Environmental Headlines for the Houston Region: October 4, 2015


  1. City considers goal to give all residents easy access to parks (Katherine Driessen and Emma Hinchliffe – Houston Chronicle, 9/25/2015)
    “City parks advocates are charting an ambitious transformation of Houston’s green space to give all residents access to a public park within a half-mile or 10-minute walk of their residence, a lofty goal that would require a massive investment over the next 25 years. Today, fewer than half of Houston residents can claim that kind of proximity to a public park or green space, a statistic that the city’s recently updated “parks master plan” acknowledges would require billions of dollars to improve. The plan, on the City Council agenda Wednesday, divides Houston into 21 so-called “park sectors” for the first time, highlighting areas without ready access and projecting future demand based on 2040 population projections.”
  2. Harris County seeks millions from Volkswagen for unlawful fumes (Gabrielle Banks – Houston Chronicle, 9/29/2015)
    “Harris County seized on the outrage of the Volkswagen emissions scandal, saying in a multimillion dollar lawsuit filed Tuesday that the German automaker contributed to the region’s poor air quality. In what is likely the first government lawsuit over Volkswagen’s deception, Harris County officials claim that 6,000 diesel cars circulating on local roadways produced harmful emissions. These vehicles came off the line between 2009 and 2015, installed with software that could circumvent emissions monitoring.”
  3. Houston’s mayor, soon to leave office, continues push for climate action (Bill Dawson – Texas Climate News, 10/2/2015)
    “Houston’s boosters are fond of calling their city ‘the energy capital of the world.’ By which they mean ‘the oil-and-gas capital,’ not ‘the renewables capital’ or ‘all-of-the-above capital.’ The banks of the Houston Ship Channel and other industrial zones in the metro area are crowded, after all, with refineries and other oil-related facilities, not windmills and solar arrays. Houston Mayor Annise Parker is one of those who uses the ‘energy capital’ title in the ‘oil-and-gas’ sense, with that qualification left unspoken. But she does it with a twist that could surprise someone who might find it unlikely that the ‘oil and gas capital’ would have a mayor who is vigorously campaigning – and on the national and world stage, at that – to combat climate change caused by planet-heating pollution from fuels including oil.”http://texasclimatenews.org


  • 3 October
    • After Two Years, Few Answers in E. Coli Discovery (Neena Satija – The Texas Tribune)
    • Reveal Radio: But Not a Drop to Drink (Neena Satija – The Texas Tribune)
  • 2 October
    • Houston’s mayor, soon to leave office, continues push for climate action (Bill Dawson – Texas Climate News)
    • Investors opting out of fossil fuels as Paris climate summit nears (Kieran Cook – Texas Climate News)
    • Houston Area Urban Forestry Council accepts State Arboricultural
      Project of the Year Award (Guidry News)
    • U.S. County Sues VW for ‘Deceitful Acts’ That Hurt Its Ability to Improve Air Quality (Governing)
    • EPA Strengthens Ozone Standards, Upsetting Both Sides (Bloomberg BNA)
    • NOAA Announces Gulf Red Grouper to Close Oct. 8 (The Fishing Wire)
    • Court upholds $236M verdict in Exxon Mobil pollution case (KCBD News)
    • U.S. to curb smog but stops short of toughest limits (Valerie Volcovici, Timothy Gardner and Patrick Rucker)
  • 1 October
  • 30 September
    • Obama Ozone Rule: EPA To Make It Harder For Factories, Power Plants To Emit Smog Pollution (Maria Gallucci – International Business Times)
    • Texas Commission Nears Approval for Latest Air Permit for Shawnee Gas Project (Power Engineering)
    • EPA Finalizes Rule to modernize Clean Water Act reporting. (ThomasNet)
    • $7M for Enhanced Water Recovery Projects (Environmental Leader)
    • Lennar Demonstrates Sustainability Can Be Affordable as Innovative Solar Energy Program Expands to Texas (Market Watch)
    • ImageFIRST Houston Weighs in on Strategies to Motivate Environmental Services Staff (SB Wire)
    • Jeb Bush energy plan emphasizes U.S. jobs, lower prices (Steve Holland – Planet Ark News)
    • U.S. seeks to protect threatened bull trout (Laura Zuckerman – Planet Ark News)
  • 29 September
    • Harris County seeks millions from Volkswagen for unlawful fumes (Gabrielle Banks – Houston Chronicle)
    • EPA issues landmark rules to curb emissions from refineries (Susan Carroll – Houston Chronicle)
    • City considers goal to give all residents easy access to parks (Katherine Driessen and Emma Hinchliffe – Houston Chronicle)
