Earth Day GreenUp 2021: Thank you volunteers!

Over 700 volunteers worked together to remove an incredible 8,000 lbs of litter from our community at the 10th annual Earth Day GreenUp community litter cleanup day on Saturday, March 20,2021. The amount of litter collected is the equivalent of 125 of our curbside trash carts.

Single-use plastics, such as grocery bags, disposable cutlery and cups, fast food containers and straws, were the most common type of litter collected at GreenUp. These items are blown from parking lots, picnic areas and trash barrels into forested areas. Choosing reusable alternatives and refusing single-use plastics reduces this type of harmful litter. Volunteers also collected larger items such as construction debris, discarded lawn furniture, used tires and more.

Help keep The Woodlands looking beautiful by continuing the litter pick up habit. Consider organizing your own cleanup any time of the year or adopting a pathway through the Adopt-a-path program. Trash grabbers are available for loan through the Environmental Services Department. For more information or to reserve grabbers, contact The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department at enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov.

Scouts seeking their Soil & Water Conservation badge or the It’s Your Planet – Love It Journey badge can receive free equipment to organize their own cleanups from Keep Texas Beautiful. Check out their website for more information.

Earth Day GreenUp is hosted by The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department with support from the following sponsors: Waste ManagementKeep Texas BeautifulChevron Phillips ChemicalYellowstone LandscapeWoodlands WaterHoward Hughes CorporationThe Woodlands GREEN, and Papa John’s Pizza

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


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Today I Saved A Frog

Never underestimate the power of youth to bring about change. Just because they’re young doesn’t mean they can’t show us older folks how to be environmentally responsible. Kids get it!  

Take the case of the Discovery School of Innovation students who stepped up recently to protect our local streams. A volunteer project installing storm drain markers near their school in Grogan’s Mill piqued their interest; they wanted to learn more, get involved and make a difference. 

Along with the school’s Director, Cathy Sagar, the students started by connecting with a Township environmental educator, diving a little deeper into The Woodlands’ water quality. They studied watersheds and modeled how stormwater carries pollutants from lawns and roads into our local waterways, like Spring Creek. They also grappled with some tough problems. Some people mistake storm drains for trash cans dumping grass clippings, litter, auto fluids and more into storm drains. Unfortunately, everything dumped in the drain is carried directly to a nearby waterway.    

Others fail to pick up after their pets. Pet waste is one of our biggest water quality issues. Dangerously high bacteria levels result when waste is left on the ground. Though it eventually breaks down, harmful bacteria remains, eventually working its way into nearby water bodies, endangering aquatic organisms and humans, alike. 

The good news? Youthful determination prevailed. Understanding that something can be done about these issues, they leapt into action to get the message out: keep our creeks clean!  

Remember how everything felt so certain when you were young? On a crisp December morning, the Discovery students jumped into action, affixing markers that carry the message about pollution in storm drains. As they were finishing their final drain marker, they observed a frog intently observing them.  In that moment, they felt certain the frog was telling them they had done the right thing that day, for him and all the other critters that rely on clean water.

 

But that’s not the end of the story for these young water heroes. Each student committed to picking up litter when they see it and picking up after their pets, too. They bubbled over with enthusiasm to share their new knowledge and commitment with others, continuing to expand their impact.  

Sure, most of the Storm Drain Marker Project volunteers are adults. But none of us, young or old, should take clean water for granted. And let’s not take our action-oriented youth for granted, either. If you see them installing markers or picking up litter, give them a shout out. And consider joining them by  registering to volunteer. Save a frog, a fish, or maybe Spring Creek.  

To learn more contact The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department at enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov or 281-210-3800. 

Earth Day GreenUp – Registration Closes March 15!

Lend a hand in keeping our community clean and green. 

Join us for the 10th annual community litter cleanup, Earth Day GreenUp on Saturday, March 20, 2021. Team up with family, friends and neighbors for a socially-distanced volunteer opportunity to target litter on pathways, parks, waterways and greenbelts.    

Each year GreenUpvolunteers remove 4,500 pounds of litter - 76 curbside trash carts worth! 
 
The safety of volunteers, residents and staff is the highest priority. All event staff will wear face coverings and participants are required to wear a face covering at the check-in locations. Please send one participant per group to pick up equipment. Due to COVID safety concerns, the post-clean up celebration at Northshore Park will not be held this year.  Equipment return and t-shirt pickup will occur at check-in locations. 
 
