Announcing the 2017 Keep Austin Beautiful Award Winners

CELEBRATING AUSTIN’S ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDS

Keep Austin Beautiful Honors Award Winners at Beautify Bash

AUSTIN, Texas – Since 1985, Keep Austin Beautiful has been recognizing the outstanding achievements of businesses, individuals, and communities who clean, beautify, and protect Austin’s environment through the Keep Austin Beautiful Annual Awards. The Awards serve to distinguish those who demonstrate continued commitment to Austin’s vibrancy and serve as an inspiration for others. For these reasons and more, Keep Austin Beautiful will celebrate the award winners while also raising funds for the organization’s mission at Beautify Bash on Thursday, November 16, 2017 from 6:30pm to 9:30pm at the UMLAUF Sculpture Garden and Museum (605 Robert E Lee Road, Austin, TX 78704).

At this time, Keep Austin Beautiful would like to recognize the 2017 Annual Award Winners. These wonderful winners have gone above and beyond by volunteering to restore local creeks, taking action to clean-up Lady Bird Lake, fostering the next generation of environmental leaders, and leading the way in establishing Austin as a green and sustainable city.  Each has utilized Keep Austin Beautiful’s resources and programming to amplify their contributions to the city. The 2017 Annual Award Winners are:

Balcones Beautification Award – Keep Walnut Creek Wild

Ebay Community Involvement Award - GoodPop

Applied Materials Education Award – UT Elementary School

Texas Disposal Systems Dennis Hobbs Individual Achievement – Susie Shockley   

Samsung Litter Abatement Award – The Expedition School  

Dell Youth Achievement – Jose Garcia-Chong, Akins High School  


Balcones Beautification Award – Keep Walnut Creek Wild

As Keep Walnut Creek Wild’s onsite leader, Cliff Tyllick, reminds us, “Central Texas should look like Central Texas.” The group has been active in the greenbelt and parks along Walnut Creek for over ten years, and became a member of Keep Austin Beautiful’s Adopt-a-Creek program in 2014. Through guidance provided by Keep Austin Beautiful and the City of Austin Watershed Protection Department scientists, the group created project blueprints for their space. Their work in Tar Branch, Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park, and surrounding spaces has created a drastic change to the landscape. Not only does the group clean the adopted creek segment, but their initiative to remove invasive species and restore native tree diversity to the area has been inspiring to witness. This group has made lasting efforts to restore both the upland and riparian zones of the park, and they’ve spread their passion and knowledge by leading other volunteer groups in restoration efforts. Just this past year, they planted close to 150 trees, removed hundreds of invasive plants, and dedicated just shy of 500 hours of volunteer service to the area. Cliff and Keep Walnut Creek Wild show how dedication can truly bring change to spaces, and that communities can make a lasting impact.

Ebay Community Involvement Award - GoodPop

When GoodPop reached out to get involved with Keep Austin Beautiful, we knew it would be a sweet partnership. What started as a social campaign to share what #oddtrash people would find during their cleanups bloomed into a true community building partnership. Not only does GoodPop continue to provide product to volunteers throughout the year at cleanups, their office has dedicated their time and attention to keeping Austin clean and beautiful. GoodPop has adopted a section of Little Walnut Creek off of 51st street that needed desperate attention. The group has managed to remove hundreds of pounds of trash from hard to access areas, making sure that trash doesn’t continue to travel within the greenbelt. Beyond their work with Keep Austin Beautiful, GoodPop became involved in statewide efforts to help Hurricane Harvey victims. The small but mighty team collected materials and delivered them directly to impacted areas. Through their profit-sharing, they also purchased cots for first responders on the coast, and contributed in every capacity they could. Not only can GoodPops make popsicles, they can make good in their community.

