Topic: The importance of forests to our environment, including our climate, is becoming more and more evident as we learn its role in sequestering carbon, releasing oxygen, and helping cool a warming planet. The forests also serve as a “buffer” for rain runoff and can significantly diminish flooding, as well as improve water quality as the water moves across the forest floor to our creeks and streams. Unfortunately, our forests are decreasing in size, in part due to disease and insects. Our speaker will discuss the common threats to forest health in Texas and the region as well as updating the group on the new threat to Ash and other tree species from the Emerald Ash Borer. Allen’s presentation will enlighten participants on the work that goes into collecting data and identifying the pests to forest health as well as ways the Texas Forest Service recommends mitigating he damage from them. Speaker: Allen Smith holds Bachelors of Science degrees in Environmental Science and Forestry, and a Master of Science in Forest Entomology from Steven F. Austin State University. He has been working for the citizens of Texas as a member of the Texas Forest Service for 17 years and is currently serves as the Forest Health Coordinator for East Texas. Allen is a native Texan. Those who attend will also enjoy learning about HARC’s energy and water efficient building, which has been awarded the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum Green Building Certification. HARC’s is the first building in The Woodlands or Montgomery County to be designated as such.