Includes architecture, development, and urban issues.
Houston History Archives (UH-HHA)
Purpose: Founded 2005 as part of the Houston History Project (now the Welcome Wilson Houston History Collaborative), UH Center for Public History, UH-HHA is a public repository for books, documents, oral histories, and images related to the Houston region’s growth and development from 19th century to present. Particular areas of collection interest include energy development, environmental history and activism, and documentation of Houston’s ethnic diversity and activism. (see websites:
Environmental Collections Open to the Public: The Outdoor Nature Club, Citizens’ Environmental Coalition, Bayou Preservation Association, Scenic Houston, The Park People, the papers of Sarah and Army Emmott, Terry Tarlton Hershey’s papers (a partial accession). Kay B. Crooker Papers, Hana Ginzbarg Papers, Collections still in processing include Terry Tarlton Hershey’s Papers, papers of Dr. David Marrack, Brandt Mannchen, and the Keep Houston Beautiful records.
Consider donating your collections of environmental, city planning, or development history to UH-HHA where records and papers will be preserved, studied, and available to the public. Let your organization’s accomplishments become part of Houston’ history!
Speakers: Presentations on Houston’s environmental past
Mr. Christian Kelleher
Head of Special Collections
City of Houston Green Building Resource Center
Houston Community ToolBank
Purpose: The Houston Community ToolBank is a nonprofit tool lending program that stewards an inventory of tools for lending to charitable organizations to increase the impact of their mission-related efforts in the community. With year-round access to an inventory of tools for use in volunteer projects and facility and grounds maintenance, the ToolBank provide resources to enhance the charitable sector’s capacity to serve, facilitating hands-on volunteerism in the greater Houston area. Access to ToolBank tools eliminates the need for agencies to incur the expense of purchasing, repairing, and storing tools, reducing the costs associated with service projects and allowing these agencies to focus more of their resources on their mission.
Programs: Tools are deployed in many different capacities to organizations with mission critical areas such as community and school gardens, home repair, green space clean-up, tree planting, playground builds, and much more. The ToolBank offers knowledgeable staff to help member organizations plan a productive and positive project experience.
Membership is free and open to all nonprofit/charitable/tax exempt organizations. Members pay a handling fee equal to 3% of the retail value of the tool per week for up to 8 weeks. To become a member, apply online at http://www.houstontoolbank.org/borrow-tools.
Visit http://www.houstontoolbank.org to learn more about the Houston Community ToolBank and its upcoming events.
Erika Hornsey, Executive Director
Nancy Clippard, Facility & Program Manager
Living Paradigm Community Dev. Corp
Purpose: The mission of Living Paradigm is to empower people by creating home ownership of shelters erected from reclaimed materials. These dwellings will be environmentally responsible and healthy places for those that inhabit them and will contribute to the culture, vitality, and individuality of the community.
Living Paradigm addresses the social, economic and environmental basis of sustainable living by building low-cost homes (under $50k), with volunteer or apprenticeship labor, using materials that would otherwise go to the landfill.
Programs: Living Paradigm has begun a homesteading program for affordable, reclaimed materials housing. We also have a “Resource Rescue Co-op,” which is a team of volunteers that help obtain the materials needed to build the homes.
Major Events: Major events include tours of reclaimed materials homes, construction volunteer educational workshops, and deconstruction events.
Volunteer Opportunities: Construction, deconstruction, resource rescue co-op, grant writing, general administrative.
Speakers Bureau: Speakers available to discuss a variety of topics. Please call or visit our website for further details.
Publications: ReNews, a free e-mail newsletter service. To sign up to receive this newsletter, please go to http://www.livingparadigm.org.
T. Leon Preston II, Board President
April Ward, Executive Director
Kate Cairoli, Director of Landscape Architecture & Resiliency
Environment Texas Research & Policy Center
Purpose: Protection of Texas’ air, water and open spaces. Improving the quality of our environment and our lives by using independent research and tough-minded advocacy to win concrete results for our environment.
Program Priorities: Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency, Green Building, Open Space Preservation, Clean Air and Water, Global Warming. Environmental Policy Development, Legislative Advocacy, Public Education, Media Outreach, Grassroots Organizing, Clean Air Act Enforcement.
Publications: Newsletter, Annual Report, Weekly Email Updates, Bi-weekly audio Podcast on iTunes, Policy Reports: http://www.environmenttexas.org/reports, Legislative Scorecard: http://www.environmenttexas.org/legislature/legislative-scorecard, Blog: http://www.environmenttexas.org/blog
Houston Events: Environmental Leadership Conference and Activist Training, Student Internship Program.
