Houston Environmental News Update April 14, 2021

Earth Day, Career Fairs, Professional Development for Teachers, Houston 2020 Visions: Green Corridors, Fireflies, Rain Barrel Workshop, Biodiversity Loss, Nature4Health Week, Green Jobs and more

Earth Day Houston, Sunday, April 18, 2021

Interested in celebrating Earth Day, electric vehicles, a farmers’ market, green films, and energy? Discovery Green is hosting Earth Day Houston presented by Green Mountain Energy in partnership with Citizens’ Environmental Coalition to educate, inspire and encourage action towards the protection of the environment. Join us on Sunday April 18 from noon – 5 p.m. to participate in the activities listed below:

  • Electric Cars. The Houston Electric Auto Association, Harris County Pollution Control, and Green Mountain Energy in partnership with Evolve Houston will be showcasing a variety of electric vehicles. Volunteers will be available to answer questions about switching to an EV and pairing it with solar energy for a clean ride.
  • Green Films. A series of short films about Houston’s environment–ranging from sea turtles will be on display at the Anheuser-Busch stage from noon to 3:00 p.m.
  • Food. Urban Harvest farmers’ market and Churrascos food truck will be on-site serving healthy snacks and meals.
  • Live Mural Painting. Throughout the day, Houston artists will be painting murals that celebrate the richness and diversity of our community, culture, and natural environment. Art will be on display at Discovery Green through October.
  • Exhibitors. Almost 20 exhibitors will be sharing information about parks, pollution, plants, plastics, and a plethora of other environmental topics.
  • The Nexus of Energy, Climate, and Equity in Houston: Kicking off at 4:00 p.m. with remarks from Mayor Sylvester Turner, a panel of experts and community leaders will examine the freeze in February 2021, how electricity production affects the environment, and what can be done to protect vulnerable populations. The discussion will be held in-person on the Anheuser-Busch stage and livestreamed through Youtube from 4 to 5 p.m. Livestream registration at www.discoverygreen.com/earthday.

Volunteer opportunities still available! Families and groups welcome. Sign up on volunteerhouston.org:


CEC NOTES

Virtually Wild! Field Trips

Need a virtual field trip about Houston’s environment for your students? Visit hereinhouston.org/virtual-field-trips for live and asynchronous options with the Virtually Wild program.

CEC, in partnership with the Girl Scouts of America, is offering Virtually Wild! programs specifically designed for Girl Scouts. Sign up early to engage your Scout in STEM.    

The City Nature Challenge is from April 30 – May 2. Be part of an international project, support outdoor learning and exploration, and integrate technology into the classroom. Check out the Educators Toolkit for tips and tricks to host a challenge with your students. Also, check out this video that explains the Houston challenge to students.   


Environmental Educators Exchange

Region 4 Education Service Center and our environmental educators are teaming up to create videos about Houston STEM resources for our teachers. If you want to submit a video, contact alicia@cechouston.org for more details. 


Professional Development Opportunities for Teachers

Engage your students with lessons outdoors. STEM Applications, Project Based Learning, Wildlife Climate Resiliency, Local Data Analysis, Watersheds, and more. Workshops begin on April 8, and over 30 workshops are in the regional summer professional development calendar to connect you with local resources. Sign up today at hereinhouston.org

Celebrate Earth Month by shopping at H-E-B and supporting local environmental charities

Add your $1, $3, $5, or $10 donation to EarthShare of Texas at checkout in stores and online at H-E-B & Central Market. EarthShare of Texas supports 38 Texas-based environmental and conservation nonprofits, including the Citizens’ Environmental Coalition. April 14-May 25, 2021.
#MyEarthMyTexas #EarthMonth #EarthWeek #EarthDay #ShopLocal #HelpingHere #Texas

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


OPPORTUNITIES FOR PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT

Public Comment Period for the Draft 2022 State Water Plan open through May 26

The Texas Water Development Board will receive public comments on the Draft 2022 State Water Plan until 5 p.m. on May 26, 2021. The TWDB will publish notice in the Texas Register on April 23, 2021, of the Board’s intent to adopt the 2022 State Water Plan later this summer. The Board will receive public comment on the Draft 2022 State Water Plan at a hearing to be held on May 24, 2021, at 1 p.m. The hearing will be held in Austin at the Stephen F. Austin Building, 1700 North Congress Avenue, Room 170, and via GoToWebinar. The draft plan and additional information about the hearing are posted on the TWDB website.


