Houston Environmental News Update May 13, 2020

Galveston Bay Foundation Annual Meeting, Virtual Bay Day Festival, Virtual Wild & Scenic Film Festival, Kinder Institute Virtual Lunch-Out, Green Jobs, and more

Need a little min-vacay for stress relief while you are stuck at home? Visit Galveston Bay–virtually!

In addition the the “Keep Your Stress at Bay” video series, Galveston Bayou Foundation is providing a wealth of opportunities to connect with our bay, including Thursday night’s online Annual Meeting with with Jack Davis, Ph.D., who will discuss his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Gulf: The Making of An American Sea; and Saturday’s virtual Bay Day, featuring touch tanks, turtles, and terrapins, among the line-up of short videos and activities. Next week, you can learn about the new Galveston Bay Shoreline Protection Model. And if you have kids in the final weeks of school, go on on a virtual field trip with GBF to see oysters, wetlands, and microscopic ecosystems.

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


Superpowers Sessions for environmental educators

Join fellow environmental educators in Houston on Fridays in May for short, “superpowers” sessions, organized by the CEC. Network, learn and share resources, and walk away with new knowledge and new friends. Open to any educator. Ten-minute presentations on local topics, are followed by 15 minutes of Q&A and community-building time. The sessions are offered at two times on the same day (10 a.m. and 3 p.m.) to ensure smaller groups and more opportunity to connect with fellow environmental educators in Houston. May 15: “Nine Natives,” hosted by Della Barbato of Native Prairies Association of Texas; May 22: “Microplastics in the Gulf,” hosted by Janice Walden of Friends of Greene. Details and registration on this Google Form.

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 May 15, 2020.

CEC Volunteer Info Session May 19 will be held 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. Upcoming info sessions include the evenings of May 19 (online) and June 30. For more information, please email [email protected], or join us online at Google Hangouts.

Gen:Thrive initiative survey

Join the movement to accelerate sustainability and environmental education programs for K-12 students! EcoRise’s Gen:Thrive is a collaborative initiative that has launched a statewide survey to identify and map every K-12 environmental education program in Texas.Through this robust community mapping process, Gen:Thrive aims to provide the information and insights needed to foster the next generation of resilient, sustainability leaders. Please participate in the survey by May 22: ecorise.org/genthrive-survey. Your organization’s information, alongside social, health and environmental data sets, will help us illuminate areas of greatest need, uncover opportunities for strategic collaborations and provide districts and partners a data-driven, systems-approach to deploy programs across the state. 


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).

BikeHouston names Nick Hellyar as Interim Executive Director

Clark Martinson recently resigned at Executive Director of BikeHouston to pursue a private consulting practice. The organization has named Nick Hellyar, a local and state governmental veteran and real estate professional, as its new Interim Executive Director while the search for a permanent Executive Director proceeds. To read Hellyar’s first message to the community, visit bikehouston.org.

Ask an Ecologist

On May 14, 2020 (and every Thursday through September 24), beginning at 3 p.m., Bayou Land Conservancy will present a Facebook Live event called “Ask an Ecologist.” Attendees can submit your nature related questions or topics and receive answers live. For more information, visit the Facebook event.

Public comment sought on TCEQ’s draft 2020 Annual Monitoring Network Plan

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is seeking public comment on its draft 2020 Annual Monitoring Network Plan. The Plan provides information on the current TCEQ ambient air monitoring network established to determine compliance with federal monitoring requirements specified in 40 Code of Federal Regulations Part 58 and its appendices. Written comments about the Plan may be submitted any time during the 30-day public comment period until 5 p.m. on May 14, 2020. To learn more and to submit comments either by mail or electronically, visit tceq.texas.gov.

Galveston Bay Foundation Annual Meeting (online)

On May 14, 2020, at 7 p.m., the Galveston Bay Foundation will hold its Annual Meeting, featuring a virtual Q&A with Jack Davis, Ph.D., about his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Gulf: The Making of An American Sea. The book is a comprehensive environmental history of the Gulf of Mexico that brings crucial attention to Earth’s 10th-largest body of water, one of the planet’s most diverse and productive marine ecosystems. For more information and to register, visit zoom.us.

Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council application date extended to May 14

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. The deadline for applications for this recruitment cycle has been extended to May 14, 2020

Virtual Wild & Scenic Film Festival

Through May 15, 2020, the Bayou Land Conservancy is hosting the Virtual Wild & Scenic Film Festival. Selected films will cover a variety of environmental topics and offer spectacular scenery, breathtaking journeys, and stories of human connections. You can receive a FREE link to this year’s festival by subscribing to the Bayou Land Conservancy newsletter at bayoulandconservancy.org.

Virtual Walk for The Woods Project

In response to COVID-19, The Woods Project is transitioning to a VIRTUAL Walk experience.  The Walk celebration will take place between May 15-17, 2020.  Anytime during the 3-day event, participants will stroll, bike, and/or treadmill 3 miles in and around their homes and neighborhoods. TWP students are facing unprecedented situations and need The Woods Project opportunities to develop the critical skills needed to navigate and overcome challenges. For more information and to register, visit secure.qgiv.com.

Call for Presentations: EPA Region 6 Stormwater Conference

The EPA Region 6 Stormwater Conference, with the theme “Weathering the Storm: Resiliency and Protection through Design,” will be held Aug. 9-13, 2020 in New Orleans. The organizing committee is seeking proposals for presentations, and is particularly interested in case studies or implementation examples from MS4s. The deadline for abstracts is May 15. For more information on how to submit a proposal, visit tamuk-isee.com.

Virtual Nature4Health Festival

Through May 16, 2020, the Harris County Precinct 4 Commissioner’s Office and the Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve are hosting a Virtual Nature4Health Festival, an online adventure to explore the benefits of nature. Making healthy choices and discovering new ways to stay fit outdoors are just the beginning. Attendees will explore nature through poetry and journaling, hear from animal and plant experts, and create memories with nature-themed family crafts and activities. For more information, see the Facebook event.

Virtual Bay Day Festival 2020

On May 16, 2020, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., the Galveston Bay Foundation will hold its annual Bay Day Festival virtually on its website and Facebook page. Exhibitors will provide educational videos of their exciting exhibits and participants will learn about the importance of Galveston Bay in our everyday lives. For more information, see the Facebook event.

Kinder Institute Virtual Lunch-Out

On May 18, 2020, from noon-1:30 p.m., the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University will host a free, virtual Lunch-Out featuring Stephen Klineberg, Ph.D., who will present the findings from the latest Kinder Houston Area Survey, along with insights from other Rice University faculty and community leadership. The event will also honor the Rev. William A. Lawson for his many years of service to Houston and its people. For more information and to register, visit rice.edu.

Become an Air Champion-Citizen Scientist

McMac Cx, LLC., is a mission-focused, social enterprise which contributes 20 percent of its annual resources toward making the community a place where nature flourishes, humans thrive and businesses prosper. Learn more here. It helps do this through its Air Champions – Citizen Scientists network, which consists of passionate, community-health focused volunteers committed to creating thriving neighborhoods free from air pollution. The initiative was launched on Earth Day, April 22, 2020, in partnership with the Environment Tech company Plume Labs. Learn more about how you can be an Air Champion here, or how to sponsor an Air Champion individual or group here.

Houston Sierra Club Online Meeting: Restoring Nature’s Relationships

In lieu of an in-person meeting this month, the Sierra Club Houston Group is offering a video presentation with Doug Tallamy, an noted entomologist and professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware. The talk emphasizes food webs and the interdependence of species and local ecosystems, and why understanding these relationships are essential for maintaining future biodiversity and human well-being. It is viewable for free at any time. For more information and to access the video, visit sierraclub.org.

Earth School now in session

The United Nations Environmental Programme and TED-Ed have launched Earth School, the biggest online learning initiative in UNEP’s history. Available for free in 11 languages, Earth School is an immersive 30-day program which provides access to the best educational content from the United Nations, National Geographic, BBC, World Wildlife Foundation, and more. To learn more, visit ed.ted.com. Through June 5.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Meeting online

Amid ongoing public health concerns, the May meeting of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission scheduled for May 20-21 will be streamed virtually, beginning at 9:30 a.m. both days, on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s website. The planned briefings and action items include the statewide proclamations for recreational and commercial saltwater and freshwater fishing, hunting and migratory game bird regulation recommendations, containment and surveillance zone boundaries associated with chronic wasting disease detection, oyster mariculture rules, land transactions and local park grant announcements. Find the full agenda for the meeting at tpwd.texas.gov.

Presenting the Galveston Bay Shoreline Protection Model

On May 20, 2020, beginning at 1 p.m., the Galveston Bay Foundation, Troy University, and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science will present a free webinar to discuss “living shorelines” as a shoreline protection technique, and introduce the new Galveston Bay Shoreline Protection Model. For more information and to register, visit galvbay.org.

