March 2010  

Spring Break in Harris County

Spring break is here, which means many students living in Harris County will be looking for things to do. Now is a great time to rediscover your local community. There are a lot of places to visit here in Harris County that children and adults will find both entertaining and educational.
Harris County is home to some of the most beautiful parks in the nation. These parks provide the opportunity to participate in recreational activities such as fishing, skateboarding, hiking, biking, golfing, walking along nature trails, viewing wild life habitats and much more.
Challenger Seven Memorial Park in Precinct One has activities for everyone in the family. Approximately 100 acres have been sanctioned by the Audubon Society and designated a bird sanctuary. Nature trails allow visitors to access the bird sanctuary and other undeveloped areas of the park. The park has three elevated observation platforms that are connected to a boardwalk, allowing for viewing of the wetlands along Clear Creek. It also has five wetland education ponds with trails leading to them. A fishing pond is available to the public for fishing (you must have a fishing license). It is stocked yearly with largemouth bass and catfish.

Gene Green Park, located in Precinct Two, is one of Harris County’s newest parks. The park has a zip line for kids, two full-length basketball courts, two tennis courts, a skate park, playground equipment, a two mile walking and jogging trail and a spray park that opens in April. Gene Green Park also has a dog park, which is located on more than four acres, is divided into two sections for small (under 20 pounds) and large dogs, and includes a small pond. Each fenced-in area has water fountains, benches and a shaded canopy. The dog park also has a trail running through each section made of crushed granite and two wash bays located at the front of the park.
Bear Creek Pioneers Park in Precinct Three is home to Bear Creek Golf World. Bear Creek Golf World is located within the Addicks Reservoir and has three eighteen hole golf courses and is considered by many to be the premier public golf facility in West Harris County. It has two practice putting greens, a driving range, concession stands, and much more. Bear Creek Pioneers Park also has a wildlife habitat, which is comprised of a duck and goose pond, an aviary, and exhibits for various animals. The animals include birds of prey, peacocks, bison, emus, potbellied pigs, white-tailed deer, donkeys, sheep and goats.
Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Gardens, located in Precinct Four near Bush Intercontinental Airport, is a nationally recognized arboretum and botanic garden on more than three hundred acres of East Texas Piney Woods. Mercer’s many different sections showcase the region’s largest collection of native and cultivated plants.
The Woodland Pond and Bridge section has ponds, creeks and bogs that provide wetland habitats for endangered native plants. It also has a replica of a beaver dam, which illustrates how beavers help create these habitats. The Prehistoric Garden allows visitors to trace the path of plant evolution from mosses to magnolias and has fossils and animal tracks to complete the primeval setting. Mercer also has an extensive trail system, a beautiful lake, a water wall, playground equipment, picnic tables and grills. There are many wonderful photo opportunities for photo enthusiasts.
These are just a few of the many parks located throughout Harris County. Each park offers a unique experience. Please visit the Harris County Web site at to access each Commissioner’s Web page for a list of the parks and amenities in each precinct.

Spend Some Time at the Library

There are twenty-six branches of the Harris County library system with an annual circulation of over 10 million items. Besides being a year-round treasure trove for literature of all kinds, the library system maintains a collection of over two million items that includes videos, CDs and DVDs, and it offers access to the World Wide Web, eBooks, and online databases.

County branch libraries are also meeting places for weekly events like story time. There’s bilingual story time, story time for babies, for toddlers, for pre-schoolers, even family story time. There are kids craft Saturdays, printmaking and science activities, intergenerational“knowledge exchanges” for ages 5-99+, seasonal crafts and movies, even free tax assistance.

A sampling of Spring Break activities is listed below. Activities vary from location to location, so check events and programs for what’s happening at the branch nearest you.

Tuesday, March 16th
Maud Marks Branch Library – 2:00 PM – Teen Game Time
Parker Williams Branch Library – 2:00 PM – Teen Game Time
High Meadows Branch Library – 3:30 PM – Traveling Naturalist & Animals
Clear Lake City-County Freeman Branch Library – 4:30 PM – St. Patty’s Day Teen Movie
Aldine Branch Library – 4:30 PM – Tween Mixer
Wednesday, March 17th
Spring Branch Memorial Branch Library – 2:30 PM – Houston Grand Opera’s Opera to Go performs Cinderella in Spain.
Parker Williams Branch Library – 3:00 PM – Children’s Wii Time
Tomball College Library – 3:00 PM – Children’s Chess Club
North Channel Branch Library – 3:00 PM – Teen Wii Time
Thursday, March 18th
Aldine Branch Library – 3:00 PM – Art Car Parade Bookcart for Teens
Baldwin Boettcher Branch Library – 4:00 PM – Teens & Tweens Game Time
Jacinto City Branch Library – 4:30 PM – Teen Tech Class: Going Green
Tomball College Library – 7:00 PM – Teen Movie & Internet Surfing Night
Friday, March 19th
Tomball College Library – 3:00 PM – Houston Grand Opera’s Opera to Go performs Cinderella in Spain.
Katherine Tyra @ Bear Creek Branch Library – 4:00 PM – Teen Time
The Kingwood Branch Library closed its current location on March 13. It will re-open at the new location, 4400 Bens View Lane, on April 19th at 10 AM. Join in celebrating the Grand Opening beginning with the official opening and continuing until 9 PM. Click here for more information regarding this big event in Kingwood Library’s life – and what to do about return items, pick-up items, and inter-library loans. Call 281-360-6804 if you have any questions.

Milestone Celebration Planned for 10th Annual
After-School Partnership Fair on April 1 at HCDE

The Harris County Department of Education and the Cooperative for After-School Enrichment (CASE), the City of Houston After-School Achievement Program and Houston Parks & Recreation Department are hosting the 10th
Annual After-School Partnership Fair on April 1, from 9 AM – 2 PM at the Harris County Department of Education headquarters, 6300 Irvington Boulevard, in northeast Houston.

The event links schools and organizations with educational program vendors and grant opportunities totaling more than $2 million for after-school programs.

Commemorating 10 years of after-school education in greater Harris County, the event is free and includes the
vendor fair and informational grant opportunity workshops, along with refreshments, drawings, and demonstrations by after-school vendors.
Visit or call 713-696-1330 for more information.
The 2010 Annual Historic Preservation Conference
in Houston/Harris County
The conference, hosted by the Texas Historical Commission in association with Preservation Texas, will be held at
the Westin Oaks Houston Hotel, 5011 Westheimer, on April 22-24. Sessions focusing on themes of resource fundamentals, resource development, preservation advocacy and public engagement will provide valuable information for preservationists in any community, large or small. Enjoy the opening session "King of the Road Trip" with special guest and award-winning speaker Michael Wallis, author, storyteller and self-proclaimed "Son of Route 66."

Pre-conference tours on Thursday, hosted by local preservation partners, will highlight Houston’s Art Deco and mid-century architecture. Saturday’s post-conference tours will take you to the annual San Jacinto battle reenactment or the Clayton Library for Genealogical Research.

On Thursday, workshops will be provided for county historical commissions and city preservation commissions. This year, a Section 106 Workshop for Professionals also will be offered.
If you have any questions, visit the 2010 Annual Historic Preservation Conference Web site or contact Mae Perkins at 512-463-6255 or