Houston Environmental News Update September 7, 2022

Environmental Data, Creation Care 101, Neches River Rally, Heat in Houston, Green Jobs, and more

Dear Friends,

Data. It’s everywhere, and it comes at us fast and furious.

The environmental community is no exception, and in fact, reliable data is extremely important in helping us meet and solve the most pressing environmental concerns of our day. The trick is knowing where to find it.

Here in the greater Houston-Galveston region, there’s no shortage of organizations that are involved in providing good data on the environment. Probably the most comprehensive data sets come by way of the Houston-Galveston Area Council, our region’s council of governments. You can check out their Interactive Web Applications, which have subheadings for Environment, Water Quality, Land Use, Transportation, and more. Find the whole set at h-gac.com.

The Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC), whose stated mission is ” to provide independent analysis on energy, air, and water issues to people seeking scientific answers and to operate as a research hub finding solutions for a sustainable future,” makes their research available to the public at harcresearch.org. Categories include Air, Energy, Water, and Climate. HARC also partners with the Galveston Bay Foundation to produce the annual Galveston Bay Report Card.

In August 2020, the Harris Heat Action Team’s volunteer community scientists fanned out across the Harris County area for a one-day heat mapping project. A story map of the results can be found at h3at.org.

Bayou City Waterkeeper, which works to protect water quality, preserve and restore wetlands, and support resilient communities in the region, has recently completed mapping projects on mapping sewage overflows, mapping wetlands, and more. Find all of their work at bayoucitywaterkeeper.org.

Air Alliance Houston, which works to reduce the public health impacts from air pollution and advance environmental justice, has created a community air monitoring network. Learn more about it and find their reports at airalliancehouston.org.

The Texas branch of Physicians for Social Responsibility provides reports on Climate and Health at texaspsr.org.

Image: Regional Conservation Framework Tool, via Houston-Galveston Area Council


CEC NOTES


Member Organization Spotlight: Houston Advanced Research Center

This week, the Houston Advanced Research (HARC) celebrates its 40th anniversary. Founded by fracking pioneer George Mitchell, the organization has a mission “to provide independent analysis on energy, air, and water issues to people seeking scientific answers and to operate as a research hub finding solutions for a sustainable future.” They are marking the occasion on Wednesday, September 7, with a virtual celebration featuring a keynote talk by climate scientist Dr. Katharine Hayhoe. See details and registration in “Coalition & Community Notes” below.


Tell us how we can improve the newsletter!

We recently launched a survey asking subscribers to “Houston Environmental News” what they like about it, and how we can improve it. If you haven’t already completed the survey, please fill it out today to let us know how we can improve the newsletter. Find the survey here.

Professional Development Opportunities for Teachers

Join fellow environmental educators every other Friday morning for a quick check-in to collaborate. The next meeting is September 9, 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.Mein@pct3.hctx.net or cwilems@galvbay.org 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.

Deep in the Heart Learning Resources

Deep in the Heart Learning Resources, using videos from the recent full-length documentary, are now available to connect students to Texas’s unique environments, inspire awe in the natural beauty of our state, and lead to actions that support conservation. Each video includes 4 TEKS and NGSS-aligned lessons for K-12 teachers and students. Lessons include directions for the teacher, student documents in English and Spanish, and English and Spanish PowerPoint files. The lessons are aligned with the 2020/2021 revised Science TEKS. Learn more and download the resources at deepintheheartwildlife.com.


Other opportunities:


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


OPPORTUNITIES FOR PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT


Listening Session on New Pollution Prevention Grant Opportunity under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

On September 8, beginning at noon Central Time, EPA will host a virtual listening session on new Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding for a Pollution Prevention grant opportunity focused on increasing supply and demand for safer, environmentally preferable products, such as those certified by EPA’s Safer Choice program or identified by EPA’s Environmentally Preferable Purchasing program. EPA wants to hear your thoughts to help inform the development of this grant opportunity. In the listening session, EPA will provide background on the grant opportunity and then lead a discussion to get feedback. To register, visit zoomgov.com.


Texas Commission on Environmental Quality seeks feedback on Solid Waste Management Plans

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is providing an opportunity for informal public comment through Tuesday, September 20, on the regional solid waste management plans developed by the 24 regional councils of governments, including the Houston-Galveston Area Council. To view the draft plans and provide comments, visit tceq.texas.gov.