    • New EPA Rule will bring Cleaner Air to Communities near Refineries (airCurrent News)
    • Historic Yale Street Bridge In The Heights To Be Rebuilt (Gail Delaughter – Houston Public Media)
    • Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restore Council releases proposed fed reg for spill impact (The Examiner)
    • Video: The Future of Environmental Policy (Evan Smith and Todd Wiseman – The Texas Tribune)
    • Waste not: Redefining resources (1 Water)
    • Ray Hunt Launches Effort to Take Over Oncor (Jim Malewitz – The Texas Tribune)
    • Texas A&M professor: Water discovery on Mars means planet is not dead, but a ‘dynamic place’ (Sam Peshek – The Eagle)
    • EPA adds Texas’ Main Street Groundwater Plume site to priority list (EP News Wire)
    • NASA finds flowing water and potential for microscopic forms of life on Mars (Cat DiStasio – Inhabitat)
  • 28 September
    • Paris restricted cars in some neighborhoods, and Houston could, too (Dug Begley – Houston Chronicle)
    • France’s Hollande says climate talk promises must now become action (Josh Irish – Planet Ark News)
    • Texas Cities Recycle Wastewater Into Drinking Water To Boost Dwindling Supplies (Mónica Ortiz Uribe – Fronteras)
    • At summer’s end, 60 percent of Texas abnormally dry or in drought (Patrick Beach – My Statesman)
  • 26 September
    • Woodlands’ leaders shifts on roads bond irk neighbors (Matthew Tresaugue – Houston Chronicle)
    • State seeks help from hunters in monitoring deer disease (Shannon Tompkins – Houston Chronicle)
    • Public water supplies nationwide imperiled by runoff, aging mains (Ryan J. Foley – Portland Press Herald)
    • Millions remain unspent in federal water-system loan program (Ryan J. Foley – Tri-City Herald)
  • 25 September
  • 24 September
    • Here’s What Will Happen with the EPA Ozone Rule (Union of Concerned Scientists)
    • Arctic oil called vital to nation’s energy future (Collin Eaton – Houston Chronicle)
    • NSF invests $40 million in research infrastructure for earthquake, wind and water hazards (National Science Foundation)
    • Natural disasters and power resilience (Gavin Dillingham – HARC Blog)
  • 23 September
    • Groundwater management should not be done by lawsuit (Dr. Stephanie Glenn and Dr. Jim Lester – The Courier of Montgomery County)
  • 22 September
    • Research uncovers microsopic key to reducing ocean dead zones (Science Daily)

Houston Environmental News Update September 30, 2015

It’s always exciting to see an environmental news article in our local media outlets. It feels like such articles are more frequent and more prominent. Today is an excellent example: three above-the-fold, front-page articles about the environment in the Houston Chronicle:

Read past the first page, and you’ll find even more news about the environment!

If you enjoy these sorts of news articles, you can see more on our scoop.it page, on Twitter or on our website. And if you are a true news junkie, we’d love to have your help keeping up with all of the news! Email rachel@cechouston.org if you are interested in volunteering.


  1. New Subscribers
    Thank you to our new subscribers, many of whom visited our booth at the farmers market at City Hall last week: Catharine, Donna, Mallory, Latrice, Sam, Teri, Leigh, Ellen, J, Melissa, Irene, Ashley, Claire, Tray, Tanya, Ruthie, Wilson, Kay, Marilyn, Carole, Allyn, Adara, Dee Dee, Erin, Brady, Sirius, Heather, Ben, and Pete. We hope you enjoy our emails. Please consider liking us on facebook.
  2. CEC Events–Save the Dates
    • October 28, 2015: Volunteer Networking Meeting
    • November 12, 2015: CEC Holiday Open House and Volunteer Appreciation Celebration
    • January 27 & 28, 2016: Wild & Scenic Film Festival On Tour
    • March 24, 2016: CEC’s Greater Houston Environmental Summit
  3. City of Houston Electoral Forums–save the dates
    City of Houston is holding elections for a new mayor and for city council positions. Here’s a rundown of other forums of which we know being hosted by CEC member organizations:

    • Growing a Greener Houston: How do we get there? Mayoral Forum on our Parks, Bikes and Waterways – and Connecting to them. Thursday October 1, 2015, in the evening at Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion in the McGovern Centennial Gardens at Hermann Park. Sponsored by Bayou Preservation Association, Bike Houston, Buffalo Bayou Partnership, Citizens’ Environmental Coalition, Discovery Green, Greens Bayou Corridor Coalition, Hermann Park Conservancy, Houston Botanic Garden, Houston Parks Board, Katy Prairie Conservancy, Keep Houston Beautiful, Memorial Park Conservancy, Scenic Houston, Student Conservation Association and Trees for Houston.
