Category Archives: Uncategorized

Texas Campaign for the Environment is on a Mission

Texas Campaign for the Environment is an environmental powerhouse group on a mission to fight pollution through sustained grassroots organizing campaigns that shift corporate and governmental policy. We recently interviewed our friend, Zac Trahan, over at Texas Campaign for the Environment about how Give 5 has helped them in the past and why it is so important to care about their cause.

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How has Give 5 helped Texas Campaign for the Environment in the past? 
In the four years we’ve been participating in Austin’s Give 5 event, local businesses 
have helped raise thousands of dollars for Texas Campaign for the Environment Fund 
and other terrific non-profit organizations. This has provided us with vital resources to 
fight pollution and work for clean water, air and land in Central Texas and throughout 
the state. 
 
Why should people care about your cause? 
If you care about sustainability, environmental protection, social justice and public 
health, you should support the organizations that work all day, every day to prevent 
pollution and leave the world a better place for future generations. We believe that 
since all social progress begins locally, supporting local groups ensures that your 
support will make a lasting impact. 
 
Do you see any negative effects from the constant construction and expansion of 
Austin’s urban areas? 
 
Austin and its surrounding communities were literally made possible by the unique, 
diverse ecosystem we live in—it’s what has sustained human societies here for 
thousands of years. Development can support our urban population growth, but if it 
comes at the expense of our natural habitat, healthy air and clean water, it will 
ultimately endanger and undermine the very source of our sustenance.  
 
What can Austinites do today that will contribute to the preservation of the Austin 
environment? 
 
There are innumerable ways to help protect and preserve our environment every day. 
Just to name the first few: 
Support organizations that are fighting for local policies and programs that will 
reduce our collective waste of natural resources—water conservation, 
renewable energy, recycling and composting, sustainable development, 
habitat preservation and so much more. Austin is home to many amazing 
non-profit groups, so find the ones that you are most passionate about and 
help them succeed. 
Support the local businesses that make Austin such a great place to 
live—they are typically more invested in the long-term sustainability of our 
region than larger, national chains. Events such as Give 5 highlight this 
perfectly. 
Reduce your own impact by finding ways to eliminate waste before it 
starts—avoid disposable products and wasteful packaging, reuse as much as 
possible and then recycle or compost what’s left, make sure your home is
energy and water efficient, find transportation solutions that don’t leave you 
sitting in traffic. 
Get out and enjoy the actual environment so you’ll be more invested in its 
long-term protection! Hike your favorite trails, swim your favorite waters, build 
an appreciation for the sheer natural beauty of Central Texas—and then use 
that appreciation to help fight for its survival. 
 
Are there any exciting projects being worked on now, or that are planned for this coming 
year? 
 
Our biggest current project has been expanding Austin’s curbside composting 
program to cover all households over the next few years. This will be the biggest leap 
forward for waste reduction since curbside recycling started decades ago—for the first 
time, Austin residents will be sending more resources to recycling and composting 
facilities than to local landfills. That’s a huge step toward our goal to become a Zero 
Waste city by 2040! 
 
In addition, our next project will be gear toward getting recycling and composting bins 
at all city parks, bus stops and other public places, so that all of us will be able to 
reduce waste wherever we go. 
 
Any closing comments or thoughts? 
 
Give 5 is a unique event that adds yet another great perk to living in Austin. You can 
put your own ideals and values into action, support the local businesses you love, and 
provide resources for the non-profits you know are making a difference—all at once. 
Go for it. 
 

Austin Businesses – Sign Up Today for Give 5 Day 2017!

Spring is springing here in Austin, and we are just 2 months away from Give 5 to Mother Earth Day on Friday, April 21st!

Environmental protection is facing a lot of uncertainty in these times, and we are calling on all local business owners in Austin to join us in supporting 9 community nonprofits working to keep our city clean, green, and healthy.

