Ask many sneezy Southeast Texans during the spring months what they think about pollinators, and they’re likely to say, “Not much!” But where would we be without our pollinators?
Next week (June 18-24) is National Pollinator Week and Texas Pollinator Week and many local events celebrate the crucial work these organisms do for us and our planet. The role of pollinators is vital to the health of almost every organism on the planet, including us. As it turns out, one out of every three bites of food can be attributed to the activities of pollinators!
Some of the main pollinators in our region are bees, butterflies, wasps, moths, hummingbirds, beetles, and flies. Unfortunately, many of these creatures are facing problems that put Earth’s health at risk. Their numbers are declining due to habitat loss, pesticides, climate change, stigmas, and other reasons. Monarch butterfly populations have significantly decreased because less milkweed is available.
Here are a few local activities where you can celebrate these extremely helpful critters:
- Wed., 6/20/18, 6:00 pm: Pollinator Workshop, Lawther-Deer Park Prairie Preserve, Houston Native Prairies Association of Texas
- Sat., & Sun., 6/23/18 & 6/24/18, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm: Pollinator Palooza, Houston Zoo
- Sat., 6/23/18, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm: Flower Power, Cockrell Butterfly Center, Houston Museum of Natural Science
- Sat., 6/23/18, 9:00 am: Wildscape Work Day, Sheldon Lake State Park & Environmental Learning Center
- Sat., 6/23/18, 2:00 pm: “Bee” the Pollinator, Sheldon Lake State Park & Environmental Learning Center
- Sat., 6/23/18, 7:00 pm: Buzz ‘n Snooze Family Overnight, Houston Zoo
- Sun., 6/24/18, 10:30 am: Wildflower Hike, Sheldon Lake State Park & Environmental Learning Center
And these are some of our favorite resources for fun facts and activities to help you celebrate Pollinator Week:
- Native Plant Society of Texas, Houston Chapter
- Coastal Prairie Partnership
- Houston Arboretum & Nature Center
- Friends of Mandell Park
- Katy Prairie Conservancy
- Native Prairies Association of Texas
- Armand Bayou Nature Center
- Bayou Land Conservancy
- Urban Harvest
- The Nature Conservancy
- Houston Parks & Recreation Department, especially the Natural Resources Management Program
- Texas Parks & Wildlife Department’s Native Pollinator program, including:
- The 2016 Texas Monarch and Native Pollinator Conservation Plan
- Bumblebee Watching from Texas Parks & Wildlife–You only have to learn to identify nine species of bumblebees to be a Texas Bumblebee expert!
- Pollinator Partnership
- Monarch Watch & Journey North
- iNaturalist, includingTexas Nature Trackers projects for Bees & Wasps and Monarchs
- Urban Harvest & UH Sustainability
- The Xerces Society’s Citizen-scientist Bee Monitoring Guide and Streamlined Bee Monitoring Protocol for Assessing Pollinator Habitat
- Texas Parks & Wildlife Department’s Native Pollinator program, including:
- The 2016 Texas Monarch and Native Pollinator Conservation Plan
- Bumblebee Watching from Texas Parks & Wildlife–You only have to learn to identify nine species of bumblebees to be a Texas Bumblebee expert! (See the great bumblebee poster by Mike Wariner)
Please join CEC, the Houston Green Film Series, Rice Media Center, and additional partners for Evolution of Organic on Wednesday, June 20, 2018. Arrive at 6:30 for conversation, networking, and a light meal. We’ll begin the film promptly at 7:00. Mark Kitchell’s Evolution of Organic brings us the story of organic agriculture, told by those who built the movement. Not just a history, the film looks forward to exciting and important futures: the next generation who are broadening organic; what lies “beyond organic”; and carbon farming and sequestration as a solution to climate change – maybe the best news on the planet. Learn more on Facebook.
Please save the date–or even better, register–for CEC’s Greater Houston Environmental Summit on Friday, August 10, 2018.
Annually, CEC hosts a networking and learning event for the extraordinary people who work at or are interested in the work of environmental organizations in the greater Houston region.
This year’s program includes:
- Excellent Keynote and Featured Speakers: Will be announced soon!
- Table Talks: Small group discussions with experts on a variety of topics related to our post-Harvey theme, including impacts on our air and water quality, environmental justice initiatives, wildlife and landscape conservation, and efforts to build resiliency for our future. A cross between a breakout session and speed networking.
- Exhibit tables from CEC member groups and local businesses. (See the registration page to reserve your exhibit table.)
- Delicious, locally-grown food from Pat Greer’s Kitchen.
- A few surprises 🙂
Further event details are provided on the Eventbrite Registration page.
