Houston Environmental News Update June 29, 2022

CEC Summer Interns, Brews for Birds, Environmental Justice Tool launch, Moth Night, Green Jobs, and more

Dear Friends,

It’s summertime, and here at CEC, that means we have a new crop of Summer Interns! You may know not know that we rely on our Interns to do much of the work of our small organization, and we’re awfully proud of what they accomplish – particularly during this Summer of Action! We’d like to introduce you to this summer’s cohort.

Angie Torres, one of our new Membership Engagement Interns, focused on helping CEC to revitalize membership and coordinate the annual Greater Houston Environmental Summit. Angie is a master’s student in Rice University’s Social Policy Evaluation program. She holds an undergraduate degree in Integrative Biology, and her nonprofit work background includes organizing, campaign strategy, and policy research. Learn more about Angie here.

Jessalin Nguyen, another Membership Engagement Intern, is a second-year student studying Environmental Science at the University of Chicago. Next year, she will be reviving the Animal Welfare Society at her university. She wants to pursue avenues to improve the relationship between humans and the environment. Learn more about Jessalin here.

Ava Trachtenberg is a senior at Emery High School in Houston. She has been involved with climate activism in several capacities—founding and leading a Climate Action Club at her school, serving on the national leadership board of the Jewish Youth Climate Movement, being an active member of Houston Youth Climate Strike, and participating in the Youth Implementation Group for the City of Houston’s Climate Action Plan. Learn more about Ava here.

Chandler Jones is a recent graduate of Mirabeau B. Lamar High School in River Oaks. In the fall she will be attending Princeton University in New Jersey, where she plans to study environmental science and policy. She has chosen this path as she has special interests in the environment and sustainability. Learn more about Chandler here.


CEC NOTES

Summer of Action 2022

Our Summer of Action is clipping along, having produced two successful Community Listening Sessions this past week. Next on the agenda is a series of three Skill-Building Sessions designed to empower concerned citizens and local community leaders to advocate for climate resilience funding from the Justice40 initiative and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Thanks to funding from EDF, these events are free and open to the public:

  • Jul 13 – Introduction to Climate Action
  • Jul 20 – Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Justice40 Deep-dive
  • Jul 27 – Legislative Advocacy 101
  • Sep 10 – Houston Community Climate Summit at Rice University

Please register at Eventbrite for these and other Summer of Action events. We look forward to seeing you there!


Professional Development Opportunities for Teachers

Join fellow environmental educators every other Friday morning for a quick check-in to collaborate. The next meeting is July 1, beginning at 8:30 a.m. Bring your coffee (or tea) and ideas for things that are working in your programs (or questions about things that are not). The Zoom call is hosted by regional board members from the Texas Association for Environmental Education. Email Alicia at Alicia.Mein@pct3.hctx.net for Zoom link and any questions.


Virtually Wild! Texas Student Learning Programs

Region 4 Education Service Center partners with the Virtually Wild! Texas team to provide students with engaging and interactive TEKS-aligned virtual environmental education field trips that highlight careers in conservation. These free 45-minute programs are live, and teachers and students are encouraged to engage with natural resources professionals by asking questions. Topics vary by program and have included endangered species, animal adaptations, habitat exploration, wildlife crime investigations, and more! Public, private, homeschool, hospitals, and education sites are welcome to view. See program listings and register at esc4.net.


Texas Wildlife Foundation Summer 2022 Teacher Workshops

The Texas Wildlife Foundation is offering Teacher Workshops, both virtual and in-person through July 28. Teacher Workshops are six-hour trainings that introduce attendees to the Texas Wildlife Association, in-class and outdoor lessons and activities, and how to incorporate natural resources into classrooms or programming. Lessons focus on teaching land stewardship, native wildlife, and water conservation and are Science TEKS-aligned for Grades K-8. Learn more and register at texas-wildlife.org.

Other opportunities:


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


OPPORTUNITIES FOR PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT


Community Flood Resilience Task Force Meeting, Yearly Report

The Harris County Community Flood Resilience Task Force, which advises Harris County on equitable flood resilience planning and projects that take into account the needs and priorities of communities, has submitted its first Yearly Report to the county. It will discussed during the June 28 meeting of Harris County Commissioners Court.  

