By: Will Bruner, Nicole Rusli, and Shelby Hodges
For 30 years, Keep Austin Beautiful (KAB) has been a resource for local organizations and communities to engage the public about the environment. In commemoration and celebration of their 30th Anniversary, KAB is hosting 30 projects in 30 days during the month of October. These projects will include events of environmental education for youth, beautification of different natural locations in Austin, litter pick-up and gardening sustainable food.
Ashley De Jong leads the Volunteer Board of Directors for KAB. Her job is to oversee the strategic direction of KAB and ensure the organization is accountable by using funds wisely.
“I know we have completed over 50 projects already! We wanted to celebrate our 30 years by engaging the community, that’s what we have always done. Our partners are always surprised how easy we make it to get a few people together and dramatically change the environment,” said De Jong.
The Concho Community Garden is one of the many projects represented over the course of 30 days. Lily Nguyen, Director of the garden and volunteer coordinator for Keep Austin Beautiful, believes that sustainable agriculture is important to improving the environment in Austin.
“Conventional agriculture, it impacts pretty much every single part of our natural environment in a bad way…through the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers that cause eutrophication in the oceans,and it has less nutrients. It is not as conscious or sustainable as organic produce, which is returning as much as you take from the earth. It’s giving it life, it’s giving it nutrients and doing it with a respect for the environment that conventional agriculture never thinks about,”said Nguyen.
On Nov. 18, Keep Austin Beautiful will end their 30 year Anniversary by awarding businesses and organizations for their activism at an event called the Beautiful Bash. De jong will be one of the hosts for the event.
“Keep Austin Beautiful has been the resource people come to when they want to do something good for the community. We will always be that resource, but we’ll also be more pro-active initiating projects and engaging the public about what our city needs and where. We’ll do whatever we need to do to make Austin the most beautiful city in the world,” said De Jong.
The Hashtag #mybeautifulatx was used to promote the 30 projects in 30 days initiative.