Did you know a corps of knowledgeable volunteers provides education, outreach, and service to keep our local water bodies healthy through their efforts right here at home? They’re Texas Waters Specialists, certified through a unique program made possible by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) in partnership with The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department. The program is open to adults as well as students in grades 9 – 12.
Classes are free and scheduled throughout the year, and the good news: you can obtain all the needed training hours right here in The Woodlands. You’ll be certified as a Texas Waters Specialist after completing just 8 hours of training based on the Texas Waters curriculum guide (provided by Environmental Services or acquired online). Adults 18 and older receive a certificate and an official pin directly from TPWD designating them as a certified waters specialist. Students under age 18, in grades 9 through 12, register with Environmental Services to report hours and receive your certificate and pin.
Sign up hereif you are interested. You will be notified of classes offered both in person and online, as well as volunteering opportunities. NOTE that Studentsshould onlyuse this link to enroll in the program administered by Environmental Services.
Adults get started by enrolling as TPWD volunteers here. Or find more detailed instructions on how to register with TPWD, by following along with this document.
There are two upcoming in-person Texas Waters Specialist (TWS) Water Labs at the Recreation Center at Rob Fleming Park at 6464 Creekside Forest Drive:
Saturday, June 10 – 8:30 to 12:30pm.
Saturday, July 15 – 8:30 to 11:30am.
Additional or alternative training hours available at the Online Monthly Classes. The 2-Hour TWS Curriculum Class Sessions are on the fourth Monday of every month from 3:30-5:30pm.
Earn your certificate as a Texas Waters Specialist!
Want additional opportunities in water conservation? The Woodlands Township offers many free events, classes, and seminars for residents to learn tips on preserving our waterways like the storm drain marking program, litter cleanup with Keep Texas Beautiful, and more! Learn how to get involved on the Woodlands Township Water Conservation Page. Read all about water conservation in the Woodlands Township online library water conservation articles
Earth Day is an annual celebration on April 22nd to promote environmental awareness. The first Earth Day was in 1970 which started the modern environmental movement. A long-lasting tradition of The Woodlands Township is the annual celebration of Earth Day. This celebration includes the GreenUp litter cleanup event back this past March. This year 611 community volunteers removed over 1,100 lbs of litter!
Coming up on Saturday, May 13th, 2023, from 10 am – 1 pm is the Woodlands Township Earth Day Festival at Northshore Park. Bring your family and friends to celebrate mother earth with fun and educational activities. Enjoy live entertainment, face painting, games, educational displays, and meet organizations that celebrate earth day every day.
Whether you’re outside participating in the Iron Man this weekend or prefer to stay home, The Woodlands Township has many programs and resources to help you celebrate Earth Day. Here are 8 ways to celebrate Earth Day year-round!
1. Conserve Water
Conserving water saves energy, and using less water keeps more in our ecosystems. There are many ways to conserve water from taking shorter showers, turning off the water while you brush your teeth or installing drip irrigation in your garden. Drip irrigation delivers water to your plants right where they need it most- the roots. Learn how to install a simple system yourself at this free workshop Saturday, May 20 from 8 to 11:30 a.m. Register Today to save your place.
2. Plant a Tree
Planting trees has many environmental benefits and can improve the quality of life of the community. Every February, the Woodlands Township hosts an annual community tree planting event. Learn more about the Community Tree Planting Eventon the Woodlands Township website. The Woodlands Township hosts an Annual Arbor Day Tree Giveaway to encourage residents to help reforest our community. If you don’t want to wait until Arbor Day, read the Environmental Services DepartmentNative Trees article to learn the best way to plant a tree and ensure it thrives.
Reducing waste is one of the many things you can do to help lessen your carbon footprint. Read the Recycle-More-Guide to see what and where to recycle beyond the curbside cart! Or save your hard-to-recycle items for the 3R Drive Thru.This special collections day in November gives you the opportunity to drop off items you’re not able to put in your curbside cart.
One way to reduce the amount of waste in landfills is to compost. The Woodlands Township offers free backyard composting classes every year in the spring and fall. If you are interested in trying this at home, you can buy a compost bin from Environmental Services anytime. Learn more about The Woodlands Township Composting Resourceshere.Last October, The Woodlands Township had its firstPumpkin Smash Event. It was a Smashing success and a great way for residents to dispose of their pumpkins in an environmentally friendly manner. Find out details on the Woodlands Township Calendar.
5. Support Wildlife
You can make a difference starting in your own backyard. The Woodlands Township has many programs, workshops, seminars, and volunteer opportunities available to help support your local wildlife. National Pollinator Week is right around the corner, with spring in full bloom there are many ways you can support our native pollinators. Planting native milkweed or nectar-producing plants is a great way to support habitats and encourage pollinators to stop by! Additional resources are in the Environmental Services Blog. Invasive species take over the environment and cause harm to the stability of ecosystems. Join the Woodlands TownshipInvasive Species Task Force to help.
6. Pick Up Litter
Keep the community clean by picking up litter in our public spaces. The Woodlands Township has trash grabbers, gloves, and trash bags available to be picked up by appointment. Also, the Earth Day GreenUp, a community clean-up event takes place every March, and again in September. Both theGreenUp and GreenUp Fall Sweep information can be found on the Woodlands Township website If you’re interested in keeping the Woodlands free of litter Adopt-A-Path is a year-round program that you can apply to join. Additional information can be found on the Adopt-A-Path webpage.