As a Give 5 Day business partner, you’ll be able to help organizations like Hill Country Conservancy, Shoal Creek Conservancy, TreeFolks, Park Pease Conservancy, Austin Parks Foundation, Waller Creek Conservancy, Texas Campaign for the Environment Fund, Sustainable Food Center, & Friends of Barton Springs Pool in a single day.

Please join us in preserving our Central Texas environment, sign up today, and spread the word! https://austingive5.org/for-businesses/#signup

Give 5% to Mother Earth Campaign Raises Over $45,000

7th Annual Give 5% to Mother Earth Day Raises More than $45K for Local Environmental Nonprofits

With the support of 165 Austin-area businesses and sponsors, the 2016 Give 5% to Mother Earth Day campaign, held on Friday, April 22, 2016, raised more than $45,000 for 9 environmental nonprofit organizations working to keep our Central Texas community clean, green, and healthy.

The amount raised was a record high for the initiative, which is currently in its 7th year.

Give 5 to Mother Earth Day was held on Earth Day, Friday, April 22nd, with support from Austin Mayor Steve Adler, who issued a proclamation declaring April 22nd as “Give 5 to Mother Earth Day.”

Business partners of the campaign pledged to donate 5% of their gross sales on Earth Day to the following organizations: Hill Country Conservancy, Shoal Creek Conservancy, Treefolks, Austin Parks Foundation, Sustainable Food Center, Pease Park Conservancy, Friends of Barton Springs Pool, Texas Campaign for the Environment Fund, and Waller Creek Conservancy.

“We are extremely honored by the generosity of so many local business owners who demonstrated their commitment to protecting and preserving our community this past Earth Day,” said Sarah Andrews, Give 5’s Executive Director. “With continued support from Austin’s business community, we look forward to growing this campaign to new heights in the years to come and making an even greater impact on our environment.”

For more information on this year’s business sponsors, partners and local nonprofit beneficiaries, visit our 2016 campaign page.

Treefolks: Inspiring Difference Makers

TreeFolks: Inspiring People of Austin to Make a Difference in Their Community

TreeFolks Executive Director Thais Perkins shares why her organization is a proud beneficiary of Give 5 to Mother Earth this year.

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Why is your organization participating in 2016’s Give 5 campaign?

TreeFolks is participating in the 2016 Give 5% to Mother Earth Campaign to connect the community with their environment and rally support for additional tree planting and care services in Central Texas.  Each year, TreeFolks organizes the amazing energy of 2,000 volunteers to plant and care for trees in local communities.  Trees are planted at Central Texas schools, parks and neighborhoods, along streets, in community gardens and at people’s homes in fire-ravaged Bastrop County.  We’ve also led hundreds of educational workshops to build a cadre of citizens that are well equipped to care for their urban forest.  The Give 5% campaign will directly support these programs that benefit Central Texas’ urban forests, making Austin a better place to live, work and play. 

Why are initiatives like Give 5 so important to the Austin community?

The Give 5% campaign is so important because it inspires the people of Austin and local businesses to make a difference in their community.  This campaign easily connects Central Texans with environmental causes that are crucial to maintaining healthy, green communities for generations to come.  

What are pressing challenges facing our natural environment in Central Texas? How do you think Give 5 and it’s partner organizations can play a role in addressing these challenges?

Unfortunately, there is no lack of need for TreeFolks’ tree planting services in Central Texas.  Increased tree loss from drought and urban development, devastating wildfires in Bastrop County and record-breaking flooding along the Blanco River are all threatening the health of our ecosystem.  TreeFolks has planted two million trees since a small group of founding volunteers started planting trees in local parks back in 1989.  This year, TreeFolks developed a program to reforest the riparian forest along the Blanco River in Hays County after the Memorial Day floods.  This program will work with private landowners and other restoration groups to replant 650,000 trees along the river and rebuild the riparian ecosystems that clean the water, support wildlife and reduce future flooding.  The Give 5% to Mother Earth campaign and its partner organizations play a major role in addressing these environmental challenges to increase the overall health of our urban ecosystem.

