Houston Environmental News Update September 27, 2017

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

One of our favorite memes at this time of year starts off, “It’s fall in Texas! You know what that means!” The response is that nothing is happening; it’s still 90 degrees outside. I don’t disagree with the assessment of heat. On the other hand, this is when the environmental community in the Houston Gulf/Coast region starts coming out of the summer doldrums.
Some widespread environmental observances we see this week are National Public Lands Day (scroll down to see local events), National Voter Registration Day, World Contraception Day, and the Texas Observance of National Night Out (thank goodness the observation isn’t in August). Last week, we highlighted the International Coastal Cleanup, but we neglected to mention the International Day of Peace, World Water Monitoring Day, and–argh!–talk like a pirate day. (OK, that last one isn’t particularly environmental.)
One observance we would like to highlight this week is National Estuaries Day (or week). The Galveston Bay Estuary is our largest local estuary. The photo above is a recent picture of a dolphin in Galveston Bay. Galveston Bay Foundation, with help from research organizations such as the Environmental Institute of Houston, has been monitoring the dolphin population in the bay, and this photo illustrates their recent report on the Impacts of Hurricane Harvey on the Dolphins of Galveston Bay.
The Galveston Bay Foundation is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. In fact, in 1987, the CEC Newsleaf’s August edition started off with an article about the newly incorporated Galveston Bay Foundation.
Galveston Bay Foundation continues to do excellent work to preserve and enhance Galveston Bay as a healthy and productive place for generations to come. In addition to monitoring the effects of Harvey on the Bay, recent work includes the publication, in collaboration with HARC, of the Galveston Bay Report Card. This year’s grade of a C, writes the Foundation, denotes that Galveston Bay continues to do pretty well for now, but there are issues, and there are actions we can take to ensure the bay’s future prosperity.
Officially established in 1989, the Galveston Bay Estuary Program is one of two estuary programs in Texas and one of 28 National Estuary Programs in the United States. As a non-regulatory program administered by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, GBEP is charged with implementing The Galveston Bay Plan – a Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan for Galveston Bay. GBEP is in the process of revising the plan. To learn more about how you can be a part of the process, please visit www.GalvestonBayPlan.com.

Happy National Voter Registration Day! Here in Texas, we’ve got an election on November 7, 2017. The deadline to register in time to vote in the November election is October 10, so you’ve still got time!

Some of our favorite resources for voters are the League of Women Voters of the Houston Area, Texas League of Conservation Voters, and the Environmental Voter Project. Not sure whether you are registered or how to register? You can visit votetexas.gov or contact the voter registrar for your county.

We have tried to confirm the events listed below, but not all organizations have updated their websites. Please consider confirming directly with the hosts.


CEC soliciting film submissions
Please consider submitting a short film (under 7 minutes) for possible inclusion in CEC’s Greater Houston Environmental Film Contest on November 15, 2017. Winning entries will be shown at CEC’s showing of the Wild & Scenic Film Festival On Tour on January 24 & 25, 2018.

Support the environment through workplace giving! EarthShare of Texas
Does your employer offer workplace giving? Many companies and businesses that offer workplace giving have charitable campaigns underway. CEC–and several of its member organizations–participate in workplace giving through EarthShare of Texas. Contributions made through these campaigns make a huge difference to the CEC. THANK YOU if you already give!

Check the ESTX website to see if your employer participates. If you would like a speaker to come share information with your workplace or if your employer doesn’t participate, please contact Elizabeth Howley, Business Development Director, EarthShare of Texas: 713-533-8988 or [email protected]earthshare-texas.org.