Volunteer and Internship Opportunities: Contact (512) 610-0084
Luke Metzger, Director
John Rumpler, Senior Environmental Attorney
City of Houston Office of Sustainability
Purpose: The City of Houston’s sustainability office encourages green development and lifestyles across the city by carrying out green projects, educating on pressing environmental issues, and promoting sustainable products and services.
Discovery Green Conservancy
Barry Mandel, President and Park Director
Maria Aguirre, Executive Assistant
Purpose: To provide an uncommonly beautiful, urban green space in the heart of Houston that serves as a village green for our city, a source of health and happiness for our citizens, and a window into the incredible diversity of talents and traditions that enrich life in Houston.
Programs: Managed by the Conservancy, this incredible Houston destination produces over 600 free events each year for 1.2 million visitors, and it receives no direct city funding.
Major Events: Sundays in the Park with games, yoga, zumba, live entertainment; ice skating rink in the winter; Houston’s first outdoor roller skating rink; outdoor movies, flea markets, exhibitions; recycling on Saturdays; Scream on the Green halloween costume contest; dynamic speakers at Discovery Discussions to name just a few.
Publications: Sign up online for the email newsletter.
Volunteer Opportunities: There are many varied events which use volunteers during the week and on the weekends. Please visit the website and sign up online.
U.S. Green Building Council – Texas Gulf Coast Region
Purpose: The chapter will accelerate the implementation of the best sustainable building practices for our region through collaboration, education and advocacy. Founded in 2003, the USGBC-Texas Gulf Coast Chapter is uniquely positioned to leverage green building industry knowledge with community needs related to the built environment. The chapter connects the built environment to community life indicators and offers the LEED Rating System as a measurement tool to vet whether or not a building is operating at high performance.
Programs: USGBC offers educational programs to the building industry and public at large, in order to grow both local expertise and the green building market. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria.
Major Events: Texas Energy Summit
Volunteer Opportunities: Representing almost 1000 individuals, more than 2000 LEED APs, and more than 200 companies, the Texas Gulf Coast Region is based in Houston with a branch in Montgomery County (Piney Woods). The region has many volunteer opportunities – visit the website for details.http://www.usgbctexasgulfcoast.org
David MacLean, Chair
(713) 857- 6499
Maria Perez, Vice President
Caroline Kostak, Secretary
Houston Parks Board
Purpose: The Houston Parks Board creates, improves, protects and advocates for parks for everyone. HPB is driven by the vision of thriving parks and communities for everyone forever.Programs: Parkland and greenspace acquisition; park capital improvement projects; collaboration with other green groups; Neighborhood Partnership Program; 50/50 Park Partners Challenge; Volunteer Program.…More Details
Purpose: The Houston Parks Board creates, improves, protects and advocates for parks for everyone. HPB is driven by the vision of thriving parks and communities for everyone forever.
Programs: Parkland and greenspace acquisition; park capital improvement projects; collaboration with other green groups; Neighborhood Partnership Program; 50/50 Park Partners Challenge; Volunteer Program.
Bayou Greenways 2020: HPB, in partnership with the City of Houston and Houston Parks and Recreation Department, and in coordination with Harris County Flood Control District, is currently leading the transformational $220 million project to complete a 150-mile network of connected parks and trails along Houston’s major waterways.
Beyond the Bayous: Beyond the Bayous is the shared vision of HPB and its cross-sector partners for expanding Greater Houston’s public realm to improve greenspace equity and connectivity between parks, homes and jobs; increase public access to parks; and enhance the environmental health of communities.
Speakers Bureau: Contact Executive Director. https://houstonparksboard.org/get-involved/request-a-speaker
Publications: All annual reports are published on HPB’s website. To view the reports as well as videos about HPB’s impact, click here.
Beth White, President and CEO email@example.com
Lisa Kasianowitz, Outreach Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
General Email Address: email@example.com
Houston Parks and Recreation Department
Purpose: To enhance the quality of urban life by providing safe, well-maintained parks and offering affordable programs for the community.
Jan – Arbor Day; Youth Tennis classes begin
Feb – Salt Grass Trail Ride; Adult sports leagues begin
Mar – Tour de Houston, Metal & Muscle Expo; Lake Houston Wilderness
Apr – Houston Children’s Festival, Japan Festival, Houston International Festival
May – Challenge Day, Summer Pool Opening
June – Summer Food Program begins, Golf Tourn; Hershey Track & Field Meet
Jul – Freedom Over Texas; Houston Pops July 4th Celebration
Oct – Asian-American Festival; Wildflower seed planting
Nov – Via Colori
Dec – Heritage Society Candlelight Tour, Holiday Tree Lighting
Year round – Lake Houston Park Nature Center events
School year – After School Enrichment Program
Volunteer Opportunities: Oneika McCarthy
(832) 395-7030 firstname.lastname@example.org
Publications: Activities Catalog – Winter/Spring Issue Dec 1, Summer Issue
Apr 1, and Fall Issue Aug 1.
