Join neighbors, family and friends at the 10th annual Earth Day GreenUp on March 21st. Volunteer to beautify our community by picking up litter on pathways, waterways and greenbelts. After your hard work, celebrate at Northshore Park with free pizza, live music and a special 10-year anniversary t-shirt. Together, residents will keep The Woodlands beautiful and protect natural areas for wildlife by helping in this community stewardship project.
Registration is available online at www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/greenup through March 9th. Walk-up registration is also welcome the morning of the event, starting at 8 a.m. A limited number of trash grabbers and vests will be available for loan to groups that pre-register on the website.
Disposable gloves, trash bags, water bottles, instructions and maps to cleanup sites will be provided at check-in. Participants are encouraged to bring reusable work gloves and a reusable water bottle to reduce waste.
The after party at Northshore Park, 2505 Lake Woodlands Drive, will feature local environmental organizations hosting fun activities and information on how you can make everyday Earth Day. Meet wildlife ambassadors, rock out with Let them Drum, explore new recycling and water saving opportunities and be sure to steer clear of the Bag Monster! Volunteers will receive a commemorative T-shirt and be treated to pizza. Beverages will be available, but remember to bring your own water bottle. Food tickets will be on sale to the general public.
To a kid, mom knows just about everything. Mine always knew when I gave my broccoli to the dog or when I hid peas in my napkin. But maybe, just maybe, there are a few things Mom doesn’t know about the world of veggies. Does she know that it takes 30 gallons of water to produce a single serving of potatoes? Or 522 gallons for a serving of olives?! So, when we send food to the landfill we send a lot of water with it.
Perhaps you’ve seen one of the recent national educational campaigns that urge better food shopping practices to avoid waste and save water. Save The Food reminds us that each American wastes almost 290 pounds of food a year. That’s a LOT of food! And water! Especially as many fellow Americans live in “food deserts” – communities where fresh produce and meats are difficult to obtain.
So, if you’re wondering what you can do to save water each time you sit down for a meal, consider these simple tips. First, think twice before tossing those uneaten potatoes in the trash. Save waste, water and your time by making a plan for leftovers. Consider how to turn them into something new and exciting for tomorrow’s dinner. I like to make frittatas out of leftover roasted veggies and chicken. My family loves it and it I can turn out a new meal in just a few minutes. Also, I’ve invested in higher quality storage containers so I can save my extras in the freezer and then combine them with leftover foods for a completely new meal.
And for the peels, how about composting those right in your own back yard? It’s easier than you think to create rich soil for your vegetable garden, flower beds or lawn. Join a short and FREE Environmental Services Composting Class this spring to learn all you need to know.
Here are some more easy ways to save water in the kitchen.
Break the habit of rinsing off your plates on the way to the dishwasher. With new high tech dishwashers there’s no need to rinse dishes before loading them. Pre-rinse too much and the sensors won’t find the food particles, causing the machine to run a shorter cycle, leading to a less thorough cleaning. If you’ve got big chunks, scrape them into the trash instead of rinsing.
Did you know most people use 10 to 15 times more soap than they need. If you’re using too much dish soap, you’ll need more water to wash away the suds.
And remember to wait until the dishwasher is full before you run it. You’ll save energy, too.
So, the next time you can’t eat all your veggies, save them for leftovers, freeze them or compost them. And be sure to let Mom know that you’re saving water too!
Have some unusual “alterations” to your landscape occurred overnight? Trampled flower beds, plowed up lawn, tufts of hair and mud stuck to fence posts and garden sheds? No, Bigfoot hasn’t been out for some midnight gardening. You’ve likely been visited by feral hogs.
Whether you’re dealing with these unwanted neighbors or you just want to know more about the history, biology and impacts of the invasive Susscrofa, be sure to attend one of these upcoming lectures by a State expert.
Kick off the Spring Walk in the Woods Nature Lecture Series with Dr. John Tomecek, Assistant Professor and Extension Wildlife Specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. Dr. Tomecek is a leading expert in the State on feral hog biology and control. His agency’s mission is both scientific and educational, providing landowners and governmental bodies with support on the identification, management and abatement of damages from feral hogs.
Walk in the Woods: Feral hogs in a Suburban Landscape
Wednesday, February 5 from 7 to 8 p.m.
The Recreation Center at Rob Fleming Park
Free Lecture. Space is limited. Register online here
Can’t make it on the 5th? Don’t worry. Join The Woodlands G.R.E.E.N. for the next Going GREEN lecture, Feral Swine: Challenges and Control. Chris Watts, Wildlife Damage Management Biologist with Texas A&M Agrilife Extension will walk through the history of invasive feral swine in Texas, their ecological and economic impacts, wildlife-human interactions, and urban feral swine management practices and strategies.
Going GREEN: Feral Swine Challenges and Control
Thursday, February 20 from 7 to 8 p.m.
Houston Advanced Research Center
Free Lecture. Space is limited. Register online here.
Let’s talk hogs
Feral hogs were likely first introduced to Texas by Spanish explorers in the 1600’s. Over the ensuing 300+ years their numbers have grown dramatically. Over 1.5 million feral hogs are estimated to now roam the State, becoming one of our most destructive invasive species. Feral hogs cost the State some $400 million in damages annually by wreaking havoc on crops and lawns. They also have a tremendous impact on native plants and wildlife. Rooting, trampling and wallowing activity destroys vegetation and destabilizes riparian areas. This leads to soil compaction and erosion, spread of invasive vegetation, water quality degradation, and disruption of the nutrient cycle.