We have tried to confirm the events listed below, but not all organizations have updated their websites. Please consider confirming directly with the hosts
- Two Texas cities among most-flooded coastal communities over past year
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently released a report, 2017 State of U.S. High Tide Flooding and a 2018 Outlook, finding that during the 2017 meteorological year (May 2017-April 2018), the U.S. average number of high tide flooding days was the highest measured at 98 NOAA tide gauges. Among the five U.S. cities that had the most flood days during the period were Sabine Pass (4), and Galveston (5). The projected increase in high tide flooding in 2018 may be as much as 60 percent higher across U.S. coastlines as compared to typical flooding about 20 years ago, according to NOAA scientists. For more, see noaa.gov.
- Houston Cities H2O Challenge continues through September 28
The Houston Cities H20 Challenge, sponsored by the Galveston Bay Foundation, in partnership with the Texas Living Waters Project, The Woodlands Joint Powers Agency and the City of Pearland, continues through September 28. The Challenge is a friendly competition designed to engage area residents and businesses in water conservation.The Houston Cities H2O Challenge invites all to take the pledge to conserve water for the Bay through various actions, such as tracking water usage or learning how to efficiently water outdoor landscapes. For more information, visit gbwb.org.
- Harris County Flood Control District Bond Program meetings
Harris County Commissioners Court has called a bond election for August 25, 2018, for the Harris County Flood Control District. Registered voters in Harris County will be asked to vote on up to $2.5 billion in bonds for flood risk reduction projects throughout the county. HCFCD is hosting a series of community engagement meetings, geared toward the county’s various watersheds, to gather input in order prepare an effective flood damage reduction program for the region at hcfcd.org. Numerous community engagement meetings are being planned, and currently include:
- June 14, ML Flukinger Community Center (Carpenters Bayou)
- June 15, Raveneaux Country Club (Cypress Creek)
- June 16, Mangun-Howell Center (Greens Bayou)
- June 20, North East Harris County Community Center (Halls Bayou)
- June 21, Weekley Community Center (Addicks Reservoir)
- Walkable Places pilot program public planning meetings
The City of Houston is hosting a series of public planning meetings for its pilot projects on transforming several communities into Walkable Places. The next one is the Midtown meeting on June 14, 2018. Visit the linked Facebook event for details.
- “Designing, Planning and Paying for Resilience”
On June 14, 2018, from 7-8 p.m., the Greater Houston Flood Mitigation Consortium and the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University will host a panel discussion titled “Designing, Planning and Paying for Resilience.” Leading national experts will discuss flood mitigation strategies, how these strategies interact with broader planning efforts and communities and how to best pay for this work. The event will take place at the BioScience Research Collaborative, 6500 Main Street. For more information and to register, visit kinder.rice.edu.
- H-GAC seeks comments on West Fork Watershed Protection Plan
H-GAC recently released the draft Watershed Protection Plan for the West Fork San Jacinto River and Lake Creek watersheds. The draft is available at westforkwpp.com under the project documents tab. This document, based on scientific analysis and local knowledge, identifies water quality priorities and provides a list of voluntary solutions to improve water quality in the area. H-GAC will accept comments through Friday, June 15, 2018. For more information or to provide comments, contact Justin Bower at 713-499-6653.
- Strengthening Coastal Counties Resilience Challenge applications due June 15, 2018
The National Association of Counties’ Strengthening Coastal Counties Resilience Challenge invites coastal counties from the Gulf of Mexico region with populations of less than 250,000 – and the communities within and surrounding them – to form multidisciplinary teams to apply to receive technical assistance. Teams that submit winning applications will receive financial support to attend an in-person, 2 ½-day training and peer exchange workshop from October 15-17, 2018, in Baldwin County/Fairhope, Alabama. For more information, visit naco.org.
- Lower Trinity Basin Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalist Program class
The Lower Trinity Basin Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalist Program, serving Liberty and Chambers counties, will be holding a training class for those interested in becoming a Certified Master Naturalist. Training classes will be held at 6 p.m or 6:30 p.m. on designated Thursdays starting July 19. For more information and to apply, contact the Lower Trinity Basin Chapter of Texas Master Naturalists, c/o Texas A&M Extension Service, 501 Palmer St., Liberty, TX 77575 or at 936-334-3230. The application deadline is June 15, 2018.
- Blackwood Nature Camp sessions begin June 17
Blackwood Educational Land Institute in Hempstead is offering six Blackwood Nature Camp sessions for ages 8-14 this summer, with the first running June 17-22, 2018. Campers learn about nature, animals, sportsmanship, camaraderie, and build lifelong friendships. With the support of highly trained counselors, they’ll explore the wilderness and discover what secrets and wisdom the forest has to tell. For more information, visit blackwoodland.org.
- “Going Green for Homebuilding/Remodeling Projects” webinar
On June 17, 2018, from 6-7 p.m., Christ the King Lutheran Church invites you to participate in a webinar titled “Going Green for Rebuilding/Remodeling Projects” with Caroline Kostak of the Texas Gulf Coast Region chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. The webinar will examine how we can meet the need to shelter and provide work space for a growing population while also being respectful of the Earth’s resources. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.com.
