Fall in love with nature at these upcoming events


Rainscaping employs any combination of plants, water features, and permeable surfaces to catch and use rain as opposed to letting it run into the street. It dramatically reduces your water use while making plants healthier. No need to redesign your whole yard to make the rain work for you.  Discover simple strategies you can mix and match to suit your landscape needs. Learn how to scale elements for the size of your yard or project area and get advice on selecting plants and trees that flourish in our challenging climate.  

Megan McNairn, The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Education Specialist, will share easy to follow strategies for capturing rain water in your landscape.  

Registration is required to receive the Zoom link for this program on Saturday, November 7 from 9 a.m. to noon. 


Cathie Coudert, Education Coordinator, presents on the importance of wildlife care and rehabilitation, what native creatures you may encounter and what you can do if you find an animal in need. Learn what programs and resources are available for you to help give wildlife a second chance. 

Friends of Texas Wildlife is a nonprofit organization that rehabilitates orphaned, injured and displaced native Texas wildlife.  They are the only wildlife rehabilitation center in Montgomery County and have been serving the community for 25 years. The rehabilitators are all volunteers and are permitted by Texas Parks & Wildlife and U.S. Fish & Wildlife.  Interested in supporting this organization? View the Friends of Texas Wildlife Donation Sheet


The Woodlands Township’s annual 3R Bazaar is mobilizing this year; its been reimagined as the 3R Recycling Drive-thru. Enjoy convenient, free one-day recycling from the comfort and safety of your own vehicle or bicycle on Saturday, November 14, 2020 from 9 a.m. to noon in the parking lot of The Woodlands High School (enter from Millennium Forest Dr). 

The safety of volunteers, staff and residents is the highest priority. All volunteers and staff will wear face coverings. Participants are required to wear a face covering, as well, while items are being removed from the car. If you don’t have one, we’re happy to provide one. 

This year’s Village Recycling Challenge item is Alkaline AA, AAA, C, D, and 9V batteries. This friendly competition awards funds for scholarships to Villages with the highest participation; funds are donated by The Woodlands G.R.E.E.N. Please label your bag/box of batteries with your Village’s name. 

Free 1-Day Drive-thru Recycling  

Bag or box items separately by category and place them in your trunk or back passenger side seat for safe access by volunteers. A volunteer will open the trunk, hatchback or rear side passenger door to remove items. Residents only, no businesses  

  • Batteries – Alkaline AA, AAA, C, D, and 9V labeled with village name. 
  • Disposable Razors with packaging. See this list for examples. 
  • Eyeglasses, sunglasses and cases  
  • Oral Care Products – Toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes and floss containers. 
  • Snack and drink pouches – Any brand with straws and pouch lids. See this list for examples. 
  • Styrofoam block packaging – No food containers or cups. 
  • Textiles – Clothing, shoes, linens, in any condition. Rags and fabric scraps, too.  

Document Shredding  

  • Secure on-site document shredding   
  • Residential only - limited capacity (first come, first served)   
  • Recommended donation of 5 cans of food or $5 per box; benefits Interfaith Food Pantry  

Questions or Comments? Email enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov

Fall Foodscaping – Texas Style

Growing food in the home landscape can be challenging.  Too much shade, not enough sun, lack of space for a backyard vegetable garden are common barriers to growing our own food.  You may have more gardening space in your home landscape than you realize.  A unique gardening strategy, “foodscaping” offers ideas for using existing space in new ways.  One of the national leaders in this movement is Brie Arthur.  Her first book, The Foodscape Revolution:  Finding a Better Way to Make Space for Food and Beauty in Your Garden will inform the content of this week’s free online class. 

Brie Arthur will present “Fall Foodscaping—Texas Style” on Saturday, October 24 from 10 a.m. to noon.  This class is packed full of information and creative ideas for using any sunny space to grow vegetables.  Brie will teach you how to beautify your landscape while growing your own food.  Whether beginner or expert, you’ll learn strategies you can employ right now to add cool weather vegetables to your home landscape.  The beauty of these vegetables will rival traditional annuals—and they are edible!  With Brie’s expert guidance, you will learn which vegetables and fruits will grow best in our southeast Texas climate. 

Don’t miss this one-time opportunity to learn from a renowned expert!  Gather your breakfast snacks and hot tea and join us online Saturday, October 24 at 10 a.m.  The class is free but registration is required. 

