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Houston and Nature

Arts & Culture Podcasts

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!

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!

Location:

United States

Description:

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!

Language:

English


Episodes

23: Protecting Houston’s 22 Bayous and Waterways - The Big Picture

9/15/2022
Have you wondered if anyone sees the big picture on caring for Houston’s bayous and waterways? I have, and that’s why I sat down with Brittani Flowers, the president and CEO of the Bayou Preservation Association. She tells us why our streams are such great assets and how we can leverage them to realize the promise of the bayou city. She explains why she is so skeptical of the big tunnelization project that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would like to bring to Houston, and describes some...

Duration:00:52:15

22: It’s Breeding Season at the Smith Oaks Rookery

4/8/2022
The Smith Oaks Rookery on High Island, in springtime, teems with life. Several species of colonial nesting birds come here to raise their young. And they do so right in front of human onlookers, without signs of fear. To give you a sense of the experience that the Rookery offers, I packed up my microphones and headed to Smith Oaks. There I met with Houston's expert bird guide Glenn Olsen. Join us as we explore some of the island’s hustle and bustle. Then get in your car, pay this magical...

Duration:00:28:59

21: Kristi Rangel Reclaims Space and Place in Nature

3/2/2022
Kristi Rangel has many facets: By career she is an educator, public health official, and artist. By passion she explores African American connections to the land in Houston. When she talks, you quickly learn that her rootedness in nature runs deep. It starts with a three-times great grandfather who, although African, owned a large piece of property in Mississippi. It continues with her childhood adventures in family gardens and her adult efforts to bring raised vegetable beds to Kashmere...

Duration:00:41:26

20: Go birding with Sarah Flournoy and Houston Audubon

1/16/2022
Does observing birds – as they jump from twig to twig, stalk prey, feed their young – bring you joy? Then, according to Sarah Flournoy of the Houston Audubon Society, you are a birder, whether you own a pair of binoculars or not. Follow Sarah on her journey from beginner to expert birder. Find out why in Houston birding is such a big deal, and learn how you can connect with other bird enthusiasts through Houston Audubon. Find episode resources here.

Duration:00:54:49

19: Texas Parks And Wildlife Meets A Changing State Population

12/9/2021
The population of Texas is changing, but the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is ready. In this third episode of a three part interview, Ted Hollingsworth tells us how his agency addresses the increasing diversity of Texans, and how the demographic trends affect both its ranks and its bottom line. He also lets us in on the secret behind the Department’s overall popularity. https://houstonnature.com/ted-hollingsworth/

Duration:00:27:56

18: How Texas Parks And Wildlife Protects At-Risk Species Across The State

11/26/2021
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) describes its approach to protecting the state’s ecosystems as science-based and forward-looking. How does being science-based work in a political culture that disputes science? And how does one pursue a forward-looking approach when the future looks so different from the past? To find out, I spoke to Ted Hollingsworth, who directs TPWD’s Land Conservation Program. He explains how the Department uses the best science to conserve habitat, while...

Duration:00:37:47

17: My Time at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in Houston

11/20/2021
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is a state government agency, and it maintains a number of tourist attractions in the Houston area. An example is the San Jacinto Monument, where Texans won their independence from Mexico. What’s it like to maintain these assets, especially when the public is critical of the way you do things? Ted Hollingsworth has stories to tell. In the 1990s and early 2000s he was stationed in Houston. Not only did he decide to let the grass grow at San Jacinto. He...

Duration:00:29:24

16: Let's Return Native Plants to Houston!

9/24/2021
In this episode we’ll look at Houston through the lens of a native plant enthusiast. Katy Emde, an expert member of the Native Plant Society of Texas, explains why native plants are great but sometimes hard to find, what she does to source the best seeds and what books and digital resources will inspire you to give native plants a try.

Duration:00:53:31

15: You’ve Got Your Own Private Zoo – It’s Called Your Microbiota

7/30/2021
Each human being is host to a microbiota, an ecosystem made up of trillions of bacteria that inhabit the surfaces and crevices of our body and especially the insides of our large intestine. In this episode we’ll look at the ecology inside our gut, where bacteria are on a constant quest to feed and multiply, while bacteriophages scheme to snatch their minuscule bodies for their own reproductive purposes. Our guide is molecular biologist Dr. Laura Bridgewater. She’ll tell us how our...

Duration:00:56:01

14: Bill Gates Wrote “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster.” Is It Any Good? – Part 2

6/19/2021
In his book “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster,” Microsoft founder Bill Gates proposes a global – yes, world-wide – solution to climate change. That’s ambitious. Does he succeed? Find out from this conversation with environmental attorney Tom Campbell, who played a key role in resolving the infamous Exxon Valdez crisis. This is part 2 of a two-part interview.

Duration:00:32:16

13: Bill Gates Wrote “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster.” Is It Any Good? – Part 1

6/19/2021
In his book “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster,” Microsoft founder Bill Gates proposes a global – yes, world-wide - solution to climate change. That’s ambitious. Does he succeed? Find out from this conversation with environmental attorney Tom Campbell, who played a key role in resolving the infamous Exxon Valdez crisis. This is part 1 of a two-part interview.

Duration:00:34:34

12: Beto O’Rourke Wants Us to Protect Our Natural Heritage – with Beto O’Rourke

6/7/2021
Former Congress member Beto O’Rourke knows Texas like no other. That’s because he’s visited every single one of its 254 counties – listening, debating, and campaigning for the U.S. Senate. In this interview he shares what the geography and landscape of Texas means to him, what its needs are, and how he would like us to protect it.

Duration:00:24:06

11: The Magical World of Houston Squirrels, With Kelsey Low

4/12/2021
Even though squirrels are a very visible form of Houston wildlife, we know little about them. Were you aware, for instance, that their brain shrinks and increases in size with the seasons, and that far from being pests, they are crucial to forest ecosystems? Kelsey Low of the Houston Arboretum has studied our squirrels in depth. She'll tell you what's cool about them and what they do to survive. Most importantly, she'll make you appreciate these little rodents in an entirely new way. For...

Duration:00:38:07

10: Prepared for Life? The Boy Scouts of America, With James Sy

2/14/2021
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:...

Duration:00:56:25

09: Enchanting Children With Nature: A Teacher’s Tale, With Mary Ann Beauchemin

1/1/2021
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...

Duration:00:48:59

08: Exploration Green – It’s How You Build Beauty, Nature and Flood Control, With Jerry Hamby

11/14/2020
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. My guest is Jerry Hamby, a lead volunteer at Exploration Green. He tells us how this park has come about, why it means so much to him, and why he will leave it in just a short period of time. For show notes and...

Duration:00:51:05

07: Houston’s Permaculture Scene, with Shawn McFarland

10/9/2020
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. Find out how it may transform you.

Duration:00:49:43

06: So You Can Heal from Poison: Jackie Young, the San Jacinto Waste Pits, and Other Toxic Sites

9/4/2020
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...

Duration:00:56:40

05: The Next Houston Hurricane May Be Worse Than Harvey – Let’s Get Ready!

6/30/2020
We face serious danger from Houston hurricane. I’m not talking about just any old storm, but one that originates in the Gulf of Mexico, rides up the Houston Ship Channel and destroys our petrochemical complex. Several thousand tanks filled with toxic substances might buckle and spill their contents into the environment. This would poison our area for decades to come. Let's prevent that. Terence O’Rourke of the Harris County Attorney explains the threat, why we have no protection in place...

Duration:00:59:00

04: This Prairie Chicken Will Make Your Heart Quicken: Fighting Species Extinction

6/2/2020
A hundred years ago, you could see the Attwater’s Prairie Chicken all across the Texas Gulf Coast. And on mornings during spring mating season, you'd hear thousands of males call out for females. The soundscape they wove was quintessentially Texan – you just couldn't find it anywhere else. Today fewer than two hundred prairie chickens are left, and saving the species from extinction is an uphill battle. But John Magera, who manages the Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge, is...

Duration:00:44:29