Additionally, the Harris County Community Services Department is currently collecting feedback from communities on how to prioritize the $750 million in promised CDBG-MIT funds. The Committees recently submitted this letter to request that the Method of Distribution strongly prioritize flood risk reduction projects. You can find out more at HarrisRecovery.org, and the surveys, in English and Spanish, are open throughout the summer.

Learn about additional public comment opportunities at cechouston.org.



COALITION & COMMUNITY NOTES

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


NYT: Saving a Texan Bayou, ‘16 Bottles’ at a Time

“No matter how much Bayou Dave hunts, his quarry never goes away. He finds it each time he sets out on Buffalo Bayou, a slow moving river that wends through the country’s fourth largest city and out to its port,” writes Cara Buckley in The New York Times. “And so it was one recent sweltering morning when he and his longtime deckhand, Trey Dennis, headed on a small barge to a floating boom they’d set out on the water the day before.” Read the full story at nytimes.com. (Photo: Michael Starghill Jr. for The New York Times)


Texas Climate News: Extreme summer heat could rival Texas’ record-setting summer of 2011

“For anyone who dreads extremely hot weather – and isn’t that most of us, even in Texas? – conditions this spring have been decidedly unwelcome across much of the state,” writes Bill Dawson in Texas Climate News. “Unfortunately, Texas can expect more of the same in the season ahead, the lead meteorologist for the state’s principal grid-management agency reported on June 21, the first day of summer.” Read the full story at texasclimatenews.org. (Photo: Charles Henry, via flicker)


Brews for Birds & Pints for Opossums

On June 29, TWRC Wildlife Center will hold a fundraising event at Dog Haus Biergarten, 10906 Enclave Parkway in the Energy Corridor. Come enjoy great burgers, hotd ogs, sausages and beer. A portion of the proceeds will be go to TWRC Wildlife Center. For more information, visit twrcwildlifecenter.org


Residential Energy Dashboard webinar

On June 29, from noon-1 p.m., the U.S. Green Building Council Texas chapter and the Green Building Resource Center will host a webinar featuring Patricia Vega, CEO of Quantum New Energy, who will discuss residential energy dashboards, which can help homeowners manage their energy use more wisely by presenting real data in a coherent fashion. Vega will outline her company’s process from conception to current day, and explain how the dashboard works in real time. For more information and to register, visit usgbctexas.org.


Launch of Environmental Justice Tool

On June 30, from noon-1 p.m.,  Texas Sustainable Business Network, the U.S. Green Building Council Texas, and Impact Hub Houston will host a webinar for the launch of the free Building Environmental Justice Tool. When included in the planning of building and community projects, the Environmental Justice Tool creates a framework and repeatable pathway for development that result in more inclusive and equitable outcomes that better reflect the needs and desires of all building and community stakeholders. Attendees will get an overview of what the Environmental Justice Tool is and how to use it, and see how other leaders in the sustainable business ecosystem are using this new resource to support their Environmental Justice goals. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.com.


Action on Resiliency

On June 30, beginning at 5:30 p.m., AIA Houston, as part of its Urban Design 2022 Speaker Series, will host a panel discussion at Architecture Center Houston about how local agencies are preparing projects eligible for resilience and prevention programs funded by the $1 trillion infrastructure bill signed by President Biden in November 2021. Nearly half of the funds from this bill are ear-marked to help communities build infrastructure toward resilience measures. Attendees will learn about resilience priority projects per sector, and identify with us how sectors can work together to streamline resilience efforts. For more information and to register, visit aiahouston.org.


The Interactive Species Guide and Scavenger Hunt 

On July 2, beginning at 7 p.m., Exploration Green will host a free, family sevent where in which participants will learn about the new Interactive Species Guide & Scavenger Hunt while unveiling signs that blend technology and nature.  Wear long pants & long sleeve shirt if concerned about insect bites; camera, manual focus with macro lens works best; magnifying glass; red-light flashlight or low light flashlight. For more information, see the Facebook event.


