Houston Environmental News Update April 1, 2020

Summer Tanager, National Poetry Month, Calls for Presentations, Trash Free Texas, Don’t Mess with Texas Art Contest, EarthEco Water Challenge, Green Jobs, and more

Rather than talk in depth about you-know-what, today we are sharing a poem in observance of the start of National Poetry Month. Summer Tanager 2 is a collaboration by poet (and environmental attorney, activist, and professor) Jim Blackburn and artist Isabell Scurry Chapman.

Summer Tanager 2

At home hiding from the coronavirus
Thinking about this moment in time. 
The house seems smaller
Being here all the time,
Teaching my class over Zoom,
Learning to live without the comfortable
Ways of the past,Uncertain about tomorrow,
Committed to surviving,
Wanting to hug my friends,
Missing the comfort food of nature. 
My mind travels back in time
To a day at the Candy Abshier reserve,
A place saved at Smith Point
Across the bay in Chambers County,
A lovely place of the hawk watch
And a grove of trees that provide a safe
Spot for the river of lovely migrants
That flows through the Texas coast. 
Stepping into the meadow from the trees,
Peering down along the wooded corridor,
Several summer tanagers burst into my vision,
Red ornaments decorating green branches,
Feathers reflecting the red of bird royalty
Directly into my soul,
Making my spirit glow with connectuality,
With being linked to another living thing,
Sharing space, sharing life. 
The tanagers migrate to survive
As we shelter to survive,
And sheltering here in place,
I am missing connectuality with my friends -
Both human and feathered -
Yet finding peace in recalling the moment
When the summer tanagers and I
Met at the Candy Abshier reserve
On a spring day many years ago.

Jim and Isabelle are sharing one poem and painting each day this month. Please respond to this email if you would like to be added to their list.

Please scroll down to read notes from our member organizations and the community.


Greater Houston Environmental Summit – Call for Presenters

Share the story of your environmental work and inspire our community to take action! CEC is soliciting proposals for table talk hosts and presenters for the Greater Houston Environmental Summit on Friday, August 7, 2020. Learn more and submit your proposal using this Google Form. Proposals due April 31, 2020.

Online Environmental Learning Activities & hereinhouston.org

With school districts closed, those of us with school-age children are taking up the mantle of teachers, looking for resources to keep them engaged educationally during this very trying time. Thankfully, many of our member organizations, and others, are stepping up to the challenge. View the list or visit CEC’s hereinhouston.org website to learn about other environmental education resources.

CEC Volunteer Info Session May 19 online

CEC seeks individuals who might be interested in volunteering to help with our website and newsletter, plan events, design graphics, serve on one of our committees (programs, communications, finance, fundraising and development, membership, and governance) this year, or possibly joining our board of directors in January 2021. We are hosting information sessions for prospective volunteers to learn more about the ongoing opportunities. Upcoming sessions include the evenings of March 31, May 19, and June 30. For more information, please email rachel@cechouston.org, or join us online at Google Hangouts.

Summer Internships with CEC

The CEC will be hiring several interns this summer, and is conducting interviews this month. If you or someone you know would like to help with and learn about communication, marketing, policy, government, publications, journalism, digital media, fundraising, event coordination, business development, filmmaking, bookkeeping, and/or accounting, we invite you to learn more at cechouston.org. We post opportunities with our member organizations can be found on CEC’s Green Jobs page.

Earth Day HoustonSuspended

In response to the outbreak the Discovery Green Conservancy is canceling, or postponing, all events scheduled through May 15, including Earth Day Houston, previously scheduled for Sunday, April 19, 2020. We will let you know if the event is rescheduled. We will be emailing additional information to exhibitors, sponsors, and volunteers. In the meantime, learn how, internationally, Earth Day is going digital.

The Living Coast and Montopolis at MATCH

On June 12, 2020, MATCH will present The Living Coast, combining a gorgeous nature film, dynamic storytelling and live music performance to explore the Texas Gulf Coast (see the trailer). Montopolis features members of the Austin Symphony Orchestra and Texas’ best rock musicians touring with an environmental scientist. The show is a love letter to the region as well as an opportunity to discuss broader environmental challenges. Proceeds will be be donated to the Matagorda Bay Foundation and the Citizens’ Environmental Coalition. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit matchouston.org.


We have endeavored to confirm the opportunities listed below. Please consider confirming directly with the hosts, particularly in light of concerns about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), as there are continuing cancellations of events over the next several weeks.

Get Involved With Trash Free Texas

Trash Free Texas strives to keep trash out of area waterways by working with communities and organizations across the state to connect people to places that need routine litter cleanup activities. Local governments and organizations can get involved by using the Adopt-a-Spot online interactive mapping application

EcoCareers 2020 Conference

The annual National Wildlife Foundation’s EcoCareers Conference started out as an entirely online conference four years ago for two reasons: sustainability and accessibility. This year’s conference is being held April 1-2. If you are an educator temporarily moving to distance learning requirements, this online learning opportunity is for you. For all high school audiences, this conference is entirely free. Higher education institutions can become conference sponsors, automatically making the conference free to the entire faculty and student bodies, or encourage their students to unlock free registration by joining the NWF EcoLeader online community. Note that if sponsorship or registration cost is a concern for higher education audiences, we encourage you to reach out to us at ecoleaders@nwf.org. To learn more and to register, visit nwfecoleaders.org.

