The first project for SCA’s Houston Summer Crew this year took place at the White Oak Bayou and Park, in Houston, TX. There, the team served with the Houston Parks Board and the Houston Parks and Recreation Department (HPaRD). Crew members set out to accomplish two main goals:
- Eradicate the invasive plants making space for revegetation of native plants (such as button bush and Turk’s Cap)
- Make the site more available and accessible to park and trail users
Much progress was made towards both goals. Team members cleared ragweed, elephant ear, and Chinese tallow from the site, which opened up a spring so those on the Bayou Greenways bike trail could once again view and access the space. The project then took a particularly innovative turn thanks to the creative thinking of the crew (and the willing partners)!
After removing a batch of giant reed during one of the work days, the team came up with an idea to put the unwanted plants to good use. They took the giant reed to the Houston Zoo to feed to the elephants. The Houston Zoo provided the crew with a day at the zoo in appreciation for their environmental education activities, and team members even got to pet the baby elephant!
In every SCA experience, crew members participate in hands-on projects to solve real conservation challenges and get to see the tangible results of their labor. Because of the Houston Summer Crew’s work, visitors are now able to experience and enjoy a new environmental area at the White Oak Bayou and Park.
Environmental education is all about getting people to shift from awareness to action. By making trails and outdoor spaces more accessible, more people get the opportunity to get out and develop an appreciation for the natural world around them. We hope the Houston Crew’s efforts will inspire park visitors to support future conservation efforts and to think about becoming environmental stewards themselves.