Cathie Gail, executive director of Keep Texas Beautiful, says many people think that Lady Bird Johnson founded this Austin-based organization known for community beautification and waste reduction. It makes sense since KTB and the Wildflower Center share so much in common. Finally, the Wildflower Center—actually founded by Mrs. Johnson—and KTB, the Texas affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, are working together.
The two organizations announced their partnership this winter and plan to team up initially on Wildflower Center projects such as the Invaders of Texas invasive species reporting program, Landscape for Life™, and the Great Texas Tree Roundup which was developed by the Wildflower Center and Tree Folks, Inc.
Although she did not found it, Mrs. Johnson did have a lot of influence over KTB’s beginnings in 1967. With the largest environmental and community improvement network in Texas, KTB has the ability to reach 19 million Texans through its 360 community affiliates statewide.
KTB is well known for its litter prevention program as well as its springtime Great American Cleanup. This year, groups who register a cleanup event between March 1 and May 31 receive guidance as well as gloves, signs and garbage bags. KTB also plays a key role in waste reduction throughout the state by educating communities about how to implement recycling programs custom-made for their needs, size and stage of recycling.
“We provide programming that our affiliates can offer their communities – both our own programs and those of partner organizations like the Wildflower Center,” says Gail. “This partnership with the Wildflower Center is so complimentary because the Center has such expertise and KTB has the ability to reach so many people across the state.”
Beginning this spring, KTB and the Wildflower Center will begin promoting the Great Texas Tree Roundup – which empowers the public to serve as citizen data collectors about their communities’ trees – to KTB constituents. At KTB’s annual conference on June 17, Center staff will train KTB staff on how to teach its affiliates how to track invasive species through its Invaders of Texas program. The Wildflower Center will also make its Landscape for Life Train-The-Trainer Webinar series available to staff of KTB affiliates. Focused on helping homeowners create sustainable landscapes, Landscape for Life includes a curriculum that can be used to conduct classes in sustainable home gardening.
Wildflower Center senior botanist Damon Waitt says, “We are extremely enthusiastic about this relationship and its potential to develop statewide support for native plant conservation and beautification. Our organizations have so much in common, I’m surprised it has taken us this long to formalize our relationship.”
Story by Christina Kosta Procopiou