As a former Clean Sweep and Lady Bird Lake Leader, April was one of my favorite times of year. I would lament when I missed a cleanup at my site, mostly because I would miss meeting all the wonderful people who came out to help. While it has been a number of years since I proudly donned my Clean Sweep shirt as a leader, I’d like to share what my experience was like in hopes of inspiring others to wear the t-shirt of honor for 2017.
Anthony Hall is one of 2.25 million.
If that doesn’t sound impressive, it’s because you don’t have full story. Anthony is an Eagle Scout, a rank awarded to 2.25 million young men since 1912. Over the course of the more than 100 years since the title was first awarded, only 4 percent of men who were Boy Scouts have completed the rigorous requirements to join the ranks of this elite group of 2.25 million.
Dinosaur Valley State Park is known for its dinosaur tracks, but the Green Teens from Travis High School got to know its incredible night sky, learn about nocturnal animals, and experiment with night photography. Truly taking time “To Know the Dark”.
Guest blog by Jolyn Janis
Lost and Found
This project began one morning on a casual hike down from the Scottish Woods Trail entrance of the Austin Greenbelt. I lifted my camera to shoot a gorgeous waterfall scenery. At the bottom of my shot was a water bottle and a crushed red canister of Pringles chips that someone had left. I raised my camera, annoyed that this trash was in the view.
They might be a couple years shy of 16, but the Green Teens at Burnet Middle School know plenty about cars—solar cars, that is. The students built and tested their own solar cars as a hands-on way to learn about renewable energy, one of the many topics they explored in their weekly Green Team meetings with their teacher, Hector Hernandez.
It’s not quite enough to say Lady Bird Lake is an Austin icon, because Austin simply wouldn’t be Austin without it. The lake is an inescapable part of being an Austinite—it’s where we go for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing. It’s the heart of the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail and the home to the world-famous South Congress bat colony. It’s one of the city’s most visited sites, attracting tens of thousands of visitors annually.
Meet Mike Valescu, professional volunteer, with over 23 years in the industry. He is an expert in volunteering around Austin, especially with Keep Austin Beautiful. If you’ve joined us for Clean Sweep, volunteered to mulch around Mable Davis Park, or participated in a custom service project with your coworkers, most likely you have worked with Mike.
“Less talking and more doing,” are words of wisdom from Jaime Rodriguez. Many people may spend their entire lives trying to live by this motto. Yet, Jaime a senior at Lanier High School not only subscribes to it, but puts it into practice.
Counting the ways he models being a Keep Austin Beautiful Green Teen at his school would be exhausting. While most kids his age are navigating being a teenager, Jaime was busy contributing over 75 hours to green-themed service projects and activities last year.
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 it a friendlier place to walk, bike, and live.
Austin is kept beautiful by the efforts of community volunteers who are dedicated to protecting and improving the local environment. Friends of South Zilker Park know a thing or two about creek restoration, and Keep Austin Beautiful is excited to recognize the group’s continued efforts with the Visa Beautification Award!