All A-Buzz – its Pollinator Week!

pwgraphic-for-cover-photo[By Ann Hall, Environmental Education Specialist, enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov]

Celebrate the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles during National Pollinator Week , June 18-24, 2018.

When pollen is moved within a flower or carried from one flower of another of the same species, it leads to fertilization, a vital step to reproduce flowers, fruit and plants.  The vast majority of all flowering plants depend on insects and animals to move pollen from plant to plant.  More than 99% of pollinators are beneficial insects such as flies, beetles, wasps, ants, butterflies, moths and bees.

Pollinators are in decline.  Populations of honeybees, native bees and many butterflies have become much smaller in recent years.  Research has shown that this decline is partially due to the increased use of pesticides and the reduction of many native flowering plants.  The work of pollinators is crucial to maintaining full harvests of crops and the general health of plants everywhere.

What You Can Do For Pollinators

For information on what to plant in your own yard or garden and how to get involved with The Woodlands Township’s goal to become a National Wildlife Federation Monarch Champion City access the PolliNatives Project Page

 

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Plant for Pollinators and Water Savings at Free Workshop this Sat!

 

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Plant with a Purpose!

Join us for this free workshop and learn how to create habitat in your landscape while saving water at the same time.

We’ll delve into:

  • Importance of keeping invasive species at bay – 8:15 a.m.
  • Wonders of pollinators and how to attract them – 9:45 a.m.
  • Many benefits of native plants including water conservation – 10:45 a.m.
  • Best methods for seed collecting and propagation of the plants you love – 12:45 a.m.

Attend one or more FREE sessions – click here to save your spot.

Experts from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and Texas Master Naturalists will lead each session.

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DETAILS:

  • Saturday, June 23 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    • Join us for all or part of the program
    • Lunch provided
  • HARC Building, 8801 Gosling Rd, The Woodlands
  • Free but registration is required – click here to save your spot 

 

Thank you to our sponsors:

Houston Advanced Research Center, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Texas Master Naturalists, Woodlands Joint Powers Agency

 

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Recycling Dilemma #1003 – Moving Boxes and Oversized Cardboard

 

Cardboard Graphic

Whether you relocated from across the country, moved a kid home from college, or just received delivery of a new flat screen TV, dealing with those cardboard boxes is no problem!  Your curbside solid waste services through Waste Management provide a special pick-up day each month for recycling oversized and overabundance of cardboard boxes. The service is provided to each neighborhood in The Woodlands once a month at no additional cost.

2 Easy Steps:

Determine your pick-up day by Village

  • 2nd Monday of the Month: Alden Bridge, Cochran’s Crossing, Sterling Ridge.
  • 4th Friday of the Month: Creekside Park, College Park, Grogan’s Forest, Grogan’s Mill, Indian Springs, Panther Creek, Research Forest, Town Center.

Schedule bulk recycling pick-up of cardboard

  • At least 2 business days prior to the scheduled pick-up day, call Waste Management Customer Service at 1-800-800-5804.
  • Request and keep the confirmation number until service occurs. 

For a trouble-free pick-up, please follow these guidelines:

  • Flatten boxes, then bundle and stack them curbside.
  • Fold packing paper and place in your recycling cart for pick-up on your regular service day.
  • NO packing peanuts, Styrofoam™, bubble wrap or plastic.
  • Place items at the curb before 7 a.m. on the pre-scheduled pick-up day.

Give Moving Boxes Another Trip (1)

Have an abundance of cardboard and don’t want to wait?

Take it to one of our local Drop-off centers: 

The Woodlands Recycling Center | 5100 block of Research Forest, west of Bear Branch Recreation Center | Open Wednesday, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Precinct 3 Recycling Complex | 1122 Pruitt Road | Call for details: 281-367-7283 | Open Monday through Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., closed for lunch 11:30 to 12:30


Did you move with more than you meant to, or don’t want to take it all to the new place? Check out the previous Recycling Dilemma # 1002 – Got Stuff? for resources to donate, declutter and discard.


For more moving day solutions see the Moving In/Moving Out Guidelines or call Environmental Services at 281-210-3800.

West Nile Virus Confirmed in Local Mosquito Samples

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The Montgomery County Mosquito Abatement team has detected the first and second mosquito samples to test positive for West Nile virus in The Woodlands Township. With this heightened risk of transmission residents should be diligent in protecting themselves and loved ones from mosquito-borne disease.

There have been no reports of human West Nile virus cases in Montgomery or Harris Counties at this time by the Texas Department of Health Services. However, mosquito surveillance programs exist because detecting the virus in mosquitoes provides the early warning system that protects our community from infection.

Treatment of the affected areas has been completed. Please visit South County Mosquito Abatement to view a map of the treatment areas.

Do Your Part to Prevent Mosquito-Borne Disease…

  • Use mosquito repellent when you are outside – day or night. Choose one with an active ingredient recommended by the Centers for Disease Control : DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus are proven effective by research.
  • Monitor and eliminate all sources of standing water around your property.
  • Treat standing water that cannot be drained with a biological larvicide such as Mosquito Dunks® or Mosquito Bits® – which are available for purchase at local home and garden centers.

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For more tips on protecting your family from mosquito-borne diseases, please visit the Mosquito Control webpage.

To schedule a presentation about reducing mosquitoes for neighborhoods or groups, please call The Woodlands Township Environmental Services at 281-210-3800.

 

World Ocean Day: Pledge to use less plastic

Copy of How will you celebrate

Summer is sizzling and has some of us grabbing our gear for a weekend beach trip! Many feel a natural connection to the ocean as it covers 70% of our planet, houses fascinating marine life, and connects us all.

June 8th is World Ocean Day reminding us to celebrate the many wonders of our aquatic frontier.

This year’s focus is a call to action on plastic pollution. You may have seen the unsettling images of sea life fatalities; our plastics are reaching new shores that have never seen pollution before.  Now is the time to address the issue before we create a world of plastic beaches.

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Plastics are synthetic organic polymers created with petroleum. They are so long lasting that all the plastic that has ever been created still exists today, yet industries create more every day. Most marine plastics originate on land as litter. Once they enter our waters, plastics entangle marine life or erode into smaller particles that are then ingested. Every piece of litter we pick up on land helps the ocean and the life within.

“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today“

Abraham Lincoln

 

Let’s answer the call to action for our oceans!

Here’s how we can start making a difference:

  1. Coordinate your own cleanup
    • Bring a bucket for treasures and a bucket for trash – recycle what you can
    • Leave no trace – leave only footprints behind
  2. Support an organization
    • There are many groups forming their own cleanups. Become involved or consider making a donation.
  3. Not able to make it to the shoreline? There’s plenty you can do at home:
    • Reduce packaging when grocery shopping
    • Reuse as much as you canbring your own bags or bottles
    • Recycle right – stay up to date on your local municipality’s recycling guidelines
    • Refuse single use plastics such as straws, bags and cutlery

The Summer Scavenger Hunt Begins!

Look Out For Litter Banner

Blog Post By Zoe Killian, Environmental Education Specialist

Do you ever feel like a plastic bag drifting in the wind… is a real eye sore?  Well, school’s out and now is the time to lookout for litter!

Encourage our young citizens to take action against litter by joining The Woodlands Township for our 4th annual summer litter scavenger hunt— Lookout for Litter. In addition to free fun in the sun and keeping our community beautiful, everyone who completes a log will earn a t-shirt and a free ice cream cone. It’s easy! Go to the Look Out for Litter page to register and to print a litter log and share this poster with your friends.

What litter do you see regularly? Can you think of a solution for this specific litter? By recording the different trash you find, you’ll be able to observe patterns and explore solutions to stop litter at the source.

At one school, 5th graders picked up 1,247 pieces of litter on their campus. They identified plastic straw wrappers as the most common type of litter.

So the school stopped buying straws!

These 5th Graders were inspired to fight litter with technology through Litterati. Become a citizen scientist – add the Litterati app to your phone and help us map litter in our community while contributing to a global database.

For information on how to register and to print a litter log, please visit The Woodlands Township Look Out for Litter page, or call 281-210-3927.

 

Attract Hummingbirds All Summer with Texas Red Yucca

Native Plant Focus:  Texas Red Yucca

Hesperaloe parviflora

More effective at attracting hummingbirds than a feeder, the Texas Red Yucca is also a nectar source for butterflies and native bees.  Actually a member of the Century Plant family, the Texas Red Yucca thrives in our hot Texas summer although it is cold tolerant enough to survive freezing temperatures.

