H3AT Team Seeking Volunteers to Join H3AT Mapping Campaign this Summer


The Houston Harris Heat Action Team (H3AT) (made up of HARC, the City of Houston, Harris County Public Health, Harris County Office of County Administration, Harris County Precinct 4, Student Conservation Association, and the National Weather Service*) is seeking volunteers to help collect environmental data about the hottest and coolest places in our region during an upcoming heat wave this summer. Data collected by volunteers during a designated one-day H3AT Mapping Campaign in August will be used to develop temperature and heat index maps of Houston and Harris County and help address heat-related vulnerabilities across the region.

Urban areas are especially prone to high temperatures due to a combination of hard surfaces (buildings, roads), limited vegetation, and heat-producing factors like car use and industrial activity. This problem, known as the urban heat island effect, can create issues for human health, infrastructure, and quality of life. Understanding how temperatures vary based on qualities of the natural and built landscape can inform how we reduce the impacts of rising summer temperatures in our communities.

There are many ways to try and combat the urban heat island effect. This includes planting more trees and creating more green spaces, like parks. Trees send water to the atmosphere and help cool things off, along with providing shade to people. Using light colors and heat-absorbing materials, such as light-colored “cool” roofs and “cool” pavements, can also help cool surfaces. The H3AT Mapping Campaign will provide us with up-to-date data on where the hottest and coolest areas of Harris County exist so that we can find the most appropriate ways to combat and mitigate the heat island effect in each of these areas.

Volunteers are needed to drive along predetermined routes in the Houston and Harris County area over three separate one-hour periods during Campaign Day, typically 6-7 a.m., 3-4 p.m., and 7-8 p.m. Volunteers will use a simple data-collection device attached to their vehicle. Interested volunteers can also volunteer as a navigator and help direct drivers’ turns along their route. The intention is to provide participating volunteers with gas cards for completion of their responsibilities, which will be confirmed in due course.

To learn more about the H3AT Mapping Campaign, read the Volunteer FAQs and resources at www.h3at.org.

To sign up to be a volunteer, click here.

For questions about the H3AT Mapping Campaign, email [email protected].

This campaign is being made possible through funding provided by the Inflation Reduction Act and the USDA Forest Service, Urban and Community Forestry Program. This is part of a larger initiative called ForUsTree: Creating an Inclusive Community Canopy within Houston and Harris County, which aims to increase tree canopy, foster community resilience, and improve access to employment in underserved communities in Houston and Harris County.

*These institutions are equal opportunity providers.