Applied Materials Education Award – UT Elementary School

UT Elementary, a charter school that serves as an extension of The University of Texas at Austin, stands out for its commitment to environmental stewardship and the well-being of its students. They are one of Keep Austin Beautiful’s most passionate school partners, with participation in two in-class education programs. Over the past four years, the first and third graders have explored what it means to recycle and compost properly through our Generation Zero curriculum, while the second and fifth graders have taken a hands-on approach to cleaning Austin’s watershed through our Clean Creek Campus program. Through Keep Austin Beautiful programming, students have contributed over 900 hours of service to Lady Bird Lake, planting more than 3,000 native wildflower seedballs, collecting 200 pounds of trash and 58 pounds of recycling. For all of its students, UT Elementary casts a wide net to involve everyone in becoming connected to their environment and in keeping Austin a beautiful place to live. 

Texas Disposal Systems Dennis Hobbs Individual Achievement – Susie Shockley   

More than 15 years ago, Susie Shockley took action to improve Austin’s environment by serving as one of the founding volunteers of the Lake Travis Cleanup. She and a group of volunteers have attended the large-scale cleanup event every year since. Susie continued to commit her time and attention to keeping Austin beautiful becoming a Clean Lady Bird Lake leader for Keep Austin Beautiful at Zilker Park. Her personal and professional passions collide as Susie leads cleanup projects for teams of her fellow Dell employees in Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park and other areas around Austin. Over the last year, Susie has helped remove over 4,000 pounds of litter from parks and waterways in Austin, often leading hundreds of other volunteers to make a lasting impact in our community. Susie says she loves watching young people get involved from an early age, and explains that her daughter has become an environmental scientist, crediting her volunteerism from a young age with Keep Austin Beautiful. Susie is an inspiration to her fellow co-workers, to the Keep Austin Beautiful team, and to her family. Keep Austin Beautiful is honored to recognize Susie Shockley with this year’s Individual Achievement Award for her many years of dedication.

Samsung Litter Abatement Award – The Expedition School  

The Expedition School’s philosophy includes commitment to sustainability, involvement in local community, and positive impacts on the environment. It’s no wonder that they have been committed partners in Keep Austin Beautiful’s Clean Lady Bird Lake program for over seven years. Their thoughtful instructors have been wonderfully accommodating as new and experienced paddlers alike visit their site for the Saturday morning cleanups. Their patient instruction encourages volunteers as they jump into boats and on standup paddle boards, some for the very first time. In just the past year, they have helped remove more than 1000 pounds of litter from Lady Bird Lake and engaged hundreds of volunteers. Beyond their commitment to litter abatement, they have also worked with Keep Austin Beautiful’s Green Teens to create unique and memorable experiences on the water. The Green Teens are able to learn proper technique and safety while having a joyful afternoon on the lake. Kimery Duda, Kerstin Wiggins, and the entire team at The Expedition School are committed to keeping Lady Bird Lake and all of Austin a clean and beautiful place to enjoy for years to come. Keep Austin Beautiful is ecstatic to award our partners with the Litter Abatement award.

Dell Youth Achievement – Jose Garcia-Chong, Akins High School 

Keep Austin Beautiful Green Teens engages students in meaningful service on their campus and in their community. Jose has been a committed Green Teen for three years, from his first week of 6th grade until his last week of 8th grade. During the last three years, Jose has shown commitment to Green Teens through an impressive attendance record, gaining knowledge and becoming well-versed in all things composting, recycling, tree planting, solar car-building, lean-to making, garden-planting and more. During his time as a Green Teen at Paredes Middle School, he has not only participated in weekly activities, but has shown outstanding leadership. Knowing the importance of consistent tree care, Jose often led other students in proper maintenance techniques, teaching them how to refill the water gators. Not only does he care for outdoor spaces, he shares his knowledge and passion with others around him. Jose’s enthusiasm for the environment, his curiosity to learn more, and his helpful manner make him an outstanding Green Teen and exceptional environmental leader. Jose is now a freshman at Akins High School, and is excited to plug into the Green Teens of Akins and continue his journey.


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Media Contact: 

Myrriah Gossett, Director of Community Engagement

myrriah@keepaustinbeautiful.org 

512.391.0617 x707