Texas Heat, Summer of Action listening sessions, The Buzz About Bees, Pollinator Walk, BioBlitz, Pollinator Workshop, Green Jobs, and more
As you no doubt know, Tuesday marked the first day of summer! Of course, as we Southeast Texans and much of the country can attest, the extended heat wave we’ve been experiencing would seem to indicate summer has been here for some time.
In Texas, the heat isn’t just affecting those of us who live in largely air-conditioned cites and suburbs. As Houston Public Media reports, “About 80% of Texas is currently experiencing some level of drought conditions, ranging from ‘moderate’ to ‘exceptional’. The drought, which caused wildfires across the state earlier this year and prompted burn bans, is now negatively affecting farmers and ranchers. A lack of rain during the spring resulted in lower crop production and decreased soil moisture levels, with no relief in sight.”
Houston Public Media also reminds us that “Texas is facing an intense wildfire season, with already over 200,000 acres burned so far.”
“Of course, wildfires can have devastating consequences for people, agriculture and the environment. But they also bring some positive ecological effects,” the story continues.
Wildfires can destroy agricultural crops, grazing fields, and structures, and also can lead to flash floods and soil erosion.
“But while uncontrolled wildfires have destructive consequences, [Karl] Flocke [of the Texas A&M Forest Service[ says fire itself isn’t a bad thing for the plains landscape that covers much of Texas, ‘This is a fire adapted ecosystem. It’s just the nature of the vegetation we have out there. It will burn, and it is good, to a degree, for the ecosystem.'”
But the heat is very often not good for people. When venturing outdoors, please be aware of how your body is responding, drink plenty of water, wear a hat, and go inside if you begin to feel overwhelmed. There are plenty of designated cooling areas around the Houston area, which you can find via this KHOU story.
And speaking of summer, here’s a reminder that CEC, EDF, and the Houston Climate Move are partnering in a Summer of Action. Find details in CEC Notes below.
Top image: U.S. Drought Monitor
Summer of Action 2022
This summer, CEC received a grant from the EDF (Environmental Defense Fund) to host a Summer of Action in partnership with the Houston Climate Movement. The purpose of this Summer of Action is twofold: to educate the community and electeds and to advocate for solutions that work for all of us. Through a series of events, we plan to facilitate community healing, provide opportunities for climate education and advocacy, and support frontline leaders in building more resilient communities. The Summer of Action begins in June with two Community Listening Sessions, community members will have the opportunity to voice their concerns, process their climate grief, and connect with one another. The first one will be held on June 26. We hope that you will join us! You can register to attend and find more details at eventbrite.com.
If you are unable to attend the in-person session, a second, virtual listening session will be held via Zoom on Tuesday, June 28 from 6-8pm. Register at eventbrite.com. Learn more about the Summer of Action at cechouston.org.
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.
- June 22-23: Urban Harvest’s 2022 Edible Academy
- June 22-23: Teacher Conservation Institute: Green Jobs, Exploring Forest Careers
- June 27-29: Exploring Sustainability through Student-Driven Projects
- July 13: Building Bridges Through Inclusive Storytelling
- July 13-14: ForesTREE Experience – Teacher Professional Development Program
- July 19-21, 26-28: Engaging Students in Civic Science and Action
- July 27-30: Nature-Based Early Learning Conference
- August 5: Watershed Leaders Educator Professional Development
- Nov. 10-12: CAST22 (Dallas)
- Dec. 7-9: Texas Children in Nature Summit (Austin)
Please scroll down to read about public engagement opportunities and notes from our member organizations and the community.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT
EPA Meeting – San Jacinto River Waste Pits
On June 23, from 6:30-8 p.m., the EPA will be host an in-person meeting at the Flukinger Community Center, 16003 Lorenzo St., Channelview to provide updates on the status of the Waste Pits Superfund Site. The meeting can also be accessed via phone. For more information, including the phone number, visit txhea.org.
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, will meet Thursday, June 23, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The meeting will take place via Zoom and you can attend by registering at eventbrite.com. Additionally, the CFRTF 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.