CELEBRATING AUSTIN’S ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDS
AUSTIN, Texas – Ever since 1985, 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 will celebrate 30 years of keeping Austin beautiful along with the award winners at the Beautiful Bash on Wednesday, November 18, 2015 from 6pm to 8:30pm at 1102 East Event Space (1102 E Ceasar Chavez St., 78702).
At this time, Keep Austin Beautiful would like to recognize the 30th Annual Award Winners. These wonderful winners have gone above and beyond by 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 30th Annual Award Winners are:
- Beautification – Gracywoods Neighborhood Association
- Litter Abatement – CTA Architects Engineers
- Community Involvement – Lonestar Logos
- Dell Youth Achievement – Jakob Mears
- Dennis Hobbs Individual Achievement – Richard Maness
- Education – Radha Madhav Dham: Shiksha School
Beautification – Gracywoods Neighborhood Association
For the last several years, Gracywoods Neighborhood Association has helped Walnut Creek in the North Star Greenbelt flourish through the establishment of native grasses and removal of invasive species. While neighbors were at first skeptical of the full grown areas, leaders Bill Glass, Craig Nazor, and Francoise Luca worked hard to get their neighborhood support for the grow zone . Through their campaigning, they raised awareness of how the plants ensure creek stabilization and act as a filter. They worked to engage over 50 volunteers in restoration and cleanup projects. They are just one example of how the Keep Austin Beautiful Adopt-a-Creek program strengthens ties both between communities and nature.
Litter Abatement – CTA Architects Engineers
With every piece of litter that is removed from our city, our pride for the beauty of it increases exponentially. The Barton Creek Greenbelt is regularly enjoyed by thousands of visitors each year, but also littered with thousands of pounds of trash. This is why our passionate Adopt-a-Creek volunteers are so greatly appreciated. In 2015, CTA Architects removed 830 pounds of trash from the Greenbelt and parking area during 4 cleanups and a total of 70 volunteer hours. They have been working hard to keep our creeks clean ever since 2008, which has greatly benefited Austinites and additionally the Barton Creek wildlife and ecosystems.
Community Involvement – Lonestar Logos
Lonestar Logos may have started their Keep Austin Beautiful involvement behind the scenes, but they are now front and center in the community. Camera ready at cleanups, restoration projects, and Green Teens session, they helped capture the moment and tell the story of volunteer engagement through video. The lens became more focused proving technology and outdoor education aren’t always at odds when they led several sessions guiding Green Teen interns on how to produce instructional videos for environmental education activity kits. In July, their team members and families picked up trash along Lady Bird Lake. They donated countless hours inventorying Adopt-a-Street signs and driving all over town to install new signs ensuring adopters are recognized properly. Most recently, they made a 1-year commitment to clean a half mile stretch along South First Street four times a year making them the newest street adopter. Some people may dip their foot in the pool to test the waters before jumping in, but not Lonestar Logos – they dove right in to being an active community partner.
Dell Youth Achievement – Jakob Mears
The nurturing of environmental consciousness within youth is integral to the mission of Keep Austin Beautiful’s. 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. He also encourages his peers to recycle going so far as to show them how to properly sort their trash and recyclables. Jakob’s hard work and passionate participation have made him an integral part of Green Teens at Travis High School and are what have earned him the Youth Achievement Award.
Dennis Hobbs Individual Achievement – Richard Maness
Name the service event – Adopt-a-Creek workdays, Lake Travis Underwater Cleanup, or Clean Lady Bird Lake and Richard Maness is not only participating but leading the workday. The kind of volunteer you keep on speed dial due to his willingness to always step in and lead. At a given project, you can find Richard inspiring others as he shares his love and knowledge of the outdoors. At his Adopt-a-Creek segment along Williamson Creek, Richard has engaged 160 volunteers for a total of 320 volunteer hours, which contributed to the removal of 3,620 pounds of trash from Williamson Creek this year!
Education – Radha Madhav Dham: Shiksha School
Ever since she was young, Marianne Gamble has been an “Earth guardian,” aiming to enlighten others to the benefits and fun of caring for nature. Marianne channels this commitment into her science classes at the Shiksha School where she incorporates Keep Austin Beautiful Activity Kits into her teaching of recycling, composting, watersheds and all things environmental. She recently organized a Green Team of six leaders ensuring that not only her classes but the entire campus is engaged in environmental education. Using Keep Austin Beautiful’s cleanup supplies, Marianne and the Shiksha School brought together thousands of individuals who volunteered over 100 hours to remove hundreds of pounds of trash at various events including an “Annual Earth Day” cleanup. The fostering of future “green” generations would not be possible without environmental educators like Marianne.
About Keep Austin Beautiful
Keep Austin Beautiful’s mission is to provide resources and education to engage citizens in building more beautiful communities. The non-profit service organization’s programs clean, beautify and protect the Austin environment through physical improvements to the local environment, community resources, and hands-on education. More than 26,000 people volunteer their time each year, committing 60,000 hours to cleaning and beautifying Austin, and environmental education is provided to 9,000 youth annually through Keep Austin Beautiful programs and events. For more information on Keep Austin Beautiful, visit www.keepaustinbeautiful.org.