Houstonians, like all humans, are happier, healthier, and smarter when they have daily contact with nature—but fewer Houstonians seem to be venturing outdoors, which can cause lasting, negative effects on human health and happiness. Join us to learn about ways that three experts are working to bring people back into nature and nature back into the urban environment as well as to protect vulnerable wildlife in their efforts to survive in the city.
October 10: Jaime Gonzalez, an award-winning conservationist, is a Houston-based self-described civic ecologist, environmental educator, and aspiring filmmaker. He will discuss a number of local initiatives seeking to reconnect Houstonians with nature, wildness, and adventure.
Mr. Gonzalez is the Houston urban conservation programs manager at the Nature Conservancy in Texas, former community conservation director at Katy Prairie Conservancy, and co-founder of the Coastal Prairie Partnership. He received both his Master of Education and his B.S. in biology from the University of Houston.
October 17: Diana Foss will speak about Houston-area urban wildlife. She works with public and private landowners and government agencies to adapt policy for wildlife and to advise on wildlife habitat.
Since 1993, Ms. Foss has guided urban wildlife policy as part of the Wildlife Diversity Program of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. She also coordinates the Houston Area Bat Team, a group of trained volunteers who monitor bat populations in our region. She has a B.S. degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from Texas A&M University.
October 24: Beth White, one of the nation’s leading urban park planners, will address the role of parks in safeguarding urban green spaces and providing outdoor experiences for visitors.
In June 2016, Ms. White joined the Houston Parks Board as president and CEO to lead the organization in implementing and maintaining the $220 million Bayou Greenways 2020 project, the ambitious, public-private effort creating a 150-mile network of parks and trails along Houston’s major waterways. Before moving to Houston, Ms. White, director of the Chicago region Trust for Public Land, oversaw the development of Chicago’s innovative park and elevated trail system, the 606. She was also instrumental in the designation of Hackmatack, the only U.S. National Wildlife Refuge within 150 miles of Chicago and Milwaukee. She holds an M.A. in urban studies from Loyola University and a B.A. from Northwestern University.