Houston Environmental News Update March 22, 2017

Scroll down to read notes from our member organizations and the community, or view the emailed version of the newsletter, which includes a Texas legislative update and green job listings.

Morning on Buffalo Bayou, March 18, 2017, shot by Jim Olive from a high bank in Memorial Park looking downstream with River Oaks Country Club property on the right.Today is World Water Day, yesterday was the International Day of Forests, preceded by the first day of spring. And that’s just a few of the worldwide things going on.

The photo above, from CEC’s new member group Save Buffalo Bayou (profile below), illustrates all three of those ideas. The photo shows Buffalo Bayou meandering through our urban forest, and was taken on the first day of Spring, by noted photographer Jim Olive.

On the topic of World Water Day… Guy Rider, the Chair of UN-Water, encourages us to “Do what you can, do it with others, and do it with passion.” Sounds like a great way to change the world.

Breaking news: The City of Houston just adopted the Bike Plan.


Environment Matters Happy Hour
March 29, 2017, 6 PM
Eureka Brewery, 941 W 18th St, Houston, TX 77008

Join the Citizens’ Environmental Coalition (CEC) for Environment Matters – a periodic gathering for anyone interested in the environment. Grab a seat & beverage for an inclusive and interactive get together. Learn from experts, find out about local events, and enjoy the fun! If you are new to the Houston environmental community, this will be a great event to connect.

This month, Melanie Scruggs, Houston Program Director for Texas Campaign for the Environment. Melanie Scruggs graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Plan II Honors degree. Melanie joined TCE in 2012 as a community organizer, field manager, and program staff member in Austin before moving to Houston to serve as Program Director in 2013. She serves on the board of the Houston Clean City Commission/Keep Houston Beautiful, the Houston Peace and Justice Center and the League of Women Voters of the Houston Area.

We expect other avid legislative wonks will be joining us. We won’t be drunk-dialing our legislators, but we’ll definitely suggest ways to let them know what you think.

Food: The Mi Garita food truck will be on site. You may also bring in outside food.
Drink: Eureka has many fantastic beverages available and you may also bring in nonalcoholic beverages (reusable water bottle, etc..). To maximize meeting and greeting, please consider arriving a few minutes early.

Stump the Treehugger: Earth Day Environmental Trivia Contest

Join CEC at Saint Arnold Brewing Company on Sunday, April 30, 2017, from 4 PM to 6 PM for the Earth Day Houston Environmental Trivia Contest. Sponsored by the Citizens’ Environmental Coalition, this exciting new way to celebrate Earth Day will stimulate and challenge all area tree-huggers (as well as budding ones). Think & Drink for the Planet!

Teams of eight players each will compete in nine rounds of earthy trivia, answering eco-centric questions in the following categories:
  • Enviro 101
  • Soils
  • Plants and Agriculture
  • Water
  • Air
  • Animals and Wildlife
  • Human Footprint
  • Politics, Government, and Eco-Justice
  • Global Issues

Ripe Cuisine food truck will have healthy, plant-based, seasonally inspired, and locally sourced delicious food available for purchase.

Both individuals and entire teams of eight are welcome to sign up for the contest (individuals will be assigned to a team). Register on EventBrite. We hope to see you there!

Earth Day Houston 2017

Dozens of Earth Day festivals will be held throughout the Houston area in 2017. We have begun compiling a list of Earth Month events on our calendar.

If you are hosting an Earth Month event (or any environment-related event), please be sure to let us know so we can share it! Information can be sent to [email protected]

Earth Day Houston 2018

The CEC is gearing up for the Earth Day Houston 2018, and is recruiting members for our planning committee. Join us at a planning meeting on May 11, 2017. To become a part of this exciting event, contact Marina Rossow, Program Manager, at 713-524-4232 or [email protected]

CEC welcomes Save Buffalo Bayou as a new member




  1. River, Lakes, Bays ‘N Bayous Trash Bash®
    Every year, thousands of volunteers gather along Texas waterways to do their part in cleaning up the environment by participating in the largest, single-day waterway cleanup in the state of Texas. Register as an individual or as a group at trashbash.org. Most of the fourteen sites start at 8 am on March 25, 2017, for a half day of volunteering:

