Port Arthur LNG celebrates Environmental Champions; projects range from planting gardens to raising goats

Published 7:57 pm Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The roots of a garden project in Sabine Pass are expanding to teach children about growing their own food and creating healthy eating habits.

Officials with Sabine Pass Education Foundation converted an old school bus into a greenhouse and now, courtesy of the second annual Port Arthur LNG Environmental Champions Grant Initiative powered by The Port Arthur News, they will add new plants to the project.

Randa Hurtado with Sabine Pass School said there is also an outdoor classroom where teachers bring their students to sit outside.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The Sabine Pass Education Foundation was one of 16 nonprofit organizations to be awarded grants on Tuesday. A total of $65,000 in grants was presented during a reception at Bob Hope Elementary School in Port Arthur.

Port Arthur LNG has partnered with Port Arthur Newsmedia for the second straight year to fund the efforts of these groups.

The Hughen Center Inc., which is the nonprofit associated with Bob Hope schools, was another grant recipient.

They plan to build on last year’s project to expand and growing Agriculture Program.

“This year, with the help and support of LNG and similar grants, Bob Hope High School was able to offer agricultural classes, including Principles of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources, Livestock Production, Small Animal Management, and Equine Science. We were also able to begin the process of chartering the very first FFA chapter in Port Arthur, Texas,” Kelsey Borza said while reading a letter from Agriculture Science teacher/FFA Advisor Mackenzie Morris who was unable to be at the ceremony because she was in Huntsville with FAA students at a poultry evaluation competition.

Sempra Infrastructure Community Outreach & Events Advisor Iman Garrett-Price and Kelly Prasser, Sempra Infrastructure external affairs director (Candace Hemelt/The News)

Morris said in the letter the funding provides opportunities for career development.

The current grant funds a goat enclosure and associated needs. Students will learn to care for the animals, milk them and the different products that can be made from goat’s milk, such as soaps, lotions and cheese.

The Rotary Club of Nederland was another grant recipient.

Club President Kay DeCuir said the organization’s goal is to plant trees at the district’s schools. Some of the planting will have to wait a bit as the Nederland Independent School District is finishing a number of bond projects and school construction efforts.

DeCuir would like to see crepe myrtles and/or oak trees planted, but is leaving the final decision up to the district’s superintendent.

Kelly Prasser, Sempra Infrastructure Director of External Affairs, congratulated the winners.

“I think what was fun for me is that since we started this program, there are some people who came back and expanded their programs or expanded their initiatives,” Prasser said. “But there were a lot of new award recipients this year.”

Prasser said the community selection committee received 42 applications this year and the projects “just keep getting better and better.”

Port Arthur Newsmedia Publisher Stephen Hemelt gave a final “thank you” to those in attendance, saying he understands many people work their regular jobs and then volunteer extra hours on these projects, making them true passion efforts fueled by volunteers.

The 2023 Environmental Champions recipients:

  • Art Museum of Southeast Texas
  • Big Thicket Association
  • Dick Dowling Lion’s Club
  • Golden Triangle Audubon Society
  • Linda’s Lighthouse
  • Museum of the Gulf Coast
  • Rotary Club of Nederland
  • Port Arthur Top Ladies & Top Teens
  • Port Arthur ISD 9th Grade Center
  • Port Arthur Sertoma Club
  • S.A.L.T. Club
  • Sabine Pass Education Foundation
  • The Hughen Center Inc.
  • Jefferson Middle School
  • Triangle Community Outreach Center
  • Willie Carter Outreach Center