Mercer Botanic Garden
Purpose: To establish and maintain a versatile botanical facility for Houston and the greater Gulf Coast region, serving the general public, the horticulture industry, and the scientific community. These 325 acres of East Texas Piney Woods showcase the region’s largest collection of native and cultivated plants.
Programs: Offered throughout the year and focus on gardening and plant related topics Eagle Scout project site. Guided Scavenger Hunts for students.
Major Events: Lunch Bunch Wednesday Talks: Join fellow gardeners the 2nd Wednesday of each month to hear expert speakers give talks on a variety of topics. Lunch is provided for a fee; March Mart Plant Sale: 4th Friday and Saturday in March. Garden Party and Auction: 1st Saturday in May. Summer Symposium: Renowned speakers enlighten attendees on how to create their own backyard paradise. Register early!; Garden Faire: Two full days of fall festival events with vendors. Food vendors and ‘Kid’s Korner’ activities; Garden Tours: Check the web for info on Coach Tours to Gardens throughout Texas.
Volunteer Opportunities: Expand your horticulture knowledge and make new friends while volunteering in the Gardens and the greenhouse. Other volunteer opportunities include working with children and guiding tours.
Suzanne Chapman, Horticultural Manager
Exploration Green Conservancy
The Exploration Green Conservancy, Inc. (EGC) has been formed and incorporated to develop, preserve and protect the land known as Exploration Green (EG). This area was purchased by the Clear Lake City Water Authority (CLCWA) for use as a storm water detention area: the CLCWA created a Master Plan for the area and initially sponsored the formation of the EGC.
Programs: Reintroducing native trees, shrubs, grasses and flowers; creating park amenities including hike and bike trails, athletic fields and park space for children, and supporting flood control and wetlands. Speakers are available to give presentations in the classroom or to student group meetings. Contact website for booking.
Major Events: Town hall meetings, on-site ground-breaking, and festivals.
Volunteer Opportunities: There are numerous volunteer opportunities helping environmental, park, recreation and athletics activities. Examples include tree, shrub and grass planting; event and publicity activities; public and education outreach.
Publications: Website at http://www.explorationgreen.org website and printed information materials.
Frank Weary, Chairman
David Sharp, Vice-Chairman
Nicole Cloutier, Media Contact
Claire Mules, Community Relations Chair
Purpose: Houston Wilderness is a broad-based alliance of business, environmental and government interests that acts in concert to protect, preserve and promote the unique biodiversity of the region’s precious remaining ecological capital from bottomland hardwoods and prairie grasslands to pine forests and wetlands.
Programs: Collaborative Access Program, Sam Houston Greenbelt Network, Collaborative Grant Organizing, Wilderness Passport, ecosystems services, and Get Out Here Houston.
Volunteer Opportunities: Speaking engagements
Publications: Houston Atlas of Biodiversity; Family Passport; Ecotourism & Wellness Passport
Deborah January-Bevers, President & CEO
713-524-7330 x 205
Sean Stone, Advancement Director
Jose Alducin, Environmental Programs Facilitator
Surfrider Foundation – Texas Chapter
Purpose: To preserve and protect the Texas coast and its recreational resources. To defend the Texas Open Beaches Act. Our issues are water quality, beach access, erosion, and coastal development. Our goal is to stand on the beach 30 years from now and be able to say, “We made the right decisions.” We were founded in 1999.
Meetings: 3rd Tuesday of the month in Houston.
Programs: Respect the Beach – education program for schools; Blue Water Task Force – beach water testing; Rise Above Plastics – reduce plastic pollution; Ocean Friendly Gardens – reduce urban runoff.
Children’s Activities: Science and education projects, beach activities, surf lessons.
Volunteer Opportunities: Beach cleanups, public education programs, water testing, fundraising, government relations, public relations, and advertising.
Publications: “Making Waves” – national publication (monthly publication also available on the web) Beachapedia – internet resource beachapedia.org/Main_P
Ellis Pickett, Chairman
Pamela Walters, Secretary
Media/Press/Speakers Bureau, Ellis Pickett
Sierra Club – Hou. Regional Group
Purpose: To explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth; to practice and promote the responsible use of the earth’s ecosystems and resources; to educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment; and to use all lawful means to carry out these objectives.
