Monthly Meetings

Next Chapter Meeting

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Special Presentation:

“Natural Resources Management: A Tale of Two Cities”

(Houston and Pearland, Texas)

By Cullen Ondracek* and Kelli Ondracek**

*Natural Resources Manager, City of Pearland

**Park Naturalist, City of Houston

6:45 pm – Meet, Greet & Discuss with Refreshments

7:15 pm – Chapter Meeting and Presentation

Venue: Houston Arboretum and Nature Center

IMPORTANT: Click here for new entrance instructions from I-610 West Loop.

Cost: Free

This month’s featured speakers are the husband and wife natural resources duo of Cullen and Kelli Ondracek.

Presentation Summary

This talk will address how two neighboring cities of different sizes manage natural resources within their boundaries. Both large and small municipalities face challenges and opportunities unique to their size. The discussion will include how the Natural Resources Program of each city has differing roles and how they are able to fund projects and develop partnerships to reach their goals. The speakers will discuss their ongoing habitat restoration projects and the different methods that they use to manage their natural areas for wildlife. Additionally, they will address how each city promotes education and outreach and the various ways that volunteers can be involved in helping to support natural resources in urban areas.

About the Speakers

Cullen Ondracek graduated from Texas A&M University-Kingsville in 2009 with a B.S. in Range and Wildlife Management. Cullen’s work history includes positions at the Texas Coastal Watershed Program, Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, Armand Bayou Nature Center, and Sheldon Lake State Park where he has focused on natural resource management including prescribed burning, wetland/prairie management, habitat restoration, and numerous biological surveys. In his current position as the Natural Resources Manager for the City of Pearland, Cullen works to conserve, restore, and enhance the city’s natural resources.

Kelli Ondracek is responsible for assessing, restoring, and managing natural resources within the City of Houston’s parks. She has over 13 years of experience in restoration, wildlife research, and habitat management. Prior to her employment with the City of Houston, Kelli worked for the Environmental Institute of Houston, Armand Bayou Nature Center, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and as an Environmental Consultant for Fenstermaker. She holds a B.S. Business Administration from Nicholls State University and both an M.S. Environmental Science and an M.S. Environmental Management from the University of Houston- Clear Lake.

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2018 Monthly Meetings and Speaker Programs

January 18th – “Native Plant Propagation: Hard Work, Fun, and Magic”, Mark Morgenstern (Morning Star Prairie Plants).

February 15th – “Natural Resources Mangement: A Story of Two Cities”, Cullen Ondracek (City of Pearland) and Kelli Ondracek (City of Houston).

March 15th – “Importance of Soil Life & Ways to Improve It”, Jared McNabb (Restoration Organics).

April 19th – “Deep Resilience: Learning the Song of our Land, John Jacobs Ph.D. (Professor Texas A&M and Texas AgriLife Extension Specialist, Director, Texas Community Watershed Partners).

May 17th – “Houston Saline Prairies: Rarest Communities but Lots of Interesting Plant Species, Andy Newman (Citizen Scientist).

June 21st – “A Love Affair with Pollinators: Confessions of a Citizen Scientist, Lauren Simpson (Citizen Scientist).

July 19th – Subject / speaker to be announced.

August 16th – Subject – “Gardening with the Native Plants in the 2018 Wildscapes Workshop Plant Sale”, Katy Emde.

September 20th – “A Plan for Houston’s Greenspace Future with Native Plants and Restoring Local Ecoregions”, Carolyn White (Memorial Park Conservancy).

October 18th – “Maintaining Coastal Bird Populations and Habitats”, Dennis Jones (Coastal Warden Upper Texas Coast, Audubon TEXAS, National Audubon Society).

November 15th – “Native Plant and Seed Swap and Seasonal Potluck Celebration”, no speaker (bring plants and seeds to swap).

December 20th – “Holiday Dinner Party”, No speaker (dinner at a local restaurant).

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NPSOT Houston Video Archive

Missed a chapter meeting or not able to attend Wildscapes Workshop?

Click here to see our video archive on our  NPSOT Houston Chapter YouTube Channel.Please Join Us! It’s been a hoppin’ online site. In just the past year, we have exceeded 5,000 views of our videos of talks presented at past monthly meetings, 2016 Wildscapes Workshop, and related native plant and prairie meetings.

Thanks to all that come out to our meetings and that watch our videos!


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