    • Mayoral Debate. October 16, 2015, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the Dunham Theater at Houston Baptist University. Sponsored by the League of Women Voters. To be broadcast on KPRC. Note: The League is also hosting a series of conversations with the candidates. More information is available on the LWV website.

    More information, including links to previous events and questionnaire responses, are available on the CEC website.


  1. BPA’s Dancing through the Decades. Take a trip back in time and dance the night away celebrating the perfection of Houston’s bayou system. Bayou Preservation Association hosts its annual gala, Dancing Through The Decades, at the serene home of Kristi and John Schiller on September 30, 2015, at 6:30pm. The event will bring bayou-loving Houstonians together to raise funds and recognize the organization that strives to protect the city’s 2,500 miles of waterways. This year’s celebration embraces the six decades that the Bayou Preservation Association has helped preserve and restore waterways. Don the attire of your favorite decade and enjoy a fun filled evening of al fresco cocktails, culinary concoctions and entertainment celebrating Houston’s pristine bayou system. For more information, visit www.bayoupreservation.org or contact Jennifer Cate at 713-206-5505 or jennifer@cateproctor.com.
  2. More Bright Ideas in Energy Efficiency for Religious Facilities. Come out for a workshop that covers how smart energy practices in religious facilities can promote environmental stewardship, increase staff and congregant comfort and save scarce funds. This workshop will focus on practical application of the fundamentals of benchmarking, preventative maintenance and financing energy efficiency projects. The workshop will be held on October 1, 2015, 7:30-11am at Grace Presbyterian Church, Massey Tucker Hall. Register at www.eventbrite.com.
  3. Cypress Creek Greenway Project 5 Year Update. Spend a day hearing about all the exciting parks and trails projects that have been developed to date, and also what is being planned for the future! This event will be held on October 2, 2015, 9am-3pm at the Big Stone Lodge at Dennis Johnston Park (709 Riley Fuzzel Rd). Presenters include staff from Harris County Precinct 4, Bayou Land Conservancy, Cypress Creek Flood Control Coalition, Local MUDs, and private developers. A BBQ lunch will be provided. For more information, contact Katie Golzarri at 713-784-4500 x 2266 or kgolzarri@ehrainc.com. www.ehrainc.com
  4. 2015 Park to Port Bike Ride. The second annual Park to Port Bike Ride will be held on October 3, 2015. The 20-mile ride will start in Hermann Park and travel east along Brays Bayou to the Port of Houston, where there will be a turn-around party, sponsored by the Port of Houston Authority, with snacks, music and activities at Brady’s Landing. Riders will then return along the same path, heading west, to Hermann Park for a post-ride celebration where there will be music, food, partnerships with local organizations, and more. Riders can also turn around at MacGregor Park for a shorter ride. Registration is $35. Learn more and register at https://hermannpark.ejoinme.org.
  5. Buffalo Bayou Park’s Grand Opening. Come celebrate, recreate and create at the grand opening of Buffalo Bayou Park on October 3, 2015. For this FREE public event, BBP will highlight various destinations and amenities in the 160-acre park that stretches from Shepherd Drive to Sabine Street. Enjoy a day full of activities ranging from walking tours, lectures, children’s crafts, recreational opportunities, delicious food, live music and programming that will showcase Houston’s diverse arts community. The grand opening celebration will conclude with Confluence: A Journey in Five Movements, a site-specific walking procession organized by Processional Arts Workshop (PAW) of New York and a fireworks show. http://buffalobayou.org.
  6. Texas Energy Freedom Tour: Market-Based Solution to Manage Climate Change Risk. Texan volunteers are traveling the state with the “Texas Energy Freedom Tour,” a 30-city tour around Texas intended to engage citizens and leaders around the state in a productive discussion with their communities and members of Congress on energy freedom and climate change. The tour will kickoff in League City on October 4, 2015, 1-3:30pm, with a workshop at the NASA/JSC Gilruth Center on our changing climate, its impact on Texans, and how we can move past partisanship to begin addressing the challenge. The next event will be in Bay City on Monday, October 5, 2015, and the tour will return to the Houston region on November 1 for an event in Atascocita. Find out more and RSVP at http://citizensclimatelobby.org.
