From my most recent column in the Galveston Daily News:

I read an article last year on advice for home buyers on what to look for when buying a house.

It had an interesting twist. Instead of the physical aspects of a home and its attributes, which while of course important, it spoke about the community the property was located and what its values and benefits were.

Sailing in Galveston TexasThe article went on to explain that what a community ofers in regards to quality of life issues are things not to be discounted, and it listed a few things to help you find these out.

Top of the list? Ask your local Realtor, who should be versed in schools, the churches, social aspects of the community including recreational opportunities.

It asked, is there a community pool or a local little league – in other words what does it ofer all its residents?

What cultural events are available? The types of churches, charitable organizations and nonprofits in the local area say a lot about a community.

The article went on to suggest driving to local grocery stores to look at the type of cars in the lot, and to read the bumper stickers.

Finally, what free events are sponsored by the community? I found the article fascinating and thought of my adopted hometown of Galveston.

We stack up great with our community offerings: churches, nonprofits, volunteer opportunities and diversity. Galveston is still very afordable for coastal property, and our beach and bayous are huge draw cards for both residents and tourists.

In my column this week, I want to pay tribute to Artist Boat for the wonderful work it does to help people discover these waterways. Conservation is another key focus for Artist Boat.

Artist Boat preserves Galveston waterways!My friend Karla Klay, the executive director and founder of Artist Boat, suggests reducing or eliminating plastics from your life. It can be as simple as taking reusable bags to the grocery store. Also try other options before spraying your garden with pesticides. “The Gulf has the largest dead zone on earth because of excessive nutrients in the water from run-of pollution,” Klay said. Galveston Bay is 600 square miles and a part of a 33,000 square mile watershed.

From Dallas/Fort Worth to Galveston Island and in the five county region, more than 13 million people are afecting the environmental and water quality of the Upper Texas Coast. We have one of the most productive fisheries, shipping industries, tourism industries and oil/gas industries in the country.

Everyone is responsible for keeping the bay and Gulf healthy. Everyone benefits from a healthy bay and Gulf. Artist Boat fights to protect this. Artist Boat is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting awareness and preservation of coastal margins and marine environment through the disciplines of the sciences and the arts.

Having an organization dedicated to keep Galveston’s environment healthy is a huge benefit to living here. It is a way to get involved in the community, it is a way to learn about the environment, and it is a way to help preserve the island we love so much. Another reason “Those of us lucky enough to live by the sea are lucky enough.”