  2. Saving Wildlife Expo at the Houston Zoo
    On Saturday, March 25, 2017, 9am-4pm, the Houston Zoo is partnering with the Wildlife Conservation Network to host an all-day conservation event at the Zoo. This incredible event will feature five of the world’s strongest community-based conservation leaders who are all devoted to protecting wildlife. Come find out how you can save sharks, bats, tapirs and more. Visit the Saving Wildlife Expo webpage to learn more and purchase tickets.
  3. H2Ouston: Living in Flood Plains: 2017 RDA Architecture Tour
    Initially mapped in the 1970s, Houston’s floodplains continue to present unique physical, political, and economic challenges for architects and their clients. As new floodplain designations have created more exacting design and construction requirements over the years — and catastrophic flood events in the greater Houston region emphasize the stakes — H2Ouston: Living in Flood Plains explores the ways architects have responded to design with our bayous for resilience. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit rice.edu.
  4. NOAA Ocean Discovery Day
    Ocean Discovery Day, on March 25, 2017, is a FREE event designed to introduce residents and visitors to NOAA programs in their community. This open house invites people into the NOAA Galveston Lab to enjoy hands-on activities; explore coral reefs, salt marshes, offshore oil platforms and marine science careers; discover Fort Crockett history; learn how to rescue dolphins; visit with sea turtles; and see what NOAA is and does here in the Gulf of Mexico. Registration is not required, and you can learn more at flowergarden.noaa.gov.
  5. Lights Out Houston
    The City of Houston’s Office of Sustainability invites you to join businesses around Houston and across the world in celebration of Earth Hour, by turning off the lights on March 25, 2017, from 8:30 PM – 9:30 PM. This year, Lights Out Houston, a voluntary Houston-wide commitment to energy efficiency by commercial building owners and their tenants since 2008 is joining with Earth Hour, a worldwide movement that started as a lights-off event in 2007. Help Houston flip the switch toward energy efficiency and a sustainable future. Join millions of people, spanning across 178 countries worldwide, by turning off your lights for one hour to show your solidarity with the planet and the fight against climate change. This collective effort saves energy and helps make our communities healthier and happier places to call home. Make the pledge to participate in Lights Out Houston Today at EarthHour.org.
  6. Gulf Coast Green Symposium
    AIA Houston’s annual Gulf Coast Green conference is the leading green building conference in the region. This year’s conference focuses on The Science of Sustainability and will take place at the Health Museum on Monday, March 27, 2017. Learn more at Gulf Coast Green.
  7. Greens Bayou Coalition 10th Anniversary Luncheon
    On march 30, 2017, please join Greens Bayou Coalition as they honor volunteers, report on Greens Bayou watershed activities of 2016, and celebrate their 10th birthday. There will be a plated lunch, silent auction, and a keynote address. Speakers include Dr. Roel Lopez, Director of the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute and Professor in the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at Texas A&M University, and Stephen Costello, the City of Houston’s Chief Resilience Officer and former councilmember. Learn more and register at GreensBayou.org.
  8. Spring Creek Greenway Ambassador Training
    The Spring Creek Greenway is the longest contiguous urban forested corridor in the nation and includes green space land in both Harris and Montgomery counties. Bayou Land Conservancy protects thousands of acres along this corridor in both counties and also with The Woodlands, another Greenway partner. Due to the massive acreage of the Greenway, volunteers are needed year-round to ensure that the trail systems are cared for and remain safe for hiking, biking, and equestrian use. You can help by becoming a Spring Creek Greenway Ambassador. The next free, five-week adult training will begin on Thursday, March 30, 2017, at the Spring Creek Greenway Nature Center. Learn more at bayoulandconservancy.org.
  9. Memorial Park Conservancy Brunch Run
    The Brunch Run is the only fun run with such a fun after party! This event gets lots of media exposure for underwriters and provides an opportunity for area companies to host their employees in the Corporate Challenge health and wellness event. Join the Conservancy on Sat., April 1, 2017,  participate in the 4-mile Run/Walk, the Kid’s 1K, and Post-Race Party. You can also register for a sleep-in option; no foolin’! Register today!
  10. 2017 City Nature Challenge: Austin vs. Houston vs. DFW
    Join Texas Parks & Wildlife, Texas Master Naturalists, the Audubon Society, and others in a fun challenge to see which city can document the most species between April 14-18, 2017. It is easy to participate by joining an event, or making observations on your own using the iNaturalist app. With the iNaturalist app, you just take a picture of a plant or animal, and the community will help identify which species it is. Any observation in the greater metropolitan area of each city will count during the five day challenge. You can participate by exploring the life in your backyard, in your local park, or on a field trip with your local naturalist group. Learn more on the TPWD Nature Trackers webpage.
  11. EDF Launches Video Contest – Houston Teens Care about Clean Air
    In 2015, Houston experienced 44 days of unhealthy air quality. The region also continues to be unable to meet federal health-based air quality standards for ground-level ozone, commonly referred to as smog. Environmental Defense Fund is working together with four local high schools on a new video contest about the value of clean air. EDF is sponsoring the contest for students at four schools in Houston’s East End – Chavez, Furr, Galena Park and Milby. Students at those schools can submit short videos about the health effects of air pollution in Houston. Winning videos will be eligible to receive prizes worth up to $2,500. Winning students will also have the opportunity to learn filmmaking, editing and post-production techniques from Houston-area filmmaking professionals. Learn more at blogs.edf.org/texascleanairmatters/.
  12. Kinder Institute “Near-Miss” Study
    The Kinder Institute for Urban Research wants to understand the challenges experience by pedestrians and bicyclists and provide opportunities for residents to report daily travel challenges, including near-miss incidents. Get a chance to win a $100 gift card by recording your trip and near-miss for 7 consecutive days — weekends included! Learn more and register at kinder.rice.edu/NearMiss, and participate in a training with BikeHouston.
  13. Free Fourth Grade Field Trips!
    Every Kid in a Park in the Houston area is offering FREE transportation for nature-based learning opportunities. Learn more at www.hereinhouston.org.
  14. Additional Upcoming Events


  1. Public meetings for the National Forests and Grasslands in Texas (NFGT) Forest Plan (FP) revision
    The U.S. Forest Service (FS), begins a four-year process to revise the National Forests and Grasslands in Texas (NFGT) Forest Plan (FP). The first of six public meeting is on March 20, 2017, and the last is April 6, 2017. Check the CEC calendar for other dates and locations.Some of the issues to bring-up at public meetings include special management areas; red-cockaded Woodpecker management; reduction in oil/gas development; climate change management; trail corridor protection; prescribed burning; snags/downed trees; solitude, quiet, and natural sounds; urban effects; and non-native species. Whether you can or cannot attend the public meetings, please use one or more of the 10 issues mentioned above to write a personal letter or email to the U.S. Forest Service which expresses your opinion regarding the plan. Send your letter or email to Mr. Robert Potts, NFGT, 2221 North Raguet, Lufkin, Texas 75904 or [email protected]. You can learn more at www.fs.usda.gov.
  2. Loam Agronomics
    A farm your can love in the ‘burbs of Houston. Fresh and local food is important to the health of our community — both the people’s and the environment’s. We know that, so do the founders of Loam Agronomics, a new farm on 288-acres in Richmond, TX. If you’ve been looking for a regular supply of affordable and eco-friendly food delivered close to home, Loam has what you need. They’re setting up Drop Sites across Houston, scheduling pickups on Thursdays and Saturdays and pricing out boxes at just $30 a week! Check out what it means to be a part of their CSA (community supported agriculture program). And then join in. You may really like what they’re growing.
  3. 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, Texas City, Galveston, 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.

    • Ranch Wildlife: See how a ranch in Goliad County has improved its quail populations by improving grasslands.
    • Conservation Dollars: Meet the woman whose enthusiasm and passion has helped conservation funds reach Texas’ youth.
    • Kickapoo Cavern: Discover the birds, bats, and caves at Kickapoo Cavern State Park.
  4. Additional Upcoming Events