Meetings: Second Thurs., 7:30 p.m., St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 1805 West Alabama at Woodhead. OPEN TO PUBLIC.
Major Events: Trips, workshops, outings, and classes; Yard Sale, spring; Annual Auction, at December meeting.
Recreational Outings: Open to members and non-members. See listing on website.
Children’s Activities: Inner City Outings program. Contact Lorraine Gibson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteer Opportunities: Issues include water & air quality, watershed, sustainability, energy, forestry, and parks & wildlife; Political Committee endorsements; legislative issues and letter writing; trail maintenance on Lone Star Hiking Trail; training for leading outings.
Publications: Bayou Banner, monthly (call for free copy or print PDF version from website).
Brandt Mannchen, Executive Committee Chair
Evelyn L. Merz, Conservation Chair
Carol Woronow, Bayou Banner and Newsletter Editor,
Melanie Oldham, Air Quality
Brandt Mannchen, Forestry and Big Thicket
American Youthworks Conservation Corps & AmeriCorps
- YouthBuild Austin is a youth services program that combines academics with career training, leadership development, and community service. For more information visit http://americanyouthworks.org/programs/youthbuild/
- Texas Conservation Corps (TxCC) is a 21st Century Conservation Service Corps accredited program that empowers young people through AmeriCorps service, conservation, education, and jobs training. …
Purpose: American YouthWorks provides young people with opportunities to build careers, strengthen communities, and improve the environment through education, on-the-job training, and service to others.
- YouthBuild Austin is a youth services program that combines academics with career training, leadership development, and community service. For more information visit http://americanyouthworks.org/programs/youthbuild/
- Texas Conservation Corps (TxCC) is a 21st Century Conservation Service Corps accredited program that empowers young people through AmeriCorps service, conservation, education, and jobs training. TxCC provides trained crews to help accomplish conservation project needs. For more information visit http://americanyouthworks.org/programs/txcc/
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, National Trails Day, National Public Lands Day and more can be found on their website
Volunteer Opportunities: Volunteer to work with young people in YouthBuild or Texas Conservation Corps. Individual and group opportunities are available. Some volunteer opportunities include service days, tutoring, and mentorships.
Speaker’s Bureau: Guest speakers are welcome to share their career path and experience with students to inspire and inform participants about various career fields.
Ericus Adams, TxCC Houston Program Manager
Eliza Montana, Senior Director of Operations
Friends of Mandell Park
Purpose: The Friends of Mandell Park, a nonprofit Texas Corporation, was formed in August 2004 to improve, protect and assist in the maintenance of the City of Houston’s Mandell Park.
Publications: Newsletter, Informational Brochure
Programs: Organic Gardening in Meredith Gardens, Outdoor Movies, Exhibition Prairie. Speakers are also available. Field trips of the park for your school group.
Regular Meetings: Gardeners meet Wednesdays and Saturdays at 9:00 a.m. Swap-A-Toy and stories for children on Saturdays at 10:00 a.m.
Volunteer Opportunities: Regular opportunities for Gardening; Maintenance; Communications; Fund Raising. Contact Fomandellpark@aol.com for details.
Major Events: Annual Spring Event
Children’s Activities: Visits to Meredith Gardens, Outdoor Play Area.
Holly Smith, President
Susan Allen-Bryan, Meredith Gardens Coordinator
Maryann Jones, Secretary
Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, Inc.
Purpose: To protect birds and their habitats around the Gulf of Mexico.
Programs: Land protection, Site Partner Network, Research, Educational Outreach, Tropical Forest Forever Fund. Field Trips are available for your school group. Call office for booking information. Coastal Wildbird Trunk – educational resources for primary and secondary age students
Major Events: Birdies for the Birds, Xtreme Hummingbird Xtravaganza, Smith Point Hawk Watch, Monthly Bird Banding, Quintana Spring Fling.
Volunteer Opportunities: Field research, trail maintenance, invasive species eradication, gardening, general workdays, administrative, advocacy, events, fundraising.