COALITION & COMMUNITY NOTES

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).

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Houston Environmental News Update April 7, 2021

Virus Vigil, Earth Day, Professional Development for Teachers, Houston 2020 Visions: Green Corridors, Fireflies, Rain Barrel Workshop, Biodiversity Loss, Nature4Health Week, Green Jobs and more

Last year, our first newsletter in April featured a collaboration, inspired by a summer tanager, by poet (and environmental attorney, activist, and professor) Jim Blackburn and artist Isabell Scurry Chapman. They recently completed a year-long endeavor.

“I recently was involved in a 365-day writing and communication adventure I called the ‘virus vigil. For over a year,” Blackburn writes, in an article in the Houston Chronicle, “artist Isabelle Scurry Chapman and I were in daily communication with over 700 people via email. Each day, Isabelle prepared a painting, and I wrote a poem inspired by the painting with a rambling introduction about whatever was on my mind….” The poems often examined the spirit and essence of life and the Earth. “Search for your spirit in nature and capture it deep within your soul. You will be rewarded.”

Jim and Isabelle have been collaborating for many years, and plan to continue to do so, albeit not on a daily basis for a year during a pandemic. You can read more about their work at https://www.jimblackburninfo.com/virus-vigil.html. The banner image above is a collage of just a few of the many paintings created by Isabelle Scurry Chapman as part of the virus vigil.

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


CEC NOTES

Earth Day Houston, Sunday, April 18, 2021

Earth Day Houston at Discovery Green, presented by Green Mountain Energy in partnership with the Citizens’ Environmental Coalition is designed to educate, inspire and encourage action. The event features exhibitions, a panel discussion and live mural painting. Exhibitors will be spaced out to allow for social distancing and masks are required. Online viewing options of the panel discussion will be provided. 

Volunteer opportunities available! Families and groups welcome. Sign up on volunteerhouston.org:


Virtually Wild! Field Trips

Need a virtual field trip about Houston’s environment for your students? Visit hereinhouston.org/virtual-field-trips for live and asynchronous options with the Virtually Wild program.

CEC, through an Open OutDoors for Kids grant from the National Park Foundation and in partnership with USFWS Houston Community Partnerships & Engagement Program and the Girl Scouts of America, is offering Virtually Wild! programs specifically designed for Girl Scouts (Brownie/ Junior/ Cadette/ Senior/ Ambassador).

The next presentation will be on April 8, 2021: City Nature Challenge (C/S/A). The City Nature Challenge from April 30 – May 2. Be part of an international project, support outdoor learning and exploration, and integrate technology into the classroom. See the Educator Toolkit and a student-friendly explanation video here: Check out the Educators Toolkit for tips and tricks to host a challenge with your students, either on campus or from home: citynaturechallenge.org. Also, check out this video that explains the Houston challenge to students. 


Environmental Educators Exchange

Join the Environmental Educators Exchange from 9- 9:30 a.m. on April 9 for a discussion with Julia Shank from the San Jacinto Council of the Girl Scouts. Email alicia@cechouston.org for the virtual Zoom meeting link.

Region 4 Education Service Center and our environmental educators are teaming up to create videos about Houston STEM resources for our teachers. If you want to submit a video, contact alicia@cechouston.org for more details. 


Professional Development Opportunities for Teachers

Engage your students with lessons outdoors. STEM Applications, Project Based Learning, Wildlife Climate Resiliency, Local Data Analysis, Watersheds, and more. Workshops begin on April 8, and over 30 workshops are in the regional summer professional development calendar to connect you with local resources. Sign up today at hereinhouston.org

Celebrate Earth Month by shopping at H-E-B and supporting local environmental charities

Add your $1, $3, $5, or $10 donation to EarthShare of Texas at checkout in stores and online at H-E-B & Central Market. EarthShare of Texas supports 38 Texas-based environmental and conservation nonprofits, including the Citizens’ Environmental Coalition. April 14-May 25, 2021.
#MyEarthMyTexas #EarthMonth #EarthWeek #EarthDay #ShopLocal #HelpingHere #Texas


OPPORTUNITIES FOR PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT

Texas Water Development Board meeting on April 8

On April 8, 2021, beginning at 9:30 a.m. the Texas Water Development Board will hold a board meeting open to all stakeholders and the public. The Board will meet to consider approving publication of the Draft 2022 State Water Plan for public comment and posting notice of public hearing, public comment period, and intent to adopt the 2022 State Water Plan. Additionally, the Board will consider approving the 2021 State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) prioritization list and financial assistance for wastewater system and Flood Infrastructure Fund projects. The meeting agenda, including information on how to connect, may be viewed at twdb.texas.gov.


H-GAC to Host Virtual Public Meetings on April 8 to Discuss Regional Transportation Plan and Conformity Updates

The Houston-Galveston Area Council will hold two virtual public meetings on Thursday, April 8, 2021 to discuss proposed amendments to the 2045 Regional Transportation Plan. Additionally, H-GAC will provide updates on its process to maintain conformity with state and federal air quality goals. Meetings will be offered from 2-3 p.m. and from 6-7 p.m. Both meetings will be held online via Zoom with dial in by phone options. The public comment period for these topics opens on March 26 and will close on April 28. For more information about the meetings and submitting public comments, visit 2045rtp.com/virtual-meeting.aspx.


COALITION & COMMUNITY NOTES

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).

Continue reading

Houston Environmental News Update March 24, 2021

A male Attwater’s Prairie Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido attwateri) booms early in the morning at Attwater’s Prairie Chicken NWR near Eagle Lake, TX.

#dancinglikeanattwaters, Booming on the Prairie, Trash Bash, Green Building Bike Ride, Earth Hour 2021, Green Jobs, and more

More than a century ago, up to one million Attwater’s prairie-chickens graced the coastal prairies of Texas and Louisiana. Each spring, males gathered to perform an elaborate courtship ritual. They inflated their yellow air sacs and emitted a strange, booming sound across a sea of grasses. Today, less than one percent of coastal prairies remain and the Attwater’s prairie-chicken has been pushed to the edge of extinction. In April 2020, the Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge had 142 Prairie Chickens, the highest spring count since mid-1990s.

Unfortunately, due to COVID precautions, the annual Attwater Prairie Chicken Festival was cancelled. While the refuge is not hosting an in-person festival this year, you are invited to participate virtually. The 2021 festival has been moved to THIS weekend, rather than later in the summer, because, apparently, the chickens don’t want to wait to put on their show.

From March 26-27, 2021, from 7-8 a.m., Houston Community Partnerships and Engagement, Friends of Attwater Prairie Chicken Refuge and Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge will co-host a virtual visit to a Texas prairie. Enjoy watching the Attwater’s prairie chickens during this exciting time of year when the birds are booming and displaying. For more information, see the Facebook event.

The management program for the endangered APCs includes captive breeding, partnerships with The Nature Conservancy and private land owners, fire ant management, and habitat management–including prescribed burns.

Last week, we shared information about the prescribed burn that was being planned to manage habitat at Houston Arboretum. Conditions are favorable for the burn to happen Thursday, March 25, 2021.

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


CEC NOTES

Earth Day Houston, Sunday, April 18, 2021

Earth Day Houston at Discovery Green, presented by Green Mountain Energy in partnership with the Citizens’ Environmental Coalition is designed to educate, inspire and encourage action. The event features exhibitions, a panel discussion and live mural painting. Exhibitors will be spaced out to allow for social distancing and masks are required. Online viewing options of the panel discussion will be provided. More details to come soon.

