Environmental Groups – Parks & Preserves
Austin Parks Foundation
1023 Springdale Rd., Ste. 4B
Austin, TX 78721
FAX: (512) 477-1586
Purpose: Austin Parks Foundation partners with our community to enhance people’s lives by making our public parks, trails and green spaces better through volunteerism, innovative programming, advocacy and financial support.
Projects/Activities: Since 1992, Austin Parks Foundation has been committed to ensuring the future of Austin’s public parks, trails and green spaces. We provide resources, programming and funding to ensure access to parks for every Austinite. We create volunteer opportunities (both large and small), activation programming and fund large capital improvement projects. APF has been at the center of promoting park development, maintenance, accessibility and improvements all over Austin for nearly 30 years
It’s My Park Day – 1st Saturday of March and November; city-wide.
Party for the Parks – Wednesday before the 1st weekend of Austin City Limits Music Festival.
Volunteer Opportunities: See Web site.
Newsletters/Publications: Monthly e-newsletter; regular blog posts.
Dues: Donate on Web site.
Hill Country Conservancy
5524 Bee Caves Road, Suite G4
Austin, TX 78746
Fleetwood Jacobs (512) 328-2481
Purpose: Hill Country Conservancy (HCC) is a nonprofit land trust that works to ensure a healthy environment and economy in the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer and the Central Texas Hill Country by permanently preserving natural areas and rural Texas heritage. The Board of Directors is composed of members of the area’s business, real estate, and conservation communities.
Projects/Activities: The Conservancy’s goal is to permanently conserve open space in a six-county region to protect our natural resources. Since incorporation in 2000, HCC has conserved over 12,000 acres of land.
In addition, HCC created a vision in 1999 for the first regional trail system in Central Texas, now called the “Violet Crown Trail” (VCT). The trail currently stretches from Zilker Park to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and will eventually extend into Hays County making it the longest trail system of its kind. The VCT offers much needed access to the outdoors allowing users to experience wildlife, clean streams, and breathtaking views of land preserved by HCC and its partners.
Volunteer Opportunities: National Public Lands Day, National Trails Day, and It’s my Park Day, plus regular cleanups on the Violet Crown Trail. Visit our Web site to sign up and to find out about upcoming opportunities.
Newsletters/Publications: See our Blog under “About Us” section of Web site.
Ecology Action of Texas
Eric Paulus (512) 322-0000
Purpose: Founded in 1969, Ecology Action (EA) is one of the oldest environmental groups in Austin. EA’s mission is to protect, reclaim, and connect communities to neglected or damaged remnants of the urban wilderness.
Projects/Activities: EA accelerates ecosystem recovery through bioremediation, biodiversity enhancement, water quality improvements, and regenerative land stewardship. We own a 10-acre nature preserve in East Austin that we’ve transformed from a city landfill and illegal dump into a thriving, biodiverse sanctuary for urban wildlife.
Newsletters/Publications: Ecology Action Membership E-Bulletin, annual.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
4801 La Crosse Avenue
Austin, TX 78739
Contact (512) 232-0100
Purpose: The mission of the Wildflower Center at UT Austin is to inspire the conservation of native plants and landscapes.
Projects/Activities: The Center’s gardens display the native plants of the Central Texas Hill Country, as well as South and West Texas, while the Plant Conservation Program protects the ecological heritage of Texas by conserving its rare and endangered flora. Our online Native Plant Information Network is a database of more than 8,000 native species visited by millions annually about native plants and vendors across North America.
The Center regularly hosts walks and talks and holds annual family nights, native plant sales (spring and fall), and other inspiring and educational activities.
Volunteer Opportunities: Numerous! Call or e-mail for more information.
Newsletters/Publications: Wildflower, members’ magazine; brochures; online educational materials for all ages; online database (Native Plant Information Network).
Dues: Starting at $50/Individual; $40/Senior.
Visiting Arrangements: Open daily 9 AM – 5 PM. Free for members, children under 4, and UT faculty, staff, and students with ID. Adults are $12; youth ages 5 –17 are $6.
24814 Hamilton Pool Road
Round Mountain, TX 78663
Paul Vickery (830) 825-3442
Purpose: Westcave Preserve is an ecological community of exceptional beauty located on a 75-acre preserve in the Texas Hill Country. Its uniqueness stems from a semi-tropical grotto cut deep within its sheltered canyon by perennially falling water. Orchids and cypress trees share the cool, moist, terrarium-like setting while cactus and juniper grow in the hot, dry habitat above the canyon rim.
Projects/Activities: Weekend tours at 10 AM, Noon, 2 PM, and 4 PM, weather permitting. Weekday tours for organized groups can be prearranged. In 2012, we integrated the “Children in Nature Collaborative” of Austin and launched a campaign to reconnect children to nature.
Volunteer Opportunities: Projects, docent activities, internships for credit, and more.
Newsletters/Publications: e-newsletter – westcave.org/resources/newsletters.
Dues: From $3-$25, depending on age and program. See Web site to join.
805 N. Capital of Texas Hwy.
Austin, TX 78746
Purpose: Initially protected in the late 1970s in response to increasing development and habitat decline in west Austin, Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve continues as a legacy for urban wilderness and environmental education in Texas. Through collaborations with St. Edward’s University and Travis County, Wild Basin serves as a local gateway to the larger Balcones Canyonlands Preserve (BCP) system since its inception in 1996, promoting the protection of eight endangered species, as well as 27 species of concern.
Existing as one of few public preserves prior to the founding of the BCP, Wild Basin’s three-miles of trails remain open to the public, sun-up to sun-down, every day of the year. The Wild Basin Creative Research Center, with its information and welcome hub, is open weekdays from 9 AM until 4 PM.
We ask that you respect the natural beauty of this hill-country landscape by staying ‘on-trail’ and leaving ‘no-trace’ during your visit. Bikes, pets, smoking and picnics are all prohibited within the preserve.
Volunteer Opportunities: Trail Guides, office assistants, Land Management/Trail Maintenance, Invasive Species Removal.
Dues: Suggested donation of $3/person. Additional gifts may be submitted online.
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