Houston Environmental News Update October 25, 2017

Go Astros! Go Vote!

  Orbit Houston Astros mascot preseason 2014

This week’s picks (and pics, above) for the week might not be obviously environmental, but who can blame us?

Let’s start with early voting. All Texas voters will have the opportunity to weigh in on seven Texas Constitutional Amendments. Depending on where you live, you may be able to vote on City of Houston bond elections (including one initiative for parks and open space), and candidates for Houston Community College and Houston Independent School District Boards of Trustees. The League of Women Voters of the Houston Area provides non-partisan background information on all of these elections. If you are Harris County, you can view your ballots at harrisvotes.org. Other voters can find their election administrator and links to county voting resources on the State of Texas’ website.

CEC is pleased to be cheering for the Astros in their quest to win the World Series. But who is winning from an environmental perspective? Major League Baseball–including the Astros and the Dodgers–participates in the Green Sports Alliance. The Green Sports Alliance, in partnership with the National Resources Defense Council, works to raise awareness about climate change and the importance of environmental sustainability. The Astros themselves are, like the Dodgers, members of the Alliance. Happily, we all win because of their commitment to sustainability.

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.

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


Toss it? No Way. Repair Cafe!
On Saturday, October 28, 2017, Transition Houston is hosting Houston’s first Repair Cafe, and needs YOU to make it a success.  A Repair Cafe celebrates fixing through a fun, collaborative, hands-on, fix-n-learn, community event. People bring us their broken items for assessment, disassembly and repair. Bring your toolkit and join us to have fun and learn while helping others troubleshoot and fix their broken stuff! Volunteers assess, take apart, and hopefully — REPAIR. Transition Houston is partnering with TX/RX Labs, the City of Houston Green Building Resource CenterHouston Complete CommunitiesCitizens’ Environmental CoalitionTexas Campaign for the Environment, and the Houston Peace and Justice Center in this effort. CEC is pleased to be a partner for this project.

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. Agency LogoConservation Crew at Memorial Park
    Are you interested in learning about the ecology of the country’s largest municipally managed forest? Join Memorial Park Conservancy’s first series of Conservation Crew workdays October 26, 2017, from 8:00 AM to noon to get a first hand look at what it takes to manage for a healthy forest. Volunteers will be in the woods treating Chinese Tallow and other invasive trees. Some future Conservation Crew workdays to look forward to are Monday, November 6 and Tuesday, November 14, so if you are interested please email Anthony Todd or sign up at www.volunteerhou.org. You’re also encouraged to check out their many other volunteer opportunities in the month of November.
  2. Drawdown
    On October 26, 2017, the City of Houston’s Green Building Resource Center and the Gulf Coast chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council are hosting an educational seminar to discuss the most effective ways we can do to reverse climate change. This foodie event will feature local experts who will discuss the top four of these solutions: Refrigerant Management, Wind Turbines (onshore), Reducing Food Waste, and a Plant-Rich Diet. RSVPs are required for this seminar and space is limited, so sign up soon.
  3. SPARK’s Fall 2017 Dedications
    Ten new SPARK Parks in five school districts are being dedicated this fall.  Please join SPARK School Park Program for one or more of the celebrations:

    • 10/27: Dragon and Phoenix Park at Mandarin Immersion Magnet School, Houston ISD
    • 11/13: Outley Elementary School in Alief ISD
    • 11/13: Wedgewood Elementary School in Clear Creek ISD
    • 11/15: Franz Elementary in Katy ISD
    • 11/15: Hancock Elementary in Pasadena ISD
    • 11/16: Clifton Middle School in Houston ISD
    • 11/16: Jessup Elementary in Pasadena ISD
    • 11/17: Mark Twain Elementary in Houston ISD
    • 11/17: Hartsfield Elementary
  4. Creatures and Cocktails Night Hike
    Please join the Natural Discovery Center for the Creatures & Cocktails Night Hike on Friday, October 27, 2017, at 7:00 PM. If you are looking for a unique Halloween adventure for adults, Nature Discover Center has the program for you.Join naturalist Eric Duran for a celebration of nocturnal nature over drinks at the Nature Discovery Center. You’ll get to learn spooky stories about night time creatures. With the moon above you, head out into the night to encounter screech owls and other animals that creep, crawl and fly around in the shadows. Adult beverages and snacks will be provided. Register here.
  5. Brays Bayou Invasive Species Round-Up and Carpathon
    Willow Waterhole in cooperation with the Texas Flyfishers presents their second annual Brays Bayou Invasive Species Round-Up and Carpathon on October 28th. The event will be held at Willow Waterhole Greenway at 5300 Dryad. There will be free admission and parking as well as food trucks, a live band, t-shirts and prizes. The competitions begin at 3:00 PM, with Fly Fishing & Conventional Decisions, Fly Casting Competition, Fly Tying & Casting Clinics and an Invasive Species Presentation taking place throughout the day. To learn more, visit willowwaterhole.org.
  6. Houston’s First Repair Cafe
    On Saturday, October 28, 2017, from 1:00 to 5:00 PM, visit Houston’s first Repair Cafe at TX/RX Labs at 205 Roberts Street. A Repair Cafe celebrates fixing through a fun, collaborative, hands-on, fix-n-learn, community event. People bring in their broken items for assessment, disassembly and repair. Bring your tool kit and join Transition Houston to have fun and learn while helping others troubleshoot and fix their broken stuff! Volunteers assess, take apart, and hopefully — REPAIR. Acceptable Items to bring include clothing, small appliances as well as tools and blades for sharpening. Volunteers are also needed for this event through helping others troubleshoot and fix their broken stuff and as guides to assist with general coordination. Sign up to participate online at repaircafehouston.eventbrite.com.
  7. Bacteria Implementation Group Fall Meeting
    The Bacteria Implementation Group (BIG) is a thirty-one-member committee that has developed and is overseeing implementation of a plan to remedy high levels of bacteria in waterways in the Houston Region. Activities of the BIG are open to all interested parties, and people are encouraged to attend meetings and participate in the various water quality issues pertinent to the plan. Learn more at h-gac.com/big.
  8. Image result for epa logoEPA’s Challenges and Treatment Solutions for Small Water Systems Webinar Series
    EPA’s Office of Research and Development and Office of Water are hosting this monthly webinar series to communicate current small drinking water systems research along with Agency priorities. The series is providing a forum for EPA to communicate directly with state personnel and other drinking water small systems professionals, which allows EPA to provide training and foster collaboration and dissemination of information. The webinars are also providing EPA with invaluable information from the states on the problems that they are currently encountering in their interactions with small systems. Register online to participate Tuesday, October 31, 2017, from 1:00 to 2:00 PM or view their schedule for future events.
  9. Buffalo Bayou Partnership Gala
    You are invited to this year’s Buffalo Bayou Partnership GalaSunset on the Bayou. Guests will dine al fresco on the beautiful lawn at The Water Works in Buffalo Bayou Park while honoring Susan Keeton and celebrating renovation of the historic Sunset Coffee Building. The Gala will take place on Thursday, November 2, 2017, with cocktails starting at 6:30 PM and a seated dinner at 8:00 PM. Click here to view the invitation. For additional information or to purchase tickets, please contact Trudi Smith at 713-752-0314 ext. 103.
  10. Seed Fling Wingding Festival
    On Saturday, November 4, 2017, join the Baytown Nature Center in this family-friendly interactive event, Seed Fling Wingding Festival at BNC to learn more about butterflies and bees in a fun, interactive way. With games, a butterfly costume parade, inflatables, seedbomb making tables, entertainment, interactive games and exhibits, guided butterfly walks to throw milkweed seed bombs and so much more! Register for the 1K and much more at https://www.active.com.
  11. Greens Bayou Regatta
    The Greens Bayou Regatta will combine recreation, stewardship, and education on one of Houston’s most beautiful and secluded waterways, Greens Bayou. Come join in on the fun November 4, 2017, from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM at Brock Park. A portion of this year’s proceeds will be contributed to the recovery and relief of Harvey, especially those areas heavily affected along Greens Bayou. The Greens Bayou Corridor Coalition appreciate your continued support and participation in making this event grand and can’t wait to see you out on the water!
  12. Image result for mandell parkKids Grow
    Children from surrounding neighborhoods and beyond were able to enjoy a wide variety of special events in the garden on Saturday mornings in the spring, early summer and fall when Houston temperatures are ideal for outdoor activities. Come out for their last Kids Grow event of the year on Saturday, November 4, 2017, at 10:00 AM in Mandell Park. Enjoyable and entertaining, the programs are geared toward educating our young people about our natural habitat and the rewards of planting a garden and watching it thrive. For more on Kids Grow and other upcoming park festivities, visit www.friendsofmandellpark.org.
  13. Progressive Forum: ACLU’s Anthony Romero
    After a three-year hiatus, The Progressive Forum is back! Join the resistance at this important event on Monday, November 6, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. located at Congregation Emanuel El. Anthony Romero is the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the nation’s premier defender of civil liberties. Romero has served as executive director for 16 years, and is the first Latino and openly gay person in this position. Time magazine named him among the 25 most influential Hispanics in America. He is co-author of In Defense of Our America: The Fight for Civil Liberties in the Age of Terror (2007). He will sign books and greet fans at the end of the evening. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit https://tix.extremetix.com/.
  14. Community Surveying Begins in Pasadena
    Air Alliance Houston and its team of field interviewers started the Pasadena Community Surveys on October 9, 2017. The main goal of the surveys is to capture residents’ perceptions on environmental concerns, air quality, health issues, safety concerns, neighborhood’s conditions, and Hurricane Harvey experiences. This community citizen science project will allow Air Alliance Houston to better understand the greatest challenges Pasadena residents live with daily. Learn more at airalliancehouston.org.
  15. The Role of Public and Private Stakeholders in “solving” Houston’s Flooding Problem
    Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy has released a new report by Jim Blackburn. The paper addresses the role of both the private sector and the public sector in altering Houston’s current situation relative to flooding. Read the report at bakerinstitute.org.
  16. 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.

    • Grubh’s Bugs: Meet a biologist that studies aquatic invertebrates. He’s Dr. Archis Grubh, and he loves bugs. Check out some of the two-thousand different types of aquatic invertebrates living in the rivers, streams, and creeks of Texas.
    • Manchaca Monarchs: Monarch butterflies roost each year among the trees in Manchaca, Texas, just south of Austin.
    • Postcard from Texas: Turkeys go about their morning activities on the Wild Wings Ranch.
  17. Additional Upcoming Events