October 21, 2005                                       713.845.1135

Afterschool Enrichment Program Participants Garner
Praise for Environmental Awareness Through
“The Bays and Bayous of Houston” Program

The Houston Parks and Recreation Department, in conjunction with the Galveston Bay Estuary Program, will announce winners of the 2005 Estuarine Art & Essay Contest.  The awards program will be held on Sunday, October 23, 2005 at Armand Bayou Nature Center, 8500 Bay Area Blvd. from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.  This celebration commemorates National Estuaries Day and focuses on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s mandate to make “Estuary” a household word by the year 2005. 

Estuaries are near shore bodies of water where fresh and saltwater mix.  These highly productive ecosystems are vital to our national environment and economic well-being, but are threatened by impacts from a wide range of human activities.  The Houston Parks and Recreation Department is taking action to foster awareness regarding the preservation of our closest estuary, Galveston Bay through a program called “The Bays and Bayous of Houston.” 

Through “The Bays and Bayous of Houston” HPARD aims to educate youth about Houston’s bayou system and its connection to the health of Galveston Bay.  This program is an important step in fostering stewardship of our natural resources and elevating awareness of water quality issues in the City of Houston and Galveston Bay.

The Galveston Bay Estuary Program’s 2005 Estuarine Art & Essay Contest gave area youth the opportunity to showcase their knowledge regarding estuaries and their environmental impact.  Over 200 area youth and teens from surround schools and community centers participated in the contest.  HPARD’s Afterschool Enrichment Program submitted 23 entries with 11 being selected as winners.

“We are proud of all of the Afterschool Enrichment Program participants and staff who were so dedicated to promoting this environmental project,” said Kay Joshua, Administrative Manager, Recreation Programs.  “All of the participants are to be commended for their contributions and for representing the Houston Parks and Recreation Department.”

Funding for HPARD’s “The Bays and Bayous of Houston” program was made possible by a grant from the Galveston Bay Estuary Program of the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality.  Afterschool Enrichment Program participants were members of Sunnyside, Charlton, Garden Villas, Marian, Meadowcreek, Godwin, Platou or Linkwood Community Centers.

For additional information on “The Bays and Bayous of Houston” program or on the Houston Parks and Recreation Department call 713.845.1135 or visit our web site at