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Rep.White, James

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National Environmental Education Foundation Awards Grant for Pine Island Bayou Clean Up 
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by: Rep. White, James

(Austin, TX) – National Public Lands Day was celebrated across the country on September 22. Thanks to the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), the Big Thicket National Preserve was selected as a Signature Site. NEEF representatives, a busload of approximately 60 Toyota volunteers from Houston, and Texas representatives of the National Parks Conservation Association arrived to participate in a debris cleanup along Pine Island Bayou in an area impacted by Hurricane Harvey. “By supporting long-term recovery, we aim to build the resiliency of these lands over time,” said Kevin Butt, Toyota Motor North America’s general manager of environmental sustainability

Unfortunately, the event was rained out, but the group migrated to the Big Thicket Visitor Center where a program highlighting the unique biodiversity of the Big Thicket and its value was presented. State Representative James White, District 19, congratulated the group for their willingness to help the communities of Southeast Texas after Harvey and encouraged them to return. "I am incredibly thankful to NEEF for providing this grant funding that will help the clean up efforts at Pine Island Bayou. After, Hurricane Harvey heavy amounts of trash were deposited into our waterways and thanks to the hard-working folks at the Big Thicket Natural Heritage Trust we are making great progress in returning Pine Island Bayou back to its natural state," stated Rep. White.

NEEF President and CEO, Meri-Margaret Deoudes, presented a $20,000 check to Ellen Buchanan, President of the Big Thicket Natural Heritage Trust, a local non-profit committed to the protection and preservation of the land, water, scenic beauty, plants and wildlife, natural, historic and cultural communities of the Big Thicket. The grant funds will be used to clean 6.7 miles of Pine Island Bayou of flood deposited trash. Large items such as floating refrigerators, a boat, and broken docks will be removed.

The National Environmental Education Foundation works with public and private partners to support ongoing stewardship efforts on public lands throughout the year. Toyota partnered with NEEF to award the restoration and resilience grant to the Big Thicket Natural Heritage Trust. The day, despite bad weather, was a success. Volunteers are eager, and clean up and restoration of this beautiful wetland will continue.

Please do not hesitate to contact Saul Mendoza, Chief of Staff with questions regarding this release at 512-463-0490.

Contact Info


Capitol Address:
District Address:

Room 4N.5

P.O. Box 2910,

Austin, TX 78768


512-463-9059 Fax

P.O. Box 395,

Woodville, TX 75979

205 N. Charlton Street

Woodville, Texas 75979

(409) 283-3700

(409) 283-3702 Fax