  7. Cigna Sunday Streets: Washington Avenue. Cigna Sunday Streets Houston is an initiative to promote and improve the health of Houstonians. Cigna Sunday Streets Houston opens a stretch of streets normally reserved for cars and other vehicles to allow cycling, walking, dancing, socializing and provides a family-friendly opportunity to be physically active. Come out and enjoy Houston! The next Cigna Sunday Streets will take place on October 4, 2015, 12-4pm on Washington Ave between Heights Blvd. and Westcott Street. www.houstontx.gov
  8. Biomimicry 3.8 at SXSWEco. Biomimicry 3.8 is heading to Austin, Texas, Oct. 4–7, for SXSW Eco 2015, and they’re bringing ideas, experts and dancing shoes. The fun begins Sunday, Oct. 4, with the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge Awards and dance party from 6–11 p.m. at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Bimimicry 3.8 has teamed with SXSWEco to present an original conference track, Nature, Innovation, and the Future of Design.Biomimicry 3.8 co-founders Janine Benyus and Dr. Dayna Baumeister will join a host of our experts throughout the conference to share the foundational ideas of nature-inspired innovation. Learn more about SXSW Eco registration and schedules.
  9. 2015 CH4 Conference: Methane Emissions Solutions for the Natural Gas Community. CH4 Connections 2015 returns and explores methane emissions from a host of perspectives. Industry experts share their approaches to emissions policy and best practices for leak detection and mitigation in natural gas production, transmission, and distribution. The conference will be held October 6-7, 2015, at the Lone Star Community Building (5000 Research Forest Dr). Learn more at www.cvent.com.
  10. Green Building Tour: BBVA Compass Stadium. Tour the LEED Silver Certified BBVA Compass Stadium, home of the Houston Dynamo Soccer Team on October 9, 2015, between 10am and 2pm. Each small group guided tour will last approximately 35 minutes. Meet at the guard building at Hutchins St. & Walker St. Learn more at www.houstontx.gov.
  11. Prairie Month. Celebrate Prairie Month from October 8, 2015, to November 14, 2015. Join the conservation community for a series of fun and informative events in 
the Greater Houston region, celebrating and restoring 
our prairie heartland! There will be Refuge Van Tours at Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge (October 3 and November 7), Seed Collecting Trip to the Nash Prairie (October 12), Prairie Pandemonium at Armand Bayou Nature Center (October 17), Not-So-Scary Prairie Trick-or-Treating on the Katy Prairie (October 31), Putting Down Roots Restoration Day on the Katy Prairie (November 7), 2015 Southern Plains & Prairies Conference (November 12-14), Prairie Plant-A-thon at Sheldon Lake State Park (November 14), Putting Down Roots Restoration Day on the Katy Prairie (November 14), and more! Learn more about these events at http://prairiepartner.org.
  12. BPA’s 12th Annual Water Quality Symposium – Trash, Plastic and Automobiles: Gross Pollutants in Our Watersheds. The Bayou Preservation Association will focus on pollutants at its 12th Annual Symposium titled “Trash, Plastic & Automobiles: Gross Pollutants in Our Watersheds.” To be held at the United Way of Greater Houston on October 9, 2015, from 8am-3pm, the Symposium will include fun and informative presentations covering many topics, including the Path of Trash, the Bottle Bill, illegal dumping, floatable control efforts, TxDOT’s “Don’t Mess with Texas” campaign, Equusearch’s car removal program and much more. The keynote speaker for this year’s Symposium is Chad Pregracke, founder of Living Lands & Waters and 2013 CNN Hero of the Year for his efforts in removing debris from our nation’s largest rivers (estimated at 8.4 million pounds) with the help of his crew and more than 87,000 volunteers. BPA’s Symposium has become a sought-after event among key policy makers, planners, scientists and engineers who value the expertise presented throughout the day-long conference. The registration fee is $35 for students and Bayou HEROns and $65 for general registration. Register online at www.bayoupreservation.org.
  13. Big Thicket Day. On October 10, 2015, 11:00am-3:00pm the Big Thicket Association will host Big Thicket Day to celebrate the establishment of the Big Thicket National Preserve, 41 years ago. This is a FREE event to the public and will be held at Collier’s Ferry Park on the Neches River. The park is adjacent to the Beaumont Country Club and is the historic site of Collier’s Ferry. Steve and Sheryl Hartz from the Old Time String Shoppe in Nacogdoches will provide bluegrass music and booths will offer hands-on activities for children of all ages. The IVORY BILL will be on hand to conduct short eco-tours on the Neches River. Learn more at www.bigthicket.org.