Austin Mayor Proclaims ‘Give 5 Day’

Mayor Steve Adler Proclaims Friday, April 22nd as “Give 5 to Mother Earth Day” in the City of Austin; Encourages Austinites to patronize participating businesses

Austin Mayor Steve Adler has officially proclaimed next Friday, April 22nd as “Give 5 to Mother Earth Day” and is asking Austinites to get out and “eat, shop & play” at Give 5 participating businesses in order to raise funds and awareness for the work of Give 5’s 9 environmental nonprofits.

In the proclamation, Mayor Adler says:

“Austin is known for its stewardship of our environment and, on Earth Day, it is most appropriate to recognize the many people committed to preserving the valuable natural treasures of Central Texas. In order to successfully protect our natural resources and our earth as a whole, our entire community – including local political leaders, community leaders, and business owners must work together.

To celebrate the 46th Anniversary of Earth Day, more than 100 local businesses are donating 5 percent of their sales to a coalition of nonprofit organizations committed to improving the quality of life for all citizens … I call on all Austinites to join me in thanking the participating businesses for generously donating a portion of their Earth Day sales and I urge citizens to celebrate Earth Day by patronizing these businesses.

 

Waller Creek Conservancy Building Engaged Communities

Waller Creek Conservancy: “An engaged community is the foundation of a sustainable Austin.”

Waller Creek Conservancy CEO Peter Mullan shares why they are excited to be a part of the Give 5 initiative and how the Conservancy is working to create a restored Waller Creek in downtown Austin.

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Why is your organization participating in 2016’s Give 5 campaign?

We are honored to be a part of the Give 5% to Mother Earth Day Campaign, bringing heightened awareness to eight incredible non-profits working to improve the environment and quality of life for all of Austin. At the Waller Creek Conservancy, we are focused on restoring nature, creating healthy places, and offering a uniquely Austin experience in our parks. The Give 5 initiative is engaging residents to actively participate in the revitalization of Waller Creek.

Why are initiatives like Give 5 so important to the Austin community?

Give 5 is an important effort and shows our community’s commitment to giving back to our community, and to environmentally-focused causes in Austin, in particular. An engaged community is the foundation of a sustainable Austin.

What are pressing challenges facing our natural environment in Central Texas? How do you think Give 5 and its partner orgs can play a role in addressing these challenges?

As Austin continues to grow, and become more urban, greenspace in our urban core becomes even more vital to its future. Give 5 creates awareness of the role that the natural environment plays in a healthy and active city. For example, Waller Creek has for decades faced major environmental challenges—from erosion to damaging floods, invasive species, and pollution. The Waller Creek Conservancy is working to address these historic environmental issues, and the funds raised through Give 5 will help the Waller Creek Conservancy revitalize Waller Creek into a new model for urban parks that will serve all Austinites.

Any additional thoughts you’d like to share?

Creating downtown parks is a great complement to the dense urban development that is occurring in our city. The future Waller Creek parks district will offer both access to nature and a platform for public programming that reflects Austin’s diversity and creative spirit, including music, food, and public art.  Nature and culture–together–that is what make Austin Austin, and Give 5 is helping Waller Creek Conservancy and others to create an engaged city that maintains its authentic character.

(Photo: David Brendan Hall)

Austin Parks Foundation: “Austin’s DNA to Go Green”

Austin Parks Foundation: “It’s in Austin’s DNA to shop local, go green, and give back.”

Check out today’s blog from Colin Wallis, the Executive Director of the Austin Parks Foundation. The Austin Parks Foundation improves the quality of life for people in Austin and Travis County by filling the city’s funding and resource gap in order to develop, maintain, and enhance the area’s parks, trails and green spaces.

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Why is your organization participating in 2016’s Give 5 campaign?

Austin Parks Foundation has a 24-year history of collaboration, and the core of our organization is focused on creating partnerships that improve Austin’s crown jewels – our parks. We see Give 5 as a great opportunity to not only raise awareness for the need in our parks, but also to show our appreciation for local businesses and the other non-profits we partner with in our every-day work.