Questions or comments? Email enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov

Recycling Dilemma #1008: Plastic bags and film – Friend or Foe?

Paper or plastic? Environmentally conscious shoppers know the answer: none of the above. They know reusable totes beat paper or plastic every time. Forgoing plastic bags at the store has a big impact. But what about all the other plastic packaging in our lives? Film that wraps itself around our favorite snacks, air pillows and bubble wrap mailed to us daily, and newspaper bags magically appearing on our driveway.   

While it is most important to reduce our consumption of single use plastics such as bags and film, it’s nearly impossible to avoid these stretchy, sneaky plastics. They’re everywhere. Yet, they can’t be recycled in our curbside carts. They can, however, be easily recycled at local stores.  

Are these plastics all foes to the planet, or could they be recycled and reimagined as an eco-friendly material?  

The plastic bags and film that you recycle at the store are sold to manufacturers. They take on a second life as bottles and containers, plastic lumber, picnic tables, lawn furniture, playground equipment, recycling bins and more. Trex combines recycled film with reclaimed woods to create a wood-alternative decking and railing used in local parks, pathways and backyard patios.  

See how companies like Trex are reimagining plastic film as an Eco-friendly alternative to traditional wood lumber. 

Recycle these plastic films if they are clean and dry only: 

  • Air Pillows and Bubble Wrap 
  • Case Wrap, Pallet/Stretch Wrap 
  • Newspaper and Magazine Sleeves 
  • Bags on Clothing or Electronics 
  • Dry Cleaning Bags 
  • Bread Bags, Produce Bags, Food Storage Bags (but NOT frozen food or salad bags) 
  • Grocery/Retail Bags & Other Film Packages 

Please only recycle film that is clean and dry. Moisture causes mildew on film and cannot be accepted at stores. For a printable guide, click here.

Plastic bags and film can be recycled at participating locations such as all grocery stores in The Woodlands, the Precinct 3 Recycling Facility and department stores such as Walmart and Target. Look for a receptacle near the entrance or ask staff at the service desk.  Please note, during the COVID-19 pandemic, some locations may not be accepting plastics at this time. If either is the case, please collect your bags/wraps at home until events change. Bags/wraps can be compressed and stored inside another plastic bag. 

Plastic bags and bagged recyclables are not accepted in our curbside recycling cart program because sorting equipment is not designed to process it without damaging equipment or creating hazardous work conditions for staff. Find more information in Recycling Dilemma #1004 – To bag or not to bag

Check out these recycling tips from previous blogs:    

Questions or comments? Email enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov  

3R Recycling Drive-thru

Convenient, free one-day recycling event.

The Woodlands Township’s annual 3R Bazaar is mobilizing this year; it’s been reimagined as the 3R Recycling Drive-thru. Enjoy convenient, free one-day recycling from the comfort and safety of your own vehicle or bicycle on Saturday, November 14, 2020 from 9 a.m. to noon in the parking lot of The Woodlands High School (enter from Millennium Forest Dr).

Although the traditional bazaar element has been removed this year residents are encouraged to celebrate the true spirit of 3R, finding new opportunities to recycle items that cannot be recycled in curbside carts. Refer to the list below for accepted items and guidelines. Free recycling is for residents only, please no businesses. 

The safety of volunteers, staff and residents is the highest priority. All volunteers and staff will wear face coverings. Participants are required to wear a face covering as well, while items are being removed from the car. If you don’t have a mask, we’re happy to provide one. 

This year’s Village Recycling Challenge item is Alkaline AA, AAA, C, D, and 9V batteries. This friendly competition awards funds for scholarships to Villages with the highest participation; funds are donated by The Woodlands G.R.E.E.N. Please label your bag/box of batteries with your Village’s name. 

Free One-Day Drive-thru Recycling  

Bag or box items separately by category and place them in your trunk or back passenger side seat for safe access by volunteers. A volunteer will open the trunk, hatchback or rear side passenger door to remove items. Residents only, no businesses  

  • Batteries – Alkaline AA, AAA, C, D, and 9V labeled with village name. 
  • Disposable Razorblades with packaging. See this list for examples. 
  • Eyeglasses, sunglasses and cases  
  • Oral Care Products – Toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes and floss containers. 
  • Snack and drink pouches – Any brand with straws and pouch lids. See this list for examples. 
  • Styrofoam block packaging – No food containers or cups. 
  • Textiles – Overly worn clothing, shoes, linens, fabric scraps and other unusable. textiles. Please donate any good, usable items to local charities here. 