Member: Commission for Accreditation of Park & Recreation Agencies.
Center for Houston’s Future
Purpose: Center for Houston’s Future (CHF) works to address matters of highest importance to the long-term future of the greater Houston region, by engaging diverse leaders, providing impactful research, and defining actionable strategies. The Center for Houston’s Future furthers the Houston region as a top global community in which to work and live. The Center brings business and community together to innovate leadership, inform the public about critical indicators and the groundwork to be carried out to create and maintain a competitive and sustainable future.
Programs: Center for Houston’s Future works to inform and engage citizens in the creation of Houston’s future, assisting the region in the development of a culture and practice of long-range regional planning, opportunity/issue identification, broad diverse community input, consensus building, and problem solving. Through Summer Salons, Community University Programming, Summits, and Roundtable Discussions, Center for Houston’s Future brings business and community together to innovate for lasting regional impact. Business/Civic Leadership Forums are conducted twice yearly to build passionate civic leaders as diverse as the region itself, leveraging participants’ business and leadership skills to drive lasting change.
Volunteer Opportunities: Volunteers help organize and run the Center’s Annual Indicator Symposium at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Volunteers, who are subject matter experts, participate in ‘data groups’ that oversee the development of the Center’s Indicator Reports.
Publications: Counting on Quality of Life: An Environment Indicator Report (2007), Counting on Quality of Place: Air Quality, Parks & Trails, and Trees (2009), Counting on Quality of Place: Water Quality, Water Supply, and Green Buildings (2010), Human Capital: Early Childhood Development, K-12 and Workforce Preparedness (2012), published yearly with updated indicators. Past studies and reports include air quality, billboards, green buildings, litter and graffiti, parks & trails, abandoned lots, trees, water quality, water supply, human capital development and resource use.
Brett Perlman, President and CEO
Russell Richard, Vice President, Leadership and Engagement
Laura Goldberg, Vice President, Strategic Initiatives and Communications
Purpose: To promote the evolution and implementation of Plan Houston as the basis for planning the City’s future. Blueprint Houston serves as a resource and catalyst for better long-term planning for Houston’s future growth and development.
Blueprint Houston was founded in 2003 to build community support for a coordinated planning process to make improvements to Houston’s quality of life. Blueprint Houston seeks to initiate a coordinated planning process that leads to a general plan for the city’s future, based on citizens’ vision, values, and goals.
Programs: Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Program; Municipal Management District Study; Urban Geography curriculum.
Volunteer Opportunities: Civic Awareness Engagement Committee.
Rogene Calvert (Board Chair)
Buffalo Bayou Partnership
Purpose:Buffalo Bayou Partnership is the Houston non-profit organization revitalizing and transforming Buffalo Bayou, our city’s most significant natural resource. Coordinating the integration of major improvements into the Bayou greenway, the Partnership seeks increased community involvement through pedestrian, boating and biking amenities, art installations, and other natural and built attractions.
Major Events: Buffalo Bayou Regatta, kayak tours, history hikes, walk tours, bat tours, Second Saturday Boat cruises, Twilight tours, Seasonal Cruises, Nights on Blue Bayou events along the Sabine Promenade.
Children’s Activities: Kids’ Day on Buffalo Bayou, Second Saturday Boat Cruises, bat tours and kayak tours. Speakers are available to give presentations to your school classroom or group. Contact Trudi Smith for booking.
Volunteer Opportunities: Monthly Volunteer Day,Tree planting, cleanups, Adopt-A-Spot, help with events, office work.
Anne Olson, President
Trudi Smith, Director of Public Relations and Events
Texas Community Watershed Partners
- Can Houston Feed Itself? …
Purpose: To provide education and outreach to local governments and citizens on the impacts of land use on watershed health and water quality.
Major Events: Workshops, Seminars, Conferences, Courses, and Classes.
Volunteer Opportunities: Restoration Projects, Conservation Projects, Landscape Installation Projects, and Wetland Workdays.
- Can Houston Feed Itself?
- Stormwater Wetlands
- Is Denser Greener?
