Houston Environmental News Update October 13, 2021

Children’s Environmental Health Day, Unplugged Adventure: Wetland Walk, Youth Conference on Environmental, Green Jobs and more

Remember how you were feeling a year ago, in October 2020? The pandemic raged and the election loomed; most of us vacillated between hope and dread. 

Through this tumultuous time, and through the decades, the CEC newsletter has continued to share information about environmental issues, events, and celebrations in the Houston/Gulf Coast region. Highlights from last year’s October 14, 2020 newsletter included Galas Galore, Wild About Houston, Low Carbon Energy Summit, Clean Waters Initiative, UH Energy Symposium, The Policy of Resilience, Big Thicket Day, Livable Places Initiative, Green Jobs, and more. 

Since 2021 is the 50th anniversary of CEC’s incorporation, we thought we might look back a little further–to October newsletters from 2016, 2011, 2006, 2001, 1996, 1991, and 1986. CEC is working to create a digital archive of our newsletters to complement the newsletters on our current website and the paper newsletters that are in our physical archives in the University of Houston Library’s special collections and at the Houston Public Library. 

We hope you enjoy the opportunity to learn about some of the environmental issues for which progress has been made, and about those issues that continue to be of great concern. 

October 12, 2016 (view on cechouston.org)

“Do you ever feel like the environmental community offers too many events in October? The plethora of opportunities to get involved is a good problem to have…” Announcements included:

  • Bayou Preservation Association’s 50th anniversary Water Quality Symposium
  • Sims Bayou Greenway groundbreaking celebration
  • Kicking off the 20-year update of the Galveston Bay Plan
  • Buffalo Bayou Partnership’s 10th annual KBR Kids Day
  • Proposed Plan for Clean Up of the San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund Site site

October 13, 2011 (view as PDF)

“So many choices. So little time.” Announcements included:

  • Native Plant Society of Texas Annual Symposium
  • 5th Annual Prairie Pandemonium
  • Global Climate Change and Infectious Disease
  • Bioblitz 2011: Where Everyone Counts!
  • 8th Annual Water Symposium

October 6, 2006 (view on Wayback Machine or as PDF)

  • West Loop opens after four years
  • New bird observation tower in Quintana
  • Border Walls
  • Solar Home Tour
  • Willow Waterhole
  • Accidental gas release 

October 2001 (view on Wayback Machine or as PDF)

  • Reducing Houston’s Heat Island study
  • Reflections on 9/11
  • Living with Our Watersheds & Tropical Storm Allison
  • Black bear conservation

November 1, 1996, Texas Environmental Exchange (view as PDF)

  • Special Election Edition
  • Ride to Work
  • Texas Recycles Day
  • A robust calendar of events

October 1991: Texas Environmental News Exchange (view as PDF)

  • The murky water of wetland reclamation
  • Natural pollution control
  • HouZooDoo (elephant, zebra, and rhino)
  • Sea turtles
  • Computers to monitor vehicle emissions

October 1986: CEC Newsleaf (view as PDF)

  • Texas’ first Statewide Coastal Cleanup
  • Waterfront Festival
  • Texas Legislature’s Clean Air Study Committee


Professional Development Opportunities for Teachers

Engage your students with lessons outdoors or virtually. Sign up today at hereinhouston.org.

Call for submissions: Wild About Houston Green Film Festival

The CEC is proud to host the fourth annual Wild About Houston Green Film Festival this fall. CEC hopes to use this festival to tell local environmental stories, highlight the work of CEC’s member organizations, and to inspire our residents and visitors to make a difference in the environment and our quality of life. The festival will be held virtually to protect the health and safety of our community in these times. We invite you to submit a film for consideration. Films should be specific to the environment in the Houston/Gulf Coast Region, should be no more than seven minutes long, and must be of suitable quality to be shown publicly. View the Submission Guidelines, and make submissions using this Google Form.