  1. Sabine Woods and Sea Rim State Park John Haynes
    ONC/OG Upcoming field trip to the Texas Ornithological Society’s Sabine Woods Sanctuary in Jefferson County for ONC/OG members, Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017. This will be led by John Haynes, local patch expert. Meet at entrance at 8:00am, State Hwy 87, Sabine Pass, TX 77655. Limited to 16. Contact Nina Rach, [email protected], if you are interested in reserving a spot.
  2. Post-Harvey Clean-ups on Sept. 30, 2017
  3. 2017 High Performance Schools Summit
    The day has finally come for the US Green Building Council Texas Chapter’s morning of presentations and dialogue at their 2017 High Performance Schools Summit at the Houston Zoo to explore the intersection of high performance schools and enhanced learning environments. If you missed their early bird special, you can still come bright and early to register at 7:30 AM on the day of their Summit Thursday, September 28, 2017, or skip the line and register at usgbc.org. For the full event schedule and list of guest speakers, visit usgbc.org.
  4. Pier & Beam Fall Party
    Join Pier & Beam, Preservation Houston’s next-generation member group, for our annual Fall Party membership and fundraising event Thursday evening, September 28, 2017, at Lucille’s in the Museum District. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the group has decided to forego its usual Fall Party format in favor of an event that will raise funds to help Preservation Houston offer support to the owners of flood-damaged historic homes and buildings. All Fall Party tickets include a tax-deductible donation to Preservation Houston that will be used to assist the owners of those properties with consulting and recovery services. Learn more at preservationhouston.org.
  5. Instant Impact Workshop
    Join H-GAC on Friday, September 29, 2017, for the Instant Impact Workshop to learn about lighter, quicker, less expensive ways to create more vibrant streets. Registration will be at 8:30 AM and the workshop will begin 9:00 AM. Local and national experts will share Instant Impact strategies for temporary and cost-effective ways to enhance a plan and gain quick wins for your community. Following presentations, they invite you to explore Instant Impact displays to learn how they can be used for your next plan.
  6. Volunteer Clean-up at Millby Park
    Houston Parks and Recreation Department’s Natural Resources Management Program is hosting a volunteer hurricane cleanup day at the Milby Park riparian restoration at 2001 Central St, Houston, TX 77017 on Friday, September 29th, from 9:00AM-12:00PM. Please help save newly planted trees from Hurricane Harvey’s damage! Help out with straightening bent saplings, removing trash washed up from Sims Bayou, and cutting debris from trees. To participate, please RSVP to [email protected] .
  7. Image result for national education environmental foundationNational Public Lands Day 
    Ready to participate in the National Environmental Education Foundation’s annual National Public Lands Day on Saturday, September 30, 2017? To encourage people to join in and visit their public lands, NPLD is a fee-free day for all federal public lands and many state parks. Whether you volunteer on NPLD, enjoy some boating, hiking, fishing, or camping, or simply learn more about your public lands and the plants and wildlife that live there, NEEF invites you to take this day to enjoy the great outdoors and celebrate the lands that give us so much. Enter your zip code or address to find an NPLD event near you.

  8. Fall Prairie Day & Bioblitz at Deer Park Prairie
    On Saturday, Sep. 30, 3017, from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm, join the Houston Chapter of the Native Prairies Association of Texas for their Fall Prairie Day & Bioblitz at Deer Park Prairie. Activities include surveys of birds, insects, plants, and butterflies, as well as volunteer opportunities, walks, and, if you RSVP, lunch.
  9. Educator Day Science Expo at the Houston Zoo
    Come learn what the Houston Zoo has to offer at the Zoo’s annual Educator Day. On Saturday, Sept., 30, 2017, learn about a variety of programs for all age groups as well as meet the Zoo’s science partners around the city and see what they have to offer. Take part in on-grounds tours and sessions on incorporating nature, wildlife and project-based learning into your classroom. Registration includes admission to the Zoo, free resources, activities, and much more.
  10. Fall Plant Sale: HMNS
    Interested in Butterfly Gardening? The perfect opportunity to get started awaits you twice each year, at the Cockrell Butterfly Center’s semi-annual plant sales. Once in spring and once in fall, the Houston Museum of Natural Science offers a wide variety of nectar plants for butterflies and host plants for their caterpillars. Plenty of experts are on hand to answer your butterfly gardening questions and help you to create the perfect butterfly habitat – right in your own backyard. September 30, 3017. Learn more at hmns.org.
  11. Blackwood Farm to Table Dinner
    Join Blackwood on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, for a 7-course Farm to Table Dinner at Blackwood Educational Land Institute, in partership with Long Spoon Catering and Education. Reservations may be made online at blackwoodland.org. A portion of the proceeds from this dinner will be donated to a family of six affected by Hurricane Harvey.
  12. ‘A Texas Plan for the Texas Coast’ with Jim Blackburn
    Come hear Jim Blackburn, Dean of Texas’ Environmental Movement, talk about Houston flooding – its causes and solutions. He’ll also talk about his new book, A Texan Plan for the Texas Coast.  Blackburn will present maps and graphics about Harvey’s impact in the context of his 15-point plan for Houston’s redevelopment after Harvey that was recently published by the Baker Institute at Rice. Blackburn will be signing copies of his book which will be available for purchase. Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, at the new LifeHTX event space. Learn more on the CEC Calendar.
  13. Family Outdoor Camping at Baytown Nature Center
    Can’t wait to go camping? Wondering how to build a campfire? How to pitch a tent? Join the Baytown Nature Center on October 7 & 8, 2017, to learn the basics of camping. Campers must bring their own camping gear, sleeping bags and fishing gear. Dinner and breakfast will be provided. Pre-registration and pre-payment required by October 1.
  14. Urban Harvest Farmers Market at Saint Arnold
    The Urban Harvest Farmers Market is bringing the bounty of the garden and delicious food vendors to the Saint Arnold Brewery on Sunday, October 1, 2017. Shop local and grab a beer in the comfort of our air-conditioned beer hall. Saint Arnold Brewing Company is brewing up a special brew “Urban Harvest No.2” that is a blend of Fancy Lawnmower with Java Pura’s Panamanian Hartmann Estate Geisha Coffee. Learn more on facebook.
  15. LINK Houston announces new Executive Director
    LINK Houston, an advocacy organization focused on mobility and transportation equity, announced the hire of its first executive director, Oni Blair, as well as its commitment to prioritizing mobility options as part of the Harvey recovery effort.LINK Houston is a new non-profit organization that grew from a series of community conversations convened by Houston Endowment and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation-Houston (LISC) in 2016. This process examined how to promote equitable transportation by aligning policies, systems, and funding streams to better serve under-resourced communities, and ensure resident involvement in decision-making about transportation. The planning process resulted in start-up funding from Houston Endowment to launch LINK Houston this year. Read the full announcement at linkhouston.org.
  16. Scenic Houston Action Alert
    Proposed new TxDOT rules could double the height of billboards along Texas roadways, from 42 ½ feet to 85 feet! Tell TxDOT commissioners that oversized billboards are unsightly and a driver distraction. To learn more about the issue from Scenic Houston and Scenic Texas, visit scenictexas.org. Work by Scenic Houston has contributed to removal of 85% of billboards in the City of Houston.
  17. Pliable: Rice Design Alliance and Rice Architecture Fall 2017 Lecture Series
    The Pliable series features three internationally renowned practitioners who advocate for the immediacy of material investigations and fabrication in architecture, whether low-tech or high-tech, analog or digital. Through their research and design, all three offer up nimble responses to unforeseen material and fabrication challenges and opportunities. On the surface, these three designers are linked by their innovative work with textiles. Upon closer examination, they are reshaping contemporary practice in compelling, provocative ways through material-based research and with repercussions for all design fields. The three lectures will be on October 4, 11, and 25. All lectures will begin at 7 p.m. in Match Box 4 at Midtown Arts & Theater Center Houston (MATCH) at 3400 Main Street. Pre-lecture reception begins at 6:15 p.m. Learn more and register at ricedesignalliance.org.
  18. Relaunch of The Progressive Forum
    After a three-year hiatus, The Progressive Forum is back! The relaunch event, on Nov. 6, 2017, will feature Anthony Romero, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the nation’s premier defender of civil liberties. Learn more at progressiveforumhouston.org.
  19. Environmental Protectors Implementing Change (EPIC)
    The Eddie V. Gray Wetland Center and the Baytown Nature Center are hosting a free service learning club for high school teens with an interest in conservation. Environmental Protectors Implementing Change (EPIC) is an afterschool club that meets at the Wetlands Education Center to learn about and solve coastal environmental problems through hands-on projects. Learn more at baytown.org.
  20. NPSOT Native Landscape Certification Program
    Did you miss getting into a Level 1 or Level 3 NLCP class last Spring? Don’t wait any longer to get your place in the upcoming Fall 2017 Houston-area classes. Take Level 1 and learn the 5 ecoregions and 4 soil types for the Greater Houston Area. Learn about 45 natives that thrive here, including trees, shrubs, vines, flowers, grasses and ground covers. Take Level 3 next and learn about 45 more natives, how to install and take care of your plants with a maintenance schedule for all 90 natives. The level 1 class will be held on Oct. 14, 2017, and Level 3 on Nov. 4, 2017. Learn more at npsot.org.
  21. TV: Texas Parks & Wildlife Broadcast on KUHT Channel 8 at 3:00 p.m. 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.
    • Help for the Horned Lizard: Texas horned lizards are icons of wild Texas, but they are getting harder to find.  Learn what may be causing declines of this legendary critter, and what’s being done about it.
    • Leave No Trace: The mantra of the true outdoors lover is “Leave no trace”. Here’s some ideas for leaving the environment better than you found it.
    • Young Guns: There’s a crisp bite in the air on a cool December morning. The mist covers the pond, as pintails fly overhead. It’s duck hunting season. Join us as we follow two boys as part of a special hunt just for youngsters.
  22. Additional Upcoming Events