Take Care of Texas News You Can Use - May 2014

May 2014

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News you can use

 Texas Honors its Brightest Environmental Stars - 2014

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The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality formally honored the winners of the 22nd annual Texas Environmental Excellence Awards on May 7 during this year's Environmental Trade Fair and Conference. Every year, the TCEQ highlights select Texas citizens, communities, and organizations for their exceptional efforts to Take Care of Texas' natural resources.

This year’s award winners, recommended by the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Committee, are as diverse as the state itself. Nine projects representing a variety of industries, economic sectors, and age groups were honored for providing superior resource conservation, waste reduction, and pollution prevention. Here are the 2014 categories and winners: 

Education — Oceans Program

Students Learn to be Stewards of the Environment through Hands-On Marine Science Education


The Oceans Program at Flour Bluff Intermediate School in Corpus Christi led by Science Teacher Cliff Strain for 24 years is a unique program for 5th and 6th graders. Strain engages students with science and marine studies by providing a hands-on learning environment where kids find native species in a salt water wetland near the school, kayak and seine fish, and interact directly with animals and fish. Watch the video to see Cliff Strain and Oceans Program students in action.

Youth — Connor Crowe

Helping Restore the Habitat of the Georgetown Salamander


To earn his Hornaday Award for conservation with the Boy Scouts, Connor Crowe worked to preserve the habitat of the Georgetown Salamander, an endangered species. Working with the Williamson County Conservation Foundation and Southwestern University, Connor organized volunteers to reroute streams and clear brush so that the salamander can live and thrive in the only place in the world it is found. Watch the video to learn more about Connor and the Georgetown Salamander.

Youth —

 Archer Samuel Hadley

Hadley Organized Collection of Texas Ash Seeds for the National Ash Genetic Conservation Project

Archer Hadley

For his Eagle Scout project, Archer Hadley wanted to create a long-term impact on his community by preserving a native drought-tolerant species of tree called the Texas Ash. Working with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Hadley recruited more than 70 volunteers and collected sacks of seeds to conserve the tree for future generations. Watch the video to learn more about Archer and the Texas Ash tree.

Civic/Community – Texas Master Naturalist Program

Providing Skilled Volunteers to Improve and Steward Texas Natural Resources and Areas


The Texas Master Naturalist Program, which includes 42 chapters and over 8,000 volunteers across the state, provides education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within communities. Master Naturalists have developed or maintained more than 1,770 miles of trail, enhanced more than 195,000 acres, and dedicated more than 2 million hours valued at more than $40.6 million. Check out the TMN video for details about this impactful program.

Water Conservation — StandardAero San Antonio, Inc.

Aircraft Manufacturing Facility Leads the Way with Water Recycling System

StandardAero Worker

In 1999, Standard Aero, a company that repairs and overhauls engines and aircraft parts located in San Antonio, decided to reduce water usage and create a water-recycling system that would accommodate its large cleaning and electro-finishing operations. The result is a dramatic drop in water usage with the recycling system saving 84 percent of the water that would otherwise go into the waste stream, equating to millions of gallons per year. Watch the StandardAero video to learn more about their innovative project.

Technical/Technology - Raytheon Company, McKinney Site

Reduced energy consumption by  approximately 3,600 megawatt hours annually


To address the high demand on electricity from their environmental testing chambers, Raytheon Company, a defense and aerospace industry leader, developed and implemented a mini-chiller system with a programmable controller which can reduce chamber energy consumption by as much as 90 percent. By reducing energy demand, Raytheon is helping to both conserve water and prevent air emissions. For additional information, watch the Raytheon video.

Pollution Prevention — Pioneer Natural Resources

Oil and Gas Company Reinvents the Wheel by Reinventing the Pig


Pioneer Natural Resources reduced emissions and saved resources by taking a new approach to “pigging”, a standard industry process involving running a spherical ball or “pig” through a pipeline to sweep out accumulated produced liquids and debris. By implementing improvements such as launching and retrieving barrels that can hold 14 pigs at a time, Pioneer cut emissions from pigging by 90 percent! View the video to see how Pioneer Natural Resources reinvented the pigging process.

Innovative Operations/Management - GlassCraft Door Company

Creating the First Water-Based Finishing Process for Fiberglass Doors in the Industry


GlassCraft Door Company, a small business out of Houston, challenged the industry standard for finishing fiberglass doors, which uses a gel stain that emits air pollutants, and developed a cleaner water-based process. It paid off proving that innovating to reduce waste and emissions is both good for the environment and good for business. Watch the video about the GlassCraft process to learn more.

Pollution Prevention — PVI Industries, LLC

Water Heater Company Replaced Nickel Plating with Recycled Stainless Steel


In an effort to improve its products and reduce waste, PVI Industries, a water heater manufacturer in Fort Worth, eliminated its electroless nickel plating process and developed a new product line using duplex stainless steel. The result is a reduction in liquid nickel waste from 1.3 million pounds in 2008 to nearly zero in 2014! Watch their video to learn more about PVI Industries' new processes.



Tune in to your favorite country radio station throughout the summer to hear the new Take Care of Texas public service announcement featuring recording artist Kevin Fowler.  Fowler donated his talents and wrote and performed the catchy jingle on the radio ads.

“We certainly couldn’t have pulled this off without somebody offering their generous time and effort—somebody as passionate as we are about the outdoors and protecting Texas’ air and water,” says TCEQ Commissioner Zak Covar.

Be sure to watch the “Behind the Scenes” video filmed while Fowler and Covar were in the recording studio taping the new ad.


Also NEW on the Take Care of Texas website, is a video highlighting Kevin Fowler and three TCEQ Commissioners sharing their thoughts on the campaign and the importance of every Texan doing their part to conserve water and energy, keep the air and water clean, and reduce waste.

Congratulations to the 2014 Texas Environmental Excellence Awards Winners 

“I commend all of this year’s winners for their commitment to improving the environment by thinking creatively and acting decisively,” says TCEQ Chairman Bryan W. Shaw, Ph.D., P.E. 

“It is a great pleasure to join with my fellow commissioners in congratulating these honorees whose environmental stewardship serves as an example to Texans everywhere,” says TCEQ Commissioner Toby Baker. 

“The 2014 award recipients show the rest of us some of the many ways we all can take care of Texas by protecting and improving our environment,” says TCEQ Commissioner Zak Covar. 

To learn more about this year’s winners and watch video vignettes of each environmental champion, visit TEEA.org.

Don't Forget ...

Drinking Water Week    

May 4-10

The American Water Works Association organizes the annual National Drinking Water Week, and provides an opportunity for educators to share information and resources on drinking water.

Energy Star Tax Free Weekend 

 May 24-26

During Memorial Day weekend, Texas shoppers get a break from state and local sales and use taxes on purchases of certain energy efficient products. Check the Web for answers to frequently asked questions about Energy Star Tax Free Weekend.

Publications Highlight

Great new look - same great contents!  


Environmental Education: Ideas and Resources, A Take Care of Texas Guide for Teachers (GI-079) A catalog of educational resources for teachers, school administrators, parents, and anyone interested in environmental education.

River and Sky's Lone Star Activity Book (GI-380)  Activity and coloring book for students in grades K-5. Dog mascots River and Sky help kids learn ways to care for the Texas environment.

You Can Take Care of Texas, Too! (GI-379) Poster (16" x 20") for kids in grades K-2 featuring Take Care of Texas mascots River and Sky. Offers tips kids can use to help protect the environment. Dual-sided in English and Spanish

Six Ways to Take Care of Texas Bookmark (GI-324) A bookmark with tips reminding young Texans to keep our air and water clean and save energy and water. Dual-sided in English and Spanish.


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