Fall and early winter are the perfect time for planting new saplings, shrubs, and native grasses, giving them plenty of time to send down the roots they’ll need to survive the tough Central Texas summers. In the Austin area, that means free tree giveaways, ongoing composting coursework, and huge volunteer efforts to replant and restore our watersheds, wildlands, and urban areas. Whether you’re interested in beekeeping and bird watching or some down-and-dirty volunteer work reseeding our native landscape, there is a lot going on this December!
Free Trees for Austin Energy Customers – Sunset Valley Farmer’s Market
TreeFolks and Austin Energy host a huge tree giveaway for qualifying energy customers with some room to grow. Staff and volunteers will be on hand to help choose the best species for your property, and offer advice on proper planting and care. Take advantage of the perfect planting season for new saplings!
November 22, 9:00am – 1:00pm
Williamson Creek Greenbelt Beautification – South Austin
During the last Saturday of every month, volunteers come together to help maintain this important local watershed. Current efforts are focused on native tree planting, grass seeding, invasive species management, and some light trail maintenance.
November 29, 9:00am – 11:00am
Get Growing: Propagation and Greenhouses – Sustainable Food Center
Austin’s Sustainable Food Center presents a course for those looking to make an early start on their home garden. Participants will get tips for starting seeds inside, proper seedling care, and DIY recommendations for building your own hoop house greenhouse. Registration is capped at 25, so be sure to register in advance!
December 3, 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Reforestation in Bastrop County – TreeFolks
The most destructive wildfire in the state’s history, in 2011 the Bastrop County Complex fire engulfed 34,068 acres, including nearly all of Bastrop State Park. Join TreeFolks and a team of local volunteers to help in this five-year reforestation project. This winter, volunteers will plant 50,000 seedlings in the Lost Pines area, with a final goal of more than 2 million trees over the 5-year period.
December 4 and 13, 7:00am – 10:00am
Seeding on WQPL – Hays County Ranch
The City of Austin’s Grow Green Team is looking for volunteers to help local biologists to collect and distribute native seeds on Water Quality Protection Lands. Dress for the weather, and make sure to bring a pair of sturdy boots and a water bottle.
December 5, 9:00am – 1:00pm
“TreeBombing” With TreeFolks – Auditorium Shores
TreeFolks and Austin’s Forestry Division present an unconventional volunteer opportunity that’s sure to make for an unforgettable evening. Just as the sun sets, participants will plant fifty native 15-gallon trees, transforming Auditorium Shores overnight, with live music provided by the Minor Mishap Marching Band.
December 6, 3:00pm – 6:00pm
Deep Roots: Fruit Tree Care – Sustainable Food Center
Whether you’re looking to plant a native Texas persimmon or drought-tough pomegranate, there’s nothing quite like a fruit tree to liven up your landscaping. Learn which fruit trees do best in the Central Texas climate and get some tips on proper planting and care. Attendance will be capped at 25, so register early!
December 6, 1:00pm – 3:30pm
Get Growing: Container Gardening – Sustainable Food Center
Maybe you don’t have as much outdoor planting space as you’d like, or maybe you just love the idea of cultivating a miniature indoor garden; either way, this course is for you. It turns out that just one square foot of space is enough to sustain up to 16 vegetable plants. Class goers will learn which plants thrive in tight spaces and indoor climates, as well as inexpensive methods for turning simple materials into effective indoor planters.
December 6, 10:30am – 12:00pm
Naked Herbs: A Botanical Photo Workshop – ABC Headquarters, Austin
The American Botanical Council hosts a unique workshop led by acclaimed plant photographer Steven Foster. The course will be held at ABC’s headquarters, located on the historic Case Mill Homestead. Participants will tour seven international cuisine gardens, seven medicinal plant gardens, an expansive vegetable garden, and a Sacred Seeds garden featuring medicinal plants with local significance, all while learning tips and techniques for perfecting the capture of plant life in photography. Only 12 spots will be available, so be sure to secure a slot soon if you’re interested!
December 6, 9:30am – 4:30pm
Imagine Austin Speaker Series: Integrating Nature into the City – University of Texas, Austin
The Imagine Austin Speaker Series returns with expert presentations and a panel discussion covering ongoing efforts to better mesh urban and ecological concerns. Learn more about how entrepreneurs, municipal representatives, citizens, and local businesses can join together to create a healthier, better connected, and greener urban environment. Topics will range from the importance of balancing city sprawl with greenway growth to the history and future of environmental policy in Austin.
December 10, 6:30pm – 9:00pm
Free Class: Honey Bees and Beekeeping – Bee Friendly Austin
Bee Friendly Austin’s Tanya Philips offers a free course introducing would-be apiarists to the finer points of beekeeping. In addition to learning how to attract and protect pollinators, participants will gain insight into causes and effects of colony collapse disorder and tips for providing good homes for bees.
December 13, 10:00am
Free Composting Class – Hope Farmers’ Market
Whether you are looking to cook up some nutrient-packed, DIY plant food for your lawn and garden, or you just want to reduce your home’s impact on the local landfill, composting is a great way to recycle just about anything organic. From lawn clippings and leaves to food scraps and shredded paper, you might be surprised how much gold there is in your garbage. Register today, and learn more about Austin’s ongoing Home Composting Rebate Program for qualifying residents.
December 14, 11:30am – 12:30pm
Ecological Literacy Volunteer Days – Hornsby Bend
Three hours of volunteer work, including building and maintaining the habitat gardens, trails, and kiosks, followed by a potluck-style Lunchtime Lecture focused on ecological learning. Put your green thumb to good work while taking in the birdlife on this uniquely bio-diverse stretch of the Colorado River.
December 27, 9:00am – 1:00pm