Note: Interested in exhibiting at a scaled-back, socially distanced Earth Day event? Have a virtual or outdoor event that should be promoted as part of Earth Month Houston? Contact becky@cechouston.org.


Environmental Educators Exchange

Join the Environmental Educators Exchange from 9:00 – 9:30 a.m. on March 26 for a look at native plants in Texas and the benefits of wildlife gardens with Della Barbato. On April 9 we will be joined by Julia Shank with the San Jacinto Council of the Girl Scouts. Email alicia@cechouston.org for the virtual Zoom meeting link. Order your “EEvengers Unite” shirt from Custom Ink with this link, thanks to Jaime Gonzalez: customink.com

Region 4 Education Service Center and our environmental educators are teaming up to create videos and field trips about Houston STEM resources for our teachers. If you want to submit a video or host a field trip, contact alicia@cechouston.org for more details about the project. The regional teacher workshop calendar is taking shape, too. Be sure your workshop is included by checking our master calendar at: hereinhouston.org

City Nature Challenge is April 30 – May 2. Check out the Educators Toolkit for tips and tricks to host a challenge with your students, either on campus or from home: citynaturechallenge.org. Also, check out this video that explains the Houston challenge to students: facebook.com


Fire & Flood: Queer Resilience in the Era of Climate Change film and panel discussion

On April 1, 2021, at 7:00 pm, join Rice University’s Fondren Library’s Green Team for a virtual panel discussion about the documentary Fire & Flood: Queer Resilience in the Era of Climate Change. The panel will feature Vanessa Raditz, director of the documentary; Kennedy Loftin, chief development officer at the Montrose Center; and Rice anthropology graduate student Kristin Gupta. Fondren Library will provide people who sign up for the panel access information to watch the film in advance.

Fire & Flood examines two climate-related disasters from 2017—Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the fires in Santa Rosa, California—through the viewpoint of LGBTQ individuals that experienced them first-hand. The documentary focuses on the perilous situations that many LGBTQ communities face relating to climate change and also provides hope for resilience for these communities (see the trailer).

Co-sponsors include Rice’s Center for Environmental Studies; Rice’s Administrative Center for Sustainability and Energy Management; Rice University Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality; Rice Environmental Society; and CEC Houston.


Virtually Wild! Field Trips

Need a virtual field trip about Houston’s environment for your students? Visit hereinhouston.org/virtual-field-trips for live and asynchronous options with the Virtually Wild program.

CEC, through an Open OutDoors for Kids grant from the National Park Foundation and in partnership with USFWS Houston Community Partnerships & Engagement Program and the Girl Scouts of America, is offering Virtually Wild! programs specifically designed for Girl Scouts. Upcoming presentations include:


Opportunities for Public Engagement

TWDB to hold Board meeting on March 25

The Texas Water Development Board will hold a board meeting on March 25, 2021, beginning at 9:30 a.m. The Board will consider approving financial assistance for wastewater system and Flood Infrastructure Fund projects. TWDB Board members and staff will be available to answer questions and accept public comment. If you wish to address the Board, please fill out the visitor registration form and send it to Cheryl.Arredondo@twdb.texas.gov no later than 8 a.m. on March 25. For more information, including the meeting agenda and how to connect, visit twdb.texas.gov.

H-GAC to Host Virtual Public Meetings on April 8 to Discuss Regional Transportation Plan and Conformity Updates

The Houston-Galveston Area Council will hold two virtual public meetings on Thursday, April 8, 2021 to discuss proposed amendments to the 2045 Regional Transportation Plan. Additionally, H-GAC will provide updates on its process to maintain conformity with state and federal air quality goals. There will be an afternoon meeting from 2-3 p.m. and an evening meeting from 6-7 p.m. H-GAC experts will present the main topics, after which attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and make public comments. Both meetings will be held online via Zoom with dial in by phone options. The public comment period for these topics opens on March 26 and will close on April 28. For more information about the meetings and submitting public comments, visit 2045rtp.com/virtual-meeting.aspx.

COALITION & COMMUNITY NOTES

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).

Continue reading