Texas Association for Environmental Education conference call for presentations

The Texas Association for Environmental Education will hold its annual conference Sept. 25-26, 2020, at Cisco College in Abilene. TAEE now has an open call for presentations for the conference, as well as for the TAEE affiliate strand at the Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching in Houston from Nov. 5-6, 2020. Deadline for submissions is April 6 for CAST in Houston, and June 1 for TAEE in Abilene. Find more information on the HERE in Houston website.

Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary recruiting for Advisory Council

Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary is seeking applicants for one seat on its advisory council, a community-based group of individuals that provide advice for sanctuary management. The sanctuary is accepting applications for one Oil and Gas Industry seat. Candidates are selected based on their expertise and experience in relation to the seat for which they are applying, community and professional affiliations, and views regarding the protection and management of marine resources. Applicants who are chosen as members should expect to serve 3-year terms. Applications for this recruitment cycle are due April 16, 2020

EPA Seeks Nominations for Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals

EPA is announcing its request for nominations of candidates for the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC). Nominations are due no later than April 20, 2020. Any interested person or organization may nominate qualified persons to be considered for appointment to the SACC. Individuals also may self-nominate. The preferred method for submitting nominations is via email to Steven Knott, the SACC’s Designated Federal Officer at knott.seven@epa.gov. For more information on the TSCA SACC, visit epa.gov.

Don’t mess with Texas® K-12 Art Contest

Keep Texas Beautiful and the Texas Department of Transportation invite Texas students in kindergarten through 12th grade to submit their best litter prevention-inspired artwork to be considered for the Don’t mess with Texas Calendar. Students who create the top 14 winning designs will have their artwork assigned to a month or featured on the cover of the 2021 Don’t mess with Texas calendar, as well as other prizes. Submissions are due by April 21, 2020. For more information, visit ktb.org.

EarthEcho Water Challenge

The EarthEcho Water Challenge is a program of EarthEcho International that runs annually from March through December and equips anyone to protect the water resources we depend on every day. The Water Challenge builds public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources around the world by engaging citizens to conduct basic monitoring of their local waterbodies. For more information on how to participate, visit www.earthecho.org or monitorwater.org.

Houston Arboretum vies in “Worth Saving” Landmarks Contest

The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center is one of four national landmarks participating in the second annual “Worth Saving” Landmarks Contest hosted by the American Association of Endodontists (AAE). Voting has begun and is open until April 22, 2020. The landmark with the most votes will receive $20,000 and the city it is located in will receive $30,000 or more in free endodontic services. These funds would greatly help the Houston Arboretum in its dual mission of conservation and education. Vote for the Arboretum at aae.org/landmarks. Learn more about the contest at newswise.com.

Birdathon 2020 continues through May 11

Houston Audubon’s Birdathon 2020, is continuing through May 11, 2020 with a few modifications. Birding is a great way to stay safe and fulfilled during this period of uncertainty, whether it’s in your backyard, on a feeder cam, or in a secluded spot out in nature. For more information and to register, visit houstonaudubon.org.

Summer and fall tours of Big Thicket Preserve

Neches River Adventures and the Big Thicket Association are booking tours now for the summer and fall of 2020. Take a covered boat ride through the Big Thicket National Preserve, just minutes outside of Beaumont, to see dense bottomland forests with almost 300 different bird species. The preserve is designated by UNESCO as an International Biosphere Reserve, thus recognizing the incomparable and unique diversity of species and wildlife habitats. For more information, vist nechesriveradventures.org.

H-GAC combines its resources in single webpage

The Houston-Galveston Area Council is working to help minimize the health impacts of COVID-19 in the region. For the public’s convenience, H-GAC has shared its organization’s consolidated response to and resources relating to COVID-19 in a single webpage, including information about teleworking and meeting resources, Workforce Solutions, small business assistance and cooperative purchasing, research and data, H-GAC Board of Directors meetings, and more. To access these resources, visit h-gac.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.

  • Tucked away in the Texas hill country, Longhorn Cavern is a hidden gem ready to be explored. This unique river formed caved has been home to an underground restaurant, concert hall, and a fallout shelter
  • From the endangered piping plover to the threatened snowy plover, shorebirds in Texas continue to lose habitat as beach development booms. Follow along with some biologists as they work to save these struggling shorebirds
  • Sun, sand, and surfing are not just found at the beach. Visit Monahans Sandhills State Park near Midland-Odessa and surf, slide, or tumble down the dunes for some family fun

Additional Upcoming Events