Speaker’s Bureau: Yes, call office.
Publications: Gulf Coastal Prairie Bird Conservation Plan, Project Prairie Birds: A Citizen Science Project for Wintering Grassland Birds, bi-annual newsletter, monthly newsletter, monthly e-news, online blog.
Martin Hagne, Executive Director
Tricia Patton, Office Manager
University of Houston: Office of Sustainability
Purpose: The University of Houston Office of Sustainability serves as the hub for campus sustainability efforts. Engaging the campus and community, the office fosters collaboration and educates individuals about social, economic and environmental factors that impact today’s society and generations to come. On-campus sustainability initiatives include academic programs and research, educational events, the campus community garden, single-stream recycling, water bottle refill stations, renewable energy use, sustainable transportation, green building and more.
Programs: Sustainability Task Force, Sustainability Meetups, Student Sustainability Team and Campus Community Garden
Events: Cleanup Day, Sustainability Fest, Bike to UH Day, Electronics Recycling Drive, RecycleMania and Earth Week,
Volunteer opportunities: Gardening, Campus and community events, Cleanup events.
Michael Mendoza, Sustainability Program Manager
Melissa Halstead, Sustainability Coordinator
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 Audubon Society
Purpose: To advance the conservation of birds and positively impact their supporting environments. Founded in 1969.
Meetings: with speakers are held the second Thursday of alternate school months: Sept, Nov, Jan, March, & May at United Way Center at 50 Waugh Drive. See website for details. Houston Audubon Nature Photography Association (HANPA) meetings: Third Wednesdays of each month, Sept-May, 7 p.m., HAS headquarters.
Programs: Live bird outreach programs for schools, civic groups, libraries; field trips; guided tours of the Edith L. Moore Bird Sanctuary; birding classes. Children’s Activities: Community Outreach Programs, Bayou Buddies, Titmouse Club, Summer Camp, Family Nature Explore Club. Girl Scout badge programs and Girl/Boy Scout service projects.
Major Events: Spring Migration at High Island sanctuaries; Birdathon (Mar-Apr.); Annual gala “Avian Affair”; Christmas Bird Counts; Bird Week (end of Sept.)
Volunteer Opportunities: Gardening, trail guides, field research, trail crew, clerical, advocacy, events, photography, video editing, education, data entry, event support, translating, Young Professionals Advisory Council.
Speakers Bureau: Contact Mary Anne Weber email@example.com
Houston Audubon Society includes Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Waller, Washington and Wharton counties.
Helen E. Drummond, Executive Director
713-932-1639 ext. 107
Rachel Schipul, Operations Manager
713-932-1639 ext. 104
Lauren Miheli, Volunteer Coordinator
713-932-1639 ext. 102
Native Prairies Association of Texas
Purpose: The Native Prairies Association of Texas (NPAT) is a non-profit membership organization and land trust dedicated to the conservation, restoration, and appreciation of native prairies, savannas, and other grasslands in Texas. NPAT protects over 2000 acres of native Texas grassland, including over 100 acres of endangered/threatened tallgrass prairie. In 2010, NPAT started its first local chapter in Houston to allow members in the metro area to meet and discuss local and regional projects and raise awareness for the organization in the Texas Gulf Coast region.
Programs: Presentations for landowners about land conservation methods in Texas; Educational presentations and field trips designed for children and adults; land restoration education and support; development of regional land restoration guides; performed a 95 county survey locating remnant native prairies in Texas.
Publications: Quarterly newsletter, Texas Prairie News; periodic e-mail updates. Back issues are available at http://www.texasprairie.org.
Meeting Times: 4th Wednesday of each month except November and December; Bayland Community Center, 6400 Bissonnet, Houston, TX 77074.
Friends of Don Greene
Purpose: Engage. Educate. Empower. Providing opportunities for young people to learn about our environment and 21st Century Stewardship through engaging them, and providing knowledge and skills that empower them.
Programs: Conservation projects, scout merit badges, science teacher training, afternoon story time, hands-on student ecosystem lessons in the one-acre Don Greene Nature Park.
Major Events: Fall Fundraiser, monthly workdays.
