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Shrimp is Big Deal at Earth Day

Photo: Shrimp Earth Day

Access to fresh Gulf shrimp is one of the great advantages of living in Houston, but there are threats to the local shrimp industry because about 90 percent of the shrimp consumed in the United States is imported from shrimp farms in Asia. Shrimp and other issues of sustainability will be the theme of UST’s 2013 Earth Day Festival and Lecture on April 25.


Local Food at Earth Day Festival

Environmental Science and Studies students will host a free Earth Day Festival from 12:30-2:30 p.m. on UST’s Academic Mall. Students will lead a series of booths focusing on:

  • Local food initiatives – “Local Food Network: ‘Nutritious and Delicious’”
  • Urban wildlife – “Celts’ Critters”
  • Recycling – “R3
  • Solar energy – “Sundrop”

During the festival, local food will be available. There will also be live “critters” to visit like owls and gators, a solar cooking demo, and a place to bring old shoes, jeans and other items for recycling.

Sister Damien Marie Savino, FSE, assistant professor and chair of ESS, said the students developed the ideas for their booths as part of a project for their environmental capstone class.

“The environmental science and studies majors wanted to host a fun and educational ‘green fest’ on campus to share their knowledge and enthusiasm with fellow students, faculty and staff,” she said. “I’m proud of the way they’ve taken ownership of the project and worked collaboratively. As a department, we emphasize practical application of ideas and values, and this is one expression of that goal. I hope the festival is a meaningful experience for our students and the University community.”

Experts Talk Shrimp at Lecture

Photo: ShrimpIn the evening, Regina Pena, owner and president of Philly Seafood, and Brian Shernak, marketing director of Philly Seafood, will give a lecture on the science and sustainability of domestic wild shrimp, “From Our Family Boats to Your Family Table,” at 7 p.m. in Cullen Hall, 4001 Mt. Vernon.

Sister Damien Marie said the sustainability of domestic wild shrimp is an important issue, both because shrimp is a local food resource and because the livelihood of local Gulf shrimpers is at stake in the face of increasing pressures from imported shrimp. Gulf shrimpers have suffered economic losses as cheaper foreign imports have undercut their prices, and there are also  significant environmental implications because foreign shrimp farms practice notoriously poor environmental management. Domestic wild shrimp, which constitute only 10 percent of the shrimp consumed in the United States – of which 75 percent is from the Gulf of Mexico – is considered significantly more sustainable than imported-farmed shrimp.

“Sustainable seafood is a global issue, and one that impacts Houstonians in a particular way since the Gulf of Mexico is in our backyard,” she said.

Attendees will enjoy a free tasting of Gulf shrimp after the lecture. For more information, contact Sister Damien Marie at 713-525-3894 or

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The University of St. Thomas, dedicated to educating leaders of faith and character, is a private institution committed to the liberal arts and to the religious, ethical and intellectual tradition of Catholic higher education. St. Thomas is Houston’s only Catholic University and was founded by the Basilian Fathers in 1947.


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