Moth Night at Exploration Green

On July 2, from 8-10 p.m., Exploration Green, in celebration of National Moth Week (July 17- 31), invites the public to participate in an event to discover what species of moths and other night-flying insects are out and about in Exploration Green. White and UV lights shining on white sheets will attract them where they can be viewed and photographed. In the days after the event, participants will upload our observations to iNaturatlist for identification and so that we can track the species we have found over time. This event is family and pet friendly. For more information, see the Facebook event.


Gardening for Bees and Pollinators

On July 8, from noon-1 p.m., Buffalo Bayou Partnership and Architecture Center Houston will host a lunch and learn talk by Paul Winski, horticulture agent of Texas A&M AgriLife Extensionwho will describe the steps needed to create a bee-friendly habitat in your own backyard. For more information and to register, visit buffalobayou.org.


Survive the Summer – Solar Ovens and Solar Stills

On July 9, from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Coastal Prairie Conservancy will host an Unplugged Adventure in which participants will set up a solar oven and enjoy solar cooked nachos after a guided Ranger Trek around the prairie. All ages are welcome. For more information and to register, visit coastalprairieconservancy.org.


Flower Garden Picnic

On July 9, from 6-8 p.m., the Houston Parks Board and Friends of American Legion Park will host at American Legion Park, 3621 Golf Drive. The event will be a planet-friendly summer picnic featuring a plant swap, environmental education activities, a beer garden, concierge picnic experience, and live music. For more information, visit houstonparksboard.org.


Terry Hershey Bayou Stewardship Award nominations

Each year, the prestigious Terry Hershey Bayou Stewardship Award recognizes individuals in the community who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to aiding in the conservation, preservation, restoration, and/or advocacy of Houston’s waterways. Nominees can be from the non-profit, public, or private sectors. To nominate an individual for the Terry Hershey Bayou Stewardship Award, please complete and submit a digital nomination form to info@bayoupreservation.org. The Award will be presented at the 12th Annual Terry Hershey Bayou Stewardship Award Luncheon on Nov. 1, 2022, at the Junior League of Houston. Nominations are open until July 15. 


Lower Trinity Basin Chapter, Texas Master Naturalist New Class starting in August

Texas Master Naturalist™ is a program funded by Texas Parks and Wildlife and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension to develop a corps of well-informed volunteers to provide education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities for the state of Texas. The Lower Trinity Basin Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists serves Liberty and Chambers Counties. The program serves the region as water monitors, nature educators, native plant and tree cultivators, as well as a broad variety of volunteer services to our natural resources.  Becoming a Texas Master Naturalist involves approximately 40 hours of initial classroom and outdoor training over the course of a few months and shared with classmates and speakers who share your interests.  The Lower Trinity Basin Chapter will hold a new training class beginning August 6.  Applications for the class are available now and due by July 25. In addition to your initial training, you’ll be expected to volunteer for at least 40 hours per year and attend 8 hours of advanced training to be fully certified as a Texas Master Naturalist. You can receive an application by sending an email to lowertrinitybasin@gmail.com. The class fee of $175 includes the textbook, all training materials, an official name tag and shirt, and the first year of dues.  Tuition assistance may be available. Additional information can be found at txmn.org or txmn.org/lowertrinitybasin.


World Ocean Day Youth Advisory Council applications due July 27

The World Ocean Day Youth Advisory Council is a group of 20-25 young people from countries around the world who are already actively engaged in ocean conservation efforts in their communities. They come together to share their efforts with each other and the world, develop their leadership skills  to strengthen their impact, and inspire millions of other people to take action for our blue planet. The application period for the 2022-2023 cohort is now open through July 27. To learn more about the Council and to apply, visit worldoceanday.org.


Program Funding Opportunity: Improving Coastal Community Resilience with Green Infrastructure

The Gulf of Mexico Alliance’s Integrated Planning Cross-Team Initiative seeks to fund a green infrastructure project that will improve community resilience and reduce water pollution in one of three areas in Texas and Louisiana, including Brazoria, Chambers, Galveston, Harris and Jefferson Counties.
Up to $41,000 is available for a 12 month project; matching funds are not required. Applications are due by July 29. Find the full Request for Proposals and Application at gulfofmexicoalliance.org.


Deep in the Heart in Texas theaters

Deep in the Heart, a visually stunning celebration of what makes Texas unique — its diverse landscapes and remarkable wildlife behavior that cannot be found anywhere else in the world, is now in theaters. Narrated by Matthew McConaughey and featuring state-of-the-art cinematography, this family-friendly film journeys from the highest peaks in West Texas, through our aquifers, rivers, and bays, and deep into the Gulf of Mexico. See the trailer. Learn more about the film at deepintheheartwildlife.com. Find a theater near you and purchase tickets here.


CONTESTS

Marine Debris Art Contest

Registration is open through September 1 for Artist Boat’s Marine Debris Art Contest. Artists and ocean-lovers of all ages can submit pieces to display at the art gallery. Art pieces are comprised primarily of marine debris and demonstrate the effects aquatic trash can have on our oceans and the life that depends on them. Art pieces must be brought to Artist Boat (13330 Settegast Road, Galveston) by September 23. The judging and viewing of the art pieces will be held on Oct, 8 at the Galveston Art League. For full rules and submission guidelines, visit artistboat.org.


2022 Get Into Your Sanctuary Photo Contest

The National Marine Sanctuaries 2022 Get Into Your Sanctuary Photo Contest is underway through September 5. All photographers, regardless of skill level or experience, are invited to participate. Each photographer may submit up to 10 photos (minimum of 1200 pixels wide) that tell the stories of the National Marine Sanctuaries, including Texas’s own Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. Winning photographs will be announced in October 2022 as the Sanctuaries celebrate their 50th anniversary. For full contest rules and submission information, visit sanctuaries.noaa.gov.


2022 Wild “InSight” Photo Contest

TWRC Wildlife Center will host its 4th Wild “InSight” Photo Contest to raise money for its Wildlife Center operations and Animal Care Program. You can begin capturing the wildlife living around you now then enter your best photos in the Wild “InSight” Photo Contest when it opens on July 11. Submissions will be accepted through September 26. TWRC Wildlife Center is also seeking sponsors for its 2023 WildInSight Calendar. Contact Anna Saxton for more information. For more information, visit twrcwildlifecenter.org.


Reminders About Ongoing Opportunities

  • Buffalo Bayou Partnership 2022 Summer Species: Bees. Buffalo Bayou Partnership has announced its second annual Summer Species – BEES. Through August, BBP will take the Houston community on a deep dive into these busy little insects. At various locations, experts will lead workshops, walks, talks, and experiential activities for participants of all ages. For the full listing of events, visit buffalobayou.org.
  • The Architecture of Bees. Through August 26, Architecture Center Houston offers the exhibition The Architecture of Bees in the gallery of its headquarters at 902 Commerce St. Curated by architect and beekeeper Wendy Heger, AIA, The Architecture of Bees is an immersive educational visual arts exhibition that brings together designers, architects, naturalists, and beekeepers to illustrate the importance and influence of bees on human design and construction. For more information, visit aiahouston.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.

  • Biologists continue their battle against giant salvinia, an invasive aquatic plant that threatens Texas lakes and fisheries. To protect Caddo Lake from devastation, they are enlisting the help of local conservation groups and a horde of tiny insects
  • Willard Franklin III is a fisherman and volunteer from Houston whose passion is sharing his love for the outdoors with urban kids. By taking children fishing, Willard hopes to give them the kinds of experiences and memories that could spark an interest in the outdoors later in life*
  • Visit the century-old Chimney Creek Ranch in the Rolling Plains region of Texas and learn how landowners work to restore, protect and share the historic and cultural resources of the property in tribute to those who came before
  • Hit the trails at Government Canyon State Natural Area, with hiking, biking, and birding. And see what makes this 12,000 acre wild urban escape unique
  • Fly above San Felipe Creek and the Rio Grande at the golden hour before sunset

Additional Upcoming Events


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