Why are initiatives like Give 5 so important to the Austin community?

It is in Austin’s DNA to shop local, go green and give back. Give 5 is an important piece of Austin’s personality and character, and it’s a wonderful way for the wider community to show their support for Austin’s local businesses as well as the crucial missions of the non-profit partners involved.

What are pressing challenges facing our natural environment in Central Texas? How do you think Give 5 and it’s partner orgs can play a role in addressing these challenges?

At Austin Parks Foundation, we have focused on various innovative  green projects  over the years. From water conservation pilot-projects like Habiturf to urban forest development like the Future Forest Project, we’ve been helping Austinites take charge of their parks and improve the health of our natural surroundings for more than two decades. .

In addition to these more hands-in-the-dirt projects, we’ve also provided critical  support to the efforts of local Adopt-A-Park groups, some of which are participating in Give 5 with us! Austin is facing plenty of resource and funding challenges when it comes to our parks, trails and green spaces, but it’s our hope that by collaborating on initiatives like Give 5, we’ll be able to raise awareness and funds to support the much-needed work each of us is doing to make Austin healthier, cleaner and more green!

Learn more about Austin Parks Foundation and get involved today at austinparks.org or visit them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Friends of Barton Springs Pool: A History of Collaboration

Today’s blog comes from Michael Cannatti, the Board President of Friends of Barton Springs Pool, which is one of our 2016 campaign beneficiaries. The mission of FBSP is to create a community of people dedicated to restoring, improving and maintaining the pool and surrounding grounds through organizing, advocacy, volunteer work, education and fun.

Why is your organization participating in 2016’s Give 5 campaign?

Friends of Barton Springs Pool has a long history of collaborating with other Austin environmental nonprofits who dedicate their time and energy to making Central Texas a better place.   Organized around the celebration of “Mother Earth Day,” the “Give 5% to Mother Earth” campaign has become a substantial source of annual fundraising for Friends of Barton Springs Pool to support our work to restore, improve and maintain Barton Springs Pool and surrounding grounds through organizing, advocacy, volunteer work, education and fun.

Why are initiatives like Give 5 so important to the Austin community?

In addition to raising funds to support the environmental work and good deeds of participating nonprofits, the Give 5% campaign also raises the profile of each participating organization, letting more people know about their work and providing opportunities for volunteers to support and engage with environmental causes.  However, this is not merely some abstract benefit, but is specific ally important to Austin because, as noted by Mayor Steve Adler, “our commitment to our environment” is our community’s “most important asset.”

What are pressing challenges facing our natural environment in Central Texas? How do you think Give 5 and its partner orgs can play a role in addressing these challenges?

Our environment (including our parks, springs, streams, and  Barton Springs) make Austin special, providing shade and cool waters for socializing and relief from the Texas heat to generations of Austinites and visitors.  And it is our commitment to our environment that makes Austin special and unique.  However, rapid population growth and development pressure threaten our environment.  For example, development and proposed highway construction threatens the Hill Country streams and springs that feed Barton Springs, and have also taken their toll on Austin’s favorite swimming hole, Barton Springs Pool.  With well over 1.5 million visitors to Barton Springs and Zilker Park last year, the Austin MSA population reached 2M in 2015 and is increasing exponentially.

With Austin’s growth, we are at an important juncture with our environment.  On the one hand, heavy use, increased park attendance, and development pressure have damaged and deteriorated the environment and threatened the water quality and decreased spring flows in our parks.  On the other hand, there are opportunities now to enhance the visitor experience, to educate visitors about water quality and environmental protection, and to convey a sense of our community values embodied in our natural park spaces.

This is the time for Give 5% and its partner organizations address these challenges and opportunities by working to harness Austin’s growth to do big things to protect the environment.  We believe that the best way to preserve our environmental treasures, such as the Hill Country and Barton Springs, is through public outreach which dramatically increases our education efforts to match the increase in population.

