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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