With low watering requirements after establishment, this striking perennial evergreen shrub produces dramatic 3-4 foot spikes of pink to coral to red tubular flowers.   These beautiful flower spikes provide focal interest in landscape beds, large containers, rock gardens or as a single specimen plant.  Each bloom produces a seed capsule which dries to offer winter interest in the landscape.  The evergreen leaves turn a deep shade of purple in cold weather, further enhancing the garden.

Thriving in full sun to part shade and needing only natural rainfall, this plant is adaptable to any soil. Maintenance is minimal – removing the dried flower spike before spring begins is optional.  Planting this succulent in your landscape or a large container will provide beautiful blooms from May through October.  Texas Red Yucca is readily available in most local retail outlets offering bedding plants as well as those specializing in Texas natives.  Enjoy this easy to grow plant along with the hummingbirds and insect pollinators it will draw into your garden.

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Solid Waste Services NOT Impacted by Memorial Day

Mem Day - American Flags

Reminder: All solid waste services in the community will occur as usual over the Memorial Weekend holiday.  There will be no interruption or delay of services. Waste Management will provide curbside pick-up of trash, recycling, and yard trimmings to all residents on their regularly scheduled service day, including Monday, May 28, 2018.  Simple Recycling will also be providing curbside textile recycling with no service interruption.

If your holiday celebration generates more trash than the 96-gallon trash cart can hold, extra service tags are available for purchase for $1.75 each at Township offices, Kroger and Randalls.  One pink service tag should be affixed to each plastic bag of household trash that will NOT fit into the trash cart.

Please note that the Precinct 3 Recycling facility will be closed on Monday, May 28. The Woodlands Recycling Center on Research Forest Drive will be open every Wednesday from 4 to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. regardless of holidays.

Per the 2018 Holiday Collection Schedule, the only holidays that will affect residential trash and recycling collection this year will be New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.

Find more information about trash and recycling services – visit Environmental Services online. To report missed pick-ups, please call Waste Management Customer Service at 800-800-5804.

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Monitoring Mosquito-Borne Disease in The Woodlands

[Blog by Megan McNairn, Environmental Education Specialist, mmcnairn@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov]

The buzzing has begun! As residents enter into the summer season, the Environmental Services department would like to remind you that “mosquito season” is here. The month of May is when the Texas Department of State Health Services begins testing mosquito samples for disease.

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The Environmental Services (ES) Mosquito Team is out setting traps that target the vectors for two important mosquito-borne diseases – Zika virus and West Nile virus (WNV).  Fortunately, no samples tested positive for Zika virus and there was a low incidence of WNV in The Woodlands last year. Only 1% of the mosquito samples sent for testing were found to carry the disease.

To prevent the spread of mosquitoes (and mosquito-borne illnesses) – the ES Mosquito Team reminds residents to take a moment every week to empty containers holding water and scrub out birdbaths. Recent surveys of yards in The Woodlands determined that containers around homes – such as plant saucers, toys, wheelbarrows, buckets, and birdbaths – were the most plentiful source of mosquito breeding sites. Follow these simple guidelines and reduce the buzzing in your backyard!

If you are having problem with mosquitoes and cannot locate the source, please call Environmental Services at 281-210-3800. For more information on mosquito-proofing your yard and a review of The Woodlands Township Mosquito Surveillance & Education activities in 2017 visit our Mosquito Control Page.

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National Wildflower Week May 6-12, 2018

[Blog Post by Ann Hall, ahall@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov]

Nationwide, beautiful wildflowers are enhancing our outdoor environment. Initiated in 1988 by the American Wildflower Society, National Wildflower Week is celebrated yearly during the first full week in May. Since 2003, the Ladybird Johnson National Wildflower Center has served as the permanent home of this yearly focus on our nation’s wildflowers.

Enjoying wildflowers in The Woodlands is as simple as taking a walk, visiting a park, local forest or garden. Bring along a wild flower field guide to assist with identifying the plants in bloom. The definitive resource, Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide, was recently revised and is available for purchase. Use your phone or camera to capture the beauty of your excursion into nature.

With the resources available through the Ladybird Johnson National Wildflower Center, the opportunity to learn more about these fascinating plants is almost unlimited. To learn what is blooming in a given week, access “What’s In Season.”

For a directory of wildflower suppliers, access the National Suppliers Directory.

Local native plant societies in our area offer additional resources, nearby educational opportunities and plant sales focused on Texas native plants. The Native Plant Society of Texas-Houston offers a variety of useful native plant resources on their website.

Make an appointment with yourself by adding your wildflower walk or hike to this week’s calendar. Our wildflowers are blooming! Enjoy them!

 

 

Thank you volunteers and sponsors for another amazing Earth Day GreenUp!

Recently The Woodlands Township celebrated its 8th annual Earth Day GreenUp. This community wide stewardship project involved neighbors, friends, charity groups, and co-workers meeting across the community to clean pathways, parks, and waterways. The event’s success can be attributed to the over 750 volunteers that participated.

With 40 volunteer organizations and a multitude of friends and neighbors, over 3000 hours were logged and over 8,000 pounds of trash was collected – which equals 92 trash carts! Additionally, three pounds of cigarette butts were collected during clean up and sent to TerraCycle. Cigarette butt waste collected is then recycled into a variety of industrial products.

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“Volunteers have always enjoyed this event that celebrates Earth Day and keeps our parks and pathways clean,” notes Zoe Killian, Environmental Education Specialist for The Woodlands Township. She encourages residents to continue the celebration throughout the year by participating in one of the many other Township stewardship programs. “Interested volunteers should contact our department to learn more about Adopt-A-Habitat, Adopt-A-Path, and Look Out For Litter.”

Earth Day GreenUp was generously sponsored by Waste Management, Keep America Beautiful, Berkeley Services, H-E-B, Woodlands Joint Powers Agency, The Woodlands Development Company | Howard Hughes, Papa John’s Pizza, Nature’s Way Resources and Woodlands G.R.E.E.N.

For more information on community stewardship programs such as Adopt-a-Habitat, Adopt-a-Path, cleanup events, or participation in next year’s GreenUp, visit Environmental Services online or call The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department at 281.210.3800.

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Limited Time Offer – Purchase Your Rain Barrel Today!

Rain Barrel AnimatedLimited Time Offer
For a limited time, the 50-gallon Ivy Rain Barrels from Rainwater Solutions can be purchased at a special discount price. These funds will support environmental education in The Woodlands area with college scholarships, library donations, lectures, field trips, and other environmental education activities.

This offer is provided by The Woodlands G.R.E.E.N., a non-profit environmental education network founded in The Woodlands by residents in 1990.

​Retail: $129
Discounted Price: $85*
*with WJPA rebate: $42.50

Order online and for questions or additional information, email info@thewoodlandsgreen.org

Why purchase a rain barrel?
A rain barrel is a container that captures and stores rainwater draining from your roof. Barrels usually range from 50 to 80 gallons and have a spigot for filling watering cans and a connection for a soaker hose. Combining the use of rain barrels with appropriate plant selection and mulching promotes water conservation. Rain barrels benefit your home, garden and community.

What Are the Benefits of Rain Barrels?
Rain barrels provide free irrigation for your garden and reduce harmful runoff into streams, rivers and lakes. Rain barrels also save homeowners money on their water bills. According to the Woodlands Joint Power Agency, lawn irrigation accounts for 50% to 80% of water used. Rain barrels provide a free water source for irrigation and ease reliance on water supply.

Healthy Plants and Soil
Tap water contains inorganic ions and fluoride compounds that accumulate in the soil over time and potentially harm plant roots and microorganisms in the soil. Rainwater does not contain the same additives found in tap water. It benefits plants in your garden by cleaning the soil of salt buildup, thereby promoting an environment conducive to root development.

Reduction of Runoff
Rain barrels help reduce the flow of storm runoff. When it rains, runoff picks up soil, fertilizer, oil, pesticides and other contaminants from hard surfaces and landscapes. Storm runoff is not treated and flows directly into streams, lakes and other bodies of water nearby. Runoff fertilizers increase algae growth in lakes, and excess soil alters the habitat for fish. Bacteria can even make lakes and oceans dangerous for recreational activities. Rain barrels capture water that would have swept over a paved surface or lawn, thereby minimizing runoff pollutants.

Take advantage of this limited time offer and order online today. You will begin saving money and water tomorrow!

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WaterSmart Landscaping with Native Plants on April 26

WW Lanscape WG Event Blog Post GraphicJoin The Woodlands G.R.E.E.N. for an upcoming lecture series featuring Mark Bowen bowen photo-3of  Nature’s Way Resources.

