In nature and behind the lens – Jakob Mears, Dell Youth Achievement Award Winner

by Adrianne Kartachak, Environmental Educator

The nurturing of environmental consciousness within youth is integral to the mission of Keep Austin Beautiful. Through the organization’s Green Teens program, scholars like Jakob Mears are able to become engaged in the promotion of sustainability and emerge as leaders within the community. Over the past year and a half, Jakob has contributed over 55 volunteer hours in service including planting tree saplings along Boggy Creek and Bastrop State Park, tending his school garden, picking up litter at Lady Bird Lake, and removing flood debris at Pease Park.

Hatching Hands-on Education at Eastside Memorial High School

By Bernard Smalls, Environmental Educator

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Students at Eastside aren’t sure, but last year they decided to start with the egg. Back in the fall, the Green Teens wanted to do something different, something special. After some serious brainstorming, they decided to introduce students at Eastside to a new school mascot. Since a live panther was out of the question, students considered domestic animals they might raise on campus instead. Chickens made the final cut, both for their feasibility and their familiarity to teenagers.

Creek Seeks Dedicated Adopter

By Crysta Hernandez, Communications Intern and Erin Cord, Community Programs Coordinator

Make an investment to volunteer and care for this featured creek! Williamson Creek, a valued hub in the Dove Springs area, is now available for adoption. Dedicated volunteers needed who are ready to steward the area. This lovely hidden gem is abundant with precious frogs and fluttering dragonflies that can be found under a tall canopy of trees along with a winding trail. Adjacent to the creek, you can find Dove Springs Park, which has a newly renovated playground and has continued improvement projects on the horizon.

Clean Lady Bird Lake: New Members Explore Our Newest Site

Story and Photos By: Crysta Hernandez, Communications Intern

From interesting MVP’s to #oddtrash you never know what you will find on a cleanup. On Saturday, June 13th, I headed out on my first Keep Austin Beautiful cleanup. The site: Joe’s Crab Shack on East Riverside, the newest of 21 locations being cleaned as part of Clean Lady Bird Lake initiatives.This was the second time Joe’s Crab Shack had hosted a cleanup. Keep Austin Beautiful initiated the partnership after increased complaints about trash build up underneath the boardwalk.

BioBlitz Dance at Clean Sweep

At this year’s 30th Clean Sweep, we shook things up with the BioBlitz dance. The dance is taking on the nation and now Clean Sweep. The dance, started by the California Conservation Corps, was created as a means to advocate for green space in cities, access to those spaces, and experiences that make nature both educational and entertaining.

Green Teens Ignite

Fire. It is elemental and has fascinated humans for millennia. We have learned to harness it; to cook with it, to warm up by it, and to gather around it to share stories. For the past few weeks, our Keep Austin Beautiful Green Teens have been learning about “primitive” survival skills. They have built shelters using natural materials, practiced orienteering using the landscape and hand-held compasses, and learned about wild edibles growing in Austin’s parks and preserves. However, nothing in the unit has created as much anticipation as fire building.

Celebrating Austin’s Environmental Stewards

For 29 years, Keep Austin Beautiful has been recognizing the outstanding achievements of businesses, individuals, and communities who clean, beautify, and protect the Austin environment by awarding Keep Austin Beautiful Awards in multiple categories! The Keep Austin Beautiful Awards serve to distinguish those who demonstrate continued commitment to Austin’s vibrancy and serve as an inspiration for others. For these reasons and many more, Keep Austin Beautiful celebrated the Award Winners at the29th Annual Awards Brunch on Wednesday, February 4th, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center.