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.
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.
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.
Two Green Teens, Lucero and Wendy will be packing their bags and headed to New York City this December to attend the Keep America Beautiful Vision Award Luncheon. Due to their amazing leadership, dedication to service, and extensive participation in the Green Teens program these youth have been selected to be Keep Austin Beautiful Green Teens Ambassadors on the national stage.
The adage, it takes a village, is demonstrated frequently at Keep Austin Beautiful, but no time quite like Clean Sweep. On a Saturday morning each April, thousands of volunteers invest their time to clean and beautify Austin. To assist with this year’s Clean Sweep on Saturday, April 14, dozens of businesses are investing their resources. Like families and neighbors joining one another to build stronger communities, together, our sponsors, partners, volunteers, and staff form the extraordinary village capable of creating such an impactful event. It is the generous support of our sponsors and partners that makes this day possible, showing yet again that an investment in Keep Austin Beautiful is an investment in the Austin community.
Imagine lying down blindfolded in a clearing along the flowing Colorado River. You feel the grass under your hands and the cooling ground on your back. The air is crisp and you breathe deeply and let it fill your lungs. You hear the flow of the water, the howl of coyotes, and the chirps of crickets. You are still blindfolded. Ten minutes pass, and the entire group of 19 Green Teens from LBJ, Eastside and Travis High Schools lay in complete silence. When given the prompt to take off their blindfolds, they are awed. Above them is a clear sky, lit by a three-quarter moon. The constellations are in full view and look down on the teens as they look up at them. Fifteen minutes have now passed and the group is still silent.
A buzz of excitement was in the air and we hadn’t even begun. It was nearing 9 a.m. and as groups of people arrived, not a single person was complaining about being out and about so early on a Saturday. As the crowd grew, so did the excitement! We all gathered along Shoal Creek ready for Keep Austin Beautiful Clean Sweep 2013.