- The Resilient Coast
- Urban Parks
- Choices for Growth
- Texas Coastal Wetland Guidebook
- 5 Tips for Organic Lawn Care
- WaterSmart Landscaping
- Living Shorelines
Charriss York, Stormwater Program Specialist
Steve Mikulencak, Planning Programs Leader
Valeria Keese, Program Coordinator, Resilience and Sustainability Planner
Formerly known as “Texas Coastal Watershed Program”
Purpose: Houston Tomorrow is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for all the people of the Houston region through research, education, and discussion. Its vision is that on its 200th birthday, the Houston region will be home to the healthiest, happiest, most prosperous people in the United States. Founded in 1998.
Meetings: Livable Houston Initiative: noon on the fourth Wed. each month. Houston Food Policy Work Group: 11:30 a.m. on the 2nd Wed of each month. Distinguished Speaker Series, quarterly.
Programs: Research on growth, development and innovations in the US and the world. Outreach: Public events, discussions, and working with public and private partners. Communication: Produce accessible, useful information.
Speaker’s Bureau: Contact office.
Publications: Free Biannual magazine, Tomorrow. Weekly E-mail newsletter.
David Crossley, Interim Chair
Alex Mossler, Deputy Director
Caitlin McNeely, Programs Director
Houston Land/Water Sustainability Forum
Purpose: To enhance, enable, and integrate sustainable use of land and water for the Houston area’s continued growth and economic vitality.
Maintaining the pace of growth and development in the greater Houston area requires that those with a vested interest adopt new ideas and employ new methods that will insure that growth can be sustained. The forum seeks to engage the broadest possible range of constituent groups, in a collaborative effort that focuses on practical application rather than abstract theory in the exploration of incremental answers to some of the Houston area’s most significant land/water sustainability issues.
Major Projects: Host events such as the Low Impact Design Competition and facilitate events such as the International Low Impact Development Conference and the EPA Region 6 MS4 Stormwater Conference.
Meetings: Monthly meetings of the Forum are held at a rotating roster of conference facilities offered by supportive agencies and organizations located throughout the area. These educational sessions present speakers who have expertise or experience to share on land/water sustainability issues, and many of the speakers come from the constituencies that make up the Forum. In-depth multi-day events, with speakers and workshop leaders from across the country are also a part of the annual slate of programming.
Robert Adair, Steering Committee Chair
Citizens’ Transportation Coalition
Purpose: Founded in 2004, the CTC is an all-volunteer grassroots transportation advocacy organization. The Citizens’ Transportation Coalition advocates for a broad-based public educational and planning process to identify neighborhood aspirations, influences projects to achieve the best transportation options, and engages our communities in designing a complete multimodal transportation system that serves us all.
Carol Caul, Advocacy Chair
Ed Browne, Science and Technology Chair
American Institute of Architects, Houston
Purpose: To promote the aesthetic, scientific, and practical efficiency of the architecture profession; to advance the science and art of planning and building; to coordinate the building industry and the profession of architecture; to ensure the advancement of the living standard of people and to make the profession one of ever-increasing service to society. AIA Houston is the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
Programs: Continuing education and exhibitions
Major Events: Home Tour, Design Awards, January; Celebrate Architecture Gala, Gulf Coast Green, Sandcastle Competition.
Publications: Weekly e-newsletter, annual membership directory.
Rusty Bienvenue, Executive Director
Aleks Savitski, Director of Development & Member Services
Purpose: Scenic Houston works to eliminate visual blight because all Houstonians are entitled to a green, uncluttered, visually appealing city. Scenic Houston promotes sign control, billboard reduction, freeway landscaping, scenic byway development, and enhanced design standards for public projects. Our success improves the quality of life for all Houstonians.
Major Events: Scenic Visionary Awards Dinner, October.
Volunteer Opportunities: Young Friends Initiatives, Scenic Action network, assisting with special events, outreach. Contact the office for more information.
Publications: Scenic Views e-newsletter, legislative alerts as needed, brochures, articles, blog.
Heather Houston, 713-629-0481
Rice Design Alliance
Purpose: Dedicated to the advancement of architecture, urban design, and the built environment in the Houston region through educational programs, the publication of Cite, and active programs to initiate physical improvements. By sponsoring lectures, seminars, symposia, exhibits, and tours, RDA seeks to involve the public.
Volunteer Opportunities: Docents needed for house tour, gala, and other events.
Publications: Cite: The Architecture + Design Review of Houston, published quarterly, Ephemeral City: Cite Looks at Houston (2003, UT Press).
Maria Nicanor, Executive Director
Raquel Puccio, Administrative Coordinator
The CEC has a searchable, web-based version of the Environmental Resource Guide. You may also download older versions of the printed guide below.
Archived Resource Guides