Bay Area Sierra Club Zoom Meeting

On May 20 2020, the Bay Area Sierra Club will host a virtual meeting via Zoom. The program topics will be a review of the Flower & Pollinator Photo Project, and a  presentation and update by Solar United Neighbors (SUN) on the East Houston Solar Co-op project. For the photo project, it is not too late to submit your photos to the Bay Area Sierra Club Houston Facebook page at bayareasierraclubhouston or email to [email protected]. For more information and to register for the meeting, visit sierraclub.org.

Texas Regional Adaptation Leadership Award nominations due May 21

The American Society of Adaptation Professionals Regional Adaptation Leadership Award recognizes individuals who have distinguished themselves in the climate change adaptation field through exceptional leadership. It recognizes the fact that deliberate, proactive adaptation, preparedness, and resilience-building is a change process, a deviation from business-as-usual, and a courageous act of doing something new and different. Nominations for this year’s Texas Regional Adaptation Leadership Award are due May 21, 2020. For more information and to submit nominations, visit adaptationprofessionals.org.

Solid Waste Management Workshop: Recycling

On May 21, 2020, from 9-11 a.m., the Houston-Galveston Area Council will hold a virtual Solid Waste Management Workshop focusing on recycling awareness, with presenters from The Recycling Partnership, State of Texas Alliance for Recycling, Keep Texas Recycling, and Keep Pearland Beautiful. For more information and to register, visit h-gac.com.

COVID-19 Update Call for Non-Profit Organizations

On May 21, 2020, from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., the Greater Houston Partnership, Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston and Volunteer Houston will present a COVID-19 briefing tailored to nonprofit professionals. Topics of discussion will be: Fighting COVID-19, Opening Up, and Re-engaging Volunteers. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.com.

Don’t Mess With Texas Art Contest entries due May 29

Keep Texas Beautiful and the Texas Department of Transportation invite Texas students in kindergarten through twelfth grades to submit their best litter prevention-inspired artwork to be considered for the Don’t Mess With Texas Calendar. Students with the top 14 designs will have their work featured in the 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, among other prizes. Submissions must be postmarked no later than May 29, 2020. For more information, visit ktb.org.

NOAA Ocean Guardian School Program

Applications are now being accepted for participation in the 2020-2021 NOAA Ocean Guardian School program, in which PreK-12 students can use school- or community-based projects to help make a difference in the health and protection of their local watersheds, the ocean and special ocean areas like national marine sanctuaries (including Texas’s own Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary). There are opportunities for schools to participate with or without funding. Applications must be submitted via email by June 1, 2020. For more information, visit noaa.gov.

Public input sought on proposed Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary expansion

NOAA is issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking to expand Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. The proposal would expand the sanctuary from 56 square miles to 160 square miles to protect additional critical habitat in the Gulf of Mexico. The proposed rule for expansion would add 14 additional reefs and banks to the sanctuary. NOAA is inviting the public to provide input on any aspect of the notice of proposed rulemaking during a public comment period ending on July 3, 2020. The sanctuary will also host three virtual public meetings so that people can learn more about the proposal and submit comments, on June 8 and June 11. Additional information on the proposed rule and how to make comments is available on the expansion website

COVID-19 Registry seeks public’s input

The COVID-19 Registry, spearheaded by Rice University with partnering organizations, is a research study that provides real-time information to health departments on the spread of COVID-19, who is being affected, and how. The registry will help to: track virus spread over time and across geography; measure economic and health impacts; understand behavior in response to policy changes; and identify popular and effective sources of information. Data from the registry will be stored in a highly secure system built by Rice University. Things learned from the registry will be published, but will not include any information that would identify participants. For more information and to take the survey, visit rice.edu.

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.

  • Bird enthusiasts in the Rio Grande Valley are turning their attention to a bird with a strong personality about which researchers know very little: the Red-Crowned Parrot
  • Teaching the teachers is the focus of the Regional Interpretive Specialists Team. They help to educate the public who visit Texas State Parks by teaching the staff at the parks about the park’s natural, historical and cultural resources
  • In 2005 news of the extinct Ivory Billed Woodpecker being found in the woods of Arkansas electrified the birding community. Now a team is searching for the elusive Ivory Billed here in Texas

Additional Upcoming Events