Air Champion Social Change Scientists Global Video Contest

McMac Cx Air Champions Social Change Scientists are passionate community influencers, teachers, parents, student innovators, and activists who believe that we have a right to live, learn, work and play in places where we are allowed to know the quality of the air we breathe. Make a 30-90 second video about healthy air, and enter the Air Champions Global Video Contest for a chance to win a state-of-the-art Flow Personal Air Monitor, the chance to have your film shown at the Wild About Houston Film Festival, AND the chance to receive a $1,000 cash prize. Learn more at McMacCx.com/globalvideocontest.

Imagine a Day Without Water Video Contest

The City of Houston Public Works department invites Houston residents to participate in Imagine a Day Without Water Video Contest! This contest is designed to engage all Houstonians in the nation-wide event “Imagine a Day Without Water,” hosted by the Value of Water Campaign. The purpose of Imagine a Day Without Water is to bring attention to the neglected water systems in America. Entrants should create a video–not to exceed 1-minute–exploring or depicting various aspects of what daily life might look like/be affected by an entire day without any water. Enter for the chance to win cash prizes AND the opportunity to have your films shown about the 2021 Wild About Houston Green Film Festival! View the flyer and visit houstontx.gov for more information. Submit videos by Sunday, October 17, 2021, to waterconservation@houstontx.gov.

Please scroll down to read about public engagement opportunities and notes from our member organizations and the community.


Early Voting for Joint General & Special Elections starts October 18, 2021

Visit votetexas.gov or your county’s election official for more information.

Input Requested: San Jacinto Regional Flood Planning Group

The San Jacinto RFPG seeks input from the public regarding the development of a regional flood plan, part of a statewide flood plan. Learn more, submit input, and sign up for updates at sanjacintofloodplanning.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).

Children’s Environmental Health Day

On Oct. 14, 2021, the Children’s Environmental Health Network will hold its 6th Annual Children’s Environmental Health Day. Focused on action and equity, the event’s goal is to collectively increase the visibility of childrens’ environmental health issues while empowering individuals and organizations to take action on behalf of children nationwide. For more information and to register a local event, visit cehday.org.

Sierra Club Meeting: The Port of Houston “PoH TREES” Program

On Oct. 14, 2021, from 7:30-9 p.m., the Houston chapter of the Sierra Club will hold a virtual monthly meeting featuring a presentation by Deborah January-Bevers of Houston Wilderness on the Port of Houston Trees & Riparian Enhancement of Ecosystem Services (PoH TREES) Program. This is a 10-year multi-partner program, facilitated by Houston Wilderness, and focused on green spaces that exist amid the large industrial complexes along the 25 miles of the Houston Ship Channel, and associated tributaries. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.com.

Call for Entries: Houston Nonprofits Social Media Breakfast of Houston 2021 Gift of Guidance Program and Conference

Social Media Breakfast Houston is holding its 2021 Gift of Guidance Program and Guidance will be held on Dec. 10, 2021, from 8:30 a.m.-3:15 p.m. via Zoom with an in-person reception following at 6 p.m. The Gift of Guidance program offers non-profits access to digital coaching in order to better their social media presence. Eligible nonprofits receive pro bono advice from SMBHOU members during this December meeting with the goal of collaboratively developing an actionable, micro social media plan. SMBHOU invites qualified, Houston-based 501c3 organizations to apply for the program. The deadline to apply is Friday Oct. 15 at midnight. For more information and to apply, visit this Google document.

Unplugged Adventure: Wetland Walk

On Oct. 16, 2021, from 9-10:30 a.m., Katy Prairie Conservancy will offer an educational wetland walk with an expert from Green Star Wetlands. Participants will be able to get up close to some of the wetlands on the Katy Prairie and learn about the plants that are part of the Prairie Wetland Community. Come ready with questions about wetlands near you or out on the prairie. For more information and to register, visit katyprairie.org.

District F Youth Conference on Environmental Justice

On Oct. 16, 2021, from 9 a.m.-noon, the  Office of Houston Council Member Tiffany D. Thomas.will host a youth conference focused on environmental justice in Houston. Candid discussions about food deserts, water contamination, flooding, air pollution, and community upkeep will be led by elected officials, community leaders, professors, and scientific experts. On Oct. 15 from 7-8 p.m., there will be an in-person opportunity at Tracy Gee Community Center to meet fellow youth and to pick up shirts. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.com.