  14. Waste Not, Want Not – Repurposing our Resources. Being more conscious about resource consumption can mean cost savings for a business as well as demonstrate your company’s commitment to the environment. In this workshop, property managers and tenant representatives will come together to learn about best practices in recycling and waste diversion strategies, including responsibly recycling e-waste, food waste recovery, and construction and demolition waste recovery. You’ll hear from experts who will showcase case studies, present best practices, and share their experiences in managing and reducing waste streams at the office. The workshop will be held on October 13, 2015, 9:30-11am, at IKEA Houston (7810 Katy Fwy). Register at www.eventbrite.com.
  15. CWI: Galveston Bay Report Card Review. Please join H-GAC for the next CWI Workshop: Galveston Bay Report Card Review. This workshop will be held on October 13, 2015, from 1:30-3pm. at the Houston-Galveston Area Council offices. Lisa Gonzalez, Primary Researcher for the Galveston Bay Report Card, will present on the methodology used to develop the grade and report findings. Immediately following the presentation, a panel of representatives from H-GAC, the Galveston Bay Foundation, and the Center for Houston’s Future will convene to discuss the report findings and where Galveston Bay goes from here. Read the full Galveston Bay Report Card.
  16. Armand Yramategui Conservation Award Luncheon. Join the Armand Bayou Nature Center and BB&T for a luncheon honoring The Galveston Bay Foundation with the Armand Yramategui Conservation Award. The Armand Yramategui Conservation Award (“Armand”) memorializes the renowned Texas conservationist Armand Yramategui and is awarded to an individual or organization from the Bay Area Houston / Clear Lake region that best represents the community’s interests and efforts to conserve local natural resources for the benefit of native wildlife, ecosystem services, environmental education, and public access to nature. The luncheon will be held on October 14, 2015, at noon at he Bay Oaks Country Club. Learn more at www.abnc.org.
  17. Certified YardWise Master Composter Training Program. A Certified YardWise Master Composter Training Program will be held October 15-18, 2015, at the Green Building Resource Center. Certified YardWise Master Composters (MC) complete a 20-hour training course by approved MC instructors, as well as 20 hours of volunteer community service in public compost education and awareness (within six months of completing the course). MC training courses will provide at least 16 hours of classroom time to be supplemented with four hours of hands-on training. The cost is $40 per person. Learn more at www.greenhoustontx.gov.
  18. 7th Annual Roots & Shoots Sporting Clays Classic. The 2015 Roots & Shoots Sporting Clays Classic will be held on October 16, 2015, 8am-1pm at the Greater Houston Gun Club. Come out for a day of fun and fundraising benefiting Trees For Houston! This will be a 72 target tournament. Find more details at www.treesforhouston.org.
  19. ABNC Prairie Pandemonium. Volunteer to help restore one of the last remaining stands of Texas coastal tallgrass prairie! ABNC Prairie Pandemonium will be held on October 17, 2015, 8am-noon. Volunteers will become part of a planting effort to transplant native grasses and wildflowers into ABNC’s restored prairies. Volunteers will need to bring sturdy shoes and clothes that can get muddy. Tools and work gloves will be provided. To register, contact zach@abnc.org. Volunteers must be 12 years of age or older. Those under 18 must be accompanied by and adult. PP Flyer 2015
  20. 22nd Annual Pumpkin Patch Fall Festival. Pick up the perfect pumpkin for your front porch during the Nature Discovery Center’s 22nd Annual Pumpkin Patch fall festival to be held in Russ Pitman Park from October 17-18, 2015, 11am-4pm both days. Winner of the 2014 Macaroni Kid Gold Daisy Award for Best Fall Festival in SW Houston/Fort Bend County, this two day festival features a lawn covered with hundreds of pumpkins, and a 4 acre nature park filled with games, activities, food, and crafts. Special activities at the event include the Tub-of-Fun ride, horse drawn wagon rides in the neighborhood, a 65-foot obstacle course, a rope bridge, and more. Vendors will sell gifts and crafts in the park throughout the event. Admission to the festival is free, but tickets are required for food, games and activities. Pumpkins will be sold for cash or tickets. Pumpkin Passes, available for purchase at the event, save you money and eliminate the need to keep track of tickets while you enjoy the event. Proceeds will directly impact the science and nature based educational programming the Center offers to children, families, and schools throughout the year. For more event information call 713.667.6550 or e-mail Anne Eisner at aeisner@naturediscoverycenter.org.
