part of their Bayou Citizen Science program, Bayou Preservation Association and the Houston-Galveston Area Council will co-host a Texas Stream Team Core Water Quality Monitor Training at Houston Audubon’s Raptor & Education Center. The training is open to volunteers interested in conducting water quality monitoring in the greater Houston-Galveston area, and is primarily focused on recruiting volunteers for Bayou Preservation Association’s new local monitoring group. Monitors must commit to monitoring their site for one year. There is one open spot left for this training. For more information and to sign up, visit events.r20.constantcontact.com.

Urban Harvest’s 20th Annual Fruit Tree Sale

On Feb. 15, 2020, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Urban Harvest will hold its 20th Annual Fruit Tree Sale, the largest one-day fruit tree sale in the United States. Gardeners can shop for more than 100 varieties of fruit trees that are adapted to grow in the climate and soils of the greater Houston area, including selections suitable for large areas, small spaces and container gardening. Curbside service is available for people who order their trees in advance. This year’s sale will be at Sawyer Yards. For more information and to pre-purchase trees, visit urbanharvest.org.

Wetlands Planting at Exploration Green

On Feb. 15, 2020, from 9 a.m.-noon, Exploration Green will hold a volunteer planting event at the Phase 2 wetland site on Reseda Drive between Diana and Torrey Pines, Clear Lake City. For more information, see the Facebook event.

UH Energy Symposium: Transportation Revolution

On Feb. 18, 2020, beginning at 6 p.m., UH Energy will hold a symposium titled “Transportation Revolution: Electrified and Automated – Who Will Lead, Light vs. Heavy?” The symposium will discuss the challenges, opportunities and the pace of change in automation of passenger and freight as well as industrial fleet vehicles. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.com.

Garden Club of Houston Lecture: American Eden

On Feb. 19, 2020, beginning at 10 a.m., the Garden Club of Houston will hold the 2020 Nancy Stallworth Thomas Horticulture Lecture featuring Victoria Johnson, author of National Book Award and Pulitzer Price finalist American Eden: David Hosack, Botany and Medicine in the Garden in the Early Republic. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at St. Luke’s Methodist Church. For more information, visit gchouston.org.

Surfside Chats 2020: ROVing the Gulf

Throughout February, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration is holding a series of free “Surfside Chats”, focusing on exploration in the Gulf of Mexico. Topics range from the tools NOAA uses, discoveries made, and why the places visited are important. The venue this year is the NOAA Galveston Lab. “R/V MANTA, 11 Years of Service” will be held Feb. 19; and “What’s New in the Blue?” will be held Feb. 26. Each session will be held 6:30-7:30 p.m. and all of them are also available as free webinars. For more information and to register, visit flowergarden.noaa.gov.

Picnic for the Park

On Feb. 20, 2020, beginning at 6:30 p.m., the Memorial Park Conservancy will hold its annual “Picnic for the Park” fundraiser gala at the Omni Hotel Houston. The Picnic for the Park raises critical funds for the day-to-day care of Memorial Park including its vast urban trail network that provides enjoyment, well-being, and connectivity for the millions of people who love Memorial Park. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit memorialparkconservancy.org.

What Do Mushrooms Do All Day?

On Feb. 20, 2020, beginning at 6:45 p.m., the Houston chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas will hold its monthly meeting, featuring a presentation by Teri MacArthur on how mushrooms work – their niche in ecosystems and especially in forested environments. Attendees will gain a better understanding of why we need decomposers and networking microbes for the health of our forests. The event will be held at the American Red Cross building. For more information, visit npsot.org.

Houston Audubon at Discovery Green

On Feb. 21, 2020, from 6-9 p.m., Houston Audubon and Discovery Green will present a screening of The Messenger, a documentary about people’s connection to songbirds, as part of the program series supporting “Paloma”, a public art installation of 200 colorful aluminum “origami” birds which are illuminated after dusk and accompanied by choreographed sounds. For more information, visit houstonaudubon.org.

Tree Planting at Exploration Green

On Feb. 22, 2020, from 8 a.m.-noon, Exploration Green will hold a volunteer tree-planting event its Phase 2 between Reseda Dr. and El Dorado Blvd. For more information, see the Facebook event.

#ParksByYou Day

On Feb. 22, 2020, from 9 a.m.-noon, the Houston Parks Board will host #ParksByYou Day at two sites on two different bayous — Watonga Parkway Park and Coolgreen Corridor — in which volunteers will plant and scatter seeds that will establish healthy, native prairie and forest habitat in areas of need. For more information and to sign up, visit houstonparksboard.org.

Tree Planting at Willow Waterhole Conservancy

On Feb. 22, 2020, from 9-11 a.m., Trees for Houston will host a volunteer tree-planting event at the Willow Waterhole Conservancy. Trees For Houston will provide all planting materials (gloves and shovels). Minors are welcomed as long as they have a chaperone with them at all times. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.com.

Conservation, Ecology, and Environmental Science Career Forum

On Feb. 22, 2020, from 9 a.m.-noon, the Houston Community College’s Southeast Campus will host the 4th Annual Conservation, Ecology, and Environmental Science Career Forum. Local experts will share their career pathway experiences, and offer tips and advice to help students navigate the transition to the working world. For more information and to register, visit constantcontact.com.

Houston Youth Climate Summit

On Feb. 22, 2020, from 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., several environmental organizations will co-host the Houston Youth Climate Summit, open to young adults ages 15-25 years old. Environmental policy experts and community leaders will share how Houston can be at the forefront of climate justice. The event will be held at Texas Southern University. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.com.

The Wonders of Soil

On Feb. 23, 2020, from 6-7 p.m., Christ the King Lutheran Church will host a webinar featuring John Ferguson, soil scientist and owner of Nature’s Way Resources, and an organic gardening expert, will will discuss the wonders of soil. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.com.

Invasive Plant? Just Pull It!

On Feb. 26 and 27, 2020, beginning at 9 a.m., Mercer Botanic Gardens, to mark National Invasive Species Week, will hold invasive plant species removal events at the West Side Arboretum. While you work, learn to identify invasive species and why invasive, non-native plant species pose a threat to the local ecosystem. For more information, see the Facebook event.

Houston Incentives for Green Development

On Feb. 26, 2020, from 6-8 p.m., the City of Houston’s Green Building Development Center will host a seminar on incentives for green development in the city, led by Laura Patino, Recovery Chief of Staff in the Mayor’s Office, Michael Bloom, P.E., of RG Miller Engineers , and Anna Farrell-Sherman of Environment Texas. For more information and to RSVP, visit codegreenhouston.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.

  • Grassland birds are declining rapidly across North America. Habitat loss has made it especially tough on several species of sparrows. Research is underway from Canada to Mexico to find out how to save the disappearing grasslands and the tiny songbirds that call them home
  • In the middle of a desert, along the Rio Grande River, is Black Gap Wildlife Management Area, home to a a surprising wealth of wildlife such as deer, bear, quail, mountain lion and desert bighorn sheep. But without water, none of these animals could exist here. So biologists build and maintain water catchment devises called guzzlers to help the wildlife
  • Follow landscape photographer Mike Mezeul II through Big Bend as he leads a nighttime photography workshop. Join the students as they learn to capture the Milky Way in the darkest night sky in Texas

Additional Upcoming Events