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.
At this time, Keep Austin Beautiful would like to recognize the 2014 Award Winners. The amazing winners have gone above and beyond volunteering to restore local creeks, taken action to clean-up Lady Bird Lake, fostered the next generation of environmental leaders, and have led 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 2015 Award Winners and Finalists are:
Winner: David Boston and Staryn Wagner – Willowbrook Reach
Finalist: Michele Zhang and Tzu Chi Collegiate Association – Shoal Creek at Allendale
REI Community Involvement
Winner: Linda McCoy-Schriever
Finalist: Capital Cruises
Silicon Labs Education
Winner: NYOS Charter School
Finalist: Lamar Middle School
Visa Dennis Hobbs Individual Achievement
Winner: Rick Cofer
Finalist: Richard Maness
Samsung Litter Abatement
Winner: Malcolm Yeatts – South East Austin Trails and Greenways Alliance
Finalist: Sara Dunn and Tom Donovan – Southwood Neighborhood Association (Central Williamson Creek Greenbelt)
Dell Youth Achievement
Winner: Carlos Venegas – 7th grade, Martin Middle School
Finalist: Lorenzo Sanchez- 12th grade, Eastside Memorial High School
Samsung Litter Abatement Award Winner – Malcolm Yeatts
Last year, Keep Austin Beautiful collected over 72 tons of litter. This would not have been possible without the help of both individuals like Malcolm Yeatts who made a commitment to cleanup our creeks, parks, schools, and streets. Malcolm Yeatts is a one-man volunteering machine. In 2014, Malcolm contributed more than 260 volunteer hours and with the help of fellow volunteers removed almost 3,000 pounds of trash along south east Austin trails. And that is only what is on record!
3M Beautification Award Winner – Willowbrook Reach Restoration
Keeping Austin beautiful is a big job and goes well beyond cleanups. Luckily, there amazing volunteers, groups, and partners at Keep Austin beautiful who are dedicated to beautifying public spaces. Our goal is to supply the resources for those seeking to make a difference. Through David and Staryn’s collaborative efforts they have planted natives and established a no-mow zone along Willowbrook Reach resulting in better water quality, a more diverse ecosystem, and less stream bank erosion. It is no wonder more wildlife and people can now be spotted walking the creek-side trail.
REI Community Involvement Award Winner – Linda McCoy-Shriever
Litter abatement and beautification efforts take much more than a few people. Initiatives that begin within the community, from individuals and groups, are the projects that make the biggest impact. Community-led initiatives create a feeling of ownership and a culture of appreciation and respect. Linda McCoy-Shriever’s name is synonymous with community involvement and volunteerism in the Keep Austin Beautiful office. It is no wonder she was nominated three times this year for a Keep Austin Beautiful award. Every other month, for the past 6 years, she can be found leading a Clean Lady Bird Lake cleanup. An Adopt-a-Creek leader since 2010, Linda has mobilized 250 plus volunteers to care for the creek. She is an inspiration to us all.
Dell Youth Achievement Award Winner – Carlos Venegas
Keep Austin Beautiful leads weekly afterschool activities and service projects through its Green Teens program. This year’s Youth Achievement winner is a participant in the program. From pumpkin carving to pulling weeds, Green Teen Carlos is not afraid to get messy. A natural leader Carlos’ enthusiasm and inquisitive nature are contagious often serving to pique other student interest in projects and activities. While exploring the shoreline of Lady Bird Lake with Dell tablets and digital microscopes in hand, Carlos drug an eight-foot log out of the water and spent nearly an hour investigating all of the organisms that called the log home. Carlos is an emerging leader and represents the next generation of Austin’s environmental champions.
Silicon Labs Education Award Winner – NYOS Charter School
The creation of environmental stewards begins with education. Through education we can raise awareness about the importance of taking responsibility for the environment. This is happening, where else but, at schools. Schools are teaching our youth to read, write, and add along with teaching them how to recycle properly, garden, be engaged civic leaders. Take this year’s Silicon Labs Education Award Winner – NYOS Charter School. NYOS has made environmental stewardship a part of their core curriculum. Led by Keep Austin Beautiful staff, 90 seventh graders from NOYS ventured on a half-day adventure dispersing native seed balls, painting over a weathered bridge, removing invasive Johnson grass, and cleaning Walnut Creek. The Clean Creek Campus Walnut Creek service day was preceded by in-class lessons on watersheds and the impact of litter, giving students an understanding of the significance of their service. Inspired and informed NYOS has made a school-wide commitment to recycling, composting, and caring for their campus garden beds. This is most definitely not your ordinary school.
Visa Dennis Hobbs Individual Achievement Award Winner – Rick Cofer
The City of Austin has a goal of reaching Zero Waste by 2040. Rick Cofer is both a part of that goal coming into existence, and coming up with ways we are going to get there. He has helped lead the effort to create the Zero Waste Strategic Plan and helped develop the Integrated Solid Waste Services management Master Plan. Most importantly, Rick led the effort to write the Universal Recycling Ordinance, which will bring recycling to every Austin citizen. You might also know Rick as the chair of the Ban the Bags Coalition, which resulted in the Austin Single Use Bag Ordinance. Keep Austin Beautiful has seen a significant decrease in litter caused by single-use bags, and we have a feeling we might need to thank Rick for that.