  21. Blazing New Trails – 1% To Conserve Galveston Island. Galveston leaders are blazing a new trail in business partnership and conservation. Leaders from Galveston’s business community, natural resource professionals and community – wide have stepped forward to form the first 1% To Conserve Galveston Island™ Advisory Board. The Board will be responsible for developing 1% To Conserve Galveston Island’s management systems for awarding funds to Island based conservation projects. 1% to Conserve Galveston Island™ is a voluntary partnership with local businesses to create a local funding source for conservation projects on Galveston Island. Read more at www.facebook.com/toconservegalvestonisland.
  22. People + Nature Conference. The reinvention of Houston is already underway. Our bayous are being reconnected with trails and new bike lanes are opening. More people travel Main street via rail on transit per mile than on any other modern light rail line in the nation, pockets of wild nature are being embedded in our cities, and our signature parks are being greatly transformed. The 2015 People & Nature Conference will bring together the best minds in urbanism and conservation to accelerate this progress. Our offerings are designed to attract urban planners, biologists, landscape architects, decision makers, child and parks advocates, health professionals, conservationists, and more. 100% of proceeds raised from this conference will benefit the new Houston Children in Nature Collaborative. Please help support our work to make Houston a greener, healthier, and better connected city and region. The People + Nature Conference is a 3-day event with inspiring speakers, a design charette, educational field trips, and much more. The conference will take place October 20-22, 2015. Learn more and register at www.peopleandnatureconference.org.
  23. 12th Annual ASES Houston Solar Tour in Pearland. The 2015 12th Annual Houston Solar Tour is a self-guided tour that offers visitors the opportunity to learn about solar energy systems, energy efficiency and sustainable building technologies by visiting residences and businesses in the Houston area that use these technologies in real world applications. Tour sites are open from 9am-1pm on October 24, 2015. Presented by the Houston Renewable Energy Group. Learn more at www.houstonsolartour.com.
  24. Adopt an Activist – The Surfrider Foundation. The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots organizations dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network. This organization allows you to support their volunteers through their Adopt An Activist campaign. Learn more at https://surfrider.secure.force.com.
  25. The Woods Project’s Fall Luncheon: Celebrating Transformative Experiences. The Woods Project will be hosting their annual luncheon October 27, 2015, 11:30am-1pm at The Junior League of Houston. They are thrilled to announce Javier Loya, President & CEO OTC Holdings Group, will be the keynote speaker. He will share his insight on what low income students need to find success in school and life. The Master of Ceremonies will be Mike Feinberg, KIPP co-founder. Students from TWP 2015 summer program will be joining luncheon guests to share personal stories about their summer trip experiences and how TWP has changed the way they see themselves and the bigger world around them. Learn more and register at www.thewoodsproject.org.
  26. Dinner and Conversation with Nicholas Kristof. Join Center for Houston’s Future on November 11, 2015, at 6pm at the River Oaks Country Club, for a discussion on Civic Vitality. This topic has become a recurrent theme in the work of the 2015 guest of honor, New York Times columnist and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Nicholas Kristof. He won his first Pulitzer in collaboration with his wife, Sheryl WuDunn for their coverage of the Chinese democracy movement and its suppression in Tiananmen Square. Kristof received his second Pulitzer in recognition of his “graphic, deeply reported columns that, at personal risk, focused attention on genocide in Darfur and that gave voice to the voiceless in other parts of the world.” In their latest book, A Path Appears, Kristof and WuDunn shine a light on the work of people actively engaging with the world to battle oppression and expand opportunity. Moderating the conversation will be Chris Knapp, perhaps Houston’s foremost advocate of impact investing, and whose community engagement leadership runs from the University of Houston Honors College to the Hermann and Memorial Park conservancies to Workshop Houston and Peckerwood Garden. Learn more and reserve your seat by visiting https://interland3.donorperfect.net.
  27. 2016 Earth Day Art Contest. Air Alliance Houston is now accepting submissions for the 2016 Earth Day Art Contest, open to Houston-area students in the third through twelfth grades. Cash prizes will be awarded to multiple winners in each category. Art will be auctioned off to raise money for the winning artists’ schools, as well as Air Alliance Houston’s educational programs. The artwork must be submitted by January 31, 2016. Find the contest guidelines at www.earthdayhouston.org.