Shoal Creek Conservancy: Give 5, a “true community collaboration”

Many thanks to the Shoal Creek Conservancy, one of our 2016 nonprofit beneficiaries, for sharing their thoughts on why Give 5 Day is so important to our Austin community. The mission of the Shoal Creek Conservancy is to protect and preserve Shoal Creek and make Austin a more vibrant place to live, work and recreate in the process.

Written by SCC Executive Director Joanna Wolaver.

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Why is your organization participating in 2016’s Give 5 campaign?

Give 5 is a true community collaboration. In the spirit of Austin, it brings together local businesses, nonprofit organizations and the broader community. It provides a unique opportunity for shoppers – and businesses – to give back to our community and directly support environmental causes in their own backyard. It also provides a unique opportunity for nonprofits to support local businesses through promotion of the partnership. By participating in this campaign, we hope to raise awareness of the opportunity for Austinites to engage with their community and give back while shopping and having fun.

 Why are initiatives like Give 5 so important to the Austin community?

Give 5 strengthens connections and fosters community with private local businesses, the general public and cause nonprofit organizations. It is through collaborative efforts such as Give 5 that we can keep Austin green, clean and healthy.

What are pressing challenges facing our natural environment in Central Texas? How do you think Give 5 and it’s partner orgs can play a role in addressing these challenges?

The most pressing challenges facing Central Texas today (and increasingly in the future) include:

  • The weather extremes of flooding and drought as seen during the Memorial Day Floods of 2015 and the intense drought of 2010.
  • The shortage of protected and publicly accessible open spaces and park areas for recreation and respite for both humans and wildlife in our rapidly growing urban area.

Give 5 can play an important role in raising broad public awareness of these issues with new audiences – and raising funds to support nonprofit organizations that directly address these challenges.

Pease Park Conservancy and Austin’s Remarkable Environmental Movement

Pease Park Conservancy: Part of the Remarkable Environmental Movement in Austin

Pease Park Conservancy is just one of the nine amazing beneficiaries Give 5 to Mother Earth Day will be supporting this spring. The mission of the Pease Park Conservancy is to protect and preserve Pease Park, more than 85 acres of open space, as a place for picnics, nature walks, games, and general enjoyment of the outdoors.

In this blog, Andrew Gill, the Executive Director of PPC, talks about why they are excited to participate in this year’s Give 5 campaign.

Why is Pease Park Conservancy participating in 2016’s Give 5 campaign?

Pease Park Conservancy is participating in Give 5 because we want to be a part of the remarkable environmental movement that’s happening all across Austin. It’s fulfilling to be a part of this group of nonprofits who are all making significant contributions that improve the quality of life Austinites have come to enjoy.

 Why are initiatives like Give 5 so important to the Austin community?

As Austin continues to grow and more people reside here, it is absolutely imperative that we maintain our quality of life by supporting organizations like those represented through Give 5. We can’t simply count on public funds to support our open spaces. There is a deep desire from Austin residents and businesses to fill the gap between what the City of Austin is able to provide and what our community desires. The participating organizations are a conduit between private donors and public improvements.

 What are pressing challenges facing our natural environment in Central Texas? How do you think Give 5 and its partner orgs can play a role in addressing these challenges?

Some of the challenges that we face in Central Texas include a growing population, climate change, and a lack of adequate public funding.

As Central Texas continues to grow, parks and green spaces are facing increased usage and stress. The sad reality is that they aren’t meeting the needs of our residents. Our Parks Department still hasn’t recovered from severe cuts in the late 2000’s. Until they do, private organizations will play a significant role in enhancing our open spaces.

Climate change and severe weather has plagued Central Texas for years. Erosion, droughts, and major flood events have cause considerable, and expensive, damage. The participating organizations are actively advocating for policies that will brace Austin for future challenges.

We do not fund our parks, trails, and open spaces at a level that meets our expectations. Our current funding model is not sustainable and will eventually reach a crisis point. Participating Give 5 organizations are working hard to supplement budget cuts in order to maintain our quality of life in Austin.

Learn more about Pease Park Conservancy on their website or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.