Austin Arbor Day, Texas Native Plant Week, and the Return of Rainwater Season: Community Courses, Events, and Expos

Whether you’re looking for a civic celebration, ecological education, or some great green opportunities for community outreach, autumn in the Austin area has something to offer everyone. From Austin’s own Arbor Day on October 18th and seed and starts sales commemorating Texas Native Plant Week at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, fall is the perfect time to revitalize your garden, reinvent your landscaping, and hone your rainwater harvesting skills.


Native Plant Sales and Conservation Celebrations


Year of the Salamander Beverly Sheffield Education Center at Barton Springs


In an ongoing effort to raise awareness about the importance of local water conservancy for preserving indigenous wildlife, the Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation have named 2014 the “Year of the Salamander.” As a part of this effort, PARC and its partners have collected and curated a dynamic presentation of amphibian-inspired artwork and photography. This fall a portion of this aquatic exhibit will be on display at our very own Barton Springs! Get an eyeful for yourself, and learn all about the endangered Barton Springs Salamander as you explore the all-new Salamander Springs exhibit in the Education Center.


September 14 – October 19


Fall Native Plant SaleLady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center


The premier native plant sale event in Central Texas, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center offers some 300 species and 23,000 distinct plants: from trees and trumpet vines to drought-hardy ground covers and cacti. Make sure to bring your own wagon to manage your haul. Members will be invited to join renowned Texas architect Ted Flato as he discusses his new book, “Lake-Flato Houses: Embracing the Landscape.” During the public sale days, visitors can also learn to make ecopots, native seedballs, and identify some of our common Texas natives.


Members-Only Sale, October 10, 1:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Public Sale Days, October 11-12, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM


Second Annual Beautify BashKeep Austin Beautiful, The Great Outdoors


This Year’s Beautify Bash will be held at The Great Outdoors–an urban garden center with two acres of oak trees, an enormous wind chime, tropical greenhouse, and even its very own waterfall (not to mention a huge selection of native and adapted plants perfect for Central Texas landscapes). The celebration itself will feature lots of hors d’oeuvres, local beer and wine, live music by Ben Balmer, and a silent auction to promote efforts to keep Austin’s neighborhoods sustainable.


October 23, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM


2014 Rainwater RevivalDripping Springs


The Hill Country Alliance brings yet another Rainwater Revival jubilee celebration to the Austin area. Free for all to attend, this year’s festivities will include educational and entertaining presentations by local professionals, innovative rainwater collection displays, and conservation experts galore, as well as live music, kids’ activities, lots of good food, and a live auction of recycled 55-gallon rain barrels transformed into quirky masterpieces by local artists. An event not to be missed by anyone with an interest in reviving this easy and ancient practice–with a Central Texas twist!


October 25, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM


Local Expos and Educational Events


Renewable Energy Roundup & Sustainable Living ExpoBell County Exposition Center, Belton


This family-friendly expo returns for a fourteenth year, offering an incredible array sustainable ideas for modern living. Learn how new technologies and ideas are coming together under an emerging green ethos to solve our home and agricultural water needs, find clean energy sources, and preserve our precious local resources.


September 25-28


Texas Tree Conference: Surviving ExTREEmesWaco Convention Center


Over 800 attendees are expected at this year’s conference, which will include presentations and panels featuring nationally known experts in arboriculture and tree research, an expansive trade show, awards luncheon, and an amazing opportunity to network with local partners in Texas tree stewardship. Some examples of conference topics include: “Urban Forests in Peril–Coping With Drought,” “Extreme Times Call for Tree Diversity,” and “Planning for the Future of Your Urban Forest.”


October 1-3


Backyard Basics: Integrated Pest Management Texas A&M AgriLife Extension


AgriLife Extension Service presents the next installment of its ongoing series in Backyard Basics. This month Wizzie Brown offers a comprehensive course on beating those backyard bugs using natural garden and landscaping pest control methods. Learn how to bring in pollinators and pest predators while discouraging destructive insect activity all year long.


October 2, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM


Montesino Ranch Day Wimberley


This unique event takes a whole-farm approach to water conservation. Part of HMI’s Open Gate Learning Series, participants will engage in peer-to-peer activities, short presentations, and group exercises that explore good water management techniques. Whether you are a landowner, wildlife or water conservancy worker, municipal representative, or you’d just like to get a first-hand view of a sustainable working ranch, this is a great opportunity to learn how the local water cycle intersects with business, ecology, and agriculture.


October 25, 9:00 AM


Volunteer Opportunities


SXSW Eco Conference: “Green Army” Volunteer Events Brush Square Park


For the third year in a row, keep Austin Beautiful, SXSW Eco, Shoal Creek Conservancy, and AMD join forces to bring local eco-minded volunteers together. Enjoy the outdoors and a free lunch from Whole Foods Market while helping to clean up Austin’s downtown area. In addition to kayak-assisted creek cleanup, volunteers will help to make hundreds of new “seed-balls” that will be used to re-green the vital shoreline along Shoal Creek. Last year’s participants made 5,500 seed balls and picked up 114 bags of trash!


October 7, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM (lunch available until 1:30 PM)


Austin Arbor Day Tree Planting TreeFolks and Austin’s Forestry Division


Starting on Austin’s own Arbor day, TreeFolks and the City’s Forestry Division will be hosting four community-led planting sessions in Austin’s parks, preserves, and neighborhoods. Learn about modern urban forestry and ongoing local efforts to use native trees to reduce water runoff, provide wildlife habitat and shade, restore plant diversity, and beautify the city while preserving our local watersheds.


October 18, 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM

November 1, 15, 18, 7:00 AM – 10:00 AM