Toxics Release Inventory Virtual Conference

On Sept. 20-21 from noon-3:30 p.m. EDT, the EPA will host a virtual event on pollution prevention, environmental justice and more. The event will feature speakers from EPA, universities, local governments, industry and communities. There will be presentations on assessing and prioritizing opportunities for advancing pollution prevention at facilities; innovative Toxic Release Inventory data uses by companies, state governments, and students; using Risk-Screening Environmental Indicators (RSEI) modeling results to identify communities with potential environmental justice concerns; and the TRI Toxics Tracker and other resources for communities. Attendees will also have a chance to share feedback about TRI and ask questions of program experts. For more information and to register, visit epa.gov.


EPA seeks input on new environmental justice-focused pollution prevention grant opportunity

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will hold two listening sessions to collect input on the development of a new grant opportunity made possible by the $100 million investment in the agency’s Pollution Prevention program from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The new grant opportunity will encourage businesses that are working in, or working with, underserved or overburdened communities to adopt P2 practices in a way that advances the Biden-Harris Administration’s environmental agenda. A listening session on September 21 will seek input from Tribes on this new grant opportunity. Another listening session on September 29 is for all potential applicants and stakeholders. For both listening sessions, EPA is interested in understanding how these grants can be most accessible and useful to applicants. EPA will also seek additional insight into how funded projects can help businesses adopt P2 approaches to address environmental problems in underserved/overburdened communities.




Public Comment on Harris County Storm Conveyance Tunnels proposal

The Harris County Flood Control District is seeking public comment on the recently released Feasibility Study on the Countywide Large Diameter Tunnels for Stormwater Conveyance, a $30 billion, 133-mile system of 8 large underground tunnels to drain stormwater out of the county’s bayous and streams. Public comment will be accepted through September 30. The next phase of the project will include community meetings. Find more information, including the presentation slides and video of a public meeting held in June, at hcfcd.org.


Comment on Environmental Justice Scorecard

The White House Council on Environmental Quality is taking a next step in the development of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Environmental Justice Scorecard, a first-of-its-kind tool that will assess progress Federal agencies are making to advance environmental justice, including through the Justice40 Initiative. The draft framework for the Environmental Justice Scorecard, on which CEQ and the Office of Management and Budget are inviting feedback and comment, would assess the efforts that Federal agencies are taking toward reducing burdens and harms in communities; delivering benefits to communities; and centering justice in decision making. The public can submit comments on the Scorecard until Sunday, October 2, via the Federal Register.


Comment on Draft Regional Flood Plan

The San Jacinto Regional Flood Planning Group submitted the DRAFT Regional Flood Plan to the Texas Water Development Board on Aug. 1, 2022. The public is invited to provide feedback on the DRAFT Regional Flood Plan and learn more about flood risk, stormwater management, and flood mitigation projects by visiting sanjacintofloodplanning.org.


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.


Commute Solutions Month

In September, the Houston-Galveston Area Council marks Commute Solutions Month, a region-wide celebration that will highlight companies, agencies, universities, and others in the eight-county transportation management area who are doing great work to improve travel for their commuters as well as decrease congestion and improve air quality in the region. H-GAC will also celebrate the launch of ConnectSmart, a partnership project of the Texas Department of Transportation, H-GAC’s Commute Solutions program, Tow and Go, TranStar, and many others. ConnectSmart is the region’s first mobility tool that integrates trip planning and navigation amongst a variety of commuting options. They invite you to download ConnectSmart in the Apple and Google Play stores.


Houston Chronicle: Houston keeps paving over rain-absorbent Katy prairie, even after devastating Harvey impacts

“At the far west end of Houston along the Katy Freeway, where the concrete city gives way to bigger sky and taller grass, signs advertising new master-planned communities greet you before anything else, pointing left and right to new neighborhoods going up where prairie used to be,” writes Jen Rice for the Houston Chronicle. “While Harris County officials say the new development is not happening in the floodplain — since it is built atop mounds of fill — and will not increase flood risk downstream because of drainage requirements, such as detention ponds, the fact remains that development covers the prairie sponge with concrete.” Read the full story at houstonchronicle.com. (Photo: Melissa Phillip, Houston Chronicle )


