Houston is famous for supplying the United States with energy, for engaging in cutting-edge medical research and for sending humans to the Moon. But for natural beauty our minds wander elsewhere.
Here’s the truth: Houston’s nature is exquisit and awe-inspiring. It is also fragile and in need of protection.
So it’s high time we discover our love for it. That's what this podcast is all about.
Please sign up for the Houston and Nature Memo at https://houstonnature.com to be notified whenever a new episode comes out!
10: Prepared for Life? The Boy Scouts of America, With James Sy
Boy Scouts of America promises young men, and now also women, exciting nature experiences and preparation for life as adults.
Do they live up to the promise? What’s it like to grow up among the Scouts? Is being an Eagle Scout really as special as some people say?
For answers to those questions I turned to Eagle Scout James Sy, who gave me his unvarnished view on the good, the bad, and the great about being a member of Boy Scouts of America.
Find episode transcript and resources at: https://houstonnature.com/9
09: Enchanting Children With Nature: A Teacher’s Tale, With Mary Ann Beauchemin
When it comes to drawing children and teenagers into nature, Mary Ann Beauchemin of Russ Pitman Park is an expert. After earning a Master’s degree in outdoors education in Oregon, she taught generations of young Houstonians how to turn over logs, use bug boxes and marvel at critters. And in the process she bolstered their other skills, from poetry and sketching to the scientific method.
Here she explains why it is so important to introduce children to the outdoors at an early age and describes her best strategies for doing so.
Find episode transcript and resources at https://houstonnature.com/9
08: Exploration Green – It’s How You Build Beauty, Nature and Flood Control, With Jerry Hamby
Exploration Green is a beautiful park in flood-prone Clear Lake. The Green functions as a giant detention pond. But it is so much more: a space that welcomes wildlife, a refuge from the hustle of city life, an opportunity for volunteers to make friends and learn about nature.
07: Houston’s Permaculture Scene, with Shawn McFarland
The Houston permaculture community is lively. And chances are, you’ve heard of their innovative approach towards gardening.
But, as you’ll learn from veteran expert Shawn McFarland, permaculture goes far beyond orchards and vegetable beds. It can be applied, she says, to business, architecture, and how you live your life. As a consequence, it lends itself to re-imagining how we function as a society.
06: So You Can Heal from Poison: Jackie Young, the San Jacinto Waste Pits, and Other Toxic Sites
The San Jacinto Waste Pits may be Houston’s best-known Superfund site. The chemicals they harbor are at constant risk of leeching out and poisoning both nearby residents and Houston’s seafood supply.
But the Pits are not the only toxic site. As my guest Jackie Young Medcalf will tell you, there is a noxious ground water plume on Jones Road in Northwest Houston and a creosote plume in Greater Fifth Ward. She is dedicated to getting all these sites cleaned up. Her goal is to bring justice to the communities they have poisoned.
It’s been close to a decade since she entered this fight. For the past five years she’s been able to count on support from her organization THEA, the Texas Health and Environment Alliance.
Find out how Young Medcalf found her way into the environmental justice movement and how she grew up within it. I bet you’ll walk away with this impression: When it comes to environmental justice, Young Medcalf is simply relentless.
05: The Next Houston Hurricane May Be Worse Than Harvey – Let’s Get Ready!
Houston faces serious danger from a hurricane hit on our petrochemical complex. Terence O’Rourke explains the threat, why we have no protection and what’s needed to get us to safety. Let's get ready!
(Show notes and transcript at https://tinyurl.com/ydyqzxw6)