The secret to their success is multi-fold: they are highly intelligent, impressively fecund and lack natural predators. They’re also remarkably adaptable, as more and more residents of urban areas, like The Woodlands, are realizing.
Most human interactions with feral hogs are limited to an uprooted lawn. Feral hogs have a keen sense of smell and use it to avoid contact with humans whenever possible. However, as with most wildlife, feral hogs will defend themselves if cornered and females may aggressively protect their young. They can grow quite large, up to 400 pounds and are more powerful than their domestic counterparts. Should you encounter a feral hog, be calm and move slowly away from it. Do not corner or provoke the animal. If you see adults with young piglets, leave them alone.
What you can do
If feral hogs are impacting your property there are steps you can take.
First, reduce access where possible. Address any holes or gaps in your fencing and cordon off garden areas. A fence height of 36 inches is enough to keep feral hogs. Make sure fence is flush with the ground to prevent access.
For areas that can’t be fenced, remove food sources, like acorns, fruits and vegetables, and bulbs. They also eat grasses, forbs, roots and tubers, mushrooms, insects, earthworms, reptiles, amphibians, carrion (dead animals), live mammals and birds.
Don’t water your yard in the winter. Lawns should go dormant (brown) in the winter to allow the roots to grow deep and strong. Watering in the winter not only weakens your grass, making it more susceptible to disease, the green leaves are a major attractant to feral hogs.
If you encounter a hog during the day, you will likely be able to scare it off with loud noise but you’re likely to see it back at night in search of more food.
Currently no chemical repellents are labeled for use.
Motion-activated sprinklers and ultrasonic animal repellents have also not been proven effective.
While feral hogs may be killed or trapped on private property without a State of Texas license or permit with landowner consent, discharge of firearms of any kind within The Woodlands Township is not permitted.
For more information on feral hogs, check out the Wildlife section of the Environmental Services Department website.
For more resources or to report feral hogs that have been sighted in the area, please contact the following:
The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The next best time is now.
Celebrate the 44th annual Arbor Day Tree Giveaway this Saturday, January 25 from 9 a.m. to noon at Northshore Park. The Woodlands Township and community partner, the George Strake District of Boy Scouts of America, will join forces with community volunteers to hand out more than 11,000 native seedlings. Sponsored by the Howard Hughes Corporation, this annual FREE event has given out more than 1.5 million seedlings since 1977 to plant in yards, open green spaces and forest preserves.
This year’s selection includes a variety of native canopy and understory trees. Canopy trees, those comprising the upper layer of the forest, typically reach heights of 40 to 90 feet at full maturity. Canopy trees available at this year’s event are American Sycamore, Green Ash, Loblolly Pine, Overcup Oak, Southern Magnolia, Sugar Hackberry, and Tulip Poplar.
Understory trees range in height from 8 to 20 feet at maturity and are generally more shade tolerant. Eastern Redbud, Possumhaw Holly, Roughleaf Dogwood, Spicebush, and Witch Hazel will be passed out at this year’s event.
Each of these native tree species benefits local wildlife. Flowering varieties provide nectar for bees, butterflies and other pollinators. Berry-producing trees offer small mammals and birds a source of food and many of these trees are host plants for butterflies, providing nutritious leaves for caterpillars to consume.
By planting a tree on your property, in community open space reserves and forest preserves, you help support the reforestation of our community and encourage a healthier environment for the benefit of residents and wildlife alike. Here’s an overview on the value of native trees along with resources for caring for your newly planted tree.
Come early for the best selection of seedlings. Bring your reusable bag to help transport your new seedlings from the park to your home.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 281-210-3800
Are aphids camped out on your roses? Leaf miners munching away at your prized lemon tree? It’s enough to send you scrambling for the quickest, easiest solution. That’s understandable. Just please don’t look for that solution in the chemical aisle at the hardware store, compromising the health of your backyard “habitat” and your pocket book. Integrated pest management (IPM) offers a research-based alternative to chemicals that is economical, environmentally friendly, and it works!
Pests in the home landscape may be an insect or other arthropod, plant disease, weed or other organism that negatively affects plant health or becomes an annoyance to people or pets. IPM is an approach to managing those pests that respects the interconnection and inter-dependency of all organisms. IPM is used to solve pest problems while minimizing risks to people and the environment.
Using a combination of IPM methods, like biological, cultural, physical and chemical creates unfavorable conditions for pests. Biological control is the use of natural enemies, like a ladybug, to control pests, such as aphids. Cultural controls are practices that change the environment to remove the source of the problem, like adjusting irrigation levels, since too much water can increase root disease. Physical, or mechanical, controls trap or block pests from access to plants. Barriers or screens for birds and insects are great examples of a physical control. The use of a chemical control, or a pesticide, is used only when needed and in combination with efforts of the above mentioned methods. If pesticides are needed, applying them so they minimize harm to people, beneficial insects and the environment is imperative. Check out this fact sheet from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service for more information on IPM.
With the average homeowner in need of problem-solving techniques to manage landscape pests, The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department is presenting a FREE class on Integrated Pest Management in the Home Landscape. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Specialist in IPM and board-certified entomologist, Wizzie Brown will offer practical research-based information to support implementing IPM in your own back yard. Wizzie shares specific tools for use in the home landscape to strengthen plant health and reduce plant pests. You’ll take home information that can immediately be put to use in your own yard or garden.
Join Us Saturday, January 18, 2020 from 9 a.m. to noon The Woodlands Emergency Training Center 16135 Interstate 45 South The Woodlands, TX 77385