These organizations have programs just for kids–outside of school. They include camps, scout programs, and classes.
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
Purpose: Non-profit organization dedicated to promoting awareness and preservation of coastal margins and the marine environment through the disciplines of the sciences and the arts.
Eco-Art Adventures via kayak, vessel, or walking, and summer camps
Professional development & environmental stewardship programs, with special opportunities for oil and gas companies
Eco-Art Residencies in Schools integrating the arts and sciences to create public sculptures and habitats on campuses
Habitat Restoration Adventure Program, focused on stewardship-based learning through dune and coastal prairie preservation
Boy and Girl Scout badge classes
Classroom presentations and speakers that coincide with curriculum
Gulf ‘Coast Education Center: K-Grey can learn about the ecological, social, and economic value of coastal ecosystems.
Coastal Heritage Preserve – acquiring and preserving 506 acres of barrier island habitat on Galveston Island’s West Bay
Volunteer Opportunities: Public relations, lawyers, accountants, and fundraising experts for board; volunteers needed for after school residency program, board members, publications and press, activities at festivals.
Publications: E-mail newsletter; Website; Quarterly calendar of eco-art and eco-tour kayak adventures.
Karla Klay, Executive Director
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.
Memorial Park Conservancy
Purpose: To preserve, restore, and enhance Memorial Park for the enjoyment of all Houstonians, today and tomorrow.
Major Events: “4 the Park” Fun Run, Golf Tournament, Green Gala.
Volunteer Opportunities: Corporate, school group and individuals; ongoing Bridge Club, trail maintenance, conservation and administrative.
Speakers Bureau: Yes.
Publications: Happenings in the Park.
Shellye Arnold, President & CEO
Carolyn White, Conservation Director
Purpose: To inspire a new generation of leaders to design a sustainable future for all. EcoRise develops standards aligned, K–12 school-based curricula that focus on sustainability, environmental literacy, design innovation, and social entrepreneurship. The curriculum empowers youth to tackle real-world challenges in their schools and communities. EcoRise also provides extensive teacher training and support with the curriculum and offers a Student Innovation Fund for student-driven grant projects.
Curricula & Programs:
- Learn about EcoRise’s growing collection of award-winning, standards-aligned sustainability, green building, and design innovation curricula here.
- Sustainable Intelligence Program: PreK–12 teachers receive access to multiple EcoRise curricula including our flagship Sustainable Intelligence, professional development, and student-driven classroom grants.
- Green Building Academy: High school CTE teachers receive access to EcoRise’s Green Building Lessons for a Sustainable Future curriculum, educators workshops and mentorship, and opportunities for students to connect to green building and field experiences.
- Project-Based Learning Academy: This district-wide program provides a suite of training and support programs that shift the traditional paradigms of academic instruction using the PBL pedagogy.
- Teacher Ambassador Program: EcoRise teachers have the opportunity to join a network of sustainability education leaders as a Teacher Ambassador or Education Fellow and help support and further the green schools movement.
Major Events: Students who receive a grant award for an Eco-Audit project are typically invited to participate in a Regional Student Innovation Showcase which has been expanded to include virtual showcases in 2020. These showcases are hosted each spring across the country to celebrate the next generation of innovators giving them a platform to present their green campus innovations.
Publications: EcoRise Monthly Newsletter
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 email@example.com.
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
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
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.
Student Conservation Association
Purpose: To build the next generation of conservation leaders and inspire stewardship of our environment and communities by engaging young people in hands-on service to the land.
Programs: A year-round volunteer program and a paid summer job opportunity for high school students, each featuring hands-on outdoor service learning, camping and outdoor recreation. Additional paid and volunteer programs all over the country for students and adults.
Major Events: Martin Luther King Day and Earth Day.
Volunteer Opportunities: SCA offers local and national, paid and volunteer opportunities for ages 15 and up, in over 50 disciplines. These include paid Summer Community Crews, volunteer School Year Crews, Conservation and Education Corps and Internships all over the country. See our website for more details or contact Julie Mintzer.
Valeria De Casa, Houston Program Coordinator
Houston Botanic Garden
Purpose: To establish and sustain a premier botanic garden to promote public appreciation and understanding of plants, gardens, and conservation of the natural world through education and scientific enquiry. Through discovery, education and the conservation of plants and the natural environment, the HBG aims to enrich lives, serve as a model for sustainability, and inspire all who visit to become environmental stewards.
Programs: Current programs entail fundraising and implementation of Phase I of the Houston Botanic Garden master plan. Once open, partnerships with area schools and universities will make the garden an exceptional classroom, and HBG looks forward to partnering with garden clubs and many civic organizations across the City of Houston.
Volunteer Opportunities: Contact the general email for volunteer opportunities.
Claudia Gee Vassar, President and General Counsel
Brent E. Moon, Horticulture Manager
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
Children’s Museum of Houston’s EcoStation
Purpose: Founded in 1981 to transform communities through innovative, and child-centered learning.
The Houston region has one of the largest child populations in the United States and Children’s Museum Houston serves an audience of more than 1 million children and families each year. Children’s Museum Houston is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that relies on private and public contributions.
Henry Yau, Director of Public Relations and Promotions
Tammie Kahn, Executive Director
Houston Zoo Wildlife Conservation Program
Purpose: Our mission is to make the Houston Zoo a leader in conservation as it relates to the survival of threatened wildlife, wise use of natural resources, and the appreciation of our natural world by zoo visitors.
Publications: Members quarterly Wildlife Magazine.
Major Events: Conservation Gala, Call of the Wild Speakers Series, Earth Day, Feast with the Beasts, Zoobilee, Zoo Boo, Spotlight on Species Weekends.
Children’s Activities: Educational programming, Wild Winks, Summer and Winter Camps, Zoomobile Outreach Programs.
Volunteer Opportunities: Houston Zoo Volunteer Programs for individuals and corporations: firstname.lastname@example.org or (713) 533-6549.
Vice President of Conservation and Education
Conservation Programs Manager
Director of Public Relations
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.
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
TWRC Wildlife Center
Purpose: The TWRC Wildlife Center provides an emergency room for injured, ill, and orphaned wildlife, as well as a help-line; both the emergency room and the help-line operate 7 days a week. A veterinarian is on staff to assist with training and emergencies and experienced volunteers and staff facilitate initial triage, rehabilitation, release, and education.
Volunteer Opportunities: Volunteers 14 or older are needed to assist with the daily operations of the Center. Duties include: answering the hotline, caring for the education animals, helping with admissions (for 18 and older), office chores, data entry, and general Center maintenance. Additionally, volunteers are needed to help in the Animal Care Program which runs every year from about March to October to help care for the thousands of baby animals admitted yearly. Please see the website for age requirements and additional details.
Education Center: TWRC Wildlife Center offers exciting, educational presentations with introductions to our amazing Animal Ambassadors. We can also “customize” our presentation to expand upon specific curriculum. We have given presentations at schools for children of all ages, libraries, garden clubs, senior living communities, women’s clubs, Homeschool groups, Boy Scout and Girl Scout meetings and camps, many types of spring and summer camp programs, veterinary schools and veterinary student group meetings.
Mary Warwick, Operations Director
Liz Compton, Rehab Coordinator
Victoria Hepburn, Outreach Coordinator
Berri Moffett, Volunteer Coordinator
Keep Houston Beautiful
Purpose: To achieve sustainable community improvement by providing programs that educate the public, combat blight, prevent litter, minimize waste and beautify Houston’s public spaces.
Programs: Adopt-A-Block and Adopt-A-Ditch Program; weekend cleanups and tool lending library; community beautification and edible community garden projects; civic leader and teacher training workshops. Teacher worksheets are available on the website for classroom use. Speakers are available, contact Amy Reed.
Major Events: Mayor’s Proud Partners
Awards and Luncheon; Great American Cleanup; Keep Houston Beautiful Day; Annual Bar Association Cleanup; Texas Recycles Day; Home Run for Astros Tree Plantings; America Recycles Day.
Children’s Activities: Keep Schools Beautiful Day; Lucky the Ladybug; Storm water Curriculum; Keep America Beautiful’s Water in Place Curriculum.
Volunteer Opportunities: Clean up and beautification weekend workdays, clerical, artists, special event information booths.
Publications: Clean Neighborhoods Manual; Guide to Earth Quilt Gardens; Recycling Activity Book for Kids; A Guide to Creating Environmental Outdoor Learning Centers; Enewsletter; Adopt-an-Esplanade Guide.
Amy Reed, Executive Director
Mike Aden, Warehouse Technician
Houston Arboretum and Nature Center
Purpose: To provide education about the natural environment to people of all ages and to protect and enhance the Arboretum as a haven and as a sanctuary for native plants and animals.
Programs: Adult classes on nature, wildlife, art, photography, food and wine, and more. We also offer family programs, special events, Memberships, private group tours, guided nature hikes, citizen science opportunities, a Nature Shop, and rentals. See website for details
Major Events: Arbor Day in January, Tapas on the Trails in February, Earth Day in April, Alfresco Gala in April, Native Plant Sale in spring and fall, Pup Crawl in spring, Bingo events in summer, ArBOOretum in October, Arbor Cup Golf Tournament in October.
Children’s Activities: Tyke Hikes for 18 months – 3 years, Home School for 5-12 years, Summer, Winter and Spring Break Camps for 4-12 years, Boy and Girl Scout programs, Guided Field Experience & Discovery Room programs for school groups, Birthday Parties.
Volunteer Opportunities: We use individual volunteers for conservation, gardening, Discovery Room, lobby/gift shop,special events, educational programs, outreach events and more. Group Opportunities available.
Publications: Website; quarterly Program Guide, e-newsletter: the Leaflet.
Debbie Markey, Executive Director
Christine Mansfield, Marketing and Development
The Woods Project, Inc.
Purpose: To develop leadership capacity and life skills in low income youth through a series of outdoor education/environmental awareness programs at wilderness sites in the United States. Goals: • To prepare students for college and beyond by fostering life skills and mindsets through outdoor education; • To provide hands-on science lessons in a natural environment; • To empower students to take advantage of leadership opportunities; • To teach students how to adapt to/accept and engage in foreign environments; and • To give students the opportunity to succeed in new endeavors. Our Mantra: Low Cost, High Impact, Volunteer Driven.
Programs: The Woods Project hosts a two-week summer trip to a national park to learn about environmental issues and leadership. They also host smaller weekend trips. After-School programs are available as well. Contact organization for sign-ups. Speakers from the group can also be booked through the website.
Volunteer Opportunities: The Woods Project is a 100% volunteer run organization. Opportunities for leaders to spend two weeks in Yosemite, Donner Pass/Desolation Wilderness, Marin Headlands and Glacier National working with our kids and hiking or backpacking in out-standing country. Volunteer opportunities are also available for weekend outings in the Houston area in spring and fall.
Major Events: The Walk For The Woods held each spring, the Fall Luncheon held each fall.
Natalie Hausman-Weiss, Executive Director
Brittany Jerz, Assistant Director
Jessi Manley, Development Director
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