Monthly Meetings

Next Chapter Meeting: Thursday, March 16, 2017

Featured Presentation:

Bring Back the Monarchs to Texas – Creating a Monarch Waystation

By Cathy Downs

Texas provides critical habitat on the primary migration pathway of Monarchs to and from their wintering grounds in Mexico. The availability of spring native milkweed host plants, essential to assure successive generations continuing north, has declined in Texas along the migratory flyway. Abundant fall nectar plants, essential for increasing fat content for the long overwintering period of Monarchs heading south for the winter, have also declined. This has happened through development and agricultural practices as well as other issues. How can Texas help in the effort to create and restore Monarch habitat? Learn how to provide daily resources to Monarchs on their journey by adding just a few native plants to the existing landscape.

About the speaker:

Cathy Downs has worked with butterfly conservation and habitat since she became a Hill Country Chapter Master Naturalist in 2005. She partnered with Monarch Watch as a Monarch Conservation Specialist in 2012. Cathy currently chairs the Bring Back the Monarchs to Texas (BBMT) program for Native Plant Society of Texas ( and is a certified Monarch Larval Monitoring Project educator (

Her favorite passion is working with children in the field and she encourages everyone she trains to bring children into the garden with them for monitoring larva and using nets!…“they have better eyes, smaller hands and they are closer to the ground” Cathy has proudly provided over 65,000 children with natural science or outdoor education.

Cathy was born and raised in New England and retired to Comfort, TX in 2004 from a 30 year career owning and operating her own retail businesses.

Mark your calendars, this will be a special presentation

6:45 pm – Meet & Greet, Social Time & Refreshments;

New Time – 7:15 pm Chapter Meeting Followed by Presentation

Where: Houston Arboretum – 4501 Woodway Drive, Houston, TX 77024

IMPORTANT NOTICE (Meeting Time Changes in March) 

Starting with our Houston Chapter monthly meeting on March 16, 2017, we will implement a slight change to our meeting schedule. The new schedule will be as follows: 6:45 pm Meet & Greet, Social Time, Refreshments (unchanged), 7:15 pm Chapter Meeting (moved up by 15 minutes) followed by the featured presentation.

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2017 Meeting Schedule, Speakers and Presentation

No charge to attend monthly chapter meetings!

January 19th – Texas Mushrooms by David Lewis, research associate at the Field Museum of Natural History (Chicago) and an honorary staff member of the Tracy Herbarium at Texas A&M  University.

February 16th – The Man & Texas Native Grapes that Saved the Entire Wine World by Dr. Russell D. Kane (NPSOT & TXMN),, technical researcher/writer and author of The Wineslinger Chronicles: Texas on the Vine, and Texas Hill Country Wineries.

March 16th – Monarchs & Milkweeds by Cathy Downs (NPSOT & TXMN), Monarch Watch Conservation Specialist with Monarch Watch, and chairs the NPSOT Bring Back the Monarchs to Texas Program.

Note: Program subject to change.


New! NPSOT Houston Video Archive

We want your native plant stories – Come early to our Houston Chapter meeting and let us video your comments, experiences and passion for Texas native plants in your own words. Look for the NPSOT Houston Video Archive sign. We only need 2-4 minutes of your time.

Educational opportunity for NPSOT Members – If you would like to learn how to use the Chapter’s new iPad Padcaster video equipment for filming field trips, garden experiences and interviews, come early (session 6:30 to 7:15 pm) before the next NPSOT Houston Chapter meeting on Thursday, August 18th.  Click here to see our video archive on our  NPSOT Houston Chapter YouTube Channel.Please Join Us!

Previously Held 2016 Meetings

  • March 17: Betsy Ross, Sustainable Growth Texas, “Microbes in the Prairie”
  • April 21: Wendy Reistle and Sheila Brown, Environmental Institute of Houston,Educating Youth about Natives and the Environment”
  • May 19: Jim Robertson, Cypress Creek Greenway Project, “An Overview and Update of the Cypress Creek Greenway Project”
  • June 16: Sarah Flournoy, Houston Audubon Society, “Bird-Friendly Communities”.
  • July 21: Matt Singer, Galveston Bay Foundation, “Habitat and Water Conservation within the Galveston Bay Watershed”.
  • August 18: David Renninger, MDAnderson, Landscaping with Native Plants”
  • September 10: NPSOT Houston Chapter’s 18th annual Wildscapes Workshop, new venue, speaker presentations, local native plant sale and Early Bird registration is now available. Click here to go to the 2016 WIldscapes Workshop page or click here to download full color flyer in PDF format.
  • September 15: Marilu De La Fuente & Jed Aplaca, “Working with City Ordinances, Project Wild Program and Adopt-an Esplanade”
  • October 20: Heather Bass, Botanical Research Institute of Texas, “Using Prairie Plants to Restore Land”
  • November 17: Pot luck and seed/plant swap
  • December 15: Holiday Party

Thanks to all that come out to our meetings! 2017 Meeting schedule and presentations will be posted soon.


Past Meeting Topics:

  • Linda Paisley “Biomimicry”
  • Jaime Gonzalez “Road to Ruin” A highway planned to go through KPC’s lands.
  • Mickey Merritt “Urban Trees”
  • Earth Day Celebration
  • Lisa Gray: “Greening the Prairie”
  • Mary Carol Edwards “Wetland Plants for the Home Garden”
  • Michael Eckenfels “Gardening for Bees is Conservation for Everyone”
  • Laurie Roddy, Texas Master Naturalist and Author, on Get Out Here Houston! 
  • Dustin Brackney, Houston Zoo Horticulture Supervisor, on  “Green Roofs and Our Evolving Understanding of Rooftop Ecology