Monday, April 27, 2015

7-9-2015 to 7-11-2015: National Children & Youth Garden Symposium in Austin

For the first time in conference history the National Children & Youth Garden Symposium, NCYGS, is coming to Texas!

NCYGS is the only national event of its kind where you can network with like-minded teachers, garden designers, community leaders, program coordinators, and others involved with connecting kids to the natural world. Take advantage of NCYGS coming to Austin and be sure to SAVE the DATE  (July 9-11, 2015) for an energizing, inspirational & idea-generating conference.  

This conference is coordinated by the American Horticulture Society. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center & the International Junior Master Gardener Program are the co-hosts for this year's event.  There will be a bounty of fantastic sessions/workshops, field trips, keynotes and many other special events!   Junior Master Gardener (JMG) Program Coordinator, Lisa Whittlesey, will have a keynote presentation and a complete strand during the conference focused on JMG and the new, exciting, research-based & “ground-breaking” curriculum to be released in June -  “Learn, Grow, Eat & Go!

Information regarding lodging, travel, etc. may be found on the following website:

The conference hotel is the Radisson Austin Downtown and the symposium has a special rate of $149.00 per night.  

For more information: 

Visit , e-mail , or call (703) 768-5700 ext. 121

Thursday, October 16, 2014

AISD's Sims Elementary Youth Paves the Way to Zero Waste

October 15, 2014 Announcement from AISD:

AUSTIN—Keep Austin Beautiful, in partnership with Austin Resource Recovery and the Bleed Orange Live Green initiative, awarded Austin ISD’s Mary Jane Sims Elementary as the 2014 Zero-Waste Champions.

The award recognizes a local Austin school each year for outstanding efforts to reduce waste and raise awareness on campus about the City of Austin's Zero Waste goal, which aims to decrease the amount of trash sent to landfills by 90 percent by the year 2040.

On Tuesday, Oct. 14, Austin Resource Recovery and Keep Austin Beautiful will present students and staff at Sims with a $1,000 award, a bench made of upcycled plastic and a Generation Zero banner.

Thanks to the Bleed Orange Live Green partnership, the school will also receive 22 tickets for students and their chaperones to attend the UT vs. Iowa State football game on Saturday, Oct. 18 where they will enjoy pre-game festivities and be recognized on the field during the game.

During the 2013-14 school year, the entire fourth grade at Sims Elementary School participated in the Generation Zero program to learn about recycling and composting through hands-on activities. Generation Zero provides K-12 students with the opportunity to engage in fun, hands-on activities and simple solutions for reducing waste through an array of lessons coupled with service projects that raise awareness about recycling, composting and conservation.

Students at Sims used their knowledge of recycling to write letters to local recycling facilities inquiring about their methods. The Sims Superstars are participating in the program again to learn about proper single stream recycling, what to do with “specials,” learn about composting and taking action to complete on-campus service projects.

Of the more than 54 schools that were involved in the program, Sims boasts the highest rate of recycling and composting—more than 20 pounds per student

For more information, please contact Monica Lopez Magee, Director of Development and Communications for Keep Austin Beautiful at (512) 391-0617, ext. 703 or email

Monday, September 15, 2014

October 8 is Walk/Bike to School Day!

If you are not already walking or biking to school, planning a school-wide Walk/Bike to School Day is a great way to get started!

Walking or biking to school reduces use of fuels, boosts physical activity and also improves academic test scores. A number of schools have established walking, school bus or bike train programs, making predetermined stops to pick up and drop off students on the way to and from school. To help schools in setting up their own walking, school bus or bike train programs, contact the City of Austin Child Safety at 512-974-7273 or for information on:
  • road safety tips
  • neighborhood maps for plotting customized walking or biking routes
  • wear reflective vests per route for the parent or community volunteers
  • reflective arm bands for student participants
Learn even more about how to plan a Walk/Bike to School event here.

10/22/2014: Deadline to apply for $1,000 grants that support biking to school

The National Center for Safe Routes to School and Schwinn’s Helmets on Heads program are teaming up to provide 25 $1,000 mini-grants to 25 schools across the country. These mini-grants support a common goal of both organizations: to support educators, communities and families in encouraging children to safely bike to school.

“Communities across the country continue to be creative and successful in finding ways to make it safer for children to bicycle to school,” says Lauren Marchetti, Director of the National Center. “We want to use these mini-grants to help support schools in their efforts to cultivate a culture of safe bicycling and helmet use for students.”

Applications are now being accepted for mini-grant activities planned for the second half of the 2014-2015 school year. These funds can be used to fund activities ranging from the nuts and bolts to help start or sustain bicycling programs, to new, inspiring ideas that explore the range of benefits of safe bicycling. Selected mini-grant proposals will fit a school’s needs and interests around safe bicycling and helmet safety education, and will require that correct helmet use be a mandatory component of any program. Recipients are also asked to share the Helmets on Heads pledge with students or youth involved in their program.

"Schwinn, through the Helmets on Heads initiative, is excited to team up with the National Center to offer support to schools throughout the U.S.,” says Milissa Rick, Global Director of Consumer Activation, Pacific Cycle. “These grants will aid local communities in educating children and parents about the importance of wearing a helmet each and every time they ride a bicycle. And we think that this kind of local level education is one of the best ways to help instill good cycling habits."

Mini-grant applications are due Wednesday, October 22, 2014, and award winners will be announced in December. The mini-grant activities should occur between January 1, 2015, and the end of the Spring 2015 semester.

Download the application or apply online.

Teachers: SIGN UP for Free Programming and Campus Service Projects with Keep Austin Beautiful!

forwarded from Keep Austin Beautiful...

Back to School. Back to Service. Schedule fun hands-on activities and service projects for the upcoming school year by signing up to become a Generation Zero School or a Clean Creek Campus.

Generation Zero is an education program that engages youth in learning about recycling, composting, and conservation. Clean Creek Campus invites you to beautify your campus or restore a creek while learning about watersheds and litter. Both programs are available free of charge and include in-class activities, a service project, and a banner recognizing your school’s participation. Register now!

10/31/2014: Deadline to apply for $2,000 School Garden grants

Whole Kids Foundation is dedicated to supporting schools and inspiring families to improve children’s nutrition and wellness.The Foundation's School Garden Grant Program provides support for edible gardens at schools serving any grade K-12. These grants of $2,000 are awarded to schools and nonprofit organizations working at schools in the U.S. and Canada. Consideration is given to new or existing garden projects at any stage of development - planning, construction, or operation, that help children engage with fresh fruits and vegetables. Applications may be submitted from September 1 through October 31, 2014. Visit the Foundation’s website to complete the online application. Learn more here.

9/20/2014: Garden Day at Blackshear Elementary

Saturday, Sept. 20 - Volunteer for Garden Fun at Blackshear's Yellow Jacket Garden

Blackshear Bridge invites Volunteers for Blackshear Elementary's school gardening enrichment program, which teaches kids about sustainability, nutrition, and gardening.
Here are some ways you can participate --
Garden Day at Blackshear on Saturday, Sept. 20
9 AM - Noon.  Attend Sustainable Food Center's School Garden Leadership Training hosted by Blackshear at 1712 E. 11th St.  Register by emailing
Or...same day, 10 AM - Noon. Prepare the children's garden area with friends of Yellow Jacket Garden and the East Side Compost Peddlers.  The Compost Peddlers are a bike-powered community composting program that collects organic waste from Austin homes and businesses and cycles it to nearby gardens to help grow more food.  You can help Compost Peddlers build a Compost System at Blackshear. And enjoy a pizza party at noon -- Thanks East Side Pies!

Other Ways you can Volunteer:
Lead or support a lesson during Enrichment Time on Fridays 1:30-2:30 contact Donna 512-299-5776 or Amanda
Accompany a Blackshear Teacher and her/his Class in the garden, contact

Thanks.  All the best!  Donna

PS  Yellow Jackets are good – they play well with others, stick together and eat mosquitos.
Thanks, Yellow Jackets!

Blackshear Bridge is building partnerships to support environmental and economic sustainability, wellness, and academic excellence at Blackshear Elementary School, Huston-Tillotson University, and in the surrounding community of Blackshear-Prospect Hill.

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