- “Water Quality & Public Health” workshop
On June 20, 2018, from 2-4 p.m., the Houston-Galveston Area Council will host a Clean Water Initiatives workshop meeting on “Water Quality & Public Health” with experts from Baylor College of Medicine and the Harris County Department of Public Health. For more information and to register, visit constantcontact.com.
- Celebrate “Daylight Hour” on June 22
On June 22, 2018, the Building Energy Exchange invites you to celebrate “Daylight Hour” by using natural daylight in lieu of electric light in non-critical spaces from noon-1 p.m. For more information and to register, visit daylighthour.org.
- ASHRAE Annual Conference
From June 23-27, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) will host its annual conference at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston. The focus areas include professional development, research, fundamentals and applications, systems and equipment, system management (controls) and some more specific design arenas (such as residential buildings and Cogeneration plants). For more information, visit ashrae.org.
- “Invasive Species” workshop
On June 23, 2018, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Coastal Prairie Partnership invites the public to a workshop at the Lawther-Deer Park Prairie Preserve to learn about common invasive species of the coastal prairie and their management. This workshop will provide hands-on identification and safe and effective removal techniques. The cost is $10. For more information and to register, visit prairiepartner.org.
- Galveston Historical Association offers Marine Biology Tours
This summer, the Galveston Historical Association is offering Marine Biology Tours, where participants can observe dolphins and other species in their natural habitat, trawl for and handle marine organisms, study plankton through a microscopic lens, and explore Galveston Bay’s rich history. This unique experience takes place on board the SEAGULL II, a 50’ catamaran which docks at the Texas Seaport Museum, and is led by a marine biologist. Tours, which cost $10, are available June 23, July 7, and July 21. For more information and to register, visit eventbrite.com.
- The Woodlands Township invites youngsters to “Look Out for Litter”
The Woodlands Township is inviting children and teens to participate in the summer “Look Out for Litter” initiative in exchange for a free ice cream cone and T-shirt. Youngsters are invited to pick up and log three pieces of litter every day for three weeks. For more information and to register, visit thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov.
- EPA seeks comment on proposed actions on chemical safety, asbestos
On June 1, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the following for public comment: (1) the first ten problem formulation documents, (2) EPA’s systemic review approach document, and (3) a significant new use rule (SNUR) proposal enabling the agency to prevent new uses of asbestos – the first such action on asbestos ever proposed. To read the associated documents and find instructions on how to provide comment, visit epa.gov.
- EPA seeks proposals for Gulf of Mexico Program
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Gulf of Mexico Program is soliciting proposals from eligible entities that address water quality improvement; coastal habitat and ecosystems enhancement, restoration and/or protection; environmental education and outreach; and community resilience in the Gulf of Mexico region and its watersheds. The closing date for proposals is July 31, 2018. For more information, visit epa.gov.
- TV: Texas Parks & Wildlife
Broadcast on KUHT Channel 8 at 3 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.
- A life of conservation for Texas’s Bird Man, Cliff Shackleford
- Promoting bass fishing for youth and families
- Powderhorn Ranch, an undisturbed area on the Gulf Coast *
Additional Upcoming Events
- 6/24/18: Chefs in the Field – A Tomato Tribute
- 6/25/18: Deliberating Performance Targets for Air Quality Sensors webinar
- 6/25-28/18: Climate Change on the Gulf Coast workshop for educators
- 6/27/18: Learning from Green Conferences
- 6/27/18: Cultivating Native Plants from Seed
- 6/27-29/18: Focus on Forests for High School Educators
- 6/30/18: Houston Urban Conservation Summit
- 6/30/18: Vox Storytellers 2018: Houston Environmental Stories
- 6/30/18 (Deadline): 2019 Gulf Guardian Award nominations
- 7/9/18: Parks and Natural Areas Roundtable
- 7/9-13/18: A Complete Natural Resource Cycle for PreK-8 Educators
- 7/11/18: Family Nature Night: Freaky Frogs
- 7/13/18 (Deadline): Teachers on the Estuary workshop
- 7/16-19/18: Science Teachers & Industry workshop
- 7/18/18: David Ball concert benefiting TWRC Wildlife Center
- 7/19/18: Brownfields Tools for Economic Growth & Community Livability Workshop
- 7/21/18: A Love Affair with Pollinators: Confessions of a Citizen Scientist
- 7/25/18: Microplastics Monitoring webinar
- 7/30/18-8/3/18: TRIES Wetland Delineation Training Course
- 7/30/18: AIA Sandcastle Competition team registration deadline
- 8/8/18: Family Nature Night: Snakes of Texas
- 8/10/18: 2018 Greater Houston Environmental Summit
- 8/25/18: AIA Sandcastle Competition
- 8/26-30/18: National Conference on Ecosystem Restoration