Document Shredding  

  • Secure on-site document shredding   
  • Residential only - limited capacity (first come, first served)   
  • Recommended donation of 5 cans of food or $5 per box; benefits Interfaith Food Pantry 

Can’t make it to 3R? That’s ok! The Precinct 3 Recycling Center (1122 Pruitt Road in Spring), Home Depot, Lowes, Batteries Plus, Best Buy, and some Walmart’s accept batteries all year. For a comprehensive list of local recycling opportunities of other oddities such as Styrofoam, electronics, lightbulbs, paints, pharmaceuticals, and more check out the Recycle More Guide.  

Is your group looking for a fundraising opportunity or trying to collect items for a reuse project? Consider joining us at 3R. Check out Terracycle for ideas to earn funds for your organization. 

For event updates and more information, contact The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department at 281-281-3800 or visit www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/3Rbazaar

Questions or comments? Email enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov

Fall in Love with Leaves

Its Fall! Time for cool mornings and pumpkin spice everything. And, while nothing says fall like fallen leaves, sometimes they can feel like a barrage.  If you’re thinking there’s got to be a better way to deal with those leaves than hauling bag after bag to the curb, you’re right. Here are three things to consider as you tackle the autumnal abundance.

Rake Into Beds

The best place for leaves is right on the ground – raked under your trees and shrubs or mowed into the lawn. This returns nutrients back to the soil and provides shelter to caterpillars and other overwintering insects. Come spring these insects will get to work as natural pest control in the garden, and they in turn will feed new clutches of baby birds. This native mulch also suppresses weeds and holds in soil moisture. A great return for “leaving the leaves”.

If all your landscape beds have a 3-4″ layer and you still have leaves here are some good options:

  • Start or feed a compost pile (scroll to the end for a downloadable manual)
  • Heap up 6-8″ in a corner along with branches and hollow stems for a simple insect hotel
  • Stockpile to put around tender shrubs as insulation over the winter

If you regularly contend with a lot of leaves, consider sucking instead of blowing. Units that vacuum and shred leaves as you go really help reduce the volume and small pieces break down faster into rich compost wherever they end up.

Out of Drains & Gutters

One place leaves don’t belong is in the stormwater system. Don’t blow leaves into the drain, its illegal! Stormwater flows untreated into local waterways and all that extra debris depletes oxygen, reducing water quality for fish, dragonfly naiads and a host of other aquatic organisms.

After a rain check for needles, sticks and other debris that may be lodged in driveway culverts and drain inlets near your house. Keeping the stormwater system clear reduces flooding. It also prevents formation of small, stagnant puddles ripe for mosquito breeding.

Fall is a great time to check those gutters, too. Pay special attention to sections under trees as well as roof valleys (where two sections of roof join). As these areas fill with debris you risk damage to the roof and you create more ideal mosquito breeding sites, right at your doorstep.

Fun with Leaves

Albert Camus wrote “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” There are 168 words to describe leaf shape, arrangement, venation, and edges; take some time to delight in the variety. Have a leaf scavenger hunt or make a leaf print bookmark. Learn the language of leaves.

Leaf Print Bookmark

  1. Collect leaves from the neighborhood that have interesting shapes or vein patterns
  2. Use a brayer, roller, or brush to apply paint to the underside of a leaf. Do it sparingly so that the texture appears
  3. Place painted side down on a heavy sheet of paper or cardstock
  4. Cover with a scrap piece of paper and use a rolling pin or straight-sided can to press the leaf down evenly
  5. Remove the scrap paper and peel the leaf back gently from the stem end
  6. Let the print dry and embellish with doodles, stickers, glitter or stamps
  7. Punch a hole at one end and loop through a piece of ribbon or yard to complete the bookmark

Other ways to use the leaf print technique:

  • Decorate brown kraft paper for a tablecloth or placemats
  • Stamp over newsprint for recycled wrapping paper

Check out the Texas A&M Forest service for help identifying native trees.

Questions or comments? Email enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov