Start saving batteries for the Village Recycling Challenge!

Power to the world’s most convenient, portable energy source: the battery. They come in all shapes and sizes and we couldn’t live without them. Although their convenience mobilizes our lives, their disposal comes at a cost to the environment.  

Batteries make up almost 20% of all household hazardous materials sent to landfills. This presents a problem as the elements used to create power inside a battery- mercury, lead, cadmium, or nickel – leach out when the battery breaks down in the landfill, potentially contaminating the surrounding water table. Batteries incorrectly placed in trash or recycling carts can also cause fires in trucks and machinery when compacted.  

To prevent damage to the environment and potential fire hazards, Texas State law prohibits the landfilling of lead-acid batteries and requires residents to dispose of them with an authorized recycling facility. State law also requires businesses that sell lead acid batteries to accept them for recycling. Dry-cell batteries, or single-use batteries can legally be disposed of in the trash, however it is better to recycle them at a collection site.

Batteries – like many other products – are recyclable, however, they are not accepted at the same sorting facility as residential recycling. To empower residents to recycle beyond our curbside carts, The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department has selected alkaline AA, AAA, C, D, and 9V Batteries for the annual Village Recycling Challenge. This event will be held at the 3R Bazaar on Saturday, November 14, 2020 from 8 a.m. to noon at The Woodlands Farmer’s Market

If you don’t already have a stash of used batteries start saving them now! The village that collects the most will receive a donation to its scholarship fund from The Woodlands G.R.E.E.N. Encourage neighbors, friends and family to save their batteries too.  

Can’t wait for 3R Bazaar? That’s ok! The Precinct 3 Recycling Center (1122 Pruitt Road in Spring) and Batteries Plus accept alkaline and rechargeable batteries throughout the year. For a comprehensive list of where to take other recycling oddities such as Styrofoam™, electronics, lightbulbs, paints, pharmaceuticals, and more, check out the Recycle More Guide.  

Reduce by buying rechargeable! Rechargeable batteries cost more up front, but save money in the long run, substituting hundreds of single-use batteries. Rechargeables can also be recycled when they’ve outlived their usefulness, preventing unnecessary landfill usage and toxicity to the environment.  

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

Explore the world without leaving your backyard

Tired of being inside all day? Looking for a way to keep the kids entertained without the TV? It’s time to take a break and get outside. Immersing in nature has many health benefits including reducing stress, anxiety, and blood pressure. And a breath of fresh air always feels good!

So step outside and look around. What do you see? Bees buzzing your lantana, and an anole sunbathing on the brick siding? What about that flowering vine you don’t recognize or the frog you found in the garden? Let me introduce you to the wonderful world of iNaturalist.

What is it?

iNaturalist, a FREE app that can be downloaded on your phone (iPhone and Android), tablet or computer, allows users to identify what they’re seeing and share their observations with others. iNaturalist is also a citizen science tool, with the collected data supporting research projects and conservation initiatives. Citizen science is when curious or concerned people collaborate by contributing the data they have collected to increase scientific knowledge. Those contributions have totaled nearly 33 million observations, and identified 250,000 species thanks to the 1.1 million people collecting data.

If you have kids at home under the age of 13, note that iNaturalist does not allow for accounts to be created for those younger ages. Check out Seek, a companion to iNaturalist that works in a similar way, but does not require an account. Drawing on images and information from iNaturalist, Seek encourages taking and sharing pictures to earn badges as a way to track your observations.

I downloaded it, now what?

Keep track and record your observations and encounters. You can upload photos, sound, tracks, nests and more. Not sure what you are looking at? Post that photo and a detailed description and the iNaturalist community will help you identify what you’ve found. iNaturalist has many video tutorials here, to help learn the functions of the app.

What else can I do in iNaturalist?

Build your knowledge and discover something new. You can look at observations made by others in your area, gaining a better understanding of the web of life that surrounds us. Challenge yourself, family and friends to see who can post the most pictures or who can identify the most observations. Once you’re comfortable identifying multiple species, have a friendly competition to find the most interesting animal or plant, or see who can identify the most birds by their call only.

However you decide to use iNaturalist, you’ll probably learn something new, develop your wildlife identification skills, and certainly spend more time outdoors. And you’ll likely find yourself inspired to make a difference. If you didn’t observe any bluebirds nearby consider building a bluebird house. If its March or April and you haven’t recorded many monarchs, plant native milkweed. By learning about the wildlife around your home, you can take educated actions to encourage more visits by providing the food and shelter that they need.

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

Happy 50th Birthday, Earth Day!

Tips for celebrating at home

April 22, 2020 marks 50 years of celebrating Earth Day and the beginning of the modern environmental movement. Although a monumental day such as this is usually celebrated with festivals and mass gatherings, there are still plenty of ways to recognize this milestone and do good for the planet. 

