By Lawanda Maxwell
The West Houston Association held a virtual Blues to Greens Forum yesterday that focused on new ideas in conservation and recreation. Our panel of experts spoke on a wide range of topics in design,landscape architecture, actionable outdoor activities during this COVID-19 pandemic, local ego-regions, biodiversity, and incredible examples of master planned community execution of optimized green spaces.
Here are 7 things we loved about the event.
7) Powerful Visuals
They say seeing is believing. No one took that more to heart than our four presenters. The Blues to Greens Forum was a 117-slide presentation of dynamic visual aids that expanded on the technical components of blue ways, greenways, master planned communities, and more. Our speakers provided ample illustrations and details concerning projects from conception to execution and how those projects benefit both human and eco-communities.
6) Josey Lake
Tricia Brasseaux presented on Josey Lake, a stormwater detention facility in Bridgeland that was turned into a “highly aesthetic, functional and sustainable space.” This 140-acre park is a cultural and recreational community amenity with walking trails, 52 native species, an adventure play area, cohesive emergent and submergent aquatic planting, and a variety of other features. Josey Lake is a prime example of a well thought out project with mixed use functionality
5) The Polishing Pond
Rob Bamford provided extensive knowledge on Cross Creek Ranch, a master planned community in Fulshear, TX. His showcase of the before and after pictures of Polishing Pond is proof of what can be done with a bit of imagination, professional collaboration, and a commitment to sustainable design. The Polishing Pond is an amenity that offers residents water sports, fishing, and more.
4) Thought Leadership
Matt Baumgarten added greater depth to the forum with his presentation of designing performative landscapes with biodiversity in mind. He also inquired of the audience about the “mortality” of nature considering the impact humans have had on the environment. Baumgarten also offered inspiration by Frederick Law Olmstead, innovative outdoor home project activities that can be done during this pandemic, and great reading material. Here are the books he suggested.
- Lost Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv
- The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and more Creative by Florence Williams
- Bringing Nature Home: How you Can sustain Wildlife with Native Plants by Douglas W. Tallamy
3) Increasing the Recreational Facilities Limit
Currently, only 1% of the taxable value of property in Municipal Utility Districts (MUDs) and other water districts may be used to support bonds that pay for recreational facilities. Deborah January-Bevers discussed the need to increase this limit so that more of these natural spaces with sustainable design can be built, multiplying the benefit for all.
2) Relevant Local Happenings
Audience members were invited to the MPC Ecoregions Experiences Event Program on Thursday, 10/22 at Cross Creek Ranch. Through this event, we also learned about the 10 eco-regions we have in the Houston area and the goals of the Gulf-Houston Regional Conservation Plan. This plan involves the collaboration of 8 counties seeking to enhance local eco-system services like erosion control, air quality, etc.
1) Our Speakers, Moderators, Members, and Sponsors
This Blues to Greens Forum was a joint committee event through the collaboration of our Water Resources and Parks, Recreation & Open Space Committees. Through their planning, our speakers and topics were selected. All of our speakers did a great job providing case studies and thoughtful content in this forum. Alia Vinson moderated the panel, asking solid questions from our 80+ attendees. All participation enhanced the experience of this virtual event. Of course, we’d like to thank our sponsors whose contributions make these kinds of forums a reality.
All in all, this Blues to Greens Forum was a prime example of the power of coming together to provide resources, spark innovation, and enjoy discourse concerning green space. If you enjoyed this event, be sure to register for our next forum on flood control taking place on August 4th.