Saving water is easy when you’re gardening with native plants. Join The Woodlands G.R.E.E.N. to learn more about which varieties are great for sprucing up your landscape and conserving water. Because native plants are adapted to local environmental conditions, they require far less water, saving time, money, and perhaps the most valuable natural resource, water. In addition to providing a vital habitat for birds, many other species of wildlife benefit as well.

The event will take place on Thursday, April 26 at 7 p.m. at the Houston Advanced Research Center located at 8801 Gosling Road. The event is free to attend and there is no registration required.

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April 28, 2018: National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

National Take Back DayNational Prescription Drug Take Back Day: Dispose of prescription drugs safely and soundly
The DEA’s next Prescription Drug Take Back Day is Saturday, April 28, 2018. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), in 2017 Americans disposed of a record-setting 456 tons of potentially dangerous expired and unwanted prescription drugs during the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Now in its 8th year, the event addresses a vital public safety and health issue while also protecting the environment.

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For residents, the DEA, assisted by Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, will provide collection services in The Woodlands Township front parking lot (2801 Technology Forest Blvd, 77381) on Saturday, April 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Please note: The DEA cannot accept liquids, needles or sharps, only pills or patches. The service coordinated by The Woodlands Township Neighborhood Watch is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

Because what you flush eventually goes somewhere
pills with ban symbolYour toilet isn’t a portal to another dimension where waste vanishes. When flushed, many pharmaceuticals work their way through the sewage treatment process and into our drinking water and our waterways, where even very small levels harm aquatic life.

Play a key role in abuse prevention
Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show most abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, usually through the home medicine cabinet.

Additional information for collection site
The Woodlands Township collection site will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Texas will be held on the same day, please refer to their website for direction on how to navigate around the race course. In most cases, you may prefer to reach the Township from Research Forest Drive, south on New Trails Dr. and east on Technology Forest Blvd. For traffic difficulties, contact the number that is usually posted on the IRONMAN traffic signs.

Other local law enforcement agencies are participating. If you are unable to drop in The Woodlands that day, please CLICK HERE to find other local collection sites.

Keep your family safe and the environment healthy; clean out your cabinet today and take unwanted drugs to The Woodlands Township or another local collection facility.

 

Walk in the Woods: Join us on Thursday, April 12

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Walk in the Woods – join us on Thursday, April 12

Join Environmental Services as we host Jonah Evans, State Mammologist, Texas Parks and Wildlife. During this Walk in the Woods, he will discuss and enlighten the audience about large cats and rare mammals in the great state of Texas. For this program, the nature walk will occur from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. followed by a the keynote presentation.

Thursday, April 12
5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.              Nature Walk
6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.             Keynote Presentation

The Recreation Center at Rob Fleming Park
6464 Creekside Forest Drive
The Woodlands, TX 77389
Contact: 281-210-3800

Registration required, free to attend.

Jonah EvansJonah Evans is the State Mammalogist for Texas Parks and Wildlife. He has had a lifelong passion for studying carnivores and mammals. As Mammalogist for TPWD, he coordinates mountain lion, black bear, furbearer, bat, and rare mammal research and conservation statewide. Much of his time now is focused on the devastating impacts of white nose syndrome on bats.

Jonah completed an MS in Wildlife Science from Texas A&M University in 2006 and worked as a Wildlife Diversity Biologist in West Texas for 5 years prior to taking on his current position. He has a passion for animal tracks and sign and is the author of iTrack Wildlife, a smartphone field guide to animal tracks. He is also a co-author of Animal Tracks and Scat of California. He has traveled extensively around the United State to train biologists and college students in animal track identification and maintains the website www.naturetracking.com.

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Explore nature at your back door! Experts reveal the extraordinary plants and wildlife of East Texas. A different program each month from February through April and September through November. Located on the edge of the Big Thicket, Montgomery County is home to a diverse plant and wildlife population. Walk in the Woods Nature Lecture Series introduces the audience to the unique species that inhabit our community. Guest speakers recognized for their expertise present topics ranging from bats and owls to hummingbirds and habitat gardening. Featuring exquisite photography and occasionally live specimens, Walk in the Woods appeals to nature enthusiasts of all ages and levels of interest, from students to retirees.

Registration is required for our free Walk in the Woods Nature Series.  Space is limited, so register now for this nature walk and presentation. The mission of The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department is to empower informed choices for the sustained health of our community and environment. The department coordinates a wide variety of programs that provide information and resources for healthy, sustainable living. For more information, please visit us online at https://www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/105/Environment or call 281-210-3800.

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