Fall 2021 Interfaith Environmental Stewardship Event

On Oct. 17, 2021, from 1:30-4:30 p.m., the Interfaith Environmental Network of Houston invites people of all faiths or no faith at all to engage in hands-on environmental stewardship at the Willow Waterhole Conservation Reserve, getting the park ready for the MusicFest on Oct. 30. This stewardship event will offer activities for all ages and skill levels and appropriate precautions to prevent spread of the Coronavirus will be taken. For more information and to register, visit Eventbrite.com.

TAMEST Natural Hazards Summit: Responding to and Mitigating the Impacts

On Oct. 19, 2021, The Academy of of Medicine, Engineering, and Science in Texas will virtually host Part 1 of the TAMEST Natural Hazards Summit, themed “Responding to and Mitigating the Impacts.” The summit will convene government officials, research leaders and insurance industry representatives to take a hard look at what the state needs to know and do to prepare for future natural disasters, unprecedented weather events and global pandemics, including response, recovery and mitigation of the impacts. The session is presented by the Hurricane Resilience Research Institute (HuRRI) at the University of Houston. For more information and to register, visit tamest.org.

Houston Parks Board 2021 Annual Luncheon

On Oct. 19, 2021, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., the Houston Parks Board will hold its 2021 Annual Luncheon at an outdoor tent on Avenida de las Americas Plaza, outside the George R. Brown Convention Center. The event will celebrate the green spaces we turned towards to walk, jog, bike, and simply relax outdoors at a time when we needed it most. The special guess will be Florence Williams, author of The Nature Fix. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit houstonparksboard.org.

Houston Renewable Energy Group Meeting and Social

On Oct. 19, 2021, beginning at 6 p.m, the Houston Renewable Energy Group will host a meeting at The Cannon West Houston, 1334 Brittmoore Rd. The featured speaker will be Mike Zahr , construction project manager with EDP Renewables. Following his talk, the group will hold a social. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.com.

Hess Corporate 5K benefitting Memorial Park Conservancy

From Oct. 19-21, 2021, Hess will host an after-work event to promote corporate wellness and employee team building in Houston at Memorial Park, with proceeds benefiting Memorial Park Conservancy. Enjoy a fun 5K run or walk with your co-workers followed by an outdoor happy hour with refreshments, live entertainment and more. All levels of runners and walkers are encouraged to participate on their “Company Team.” For more information and to register, visit houstoncorporate5k.com.

Bay Area Sierra Club Meeting: The Lubrizol Accident & Chemical Release Issues

On Oct. 20, 2021, from 7-8:30 p.m., the Bay Area chapter of the Sierra Club will hold a virtual meeting featuring Kevin Beard, Ph.D. and Loretta Beard, who will discuss a recent chemical release at the Lubrizol Corp plant in La Porte, the impacts on Bay Area communities, and efforts to better inform the public about such incidents. Craig Hill, the Emergency Response Manager with Harris County Pollution Control is also expected to participate and discuss the County’s role. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.com.

Human and Climate-Driven Water Quality Challenges Affecting the Texas Coast

On Oct. 21, 2021, from 11 a.m.-noon, The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment – Texas State University and the Texas General Land Office will present a virtual Lunch and Learn presentation featuring Dr. Michael Wetz, chair for coastal ecosystem Processes, and Dr. Amie West, postdoctoral research associate at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, about how human-driven factors (like population growth and climate change) are affecting water quality on the Texas coast. For more information and to register, visit evetbrite.com.

Application of Artificial Intelligence to Environmental Issues

On Oct. 21, 2021, from noon-1 p.m., the Texas Association of Environmental Professionals will hold a virtual luncheon meeting featuring a presentation by Jed Anderson, CEO of EnviroAI, a search and environmental solution engine. For more information and to register, visit taep.memberclicks.net.