Pre-register before March 15th  
Pre-registration is encouraged before March 15th, especially for groups. Those who pre-register will receive a special 10-year anniversary t-shirt (while supplies last, sizes are limited). Day-of walk-up registration is also welcome.  

Check-In and Equipment Return Locations 
Report to your chosen village park on Saturday, March 20, 2021, from 8 to 10 a.m. to sign in and pick up disposable gloves, bags and maps to a cleanup site. A limited number of trash grabbers will be available for loan. Return equipment and bring bagged litter to the drop site at the same park by 11 a.m. 

Thank You Sponsors 
Chevron Phillips Chemical, Howard Hughes Corporation, Papa John’s Pizza, Waste Management, Woodlands Water, The Woodlands GREEN and Yellowstone Landscape 


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

Registration Open for Spring Classes

The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department kicks off the New Year with a packed calendar of programs and events. We are ready to plant trees, create water-saving lawns, get our hands dirty in the garden and more. From virtual programing to socially-distanced events, there is something for everyone.  


45th Arbor Day Tree Giveaway Drive-Through 

Saturday, January 23, 20201
9 a.m. to noon
Sawdust Park and Ride
701 Westridge Road, The Woodlands, TX 77380

One of the longest running community events celebrates 45 years. Cruise through the line in your car and select from twelve varieties of native tree seedlings. Help reforest our community by planting these seedlings in your yard and nearby green spaces. Don’t miss this free event.  


Walk in the Woods: The Weird and Wonderful World of Mushrooms 

Thursday, February 11, 2021
6 to 7 p.m.
Free online class

Take a virtual Walk in the Woods with Teri MacArthur, Texas Master Naturalist and discover The Woodlands’ rich and diverse array of mushrooms. Then dive into the critical role they play in healthy ecosystems and yes, even healthy lawns and landscapes.  Registration required.


7th annual Community Tree Planting 

Saturday, February 13, 2021
9 a.m. to noon
The Woodlands High School Parking Lot

Take part in the community’s reforestation program by planting native trees around your home or in a nearby green space. Reserve your free, 3-gallon trees online and then pick up at the community drive-through event. Registration opens January 11 (supplies are limited).  For more information or to register follow the link below.


Invasive Species Training  

Saturday, February 20, 2021
8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Free online class

Volunteers are needed to join the Invasive Species Volunteer Task Force. This training is a great place to start:  learn how to identify and remove non-native plants common to our area. Upon completion, you’ll be ready to volunteer alongside your neighbors, helping to keep The Woodlands environment healthy. The training is free but registration is required.


Spring Organic Vegetable Gardening Class 

Saturday, February 20, 2021
9 a.m. to noon
Free online class

It’s that time of year! Start planning your spring vegetable garden now. Whether you’re a beginner or advanced gardener, a great first step is to join Dr. Joe Masabni, Texas A&M Extension vegetable specialist in this free online (Zoom) class. Participants will take away new strategies for managing soil, selecting the right plants, companion planting, managing pests organically and more. Registration is required.


Don’t miss out, register today. For a full list of upcoming programs, visit www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/environment or subscribe to receive a weekly email with the latest happenings.   

Did you miss one of our fall programs? 

View past recorded programs on The Woodlands Township YouTube channel HERE.

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

Invasives are on the run!

Plants can’t run, but they surely can spread! If you haven’t already heard, The Invasives Task Force is hot on their trail here in The Woodlands.

In 2019, more than 40 volunteers attended trainings to learn about the problems with invasive species, particularly those impacting our Township pathways and green spaces. That group of hard workers has already put in over a thousand hours this year removing air potato vines, elephant ears, nandina, Japanese honeysuckle, and many more invasive species.

A group of volunteers spent the morning removing invasive plants in Grogan’s Mill Village. Photo taken in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Perhaps you’ve seen the volunteers or noticed their sign when working. Have you wondered if their efforts really matter? The answer is a resounding YES! Removing these invasives, which steal nutrients from native plants and trees, supports the health of the forest and the critters that depend on it. Our community founders were passionate about preserving trees and fought to save the vegetation native to The Woodlands. Now it’s up to us to continue the fight!

If interested in this ongoing project, join the next training class on February 20, 2021.   It’s free but registration is required. Find more information and a registration link HERE.

Are you excited to get involved right now? Great! We can pair you with trained volunteers who can help you learn on the job. Contact Teri MacArthur at tmacarthur@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov to find out how.  Note:  We still recommend you attend the February 20 training to further your knowledge and effectiveness.