The Hill: Texas cities in fear of running out of water

“As the Western U.S. suffers under its worst drought in a millennium, the government of Texas, a state that faces its own unique set of dangers from extreme weather, is at last turning to deal with the threat that climate change poses to its long-term water supply,” writes Saul Elbein for The Hill. “Texas’s situation is sufficiently dire that in July, a majority-Republican panel on the state legislature voted unanimously to require the state water planning board to consult with the state climatologist as it advises cities in planning to meet the state’s water needs in the future.” Read the full story at thehill.com. (Image: Texas Drought Monitor)


HARC’s 40th Anniversary Virtual Celebration

On September 7, from 5-6 p.m., the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC) will hold a virtual celebration of its 40th anniversary of providing leadership and science-backed research on issues related to water, air, energy, and resilience. The keynote speaker will be world-renowned atmospheric scientist Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, whose research focuses on understanding what climate change means for people and the places in which they live. For more information and to register, visit harcresearch.networkforgood.com.


Living the Change weekly discussion group

On Wednesdays from September 7 through November 30, the Interfaith Environmental Network of Houston will host a virtual discussion group developed in response to the Walk on Earth Gently multifaith statement. Inspired by religious teachings to turn away from consumerism and to seek balanced relationships with all people and the planet, Walk on Earth Gently invites you into a journey of Living the Change that the world needs. This program focuses on making personal lifestyle changes in three areas: transportation, energy, and food but will be customized for participants. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.com.


Creation Care 101

Beginning September 8 and running through April 13, members of the Christian faith are invited to take part in a free online course, Creation Care 101, and begin a journey of restoring faith, justice, and creation. Each session will feature talks from leading theologians and scientists, inspiring stories from churches, facilitated heart-led conversation, and tools for practical implementation. Register creationcarecollective.org. Lisa Brenskelle will act as facilitator for the Lutherans Restoring Creation group, providing additional resources and insights from her decades of earthkeeping ministry. To join her group and get the additional resources, please indicate “Lutherans Restoring Creation” as your church/group when you register. Note that all Christians are welcome to join the Lutherans Restoring Creation group, not just Lutherans. Contact Lisa at gcs.lrc@gmail.com for more information.


Texas Stream Team Standard Core Water Quality Citizen Scientist Training

On September 9, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., the Houston-Galveston Area Council, in partnership with The Woodlands Township Environmental Services, will host a Texas Stream Team Standard Core Water Quality Citizen Scientist Training for new volunteers at Bear Branch Park, 5310 Research Forest Drive, The Woodlands. This training is limited to 10 participants, so register here to reserve your spot. On October 9, the Bayou Preservation Association will offer a similar training at its headquarters at the Sunset Coffee Building at Allen’s Landing in downtown Houston. Learn more and register here.


 Neches River Rally

On September 10, the Big Thicket Association will hold the 9th Annual Neches River Rally, which will take paddlers through the Big Thicket National Preserve via the 4-mile Cooks Lake to Scatterman Paddling Trail. This is a rain or shine event. Canoes and kayaks (no paddleboards) will launch and return to the LNVA Saltwater Barrier location in Beaumont. Bring your personal boat or reserve a boat before September 3 with Big Thicket Outfitters. Each adult registered participant will receive a complimentary Big Thicket Association 2022-2023 membership. For more information and to register, visit bigthicket.org.


Heat in Houston: Justice Implications, Solutions, & How to Engage

On September 11, from 3:30-5 p.m., the Interfaith Environmental Network of Houston will present a webinar featuring Jaime Gonzalez of The Nature Conservancy, who will discuss a recent heat mapping project in underserved areas of Houston, the findings from the project, their justice implications, solutions, and how houses of worship/people of faith can engage. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.com


Houston ToolBank’s Tool Trot

The Houston ToolBank, which serves community-based organizations by providing tools, equipment and expertise to empower their most ambitious goals, is holding its inagural Tool Tort fundraiser through September 12. Participants in the Tool Trot will compete to get the most steps, with the chance to win one of six prizes. This event promotes healthy lifestyles by encouraging participants to get outdoors and be active towards a collective goal of completing 2500 miles over 12 days. If you’re local to Houston, they invite you to swing by the ToolBank for a trash grabber and cleanup supplies so you can also cleanup your community while getting in your steps. For more information and to register, visit dash.atlasgo.org.