Houston Audubon’s 2021 Avian Affair

On Oct. 21, 2021, from 6:30-9:30 p.m., Houston Audubon will host its 2021 Avian Affair fundraiser at The Revaire, 7122 Old Kayt Road. The event will honoring Jim Winn with the Lifetime Service Award. The keynote speaker will be naturalist and children’s author Sneed B. Collard III For more information and to register, visit houstonaudubon.org.

Keep Pearland Beautiful’s Plant Thyme Fall Luncheon and Plant Sale

On Oct. 22, 2021, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Keep Pearland Beautiful will hold its annual Plant Thyme Fall Luncheon and native plant sale at the Pearland First United  Methodist Church Family Life Center, 2314 N. Grand Blvd. The guest speaker will be Tommy Garcia-Prats, co-founder and general manager of small places, an organization that starts and runs urban farms that serve their immediate communities. The first farm, Finca Tres Robles, founded in 2014, is still one of the only urban famrs inside Houston’s Lloop 610. For more information, visit mykpb.member365.org.

Halloween Night Cruises

On Oct. 22 and 23, 2021, beginning at 7 p.m., Armand Bayou Nature Center will offer night cruises where you’ll get a chance to experience the sights and sounds of the bayou at night and hear about some of the creepy critters that are important to the bayou ecosystem. Space is limited. The cruises will also be offered on Oct. 29 and 30. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit abnc.org.

Charlton Park Volunteer Tree Planting

On Oct. 23, 2021, from 9 a.m.-noon, the Houston Parks & Recreation Department’s Natural Resources Management Program will host a volunteer tree planting event at  a tree planting event at Charlton Park, 8200 Park Place Blvd. Volunteers will plant 250 trees at the park along Sims Bayou as part of our Riparian Restoration Initiative. Pre-registration is required. Register by emailing Naturalresources@houstontx.gov.

Lawther-Deer Park Prairie Workday

On Oct. 23, 2021, from 9 a.m.-noon, the Houston chapter of the Native Prairies Association of Texas will hold a volunteer work day at the Lawther-Deer Park Prairie. RSVP to HNPAT@TexasPrairie.org or call Glenn at 1-936-827-7978.  For more information, visit houstonprairie.org.

Fall B.O.P.A Collection Event

On Oct. 23, 2021, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Keep Kingwood Green, the City of Houston and Council Member Dave Martin will host a BOPA items (Batteries, Oils, Paints, Anti-freeze) collection event at the Kingwood METRO Park and Ride, 3210 W. Lake Houston Parkway. The event is free and open to all City of Houston residents. A valid Texas driver’s license or other proof of residency will be required. This is a rain or shine event, except in the case of severe weather. Business waste will not be accepted. For more information, including the full list of items that will be accepted (or not), visit keepkingwoodgreen.org.

Texas Conservation Association Annual Meeting and 50th Anniversary Celebration

On Oct. 23, 2021, from 10-11:30 a.m., the Texas Conservation Association will hold its Annual Meeting and 50th Anniversary Celebration virtually. Dr. Andy Sansom, director of environmental strategy at Texas State University,  former executive director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and former executive director of the Texas Nature Conservancy, will be the keynote speaker. For more information and to register, visit tcatexas.org.

ArBOOretum Fall Festival

On Oct. 23, 2021, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center will hold ArBOOretum, its biggest family event of the year. ArBOOretum features fun fall activities for all ages including live animals, pumpkin decorating, and Houston’s only Trick-or-Treat Nature Trail. Comfortable walking shoes and costumes are encouraged. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit houstonarboretum.org.

2021 KBR Kids Day

On Oct. 23, 2021, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Buffalo Bayou Partnership will host KBR Kids Day, a day of free family fun at Tony Marron Park, 808 N. York St. Activity stations will include numerous hands-on activities from over 20 Houston partners, local entertainment, and performances on the H-E-B stage, Dia de los Muertos face painters, balloon artists, a rock climbing wall, and more. Costumes are encouraged. For more information, visit buffalobayou.org.

