June 2020

As many of you know, Texas businesses began reopening in phases earlier this month in compliance with Gov. Greg Abbott’s order. During this time, your parks remained open to provide a much needed and well-used relief valve to let us get outdoors safely and responsibly. Soon we will resume normal parks and community center programs. Stay tuned for additional information and announcements on our Facebook page.

Safety remains a priority in Precinct 4. We continue to encourage social distancing and proper handwashing in our parks while limiting access to contact points like benches and playgrounds. With your help, we can help prevent new cases of COVID-19 in Harris County.
Although our programs and activities remain on hold, we offer a variety of online material for parents and educators to use at home or in our parks. Visit our Precinct 4 Learning page to learn about nature and the outdoors, participate in online crafts, or download material for a self-guided tour at Mercer Botanic Gardens. You can learn more about this valuable resource in the issue below.

I also encourage you to check out a feature on Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve’s orienteering class in August. This fun-filled activity prepares you for exploring the outdoors and embarking on your next outdoor adventure. 

As a reminder, hurricane season begins June 1. I encourage everyone to start preparing now. Check out some tips below for staying safe during hurricane season.

Featured Articles
Hurricane Season Begins June 1

Although hurricanes may not garner as much attention during a coronavirus pandemic, this year’s Atlantic hurricane season is nevertheless shaping up to be an active one, with Tropical Storm Arthur forming weeks ahead of the official start date. 

Before the next disaster strikes, Harris County Precinct 4 encourages residents to prepare by following the tips below. 

• Make a hurricane preparedness kit . Purchasing essential household items before a storm forms will help prevent panic shopping and ensure that grocery stores do not run out of supplies.

• Make an evacuation plan Evacuations take place by zone. Although Precinct 4 is not in an evacuation zone, it’s important to avoid the roads if you are not evacuating to prevent massive traffic jams. Check out a map of evacuation zones here.

• Follow trusted sources such as the National Weather Service Houston-Galveston, Harris County Flood Control District , and ReadyHarris to receive accurate, up-to-date information. You can sign up for Ready Harris alerts here to receive information from the Harris County Office of Emergency Management. 

The Atlantic hurricane season begins on June 1 and ends Nov. 30. This season will mark the third since Hurricane Harvey devastated the Gulf Coast region in 2017. 

Learn more here:

• Tropical Weather: NOAA National Hurricane Center

Photo: Flooding at Mercer Botanic Gardens.

COVID-19 Testing Continues in Precinct 4
Harris County Public Health now offers more opportunities than ever to get tested for COVID-19 as new mobile testing sites open across Harris County.

Drive-thru testing will be available from Tuesday, May 26, to Saturday, May 30, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Doss Park parking lot at 2500 Frick Road, Houston. No appointment or registration is necessary.

Everyone is encouraged to get tested. Visit www.readyharris.org/Get-Tested or call 832-927-7575 to schedule an appointment. 

Harris County Public Health mobile testing sites are available throughout the county Monday through Saturday. Those with questions may call Harris County Public Health at 832-927-7575 for more information. Monitor the Harris County Precinct 4 Facebook page for testing locations.

If you have other health concerns, please call your healthcare provider or call the Harris Health Ask My Nurse line at 713-634-1110 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week.

Learn more by visiting ReadyHarris.org or the Harris County Public Health website here .

HCFCD Tunnel Study Enters Phase 2

The Harris County Flood Control District began a study this month that will explore possible locations for building massive stormwater conveyance tunnels under Harris County.

The tunnel system would help divert stormwater away from homes and businesses during heavy rainfall and could handle much larger water volumes than existing bayous and creeks – closer to the rates of the Addicks and Barker reservoirs than above-ground channels and bayous.
The study marks the second phase of a multiphase flood mitigation project approved by Commissioners Court in 2018. It comes after a Phase I feasibility study found that Harris County’s environmental conditions would support a tunnel system and that the project is economically feasible. 

Preliminary estimates show that a 10-mile-long, 25- and 40-foot diameter tunnel would cost approximately $1 billion and $1.5 billion, respectively, to build. Once the study concludes in approximately a year, any viable tunnel projects identified in the study will move into the preliminary design phase.

For more information, click here.
To read more about the story in Community Impact , click here .
Summer Children's Activities

As the weather heats up, parents everywhere endure a common tradition: the struggle to keep kids occupied during the summer.

Don’t let your child’s summer go to waste. From movie nights to canoeing, archery, and fishing, Precinct 4 offers a variety of summer camp activities from unique locations throughout the precinct. Check out some of our top activities here .
Orienteering at Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve

Any camper or hiker who has spent more than a day in the wilderness knows that GPS is usually the first item to fail on long expeditions. Water, steep canyons, dead zones, and a lack of electricity regularly defeat even the hardiest cell phones and electronic devices. 

At the same time, tall trees, twisting, branching trails, and a lack of landmarks can easily confuse novice hikers accustomed to real-time, step-by-step instructions. 

What’s a nature lover to do? 

If you take Karastin Katusin’s advice, you’ll learn orienteering . 

“Being able to use a map and compass is not as archaic as it sounds, as there are situations where your GPS won’t work,” she said. “You could have a dead battery, no cell phone service, or have lost your phone in a ravine.”

Precinct 4 Offers Learning Resources and Virtual Programs

Precinct 4 programs and activities have gone virtual! Precinct 4 invites residents to access a variety of educational and recreational videos and materials online this month.

Parents, educators, and do-it-yourselfers can find videos, crafts, and other educational material on the Precinct 4 learning page at https://www.hcp4.net/learning/ Materials can be used on the go at a Precinct 4 parks or at home.

Social media users can also view a variety of virtual programs on the Precinct 4 Commissioner’s Office, Mercer Botanic Gardens, Jones Park, and Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve Facebook pages.

Learn about nature, the outdoors, wildlife or participate in crafts, children’s story time, or a chalk art challenge. 

Visit us online to learn more.

Upcoming Events
National Trails Day at Jones Park

Join Jones Park staff and volunteers on Saturday, June 6, at 9 a.m. to help clean up the creeks and ponds around Jones Park and improve the environment for future generations. Participants should wear closed-toe shoes and clothing suitable for wet and muddy conditions. All ages welcome. Participants must be 16 or older to use a canoe for clean-up. Reservations required beginning Wednesday, May 27.  
Father's Day Plant Sale at Mercer Botanic Gardens

Visit Mercer on Saturday, June 13, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. to browse a wide variety of Mercer Grown plants, including butterfly host and nectar plants, stunning tropical gingers, elegant shade lovers, and Gulf Coast natives during the Father’s Day Specialty Plant Sale at Mercer Botanic Gardens. Guests are encouraged to bring a wagon to transport purchases.
Jewelry Making at Big Stone Lodge

Join Big Stone Lodge for a fun, free activity on Monday, June 15, at 1 p.m. Caroline Herbert will demonstrate easy steps for making jewelry. Please stop by the Big Stone Lodge office to pick up a supply list. For more information or to register, call Big Stone Lodge at 281-350-1029.