  28. Green Office Challenge. The Houston Green Office Challenge is a friendly competition for commercial office tenants that acknowledges participants for their achievements in greening their operations through Mayoral and media recognition. The Green Office Challenge helps participants move down the path towards environmental sustainability and, in some cases, towards third-party green building certification through the ENERGY STAR and LEED™ rating systems. Office tenants in the City of Houston are invited to participate in the Green Office Challenge. The Challenge will evaluate the “greenness” of their operations using the innovative “Green Office Scorecard.” Tenants will be recognized for implementation of green strategies that address office energy and water use, waste, transportation, and outreach. The deadline for activity submission is October 30, 2015. Sign up at www.greenpsf.com.


  1. Lone Star Hiking Trail Conservancy – Superior Trails. American Hiking Society and Michelob ULTRA have teamed up to provide 2 grants of $25,000 to deserving nonprofit organizations. Lone Star Hiking Trail Conservancy (LSHT Conservancy) is one of the top ten finalists! Lone Star Hiking Trail Conservancy is a nonprofit organization that maintains hiking trails, builds signs, camping areas in Sam Houston National Forest (by Sam Houston State Park) located in New Waverly to Huntsville Texas. LSHT Conserving is the only organization in Texas that is one of the finalist! You can vote daily through September. To vote, visit http://superiortrails.michelobultra.com.
  2. Local Park Grant Program. Recreation Grants is now accepting applications for the Urban Outdoor, Non-urban Outdoor, and Small Community Local Park Grant Programs through October 1, 2015. The Local Park Grant Program consists of 5 individual programs that assist local units of government with the acquisition and/or development of public recreation areas and facilities throughout the State of Texas. The Program provides 50% matching grants on a reimbursement basis to eligible applicants. All grant assisted sites must be dedicated as parkland in perpetuity, properly maintained and open to the public. Learn more at http://tpwd.texas.gov.
  3. 73rd Annual Bulb & Plant Mart. One of the largest and oldest horticultural events in Texas, the 73rd annual Bulb & Plant Mart, sponsored by the Garden Club of Houston, (GCH) will be held October 1-3, 2015, at St. John the Divine Church (2450 River Oaks Blvd). More than 500,000 top-quality bulbs from domestic and international suppliers from Amaryllis to Zantedeschia (Calla Lily) will be available at the Mart. Experienced as well as beginning gardeners will find an expanded collection of hard-to-find and unusual Crinums, Daylilies, Gingers, perennials, trees, shrubs, vines, herbs and citrus plants, including unique offerings from the gardens of GCH members, grown specifically for the Mart. Visitors to the Bulb & Plant Mart will receive a Horticultural Guide for Houston, prepared by the Club. The booklet includes the botanical names and descriptions of the items for sale, information on planting and caring for plants, as well as a planting calendar for bulbs.
  4. 10th Annual Nonprofit Law Institute. 10th Annual Nonprofit Law Institute Presented by Houston Young Lawyers Association will be held on October 6, 2015, 9am-2pm at the United Way of Greater Houston. This is your chance to tap into Houston’s top legal and financial minds on these topics of critical interest: Lobbying for A Better World: Rules for Every Non-Profit During Campaign Season; Copyright Compliance, Content Licensing, and Contracting: Newer Risks, Lingering Myths, and Smart Management Processes, Tools and Checklists for Non-Profit Leaders; Keys to Understanding Nonprofit Financial Statements; and Hot Topics in Labor and Employment Law. The registration fee is $40 (Central Market box lunch add on: $10). Learn more and register at www.cvent.com.
  5. Deepwater Horizon NRDA Early Restoration Projects – Update. The latest round of early restoration projects have been approved! This includes two Texas projects, a $45 million sea turtle restoration project and a $20 million bird rookery islands restoration project. You can also view the final Phase IV Early Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessments document at www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov.
  6. 2015 TAEE Conference. The Texas Association for Environmental Education Conference 2015 will be held October 9-10, 2015, at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. The conference will cover: strategies for education programs and classrooms, STEM in Texas, program development and sustainability, assessment and evaluation, what’s new in EE literacy, certification and guidelines. Dr. Laura Downey, Executive Director of Kansas Association for Conservation & Environmental Education, will be the Keynote Speaker. Registration is $60 (includes lunch and a membership to TAEE for one year). Learn more at https://sites.google.com.
