Creating a Community and Creek Movement

Thursday, November 3, 2016 - 12:17pm

By Jill Capotosto, Volunteer Engagement Intern

Friends of Tannehill Branch Creek have made some interesting acquisitions over the past year. Some of it is not so useful—like the plastic children’s beds, weed wackers and carpets they pulled out of the creek—but what was gained was a more connected community and a more beautiful green space. The once litter-ridden creek is now a uniting force for the neighborhood, sparking a movement to make the creek a friendlier place to walk, bike, and live. 

A volunteer from Friends of Tannehill Branch Creek pulls a carpet out of the water. 

The initiative started with Nadia Khan and her vision for the creek behind her house to be a place where her family and her neighbors could connect with nature. But the litter and erosion weren’t the only obstacles standing in her way; her section of Tannehill Branch Creek flowed through private land, making it difficult to gain access to the creek. Unphased, Nadia created flyers and spoke at neighborhood association meetings to garner community interest. Friends of Tannehill Branch Creek formed and tenaciously reached out to land owners who supplied the access needed to adopt the creek through Keep Austin Beautiful’s Adopt-a-Creek program.

Friends of Tannehill Branch Creek pose with their day’s spoils after a creek clean-up.

In its first year, Friends of Tannehill Branch Creek removed over 1600 pounds of trash, including bulky items from an illegal dumping site in the area. Litter removal is a continual effort for the group, recruiting help from all areas of Austin to maintain the green space. They’ve already alerted Watershed Protection to evaluate erosion problems along their stretch of the creek and continue to expand their outreach efforts to include local businesses at their schedule cleanups.


Volunteers both large and small help keep the creek clean and ready for families to enjoy. 

Friends of Tannehill Branch Creek have plans to add a Free Little Library and a new bench along the creek, so they may admire their work, which is far from over. Plans are still underway to remove invasive species in the area to support a native landscapes. Friends of Tannehill Branch Creek has also inspired other local groups and individuals to get involved in developing a four-part neighborhood envisioning project that will make the area more walkable, bikeable, and tree-filled. 

Nadia and Friends of Tannehill Branch’s tenacity and passion, is a testament to the power of one multiplying into a movement of many. In honor of their dedication to their neighborhood, their willingness to tackle all obstacles, and their vision for a beautiful Austin, Keep Austin Beautiful is pleased to recognize Friends of Tannehill Branch Creek with the Wells Fargo Community Involvement Award!

Join us in recognizing Friends of Tannehill Branch Creek and the rest of our 2016 Keep Austin Beautiful Award Winners at Beautify Bash taking place on November 17th at Umlauf Sculpture Garden.