Speaker’s Bureau: Contact Janice Walden about speaking engagements.
Volunteer Opportunities: Fall wildflower planting, Eagle Projects, monthly workdays at the park, website expertise, fundraising experts for board.
Native Plant Society of TX – Hou Chapter
Purpose: The mission of The Native Plant Society of Texas (NPSOT) is to promote research, conservation and utilization of native plants and plant habitats of Texas through education, outreach, and example.
Meetings: 7:00 p.m., program at 7:30 p.m., the 3rd Thurs. of each month, Nov. Social & Seed & Plant Swap, Dec. holiday dinner, Jan. propagation workshop. Spring & Fall field trips.
Programs: Speakers present topics such as landscaping with natives, trees, and butterfly & habitat gardening.
Major Events: The Wildscapes Workshop is our largest annual event, usually held in September, and is open to anyone interested in learning. The program includes lectures, workshops, field trips, a native plant sale, and vendor and educational exhibits. Check our website for more details.
Volunteer Opportunities: Native Plant rescues, invasive plant removal, Native Plant Demonstration Garden workdays (monthly), school wildlife habitat programs, cooperative efforts with other non-profits and government entities. Display Booth.
Speakers Bureau: Contact Wally Ward.
Publications: Quarterly State newsletter; local quarterly newsletter.
Wally Ward, President
Berri Moffett, Publicity/Community Coordinator
Linda Knowles, Display Booth Coordinator
Wildlife Center of Texas
Purpose: WCT was formed to care for injured, ill and orphaned wildlife through rehabilitation, public education and release in the Greater Houston / Upper Gulf Coast region. Each year the WCT cares for over 10,000 thousand injured or orphaned wild animals including over 300 different species. The WCT is Houston’s first trauma hospital that accepts all native injured, ill and orphaned wildlife. The Center is funded by the generous donations of the general public and corporations and receives no government funding.
Meetings: Monthly volunteer orientation meetings (excl. Dec. & Jan.) on the 2nd Saturday of the month from 10 a.m.- 12 noon. For information and to RSVP, contact Margaret at firstname.lastname@example.org.
9-6 M-F; 9–4 S & S Mar-Aug; 9-4 daily Sept-Feb
Programs: Wildlife rehabilitation, environmental education, oiled wildlife training and response for the Gulf coast states and wildlife disaster response.
Major events: Annual Fundraiser Golf Tournament in the spring. Annual Open House in the fall.
Publications: Online newsletter. http://www.WildlifeCenterofTexas.org
Speakers Bureau: Trained speakers are available on the following topics: peaceful coexistence; responsible environmental stewardship; how to tell if an animal requires intervention; reuniting moms and babies; dealing with “nuisance” animals, and oiled wildlife response training workshops.
Sharon Schmalz, Executive Director.
Big Thicket Association
Purpose: The Big Thicket Association’s mission is to preserve, protect, and promote the Big Thicket region, its natural resources and cultural history, for enjoyment and well-being of present and future generations through advocacy, education, and research.
Major Programs: Neches River Adventures – a three tiered program that conducts (Tier 1) outdoor classes, (Tier 2) public and (Tier 3) private eco-history tours aboard the Ivory Bill and on the Neches River. The project’s main focus is providing a free environmental education program to area schools. We give public tours every Saturday from March until November (fees apply). We are also available for Private Charters year around. All bookings are per registration by phone or online. Field Research Station – Available for groups, school, zoos, etc.…organizations that are interested outdoor activities or volunteering in the Big Thicket. Thicket of Diversity – Devoted to scientific research in the Big Thicket Region. Grants are available to researchers through the Thicket of Diversity.
Wendy J. Ledbetter., Executive Director
Kathy Smartt, Vice President
John Stafford, President
Purpose: Transition Houston serves to build on the wisdom of the existing resources in Houston’s diverse community to inspire, network and train localized communities to consider and adapt Rob Hopkins’ transition model. Together we can unite pools of ingenuity and skills to unleash the collective genius of our own people in finding self-determined solutions.