  7. Deadline for Comments on Project Deficiency Report for Houston-Galveston Navigation Channels (HGNC) Project. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Galveston District announced the release of the Draft Project Deficiency Report (DPDR), Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA), and the Draft General Conformity Determination (DGCD), and their public comment periods, for the Houston Ship Channel Project Deficiency Report, Houston-Galveston Navigation Channels. The USACE, Galveston District has prepared a DEA in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Public Law 91-190, and regulations for implementing the Procedural Provisions of the NEPA, 40 Code of Federal Reulations 1500-1508. Comments are needed from interested parties to assist in collecting facts and recommendations concerning the tentatively recommended corrective actions to the exiting authorized 45-foot deep Houston Ship Channel. All comments and questions on the documents should be addressed to: andrea.catanzaro@usace.army.mil or(409) 766-6346. The deadline for comments is October 15, 2015. Read more at www.swg.usace.army.mil.
  8. People’s Climate March Houston. This fall, front-line communities impacted by the environmental crisis and climate change, are joining with workers, people of faith, students, immigrants, racial, climate and economic justice activists and other community members, to call for bold action on climate at the local, national and global levels.  The People’s Climate Movement and others are calling for a National Day of Action Wednesday, October 14, 2015, to demand bold action on the climate crisis facing our planet. Learn more about the Houston event at http://peoplesclimate.org.
  9. 2015 EcoChallenge. You are invited to challenge yourself to better care for the environment during the upcoming online EcoChallenge. Participants choose one action to reduce their environmental impact and stick with it for the two week challenge period (October 15-29, 2015). There are many possible challenges to choose from in the categories of: water conservation, energy efficiency, sustainable food options, alternative transportation, trash reduction, civic engagement, and connect with Earth. Or, you can create your own challenge by using the “choose your own” option. Individuals, families, and other groups can participate. The Eco-Challenge is a competition, with points tallied and prizes at the national level to incentivize your active participation. For more information, see www.ecochallenge.org. Sign up today and challenge yourself to become a better steward of our shared environment.
  10. Discussion Course:  A World of Health. You are invited to join a series of six conversations on the connections between human health and the environment, using the discussion course A World of Health: Connecting People, Place, and Planet, from the Northwest Earth Institute. Discussions will take place on Wednesdays from 6-7pm at Christ the King Evangelical Lutheran Church, corner of Rice Blvd. and Greenbriar in Houston, beginning on October 21, 2015. There are Metro bus stops nearby for lines 27, 41, and 84. The book which serves as the source material for our discussions is available for purchase at www.nwei.org. If you plan to participate, purchase the text and read the material for session 1 prior to October 21. Please contact Lisa at gcs.lrc@gmail.com to sign up or for more information.
  11. Fall 2015 Interfaith Environmental Stewardship Event. Calling those of all faiths, or no faith at all, to care for our shared environment on October 25, 2015, from 1:30-4:30pm. Participants will engage in hands-on environmental stewardship by clearing brush/trash and planting native plants at the Willow Waterhole Conservation Reserve in Houston. This event will offer activities for all ages and skill levels, so bring the whole family, your neighbors and your friends. Meet at The Gathering Place, 5310 South Willow Dr., Houston 77035 to sign in. Metro bus line 7 stops nearby. Tools/supplies will be provided. This event is organized by Christ the King Evangelical Lutheran Church, Congregation Brith Shalom, and the Dialogue Institute of the Southwest, in partnership with the Willow Waterhole Greenspace Conservancy. The conservancy requires signing of a waiver to participate. Contact Lisa at gcs.lrc@gmail.com for more information or to sign up to help (and receive a copy of the waiver form).
  12. TV: Texas Parks & Wildlife. Broadcast on KUHT Channel 8 at 3:00 PM each Saturday and on municipal access cable channels in Baytown, Deer Park, Houston, Nassau Bay, Pasadena, Seabrook, Sugar Land, and on HCC TV. More info on the TPWD website (* indicates a segment about the Houston area). For a preview, visit TPWD’s YouTube Page.
    • Dealing With Kills & Spills
    • Buffalo Soldiers: Making the Connections
    • Good Guzzlers
    • Biking Colorado Bend
  13. Air Quality Forecast. http://www.tceq.texas.gov/airquality/monops/forecast_today.html. Houston Clean Air Network and Realtime Ozone Mapping: http://houstoncleanairnetwork.com.
    • September 30, 2015: Green–Good. Moderate winds and lower incoming background levels should help to keep air quality in the “Good” range.
    • October 1, 2015: Green–Good. Moderate winds and low incoming background levels should help to keep air quality in the “Good” range statewide.
    • October 2, 2015: Green–Good. Moderate winds, cooler temperatures, and low incoming background levels should help to keep air quality in the “Good” range statewide.
    • October 3, 2015: Green–Good. Moderate winds, cooler temperatures, and low incoming background levels should help to keep air quality in the “Good” range statewide.

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