Fall Farm-to-Table Dinner

On Oct. 23, 2021, from 4:30-9:30 p.m., the Blackwood Educational Land Institute in Hempstead will hold its Fall Farm-to-Table Dinner, a way of providing an evening of retreat in nature, a celebration of the season, and a nourishing, grounding experience to end what has been a tryingly uncertain year in enjoyment and gratitude. Chef Cade Conlon has conceived a menu around our late Fall harvest with accents foraged from our surrounding 33 acres. Masks will be required when interacting with anyone outside your own party, and separate seating can be accommodated for any party. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit blackwoodliving.com.

Halloween Family Night Hikes

On Oct. 23, 2021, beginning at 6 p.m., the Armand Bayou Nature Center is offering Family Halloween Night Hikes. Along the hike, there will be demonstrations where your family group can learn about some of the spooky night creatures that make the nature center their home and why these animals are vital to our ecosystems. Space is limited. The hikes will be offered again on Oct. 30. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit abnc.org.

Bike Around the Bay 2021

From Oct. 23-24, 2021, the Galveston Bay Foundation will hold the annual Bike Around the Bay,  a fully supported two-day, 175-mile bicycle ride around Galveston Bay that showcases its natural beauty. The ride provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity to see and experience Galveston Bay on a bike while supporting a great local cause: protecting Galveston Bay for years to come. All skill levels are welcome. Riders have the option to participate in the full two-day route from Baytown to Galveston and back or select to ride one day only. For more information and to register, visit galvbay.org.

2021 AIA Houston Home Tour

From Oct. 23-24, 2021, American Institute of Architects – Houston will hold its annual AIA Home Tour, a nonprofit fundraiser and supports various AIA Houston initiatives throughout the year. Open to the public, the AIA Houston Home Tour showcases the finest residential architecture in the Houston area, as designed by licensed architects. Houses are chosen to showcase a variety of design styles demonstrating that excellence in design is not limited by size or dollars. Masks will be required at all the homes, including the check-in tables just outside the doors. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit aiahouston.org.

Lights Out, Houston!

Through Nov. 30, 2021, Houston Audubon invites the public to participate in Lights Out, Houston for the fall migration season. Houston Audubon’s Lights Out for Birds Program, part of Lights Out Texas. Turn your non-essential, exterior lights off from 11 p.m.-6 a.m. throughout spring and fall migrations, especially during peak migration, which continues through October 29. Learn more at houstonaudublog.org.

Reminders About Ongoing Opportunities

  • People’s Eco-Challenge. Through Oct. 27, 2021, the Interfaith Environmental Network of Houston invites Houstonians of all faiths to participate in the People’s Eco-Challenge. Join the team at peoples.ecochallenge.org. For questions, contact Lisa Brenskelle at gcs.lrc@gmail.com.
  • Take Care of Texas Video Contest. Texas students in grades 6 – 12 are invited to create a 30-second video about how they take care of the environment, using data from its website. Participating students must upload their entry on or before 4 p.m. CST Friday, Dec. 3, 2021 CST, with the required documents. Find the full contest rules and other important information at takecareoftexas.org.
  • Living the Change Discussion Group. Through Dec. 14, 2021, the Interfaith Environmental Network of Houston is hosting a weekly virtual discussion group in which participants can consider how they can reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to energy, transportation and food, based on the Walk on Earth Gently principles. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.com.
  • Your Body Your Air. The Houston Public Library invites you to learn about types and sources of air pollution in Houston and the effect they have on our bodies in The Health Museum’s new exhibit Your Body Your Air. Created in partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund, Your Body Your Air can be seen at various Houston Public Library locations through February 2022. Learn more at houstonlibrary.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.

  • Bat biologists climb deep into culverts to fight the deadly White-nose Syndrome. It’s a new spray away concept that they hope will save a rare Texas bat species
  • If you’re looking for an alternative to the mainstream, take a ride down the Sabine Sandbar Paddling Trail. Hidden deep in East Texas, this meandering trail is a great place to find some peace and quiet
  • A morning in the swamp at North Toledo Bend Wildlife Management Area

Additional Upcoming Events

Check out the latest Green Jobs at cechouston.org/green-jobs/.