7. Immerse Yourself in Nature
Going outdoors and educating yourself about the wonders of nature is a wonderful way to appreciate the earth. The Woodlands Township has two upcoming events that are great opportunities to learn about nature. The Great Texas Birding Classic will be held on April 29th, at the George Mitchell Nature Preserve. This event is a bird-watching competition across Texas, and the Woodlands Township has a registered team. More information about this event is on the calendar listing. If you can’t attend the Great Texas Birding Classic, we have birding backpacks available to rent year-round for those interested in birding! Make a reservation here
Another event coming up is the Bioblitz during Pollinator Week. It is a two-part event, starting June 19 through June 25 is the week-long community effort to identify as many species as possible through the iNaturalist App. Then join the in-person event on Saturday, June 24th at Rob Flemming to continue the search in person and visit the BioBooth. Read about BioBlitzon The Woodlands Township website.
There are many benefits to gardening, it improves the quality of air in the soil, provides habitat and cover for pollinators, and adds to the aesthetic of the environment. The Woodlands Township provides two home gardening classes, one in the spring and one in the fall which is coming up on August 21st, you can register here. The Woodlands Township administers community gardens, if you’re interested in a garden plot call the Environmental Services department and ask to be connected to the community garden coordinator.
There are many ways to celebrate earth day year-round. Some of those include finding ways to conserve water, planting trees, recycling and composting to reduce waste, supporting local wildlife, picking up litter, and gardening. The Woodlands Township has multiple resources to help you on your journey to becoming more environmentally friendly and connecting with your community. If you have any questions, visitThe Woodlands Township Environmental Services Websiteor search the online library for your favorite topics.
Do your kids turn off the faucet while brushing their teeth? It can save about 4 gallons of water! These habits add up – over the course of a week a family can save enough water to fill a regular trash can. Wouldn’t you rather use that water? Give the kids a hug and encourage their pride in being good stewards of a vital natural resource.
Kids seem to do better than adults at maintaining good habits when they understand the benefits and their actions are rewarded with praise. The rest of us may need a sticky note on the ‘fridge! Consider this your sticky note.
At least once a year, check for dripping water. Even a small leak makes a big impact on your water bill. Over time you could be paying for hundreds of gallons of water you aren’t using.
Look at faucets and taps in kitchens and bathrooms
Check under sinks and inside cabinets for wet spots
Remember to check faucets in tubs and shower heads
Inspect clothes- and dishwasher connections that can develop leaks over time
Check spigots and hose ends
Ditto for sprinklers attached to a hose
For automated systems, check sprinkler heads for leaks, one sign is taller or greener grass, another is places where the ground is perpetually wet
Install a rain sensor, if your controller doesn’t have one, to keep sprinklers off when it rains – what a waste that is
Leaks and dripping faucets are easy to ignore but costly. How about checking right now to be sure it’s not happening right under your nose. Good habits prevent wasted water, so thank you for being a good water steward! Here’s a virtual hug for you.
Keeping our water clean, healthy, and available is a full-time job for anyone who uses water. Right now is the best time to assess any gaps in your water-saving activities.
Say YES TO MORE
Start by saying YES TO MORE when you only run the dishwasher when it’s full. Same goes for washing your clothes. YES TO MORE cold water washes that conserve energy while being gentler on clothes. Time to upgrade your washing machine? Select one that is smart enough match the amount of water to the load size.
Say YES TO LESS
Fall is a time for less: less fertilizer on the lawn. OurSt Augustine grasswon’t be able to take up many nutrients, especially nitrogen, once it enters dormancy (mid October – mid April). Adding fertilizer after the first of October won’t help the grass, and it’s more likely those fertilizers will simply run off into waterways during the next rain.
Speaking of rain, does your sprinkler system controller have a rain sensor? The next few months are forecasted to bring strong chances of large rain events. A rain sensor helps you say YES TO LESS irrigation by communicating with your sprinkler system that your lawn has received adequate rainfall and overrides a scheduled watering. Again, your lawn is dormant from mid-October to mid-April and requires not only less fertilizer, but less water too.
Consider yourself a bit of a DIYer? Installing a rain sensor is pretty simple and we’ll help you get started. Send an email to email@example.com with the subject line: Rain Sensor Request.
The first 10 Township residents to email will receive a free rain sensor.
Just provide your home address so we can verify residency. We’ll be in touch with details on where to pick up your rain sensor and help with any troubleshooting.
Ready to say YES TO MORE AND YES TO LESS? Think about other simple ways your actions can reduce water use. Each YES means we have the water we need in the future.
It’s time to evaluate your water use both indoors and outdoors.
Did you know that 10 percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day? Taking 10 minutes to check for leaks can not only save water but prevent future water damage within the home.
Audit your home for leaks
Turn off everything in your home that uses water.
Read your water meter.
Wait 15 minutes, and then read the meter again. Did the numbers change? If so, you may have a leak.
If you’re a Woodlands Water customer, the recently installed Smart Water Meters allow you to view your bill, monitor water usage, identify potential leaks, get notifications about excess water use or weather events that might impact your water use. Get started today with the WaterSmart Customer Portal here.
Look around and check that outdoor faucets aren’t dripping. Look under sinks in all bathrooms and kitchen. If you can’t identify the leak, call a professional for help.
How many inches?
Lawn watering accounts for over 50% of water usage by Woodlands residents. If you’re watering more to account for our current drought conditions, you might be doing more harm than good. St. Augustine grass needs only one inch of water per week. Any more than that can lead to disease, pests and weakened lawns. Not to mention wasted water running off the lawn and into the street grows mosquitoes when itenters the storm drains.
Audit your outdoor water use
Watchthis short video and learn how you can quickly audit your irrigation system
Contact Woodlands Water W.I.S.E. Guys for a free irrigation system evaluation