Vote for Seaborne Creek Nature Park in the Niagara Perk Your Park Contest

Seaborne Creek Nature Park is one of 10 parks selected for the Niagara Perk Your Parks Contest. They are asking for your help to win; the three parks with the most votes at the end of the contest will win $𝟕𝟓,000. Seaborne is run as a partnership between the Texas Master Naturalists Coastal Prairie Chapter and the City of Rosenberg. The TMN chapter is in the midst of year 12 of its 20-year plan for this beautiful 160 acre nature park. The hope is to build a 6-acre Arboretum for everyone to enjoy. This space will feature crushed granite paths shaded by native trees and picnic tables for park visitors – the perfect combination to spend time outdoors and connect with nature at Seabourne Creek. Residents can vote for the new project once per day until the polls close September 12. Learn more and vote at niagaraperkyourpark.com.


Vote for The Woodlands’ George Mitchell Nature Preserve in the 2022 Niagara Perk Your Park Contest

The Woodlands Township has an opportunity to receive financial support in constructing a dual-purpose bird blind (a structure that allows for viewing birds without being noticed by the birds) through the Perk Your Park Contest by Niagara Water. Residents interested in helping with this effort are encouraged to vote daily online, as the three winning parks will receive $75,000 toward the upgrade. If awarded funding, the new structure will be located at the Creekside West Trailhead of George Mitchell Nature Preserve in The Woodlands. This blind has been selected as one of 10 projects in the 2022 Niagara Perk Your Park Contest from Niagara Bottling through its charitable program, Niagara Cares, and in partnership with National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) as an initiative that focuses on park and community space revitalization across the country. Residents can vote for the new project once per day until the polls close September 12. Learn more at thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov.


Monarchs, Migration, & Milkweed

On September 12, beginning at 6:45 p.m., the Clear Lake chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas will hold a virtual meeting featuring a presentation by Master Gardener and Master Naturalist Chris Anastas, who will provide an overview of the Monarch butterfly life cycle and migration, with a focus on recent scientific studies and milkweed native to the area. For more information and to register, visit npsot.org.



Sacred Nature: Restoring Our Ancient Bond with the Natural World

On September 12, beginning at 7:30 p.m., The Progressive Forum will present acclaimed religious historian Karen Armstrong, who will discuss her book, Sacred Nature: Restoring Our Ancient Bond with the Natural World. Drawing on her vast knowledge of the world’s religious traditions, Armstrong vividly describes nature’s central place in spirituality across the centuries. In bringing this age-old wisdom to life, Armstrong shows modern readers how to rediscover nature’s potency and form a connection to something greater than ourselves. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit progressiveforumhouston.org.


12th Annual Partnership for Gulf Land Conservation Conference

On September 13, the 12th Annual Partnership for Gulf Land Conservation Conference will be kick off at the Marriott in downtown New Orleans. The conference, with the theme “Building a Resilient Gulf”, combines the annual Land Trust Alliance Rally with the Gulf Partnerships annual Gulf-wide gathering designed for land trust leaders, natural resource managers, government officials, landowners, and funders, For more information and to register, visit gulfpartnership.org.


Power-Up: A Climate Reality Training on Advocacy in Action

From October 27-28, the Climate Reality Project and former Vice President Al Gore will host the first Power-Up: A Climate Reality Training on Advocacy in Action for climate activists across the US Gulf Coast in Houston. This free two-day training provides those ready to make a difference with the tools, knowledge, and networks to mobilize their communities and drive real action for climate justice solutions. The training gives attendees an opportunity to learn about the current state of the climate crisis in the Gulf South, to hear directly from organizations leading on the frontlines of a just and equitable transition, and to build local power to advance climate solutions. The training will also highlight the work of inspiring local leaders from regional civil rights and environmental justice groups who are mobilizing their communities to fight against polluting industries and racial injustice. Application are being accepted through September 12 at 11:59 PM (ET). For more information and to apply, visit climaterealityproject.org.


Our Future Is Science Mentorship Program applications due Sept. 15

High school students in grades 10-12 are invited to apply to be mentees in the Our Future Is Science Mentorship Program, which matches high school students with science graduate students in near-peer mentorship teams to develop leaders who will make a difference in the world through social justice, science, and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math) more broadly. Through an academic year-long journey of mentorship, scientific learning, and career exploration, we will develop leaders who will make a difference. The deadline to apply is September 15. Learn more about the program here and apply here.


Voting for Scenic City 2022 People’s Choice Award closes Sept. 16

Take a moment to support your favorite Scenic Certified City, whether you live in your favorite Texas Scenic City or felt at home while visiting another city. These Scenic Cities show their dedication to their communities and directly mobilize the mission of Scenic Texas through the Scenic City Certification Program. To cast your by September 16, visit scenictexas.org and scroll to find your favorite city. The 2022 Scenic City Award Ceremony will be held  at the Texas Municipal League Annual Conference and Exhibition in San Antonio from October 5– 7.


Finding the Money: Get Projects Prepped for Funding

On September 16, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. the Houston-Galveston Area Council will hold its hybrid Annual Livable Centers Land-Use / Transportation workshop. Attendees will learn innovative strategies that leverage existing resources and expand projects’ funding potential; hear from local area experts on how to evaluate projects using performance-based criteria for project planning, as well as real-life pilot projects and programs being implemented in the Houston-Galveston region; and expand their understanding of H-GAC resources including future grant opportunities the agency is actively tracking. Registration is required to attend online and requested to attend in person. Learn more and register at constantcontact.com.


Karen Stokes Dance: Mapping & Glaciers

From September 16-25, the MATCH is presenting Mapping & Glaciers, which reflects on the changing landscapes, both metaphorical and actual, of our times. With choreography/film/direction by Karen Stokes and original music by Samuel Lipman, the performance merges film, dance, and music to explore human concepts of territory and connection in a world of melting glaciers. Mapping & Glaciers explores human interaction and nature through the vast, contradictory, and beautiful identities of maps. The project examines manmade and natural boundaries that challenge humans through tribalism and constructs of power, and the shifting shape of our geological environment under the influence of climate change. While the work questions the often-devastating absurdity of human choices, it also speaks to the resiliency of human nature. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit matchouston.org.


Houston Botanic Garden Horticulture Seminar

On September 17, from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m., the Houston Botanic Garden will host its Houston Horticulture Seminar where in-house experts on the horticulture team will teach about soil, plants, trees, water, and more. In addition to lectures covering lessons learned around the Garden, new trends in horticulture, tropical plants, and planting for wildlife, participants will enjoy opportunities to socialize with presenters and other attendees over coffee, lunch, and a happy hour. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit hbg.org.


Wildscapes Workshop and Native Plant Sale 2022

On September 17, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m., the Houston chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas will hold its 2022 Wildscapes Workshop and Native Plant Sale at the Houston Community College-West Loop Center, 5601 West Loop South. The event will feature speakers from the Harris County Historical Commission, the Harris County Precinct 4 Biological Control Initiative, Texas Master Naturalists, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit eventbrite.com.


League City EcoFest & Arbor Day Celebration

On September 17, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., the City of League City will hold its EcoFest & Arbor Day Celebration at the League City Community Center, 400 S. Kansas. This family friendly event will feature classes & exhibits on sustainability with a focus on how easy it is to be more eco-friendly right here at home. There will also be professional chalk artist demonstrations, vendors, crafts, giveaways, a yard sale, and free trees and prizes for participating in GREEN bingo while supplies last. For more information, visit leaguecitytx.gov.


Bat Fest

On September 17, from 6:30-8:30 p.m., the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center will hold its inaugural Ba Fest. Bat expert Cullen Geiselman will discuss the important role of bats in our ecosystem as pest control, seed dispersers, and pollinators. Guests 21 and up will also be able to enjoy a tequila popsicle from KICPOPS. Participants will then go on a bat hike using special detectors to listen to bat sonar over the Arboretum. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit houstonarboretum.org.


2023 Texas Environmental Excellence Awards applications open until September 23 

Each year, the Governor’s Office and commissioners from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality honor the state’s most outstanding environmental projects through the Texas Environmental Excellence Awards. Winners from across the state exemplify how Texans set the standard for ensuring clean air, clean water, and the safe management of waste. The application period for the 2023 awards is now open. To see winners from 2013 to 2022, visit the Texas Environmental Excellence Awards webpage. Applications will be accepted through Friday, September 23.


Parks and Natural Areas Awards nominations open

The nomination period for the 2022 Parks and Natural Areas Awards,  honoring parks and natural areas demonstrating outstanding practices in the Houston-Galveston region. opens Thursday, September 1. You are invited to submit your eligible park or natural area project(s) for recognition in one of the following categories: Planning Process and Policy Tools; On-the-Ground Projects Over $500K; On-the-Ground Projects Under $500K; Programming. Applications are due by 3 p.m. Thursday, September 29.  For more information about the awards process, visit h-gac.com.


Clear Lake chapter of Native Plant Society of Texas offers students grants for attending Texas Coastal Prairie Conference

The Texas Coastal Prairie Conference: Preserving Lands and Legacies will be held in October at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. The conference will include a full day of workshops and presentations on Friday, October 28, followed by field trips to remnant and restored prairies as well as working ranches and farms on Saturday, October 29. The Clear Lake Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas is offering conference registration fee grants to currently enrolled graduate and undergraduate students to enhance their understanding of native prairies and connections with like-minded conservationists. To apply visit this form. The deadline for applications is September 30. Questions about this opportunity may be sent to clear-lake-chapter@npsot.org.


FALL BIRD MIGRATION

Lights Out, Texas!

Audubon Texas encourages all Texans to join us in participating in Lights Out Texas to protect migrating birds by turning off non-essential lights at night from 11 p.m. – 6 a.m. during the fall migration period through November 30. Where conflicts apply, prioritize lights out during the critical peak fall migration period ending October 29. Each night and each light turned out helps save migrating birds. As an added bonus, turning off non-essential lights also saves money and conserves energy for cities, local businesses, and homeowners. The Lights Out Texas initiative is supported by a coalition that includes conservation non-profits, local Audubon chapters, universities, museums, governmental organizations, businesses, and individual Texans dedicated to the conservation of birds. We Learn more about how you can help migrating birds along their migration journey by visiting tx.audubon.org.


Second Saturday Bird Survey

On September 10, from 8-10 a.m., the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center will host a  bird survey led by Arboretum staff members, Kelsey Low and Theo Ostler. They welcome all levels of bird watching skill and all ages (as long as you’re quiet) – but no dogs, please! If you have binoculars of your own, please bring them. They have a limited number of binoculars available to borrow. For more information, visit houstonarboretum.org.


14th Annual Hummingbird Festival

On September 10, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., the Kleb Woods Nature Preserve & Center in Tomball will host the 14th Annual Hummingbird Festival. Experience the thrill of as many as 100 ruby-throated hummingbirds at the peak of migration. Learn how to identify and attract these feathered jewels your garden. Enjoy games and activities for the whole family, including: Hummingbird Banding – Raptor Presentations with Houston Audubon – Nature & History Talks – Kids Activities – Nature Walks – Blacksmith Demonstrations. For more information, see the Facebook event.


Autumn Birding at Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge

On September 10, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., the Houston chapter of Sierra Club will visit Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge to bird and enjoy this wetland and coastal prairie wonderland. The over 44,000-acre BNWR is in southeastern Brazoria County. Attendees will look for ducks, geese, wading birds, songbirds, shorebirds, and other native wildlife. No experience is necessary. For more information and to register, visit Meetup.com.



Bird Migration Over Houston

On September 15, beginning at 7 p.m., the Houston chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas will hold a meeting at the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center featuring a presentation by Cin-Ty Lee, professor of geology in the Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences at Rice University and author of the upcoming Field Guide to North American Flycatchers. He will discuss his most recent interests, using bioacoustics to monitor the nocturnal migration of birds over Houston and the ecological health of tropical forests. For more information, visit npsot.org.


Houston Bird Week

Houston Bird Week, which runs September 17-24, is a celebration of the important role Houston plays in the journey of billions of migratory birds and the everyday lives of our resident birds. In addition to Houston’s vital location along the Gulf of Mexico, the growing popularity of planting native plants, restoring prairies, bird-friendly education programs, and Houston’s Lights Out for Birds program were among the many efforts and programs that gained Houston the Bird City designation in 2020. Houston Audubon and local conservation partners arrange a week of virtual and in-person events centered around our region’s birds and wildlife – from birding opportunities and watch parties to trivia, movie night, and more, there’s something for all Houstonians to enjoy. The week begins with a Kick-Off Party on September 17. See the full schedule of events at houstonaudublog.org.


Xtreme Hummingbird Xtravaganza

On September 17 and 24, from 8 a.m.-noon, the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory,  299 Hwy 332 West in Lake Jackson, will hold the Xtreme Hummingbird Xtravaganza. The takes place during the peak of Ruby-throated Hummingbird migration and will feature live hummingbird banding performed by experts. This is a great opportunity to see these incredible birds up close and in the hand. Learn all about their adaptations and get a great look at their beautiful plumage. There will be nature booths, activities for the kids, a hummingbird and butterfly plant sale. The nature gift shop will be open, and snacks and drink will be available for purchase. For more information, visit gcbo.org.


Purple Martin Migration Watch Party

On September 18 and 24, Houston Audubon is hosting Purple Martin Migration Watch Parties. Purple Martins migrate from South America beginning in late January to nest across North America. Before heading back south for the winter, Purple Martins gather in larger numbers and feed on flying insects to fuel up for their long journey. At dusk, groups of up to 500,000 come together to roost. Grab your friends and family, bring a lawn chair, and enjoy a unique experience. Learn more at houstonaudubon.org.

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Fall Collision Monitoring with Houston Audubon

Houston Audubon invites members of the public to join a community science project where you can make a difference by collecting data that will help determine how we can protect migrating birds from window strike deaths. Collision monitoring will take place in the early mornings. Monitors will work in teams of 2-3, patrolling a 2-mile predetermined route around 10 buildings in downtown. Monitoring will continue through October and monitors can take as many or as few shifts as they like. For more information and to register, visit houstonaudubon.org.


Smith Point Hawk Watch

One of the great spectacles in nature is a sky full of swirling raptors soaring their way to central and South America for winter. Smith Point on the eastern shore of Galveston Bay, a natural concentration point for southwardly moving raptors in fall migration. The Smith Point Hawk Watch, a project of the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory in partnership with Hawk Watch International and the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, is an annual census of the raptors migrating through Smith Point each fall. Through November 30, the Hawk Watch is held daily at the Candy Abshier Wildlife Management Area where GCBO has a 30-foot observation tower. The hawk watch is staffed daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. You are invited to come out any day during the season. Learn more at gcbo.org.


VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

TWRC Willdlife Center Wise Owl volunteers needed

TWRC Wildife Center is seeking Wise Owl volunteers work at the animal admissions desk. Wise Owl volunteers are responsible for admitting injured and orphaned wildlife brought in by rescuers and inputting them into our internal database. Wise Owl volunteers are the heart of TWRC, and are the first friendly face the public will encounter at the Center. The Center will provide the training and learning opportunities necessary to ensure your success in this volunteering position. Wise Owl volunteers have the opportunity to grow into the Wise Owl Hotline position to help callers who have found an injured or orphaned animal. The Wise Owl Hotline volunteer position requires a weekly commitment and would best suit someone that is friendly, has a passion for helping wildlife and is eager to learn. For more information, please visit  twrcwildlifecenter.org. Any questions can be directed to volunteer@twrcwildlifecenter.org.


Educational Event Volunteers – Houston Audubon Raptor Education Center

Houston Audubon is seeking volunteers to help at its Educational Event scheduled for September 10 at the Raptor Education Center. Volunteers will help with educational activities, games, and live bird demonstrations. This is a great opportunity to engage folks interested in Raptors and apply your education skills as a naturalist. For more info and to register, send an email to Gabriel Durham, volunteer coordinator, at gdurham@houstonaudubon.org.



Houston Hawks Volunteer Day

On September 10, from 8-11 a.m., Houston Audubon will hold a volunteer event to remove invasive species like arrow root and air potato from the Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary to maintain habitat for the sanctuary’s beneficial natives. All training will be given as part of the work day so there is no orientation required. For more information and to register, visit houstonaudubon.org.



Houston Arboretum Volunteer Open House

On September 10, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center will hold an Open House for prospective volunteers, ages 16 and up, to  learn how to become part of the team in promoting its dual mission of nature education and conservation. Whether you want to dig in some dirt, engage with visitors from around the world, or provide education for our youngest program. For more information, visit houstonarboretum.org.


Keep Texas Beautiful Fall Sweep

From September 11, the National Day of Service, through November 20, Keep Texas Beautiful is coordinating the Fall Sweep for Texans who want to clean and beautify their local communities.The KTB Fall Sweep supports the efforts of KTB Affiliates, nonprofits, volunteers, corporations, scout groups and other community groups to organize fall cleanups and beautification projects. Registered participants will have access to an online event toolkit and receive trash bags and other cleanup supplies. KTB Fall Sweep events can take place in any public area such as parks, schools, main street/downtown, watershed areas and roadways. To participate, you can find a clean up in your community by searching the events calendar, contact a KTB affiliate, or organize your own community clean up. More information about starting your own clean up (or finding one near you) is available at ktb.org.


Texas Adopt-A-Beach 2022 Coastwide Fall Cleanup

On September 17, the Texas General Land Office will host the Texas Adopt-A-Beach 2022 Coastwide Fall Cleanup at beaches all along the Texas Gulf Coast, including many in the greater Houston-Galveston region. Several hotels are offering discount rates for volunteers. For more information and to register, visit texasadoptabeach.org.


Volunteer Houston offers opportunities

Volunteer Houston, an initiative of Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston, connects individuals, groups, and companies with nonprofit agencies to transform the Greater Houston community for good through volunteerism. For opportunities to volunteer on environmental projects, visit VolunteerHouston and sort the opportunities by “environmental”.


CONTESTS


Take Care of Texas Video Contest

The Take Care of Texas Video Contest is a fun way for young people in grades 6–12 to learn about protecting the environment and come up with creative ways to share this knowledge with others! Students create a 30-second video that shows positive ways to Take Care of Texas. Contest sponsor Waste Management of Texas, Inc. will award prizes to the creators of the best videos. The contest starts September 12 and ends December 2. For full information and submission guidelines, visit takecareoftexas.org.


2022 Wild “InSight” Photo Contest

TWRC Wildlife Center is holding its 4th Wild “InSight” Photo Contest, which raises funds for the Wildlife Center operations and Animal Care Program. 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.


Houston Pubic Works Imagine a Day Without Water TikTok Contest

As part of the national education campaign “Imagine a Day Without Water”, Houston Public Works is hosting a TikTok contest all about water with a $1000 prize. Show your love for WATER! Sing a song, read a poem, play your instrument, create a dance, act out a skit, or show your best water conservation tip. The judges are looking for creative entries. Let the value of water inspire you! To enter the contest post a TikTok video inspired by water and hashtag #ValueWaterHouston. Submissions are being accepted through October 3. For full information and submission guidelines, visit givewaterabreak.org.


Reminders About Ongoing Opportunities

  • H-GAC seeks volunteers for Plogging, Plalking, and Pladdling Pilot Group, The Houston-Galveston Area Council is seeking volunteers to help pilot and provide feedback on newly created resources designed to engage residents and recreationists in the activities of plogging, plalking, pliking and pladdling. The project team is looking for local governments, Keep Texas Beautiful affiliates, and recreation groups willing to pilot all or specific portions of the resources and provide their feedback upon completion. The pilot period is open through September with feedback collected via a survey. If you are interested in participating, contact Crysta Guzman or Kendall Guidroz at any time during the pilot period.
  • An Immense World book discussion group for the Season of Creation. On Thursdays through October 6, Christ the King Evangelical Lutheran Church will mark the Season of Creation by hosting a virtual discussion group of the book An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms. In the book, science writer Ed Yong pulls together recent research on other animals’ ways of perceiving and making sense of the world. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.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.

  • New awareness is being brought to a centuries-old pathway, the Camino Real de los Tejas. Meet a man on a mission to highlight its history, and the places and cultures it connects, as we trace a National Historic Trail through Texas
  • Texas leads in the country in wind energy production, and with this new energy source there are new questions. What will wind farms do to the already fragmented habitat here in Texas? We look at the Panhandle wind farms and their effects on the threatened lesser prairie chicken
  • Visitors to the Davis Mountains of far West Texas are rewarded with boundless vistas in all directions

Additional Upcoming Events


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