As the summer season reaches its peak, our local conservation efforts are more vital than ever–and as always there is a lot green going on in central Texas and the Austin area. Whether you’re looking for some sun-kissed August opportunities for open-air conservation courses and volunteer stewardship, helpful expert advice for hill country homeowners and property managers, or fun family learning activities, you’re sure to find a great upcoming event!
Conservation for Kids
Tall Trees, Shady Fun – Riverside Nature Center
Riverside Nature Center provides yet another great learning activity for the whole family–or just you and your bright young protégé (Big Sisters, Brothers, and Littles welcome). In addition to a group picnic lunch (BYO), participants will explore the local wildlife and plants, including feeding fish, dazzling dragonflies, and irresistibly charming river turtles. The RSVP deadline is Monday, Aug. 11 at 4:00 P.M., so make your reservations today!
Wednesday, August 13, 9:30 A.M. – 11:30 P.M.
Nature’s Partners: Pollinators, Plants, and People – Webcast at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
They may be small, but pollinators play a huge role in agriculture and food production, healthy gardens, and local wildlife communities. Originally webcast and broadcast at Austin’s own Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center with the help of local educators and scientists, PollinatorLIVE offers an educational and entertaining overview of the vital part played by birds, bugs, and especially bees in global food webs, bio-diverse ecosystems, and healthy human communities. Designed for children from grades 4 to 8, “Nature’s Partners” teaches kids about pollination basics, plant-insect interactions, how we study pollinator behavior, and what people can do to help preserve these diminutive but crucial living local resources.
Streaming Video Available Online
Volunteer Opportunities and Outdoor Classes
Invasive Plant Removal Workday – Blunn Creek Nature Preserve
Blunn Creek Partnership continues its ecological restoration work on this 38-acre nature preserve. Help to remove invasive ornamental ligustrum species that have displaced native plants. Individuals and group volunteers are welcome to join in on the 1st Saturday of every month to help revive the Austin area ecosystem. Make sure to wear long pants and sturdy sleeves, and bring along a good pair of closed-toe shoes, gloves, and a water bottle.
Saturday, August 2, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Habitat Restoration Class – Austin Watershed Protection Department
Riverbanks, creek sides, and lakeshores are often prime locations for invasive plant species–as well as being vital areas for preserving local ecosystems and natural water supplies. Urban creeks are particularly vulnerable to the effects of storm-water overflow and human development. Learn how local stewardship can help to heal urban streams and provide a thriving greenbelt for plants, animals, and future generations of Texans. Volunteers should wear a pair of long pants, closed-toe shoes, sun protection, and a refillable water bottle, since much of the class will be held outdoors.
Saturday, August 2nd and 23rd – 9:00am – 12:30pm
Riparian Plant Identification Workshop – Riverside Nature Center
RNC naturalist Susan Sander presents a classroom and field study on identifying the native Texan species most vital for preserving our riparian ecosystems, ensuring water quality through run-off filtration, soil stabilization, and good stewardship practices.
Saturday, August 2, 8:30 AM – 10:30 PM
Local Stewardship Seminars and Workshops
Water Conservation for Older Homes – Habitat for Humanity ReStore
Resident water conservation specialist Dick Peterson offers a unique presentation focused on combining historic home preservation with good water management practices. Peterson served with Austin Water Utility for 14 years, acting as the program coordinator for the Utility’s Xeriscape and Rainwater Programs as well as Austin Energy Green Building. Though currently retired, he continues to be active as a consultant on landscaping, rainwater collection, green remodeling, and green construction as well as offering workshops and seminars on local conservation efforts. This is a great opportunity for Austin area homeowners to learn more about the historic Texas practice of responsible rainwater harvesting!
Thursday, July 24, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Composting Rebate Program – City of Austin
An ongoing opportunity! Austin residents who haven’t yet had the chance to join up should check out Austin Resource Recovery’s educational rebate program. Help Austin to reach the goal of Zero Waste by 2040 by turning yard trimmings, food scraps, and organic paper waste into gardening goodness–and keep it out of local landfills. The program hopes to reduce the amount of local landfill trash by 90 percent, and offers great rebates on home composting systems for qualifying residents who participate in classes online or locally:
Wednesday, July 30, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM Twin Oaks Branch Library
Tuesday, August 12, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM Willie Mae Kirk Branch Library
Wednesday, August 27, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM Spicewood Springs Branch Library
Insect Visitors in Your Garden – Zilker Botanical Garden
Austin’s Grow Green Program and the Travis County Master Gardeners team up to present a free seminar at Zilker Park introducing local gardeners to native insect ecology. Learn some of the finer points of native entomological etiquette from the Master Gardeners and local green gurus Sheryl Williams and Pat Mokry! Participants get the chance to learn all about attracting and identifying beneficial backyard bugs as well as methods to discourage invasive pests.
Saturday, August 16, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Living Waters Conference – AgriLife Extension
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension offers a comprehensive day program covering topics ranging from watershed and water quality management to protection of vital riparian areas through responsible livestock practices. In addition to presentations from the Lone Star Healthy Streams program, participants will learn best practices for keeping cattle, horses, and feral hogs from inadvertently damaging these fragile environmental areas and tips for do-it-yourself brush management on properties that border key watershed areas. The first 20 interested participants will also be treated to a floating plant identification trip down the South Llano River. Presenters include a diverse group of wildlife, fishery, and livestock specialists, and the conference covers three continuing education units through the Texas Department of Agriculture.
Tuesday, August 19, beginning at 8:00 AM