About Us: Transition Houston is an official Transition Initiative of the burgeoning Transition movement, #40 of the 100+ official Transition Initiatives in the U.S. The movement has spread world-wide with hundreds of initiatives in the few short years since the first Transition Town began in 2005. Transition Houston is a hub for the Houston region, providing support the transition from oil dependency to local resilience by equipping communities with creative adaptations in areas such as food, energy, health, education, spirit and economy to generate a road map towards sustainable living.
Volunteer Opportunities: We frequently have hands-on projects to create practical manifestations of resiliency, such as Permablitzes, where a yard is transformed using Permaculture principles into a food garden with other elements of self-sufficiency.
Meetings: Transition Houston usually meets on the first Tuesday of each month. Please check our websites to confirm the meeting date, time and location.
Nature Discovery Center
Purpose: To ignite life-long curiosity, understanding, and respect for nature through education.
Programs: Year –round classes and camps for 3 – 10 year olds; on and off-site programs for schools: field trips, science exhibit loans, teacher professional development; in-class live animal presentations; in-class, hands-on Science on the Go! Lesson for 3rd-5th graders; scout advancement programs and birthday party live animal programs. For adults: migration season guided birding walks and spring coastal birding bus trip; monthly lecture series; first Wednesday of each month beginning at 7 p.m. Children’s Activities: Discovery Rooms, Nature Story Time, pre-school and elementary classes & camps, Scout programs, birthday party programs.
Major Events: Home Tour/Spring Fling (Spring), Earth Day (Apr), Pumpkin Patch (Oct); Twilight in the Park (Nov.); Holiday Market (Dec).
Volunteer Opportunities: Special events; field trip docents; animal care; gardening; help with art and craft projects, camp counselors, Discovery Room docents.
Speakers Bureau: Yes.
Texas Master Naturalists – Heartwood Chapter
Purpose: The Heartwood Chapter is here to create a proactive resource of diverse individuals promoting environmental stewardship through outreach, education and volunteer service benefiting the residents in and around Montgomery and Walker Counties. Founded December 2004.
Meetings: First Wed. of month except Dec. in Classroom Building at WG Jones State Forest, 1328 FM 1488, Conroe, TX.
Programs: Incorporate the theme of sustainable practices into the educational process, with emphasis on the beneficial management of resources and natural ecological processes.
Major Events: Annual Primary Training Classes for those who wish to become Master Naturalists.
Volunteer Opportunities: Waterway and nature trail cleanups, removing invasive species, variety of monitoring activities for waterways, plants, insects and invasive species, workshops and public speaking engagements. Continuous Educational Trainings for adults and youth, primarily forest-based.
Speaker’s Bureau: Yes, contact Teri MacArthur.
Carolyn Langlinais, President
Carson Stokes, Vice President
Andre Houser, Treasurer
Hermann Park Conservancy
Purpose:Founded in 1992, Hermann Park Conservancy is a nonprofit citizens’ organization dedicated to the stewardship and improvement of Hermann Park, one of Houston’s largest and most loved urban parks, where more than six million visitors make memories each year.
Beyond raising funds to improve and maintain the Park, the Conservancy oversees strategic planning for Hermann Park’s future as well as programs focused on visitor services, conservation and stewardship, tree care, and operations and maintenance of the McGovern Centennial Gardens. For more information on the Conservancy, visit hermannpark.org.
Programs: Corporate sponsorship programs, volunteer programs and community events.
Major Events: Hermann Park Conservancy Kite Festival (held each March), Part to Port Bike Ride, Run in the Park, Evening in the Park Gala, Hats in the Park Luncheon, and Urban Green young professionals events.
Children’s Activities: Hermann Park Rail Road, Pedal boat rides, family volunteer opportunities, Hermann Park Conservancy Kite Festival (held each March), Children’s Story Hour (held every Friday in the McGovern Centennial Gardens’ Family Garden).
Volunteer Opportunities: Opportunities are available for individuals, corporations, civic associations, school groups, and families. They range from administrative duties and event preparation to weeding and tree planting. Contact Diane Kerr, for more information.
Speakers Bureau: Contact Doreen Stoller.
Publications: Parkside newsletter, Hermann Park Conservancy e-news.
Doreen Stoller, President
(713)-524-5876 ext. 331
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