Discover the natural world in your own backyard.

Become a Citizen Scientist by observing wildlife and logging pictures using iNaturalist. Download the app, snap a picture, receive help identifying species and help scientists conducting global research. 

Start a garden to grow your own vegetables or to support pollinators

  • Keep organic waste out of landfills and create rich additive for your garden by starting a compost pile with green food scraps and yard waste. 

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Right 

  • Reduce the amount of waste you generate by choosing reusable alternatives and purchasing items with less packaging. 
  • Extend the life of products by reusing them; get creative by turning trash into treasure. 
  • Recycle right. Check with your local government about current recycling practices. Remember not to bag your recyclables and only put the specified items in your recycle bin.  

Watch a new documentary, webinar or presentation to learn more about our environment and how to preserve it for future generations. 

Stay Connected  

  • Think globally by subscribing to national and world-wide environmental organizations. This website has compiled a list of several groups that educate on important causes around the world, making it simple to learn how you can support their efforts.  
  • Act locally. Subscribe to The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Blog for ways to get involved in our community. Input your email at the top right of this screen and click the link in the confirmation sent to your email from Wordpress.  

Make Earth Day every day by continuing to practice environmentally friendly habits. If you would like more information on how to be green in the spirit of Earth Day or opportunities to get involved in our community, contact The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department at 281.210.3800 or enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov.   

Why volunteering works – COMMUNITY!

We have all been staying home and away from our favorite activities, but we remain connected by community – one with deep roots and a rich history of volunteering.

Our forested community was once a dynamic gathering place filled with unique biodiversity. We live in the western-most part of the “Big Thicket,” an area unrivaled in the U.S. for flora and fauna richness. Over the centuries, as the population of the area grew, our community was developed and with that development came change. The number and diversity of species was reduced and non-native, invasive vegetation and animals were introduced, leading to issues like loss of native habitat.

In May 2019, The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department held a training class for volunteers to help alleviate the damage caused by removing invasive species from our pathways. The response by volunteers was overwhelming!

By December 2019, volunteers had spent more than 500 hours removing a huge amount of invasive vines and other non-native vegetation from green spaces so native plants and trees could thrive again. A record number of volunteers were hard at work in 2020, before the coronavirus pandemic brought a stop to these activities. . When the time is right, these volunteers will be ready to get back to their work and you’re invited to join them!

Volunteers remove invasive, air potato vines from along pathways in The Woodlands

The Invasives Removal Task Force has quickly become an established community group and riding on their success, another volunteer opportunity presented itself for 2020. Growing concerns about our waterways have led to the creation of The Watershed Project. Our community is built around a complicated web of streams, waterways, bayous, ponds and lakes, creating many opportunities for them to be negatively impacted by litter, chemical runoff and invasive species. Being surrounded by so much water also means that there are any opportunities for volunteers to help manage the health of our waterways.

When the new Watershed Project was launched, earlier this year, more than 50 residents signed on to learn how to save water, reduce chemicals in our landscapes and waterways, and offer educational training to neighbors in their community. In the first two months of the year, more than 140 hours of time was recorded in water related training and volunteering. Yes, for now, projects, trainings and community educational outreachhave been postponed but we know it will return stronger than before. And when it’s safe for our community to come together again, we hope you will join us in working to make our outdoor spaces a healthy and vibrant place to call home.

Volunteers for the Watershed Project learn how to determine the turbidity of the water in the stream as part of a water quality monitoring training

To those who have volunteered in the past, THANK YOU! But, if you haven’t found your niche to serve and would like to know about upcoming opportunities, contact Environmental Services at enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov. You can be a part of the work to keep our community connected and healthy by serving as a volunteer. It works because of YOU.

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


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Final Compost Class

That’s right, March 7 is the last chance to join us for a FREE backyard compost class this spring. Classes will return in the fall, but why wait ‘til then?

With warmer weather on the way, you might be thinking about doing a little yard work, maybe fertilizing the yard or flower bed. What better way to provide quality nutrition for your soil than with your very own compost? Turning your kitchen waste, yard trimmings and leaves into compost is pretty simple!

Composting experts will share how to set up your bins, explain different methods of composting, such as aerobic, anaerobic and  vermicomposting (using worms), what to put into your compost, the benefits of compost and multiple resources to ensure success.

Looking for more resources on composting? Check out this article here.

Backyard Compost Class
Saturday, March 7 from 10 to 11 a.m.
Park, Recreation and Environmental Services
8203 Millennium Forest Drive
No Registration Required

Reminder that Saturday, March 7 is The Woodlands Marathon. Check out this traffic guide to help you navigate the best route to our compost class.


Questions? Contact enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov