Houston Environmental News Update February 28, 2018

Happy World Wildlife Day! The theme for this year’s observance of WWD is Big cats: predators under threat. Over the past century, according to the United Nations, we have been losing big cats, the planet’s most majestic predators, at an alarming rate. World Wildlife Day 2018 gives us the opportunity to raise awareness about their plight and to galvanize support for the many global and national actions that are underway to save these iconic species.

The Houston Zoo is perhaps the best known local champion of big cats, partnering with conservation organizations around the world to protect lions, cheetahs, and clouded leopards, among other animals. Their Sustainable Palm Oil Campaign is just one of the ways that WE can help conserve big cats, especially clouded leopards.

Locally, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department provides information about Texas cats, including the bobcat, jaguarundi, ocelot, and mountain lion (affectionately known as Coogs around Houston). While the jaguarundi and ocelot have been listed as endangered for almost 50 years, mountain lions and bobcats seem to be more adaptable. In fact, sighting and kill reports indicate that Mountain Lions now occur in more counties than they did ten years ago.


Earth Day Houston: Call for Exhibitors, Speakers, and Sponsors

Please mark your calendars for Earth Day Houston on Sunday, April 22, 2018, from noon to 6 pm at Discovery Green park! Hosted in partnership with the Citizens’ Environmental Coalition, Discovery Green’s citywide Earth Day celebration–presented by Green Mountain Energy–is designed to inspire, educate, and encourage action. The event features displays, exhibits and booths on topics ranging from alternative energy to recycling methods, a foodie farmers market, Canned Acoustica, recycling, and more.

The Citizens’ Environmental Coalition is currently accepting applications for exhibitors for the Earth Day festival and nominations for speakers for Earth Talks on the big stage. If you are interested in being a sponsor or corporate volunteering, please email [email protected]

Don’t forget to vote!

This year, local voters might have the opportunity to participate in three elections (designated as uniform election dates) and potential runoffs.

  • March 6: Primary Election (Early voting: February 20 – March 2)
  • May 5: Uniform Election Date (Register by April 5; early voting April 23 – May 1)
  • May 22: Primary Runoff Election (Register by April 23; early voting May 14 – May 18)
  • November 6: Uniform Election Date (national election; register by October 9; early voting October 22 – November 2)

In statewide primaries, registered voters will decide the candidates that will face off in various state and federal elections. All seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 34 U.S. Senate positions will ultimately be decided by voters in November. Contests include all 150 seats in the Texas House of Representatives; statewide positions such as governor, attorney general, railroad commissioner, and agriculture commissioner; U.S. representatives; and a U.S. senator. Voters may also weigh in on ballot propositions.

Visit your county’s election webpage to learn more about the election process and view comprehensive sample ballots. You can learn more about voting and registration at votetexas.gov.

If you need some inspiration on why voting is important for our environment, you can learn more from the League of Women Voters of Houston, the Texas League of Conservation Voters Educational Fund, the Environmental Voter Project, and the Annette Strauss Institute For Civic Life at UT.
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.

  1. NatureFest is Back and Better Than Ever
    Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center is proud to present the 2018 NatureFest on Mar. 3, 2018 from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm. Come experience the natural diversity of the Houston area through a day of guided walks, demonstrations, and educational talks at the park. Get a firsthand look at native plants, local wildlife, and more while visiting the many educational booths. For more information, visit hcp4.net or call 281-446-8588.
  2. Missouri City Green’s Earth Fest
    Come celebrate Earth Day at Missouri City Green’s Earth Fest on Mar. 3, 2018 from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm. Earth Fest will feature free earth-friendly activities for the whole family along the Edible Arbor Trail. Visit educational booths, where you’ll learn about recycling, composting, beneficial bugs, water conservation and native plants. There will also be a Treasure Hunt for children! For more information, visit Missouri City Green’s event page on Facebook.
  3. Write Out:  Justice Advocacy Workshop
    Sunday, Mar. 4, 2018, 2 – 4 p.m. The Interfaith Environmental Network of Houston, a Houston affiliate of the Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy, invites you to attend a Justice Advocacy Workshop taught by experts from TX Impact, an Austin-based interfaith justice advocacy organization. The Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy and TX Impact are sister organizations. The Justice Advocacy Workshop is free, and will take place at Christ the King Evangelical Lutheran Church in Houston, as well as online via a simultaneous web meeting. Materials to prepare for Faith Climate Action Week in April will also be distributed.  Learn how to effectively raise your voice for the voiceless! Please register on eventbrite. The training will be recorded, so if you can’t make it, you can still get a copy of the training recording to review later. Christ the King is located at 2353 Rice Blvd. Metro bus lines 27 & 41 stop nearby. For more information, please contact Lisa Brenskelle at [email protected]
  4. Discovery Green Celebrates Ten Years!
    The spring season at Discovery Green Park starts on March 1, 2018, with the opening of The Rink–Houston’s first outdoor rolling rink–and the kickoff of the Bayou City Music Series featuring acclaimed Houston rapper Bun B. and an entourage of extraordinary musicians. The 10th Anniversary celebration continues with four signature events: the B!rthday Bash on April 15, Earth Day Houston–in collaboration with CEC–on April 22, Harvey Heroes Discussion on April 27, and the FUNomenal Family Festival on May 26.
  5. City of Houston to Consider Floodplain Ordinance–input deadlines extended
    The City of Houston is considering revisions to Chapter 19 to ensure new dwellings are built high enough to save lives and property in the event of flooding. The public is encouraged to provide input on the proposed changes to Chapter 19 through March 5, 2018. Learn more about the proposed changes at houstonrecovers.org. The ordinance will be presented to Council on March 21, 2018.
  6. Open House for The Galveston Bay Plan, 2nd Edition
    Help protect and sustain Galveston Bay for future generations by providing your input on The Galveston Bay Plan 2nd Edition draft. Attend anytime between 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. on Monday, March 5, 2018, for an open house to learn more about the four Plan Priorities identified in draft plan and provide document feedback.  Learn more at GalvestonBayPlan.org.
  7. NOAA’s Flower Garden Banks Seaside Chats
    Seaside Chats are informal presentations about ocean topics associated with Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary and the Gulf of Mexico. These presentations take place on Wednesday evenings from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in February and March at The Texas A&M Galveston Campus. Learn more at flowergarden.noaa.gov. Participation by Webinar is available. The final presentation, on March 7, will feature Reef Resiliance: Bleaching, Mortality and Hurricanes, Oh My! presented by Michelle Johnston, FGBNMS.
  8. Sierra Club Monthly Meeting: Prairie Presentation
    On Thursday, March 8, 2018, join Houston Sierra Club for the monthly meeting. Doors open at 7:00 PM, and the program starts at 7:30 PM. Everyone is welcome. Guest speakers will be Stephen Benigno and Andrew Newman of the Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD), who will update us on their prairie restoration projects. As many prairie enthusiasts know, no two prairies are the same. HCFCD manages a handful of sites with the intent to restore coastal prairie habitat. And while the restoration of a diverse, resilient, and functioning prairie is the ultimate goal, the reasons for restoring them are vastly different. Mr. Benigno and Mr. Newman will discuss the means, methods, and outcomes for restoring these coastal prairies, as well as the benefits they provide to Harris County. Learn more at sierraclub.org.
  9. PictureMemorial Park Conservancy Brunch Run
    Memorial Park Conservancy’s Brunch Run will be held on Mar. 10, 2018, at the East Memorial Loop, south of Arnot. The morning will begin with the Kid’s 1K race, followed by the 4-mile run/walk. Registration includes participation in the race, a t-shirt, a free fundraising page, and access to the post-race party, featuring food trucks and other vendors. The Memorial Park Conservancy will also present multiple awards to the Brunch Run’s top racers. To register for the Run or to sign up to volunteer, visit raceroster.com.For more information, visit brunchrun.org or contact [email protected]
  10. 46th Annual Buffalo Bayou Partnership Regatta
    Join the Buffalo Bayou Partnership for Texas’ largest canoe and kayak race – the 46th Annual Buffalo Bayou Partnership Regatta on Mar. 10, 2018, from 7:00 am to 2:00 pm. Paddlers, ages 12 and up, are encouraged to participate in the 15-mile race along the scenic Buffalo Bayou. Whether you are entering competitively or paddling for pleasure, you won’t want to miss out on this longstanding Houston tradition! Trophies will be awarded to the top three paddlers in Teams, Recreational Canoe, Recreational Kayak, and Unlimited Divisions. For more information, visit buffalobayou.org.
  11. th Annual Gulf Coast Water Conservation Symposium
    The Gulf Coast Water Conservation Symposium “Conservation’s Potential and Promise in Changing Times” will be held at the United Way Community Resource Center on Mar. 22, 2018 from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm. The Symposium provides water professionals with the information needed to implement successful water conservation programs, effectively engage customers, and plan for the future. Learn from state and national experts about the latest approaches, what is coming next and best practices for maximum efficiency gains. Registration is $45 and includes conference materials, continental breakfast, and lunch. For more information, contact Jennifer Walker at [email protected] or visit eventbrite.com.
  12. Save the Date: Bayou Greenway Day
    Get to know your bayou at Bayou Greenway Day, a FREE outdoor festival with games, music, giveaways and more. Experience the beauty of the Bayou Greenways while enjoying free activities, hosted by Houston Parks Board and other community organizations. Saturday, March 24, 2018, at Tidwell Park along Halls Bayou Greenway. Learn more at houstonparksboard.org.
  13. 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.

    • Planting Pines: Greg Grant and his family have been restoring pines on their family land, just so the birds and the bugs can live off the decaying trees.
    • Texas Quail: See what’s happening with Texas’ four species of quail as their habitats have been fragmented and destroyed.
    • Trinity Paddling: Discover paddling in the heart of the Metroplex with a float on the Dallas Trinity Paddling Trail.

Additional Upcoming Events